As a boy during the 60's, I remember a local commercial on television featuring the owner of a used car dealership named Crazy Eddie. Crazy Eddie would jump on top of cars that were driven up in front of the camera and shout and scream that he was slashing the prices and practically "givin' 'em away because I'm craaaaazy." Of course Crazy Eddie wasn't giving anything away, these cars were a small representation of his available fleet of automobiles, the rest of which were priced normally. Crazy Eddie wasn't crazy, he was a shrewd and successful salesman.
I also remember as a boy watching the Roadrunner and Wile E Coyote in their comical battle of wits. The coyote was constantly using the latest Acme invention or some elaborate scheme to get the Roadrunner, who would adroitly out maneuver the coyote's machinations with a simple bit of his own cunning. Recently I watched what passes for cartoon entertainment today, and the hero used magic spells to win battles and solve problems; very uninspiring, no thought or imagination; yawn.
I share these two illustrations to explain what I see as a bit of crazy magic going on within our country by neo-conservatives (who are not new and certainly not conservative). Neocons usually explain away the rather complex problems in the Middle East as some form of craziness for which they have their own brand of "magic" to cure.
My best friend taught me a great problem solving tool called simply "Then What" which challenges you to assume the worst scenario on top of the worst scenario in sequence and to ask yourself then what happens next. Let's play "Then What" in regard to the Iranian nuclear issue.
To play, we must first assume that Iran will potentially obtain a nuclear warhead and concurrently, we will go with the most aggressive assumption proposed by Israel, that they will have this weapon within a year. I believe it is possible for Iran to obtain a nuclear warhead, although I believe it will be three years at its former rate of progress, or possibly never if Iran continues to allow close scrutiny by the IAEA and remains a signatory to the NPT. It is also very interested in such weaponry for a number of reasons and Iran currently has the cash to pursue nuclear development. Still, to play What Then we must assume the worst.
Next we must ask what is the worst thing Iran could possibly do with this weapon. Although it is most probable that Iran will use the nuclear potential to put itself on a par with Israel and other regional nuclear powers, let's look at the worst-case scenario. Let us assume, for arguments sake, that Iran is developing the nuclear weapon specifically to strike the United States, an insane proposition given our massive nuclear arsenal.
To strike America with a nuclear weapon, Iran would have to smuggle the weapon into the United States via a shipping container as they have no weapons capable of intercontinental ranges. Let us assume however that they not only shipped the nuke into the United States, they shipped it to where they wanted it successfully and detonated it at precisely the moment they wished. Perhaps they would have a proxy terrorist group do the actual dirty work.
The result would be a nuclear detonation in our most populous city or possibly even the nations capital with casualties possibly in the hundreds of thousands or even millions.
Nuclear weapons leave a signature based upon the types and the values of the fissionable material used. These values differ enough from nation to nation and program to program, making it entirely possible to trace the precise country of origin of a nuclear device.
We would very quickly determine exactly who was responsible for the nuclear explosion and retaliate in kind. We would, at the least, incinerate the entire capitol of the offending nation in a 40 Megaton regime change from one of the thousands of nuclear warheads at our disposal. The fact that the United States is the world’s premiere nuclear superpower is no secret to anyone, nor is our proclivity. The fallout from this exchange would not only kill and injure millions more, rendering Iran inert and devastated, it might very well start World War Three.
What then would be the motive for Iran to attack us with a weapon that, although causing us some great harm, would not utterly destroy us and only serve to awaken our anger and a massive retaliatory strike? I have yet to find a single plausible explanation, indeed all I hear from the neo-con corner is that it is because the Iranians are crazy with anger and as such, apt to do anything. Possibly that they want to attack us to start a globalist Jihad although they would of course be incinerated first.
I remember neo-cons giving Saddam Hussein these same attributes. Neocons claimed that Saddam was so crazy, he would blindly attack the United States without regard to the fact that he would be retaliated against with such blinding and decisive force that he and his entire Baath party would be vaporized. Don't get me wrong, I think Saddam was a brutal thug for whom shooting is too good, but he was anything but a fool. Crazy like a fox maybe, but not crazy on the level of a lunatic that throws himself into the fire.
Equally puzzling is the neo-con solution to Iran obtaining nuclear weapons, which reminds me of modern day cartoon characters who solve everything with magic. Instead of magic, however, the solution to all problems according to neo-cons is to use massive and overwhelming firepower, to wage war with little regard for the consequences or cost. For neocons, war is something they have little or no personal experience with. Given their glaring absence from any battlefield including the one currently in Iraq, it is no wonder they are all too eager to use war as a first option?
There is another scenario though, one that is a bit more believable but in order to believe this you have to acknowledge the possibility that there may be neo-cons whose traitorous tendencies have them putting Israel's interests ahead of those of the United States.
In this scenario Iran builds a nuclear warhead and mounts it on one of it's Shahab-3 rockets currently under development and possibly ready for use in the near future thanks to Iran being flush with oil profits, an unforeseen byproduct of the interruption in Iraqi crude brought on by our recent invasion. These missiles are believed to have Chinese-supplied or Chinese-influenced telemetry (guidance equipment) thanks to the Clinton/Loral treason-in-exchange-for-campaign-contributions deal.
The Shahab-3 rocket is capable of striking Israel, which means that Iran would soon be on par with Israel and able to challenge Israel locally and apply political pressure. While I certainly wish Israel no harm and hope that it can maintain good diplomatic relations with Iran, it would certainly put Israel in a bit of a predicament. For instance, Iran would be able to exert pressure on Israel to do such heinous things as give the Palestinians fair and equitable treatment.
Of course Iran would have to deal with the fact that not only does Israel contain a rather impressive nuclear arsenal; Israel also has a number of top-notch methods for delivery such as the Jericho II missile and Popeye Turbo missiles, as well as a superb military, and a government with a proven track record of mobilizing quickly and decisively in the face of threats. While Iran would have the ability to strike Israel, it would also realize that such a maneuver would bring about a quick, decisive and overwhelming response from Israel that would no doubt destroy Iran utterly.
While I certainly don't welcome the idea of a nuclear-equipped Iran, I hardly think that an invasion or attack should be our first option, despite obvious approval and manipulation on the matter by Israel. The word diplomacy comes to mind, especially as one who has seen the face of war, a face that is as ugly as it is costly in both blood and treasure. Given that Iran is three times as populous as Iraq and that things are not going exactly swimmingly in Iraq, perhaps diplomacy would be in the best interest of the United States.
But then that's because I have such an obvious bias, a bias that says we Americans ought to act in our own best interest, not contrary to it, and that at all times we must ensure that our foreign policy is restrained by the dictates and direction found in the United States Constitution.
I believe our leadership should exploit the avenue of diplomacy, that is should support and even reinforce the efforts of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). To date the IAEA has been very successful not only in locating and identifying all facets of Iran’s nuclear program, it has also extracted an agreement to continue it's voluntary suspension of its enrichment and processing activities. Given the current success of the IAEA which is relatively costless in terms of blood and treasure, does it not make good sense to use diplomacy instead of warfare?
November 29, 2004