HORRIBLE IRANIAN OPTIONS
By Alan Caruba
Those of us who lived through October 22, 1962, and the tense week that followed, the question was whether the world was about to have its first -- and probably its last -- nuclear war. It was the day President John F. Kennedy addressed the nation to announce the U.S. naval blockade of Cuba, due to the fact that the Soviet Union was putting nuclear missiles there. Those missiles were capable of reaching Washington, D.C., and several major U.S. southeastern and western cities.
I can recall that neither I nor anyone else I knew believed that Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet Premier, would launch a nuclear war. By Friday, October 26, 1962, the White House received a letter from Khrushchev stating that the missiles would be removed, if the President would publicly announce that the U.S.A. would not invade the island nation. On the following Sunday, Khrushchev publicly announced the missiles would be removed.
Armageddon was postponed in October, 1962.
Pretend you are the President of the United States. It is October, 2005, and the latest briefing you’ve received about Iran and the options available to you would keep most men up at night.
The ayatollahs currently running Iran have been hell bent on destroying the United States of America (and the State of Israel) since the day they seized power in Iran in 1979. Cunning and ruthless, the odds are the ayatollahs will not act as rationally as did Krushchev. It is doubtful that, once the ayatollahs acquire the ability to put a nuclear weapon on top of a missile, they will be reluctant to use it.
They have been working for more than twenty years to achieve this capability and, depending on which analysis you select, they are either very close to being a nuclear power or about ten years from it. Others suggest they would not use nuclear weapons unless attacked.
While they don’t have an intercontinental missile capable of hitting the United States, they do have missiles able to reach all of Europe, including the United Kingdom. Given Europe’s track record of appeasement and surrender, there is little doubt what path the ayatollahs will take.
The Russians, for example, aren’t any more suicidal now than they were in 1962. And they are well within missile range of Iran.
That leaves the United States in a familiar position. Alone. The only real ally we have in the area is Israel, which is also marked for destruction.
And, Mr. President, there’s an added twist to the problem of Iran. The destruction of American cities does not require long-range missiles. A few stolen Russian suitcases rigged to be “dirty bombs,” would spread radiation sufficient to render every building, bridge, and subway uninhabitable. The ayatollahs, along with the boys from al-Qa'ida, have wannabe martyrs lined up around the block to do the job.
That’s the conclusion of a stack of books I have read of late. They have titles like Countdown to Terror, The Al-Qa'ida Connection, Countdown to Crisis, Tehran Rising, and The Far Enemy. It’s not like this scenario is a Big Secret. The Pentagon knows it. The Central Intelligence Agency knows it. I know it, and, Mr. President, you know it.
A great deal of time and talk about sanctions, negotiations, United Nations resolutions, and the like will occur in the months and years ahead. Mr. President, you don’t want the ayatollahs to have nuclear weapons. That leaves some very dicey options.
There is the option of using “Bunker Buster” bombs against Iran’s many nuclear weapons sites. You’d have to do it without advance notice. It will trigger an Iranian response that would include closing down the Strait of Hormuz and threatening oil facilities in Arab nations seen to be U.S. collaborators. The Saudis don’t like the Iranians, so they will line up with us. So will Kuwait and other emirates. Other than their providing us with oil, however, these Arab states can't help much. Militarily, we’re still on our own.
The problem is compounded by the fact that Iran shares a long border with Iraq, the newest constitutional democracy in the Middle Eastern region. There’s no love loss between Iran and Iraq, but we probably don’t have enough military manpower for a conventional war with Iran. After all, those “insurgents” are not Iraqis; they’re Iranians, Syrians, and other malcontents recruited by Iran and al-Qa'ida.
Of course, there’s the possibility it would be easier to get compliance after you’ve blown up such places. Or, bombing their nuclear facilities would likely speed up the Iranian timetable to send their martyrs here by boat, by plane, by hang-glider, by tunnel, by car, by truck, or just a nice walk across the border of Canada or Mexico. The odds are, they’re already here.
There is only a slim possibility Iranians would pour into the streets and overthrow the ayatollahs. They’ve tried that in the past and it just filled up Iranian prisons and graveyards.
The preemptive attack option, no doubt, accounts for the Pentagon proposal that the United States stipulate to a nuclear first-strike policy. This is roughly comparable to Monday, October 15, 1962, when a U-2 reconnaissance aircraft returned to base with photos of several SS-4 nuclear missile sites in Cuba. A week later the possibility of Armageddon went from being biblical to being the real thing.
Khrushchev is dead. Kennedy is dead. But Fidel Castro is alive, and so is Mahmood Ahmadinejad, the President of Iran, who was one of the youthful leaders of the Islamic Revolution that drove the Shah out and, in 1979, took US diplomats hostage for 444 days. Behind him is the real power, the Supreme Council, led by Ali Khameni.
In August, 2004, Khameni was answering questions from Islamic guidance officials when he was asked, “Is our Islamic Republic at war against the United States?” He replied, “It is the United States that is at war against our Islamic Revolution.” Same thing.
Around the same time, an Arab newspaper published in London and Beirut reported that the head of Iran’s “Brigades of the Shahids of the Global Islamic Awakening,” Hassan Abbasi, had bragged of “a strategy drawn up for the destruction of Anglo-Saxon civilization.” He went on to boast:
So, Iran’s bad intentions are not a big secret. Back in the 1930s, neither were Hitler’s nor those of the Emperor of Japan, but it still took Pearl Harbor to get us into the war against both. If 9-11 is any indicator, we won’t have any notice of the next attack. It will just be too damned late. Pretend you’re the President of the United States. What would you do?
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Alan Caruba is a veteran business and science writer, a Public Relations Counselor, and Founder of the National Anxiety Center, a clearinghouse for information about media-driven scare campaigns. Caruba writes a weekly commentary, "Warning Signs," posted on the Internet website of the National Anxiety Center, which is located at www.anxietycenter.com.
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