Loose Canons

Iran on Nuclear Threshold

We told you so, and now there's only one response -- and it isn't Ron Paul's.

By 11.11.11

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Was it only eight years ago that John Bolton, speaking at an American Spectator dinner, told us that Iran had been lying about its nuclear weapons program since 1981?

I thought it was longer ago but Wlady Pleszczynski, my long-suffering friend and editor, once again came to the rescue. The date was Wednesday, November 12, 2003.

So for eight years -- almost to the day -- between Bolton's admonition and this week's UN report that Iran was on the threshold of developing a nuclear weapon, the West has been earnestly deluding itself while Iran relentlessly pursued its atomic ambitions.

All through the Bush years, there was one round of sanctions after another and dire warnings to Iran that it would be more "isolated" if it not cooperate with the "international community." The mullahs are evil, not stupid. They benefited from the steady stream of aid -- and nuclear assistance -- from Russia. The shopkeeper nations of Europe and too many others made it safe for Iran to mock the American protestations.

China and Russia tittered to the press and opposed the sanctions, sometimes no more seriously than we pushed the resolutions for them.

Willful blindness toward Iran's nuclear weapons program, first fashionable among the intelligentsia, soon became an identifying characteristic of not only the international elite but also of the old Blame America First crowd. We now even have a Republican presidential contender among the latter. Ron Paul has asked that with other nations having nuclear weapons -- China, India and Israel -- among them, why Iran wouldn't want nuclear weapons. He apparently sees no difference between a nuclear Israel and a nuclear Iran.

Perhaps the perfect symbol of this gibbering international class is the Nobel Committee. In its 2005 Peace Prize award announcement it said the prize, awarded jointly to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Mohamed ElBaradei, was "for their efforts to prevent nuclear energy from being used for military purposes and to ensure that nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is used in the safest possible way."

ElBaradei was Iran's apologist, its explainer-away, and its living shield against international consequences for its actions. Under him, the IAEA was purblind, denying that whatever it saw added up to a nuclear weapons program.

On March 20, 2006, I warned that President Bush's policy of relying on the UN to block the mullahs' nuclear ambitions would have an inevitable effect. I wrote then, "The President is in the process of putting the UN in control of the Iran nuclear issue. This will result, in all probability, in allowing Iran enough time to achieve nuclear weapons."

In November 2007 we were given the risible 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, which informed us that our intelligence community had "high confidence" that Iran had quit any steps toward nuclear weapons development in 2003 and had not resumed it.

Now, two years after ElBaradei retired, we have a new IAEA report that confirms more than what we knew and all of that which we suspected. Iran is on the brink of developing a nuclear weapon, and possibly the ability to deliver it.

The IAEA report released this week concludes, based on information provided by ten nations and gathered in its own investigation, that Iran is close to achieving its nuclear ambitions.

The report concludes, among many other things, that:

• Going back to the 1980s, Iran has been conducting undisclosed uranium enrichment, including the separation of plutonium.

• Iran has been acquiring "nuclear weapons development information and documentation from a clandestine nuclear supply network."

• Iran has been working "on the development of an indigenous design of a nuclear weapon including the testing of components."

• The IAEA -- since 2005 -- has been aware that "Iran had been engaged in activities involving on a so-called green salt project, high explosives testing and the re-engineering of a missile re-entry vehicle to accommodate a new payload."

We still do not know precisely when Iran will have a nuclear weapon and the ability to deliver it. But as the IAEA report makes clear, that moment is upon us. What to do?

Our European-minded president is not going to do what is necessary. He and his co-EUnuch friends will seek more sanctions, which will only serve to grant Iran the time it needs to complete the development of its indigenous nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them against Israel, against Americans, and against anyone who may stand in the way of Iran's hegemony over the Middle East.

Iran's Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, has made hatred of America a part of Iran's religion. His words, recounted in my book In the Words of Our Enemies, are worth repeating here.

In a speech to high school students on March 14, 2005, Khamenei explained why hatred of America is a religious obligation:

You can see that some twenty-six years after the revolution, the Iranian people still chant the slogan of "death to America." This is because they know that if they become neglectful of the plots being hatched against them by the global arrogance, they will surely suffer defeat from those plots.

In fact, the "death to America" that is chanted by our people is similar to the phrase "I seek the protection of Allah against the cursed Satan…In the same manner, "death to America" is also meant for the Iranian nation not to forget that the world's hegemonic powers who formerly had great interests in this country and who lost those interests because of the Islamic Revolution are always trying to once again secure those interests and increase their wealth at the cost of hindering our country's progress and destroying the bright prospects of our talented youngsters.

Iran has been fighting a one-sided war against us since 1979. In Iraq and Afghanistan, in Lebanon and wherever else they have been able, they have taken American lives.

Let's be perfectly clear: there is no possibility that Iran can be deterred peacefully from developing, deploying, and using nuclear weapons. The time to foment revolution against the mullahs has passed.

Our choices, and Israel's, are only two. Either take military action to destroy Iran's nuclear weapons development sites or accept the risks of a nuclear-armed Iran.

There's no use saying that the Iranian people want to befriend us. They don't, or those who do are too few and too far out of power to make any difference.

There's no use saying that some diplomatic exercise -- especially sanctions -- could still work. They can't. No nation has, by negotiation, changed the mullahs' course since they took power 32 years ago. And while China, Russia, Venezuela and other nations refuse to abide by the sanctions, they are mooted.

And there's no use in saying military action -- ours or Israel's -- won't be effective, because it obviously can be. Air (and naval air) forces, cruise missiles and special operations units, working in tandem, can interdict Iran's nuclear plans for years at a time. Cyberwar can -- as the Stuxnet worm proved -- damage and disrupt the Iranian nuclear program.

Obama will take no such actions. Which leaves it to Israel which must attack Iran if it is to survive. Israel is a one-bomb country: so small that any nuclear weapon exploded in a city will destroy the nation. They should attack Iran soon, and I believe they will. 

The Israelis should target the mullahs themselves, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and their command and control structure before going after the nuclear sites. If Iran can counterattack, Israel may face destruction by conventional means. But if they hit hard and fast, and keep hitting Iran for two or three days straight, they can win.

Good luck, gents. You're going to need it. And you'll be fighting our battle for us.

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About the Author
Jed Babbin served as a Deputy Undersecretary of Defense under George H.W. Bush. He is the author of several bestselling books including Inside the Asylum and In the Words of Our Enemies. You can follow him on Twitter @jedbabbin.