The Iranian Threat Is Clear and Present, Not Obscure and Distant (AMERICAN THINKER) By William Sullivan 03/20/12)
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Fear evokes erratic responses from Westerners. If, for example, one
is to argue based on loose and contentious evidence that the
proliferation of an innate gaseous compound will cause the sea levels
to rise and the earth to scorch at some obscure date in the distant
future, fear is invoked to warrant the steepest international
measures to alleviate the potential threat, however unsubstantiated.
If, on the other hand, a dictator believes that his divinely ordained
objective is to destroy another nation while routinely reaffirming
his pressing dedication to this undertaking, and there is nearly
unanimous agreement that his nation is seeking nuclear weapons to
potentially achieve those ends, fear is decried as an irrational and
an unnecessary addition to the international discourse.
The latter is the position taken by many Westerners voicing their
opposition to Benjamin Netanyahu´s recent pronouncement that Israel
may consider a unilateral strike against subversive Iranian nuclear
facilities. Among these voices is Israeli author David Grossman, who
observes in The Guardian that:
Binyamin Netanyahu likes to fire up his audiences with frequent
references to the Holocaust, Jewish destiny and the fate of future
generations. In light of this doomsday rhetoric, one wonders if
Israel´s prime minister can always distinguish between the real
dangers confronting the country and shadows of past traumas. [...]
If all that - the tough talk, the big bellows of catastrophe -, is no
more than a tactic meant to enlist the world to tighten the screws on
Iran, and if the tactic were to succeed without an Israeli attack,
then we would happily acknowledge, of course, that the prime minister
had done an excellent job, for which he deserves due credit and
kudos. But if he indeed thinks and operates within a hermetic
worldview that swings between poles of disaster and salvation, we are
in a very different universe of discourse.
Gloomy as it may be, it is practical that the world, and particularly
the Jews in Israel, be often reminded of the potential destruction
that radical and militant anti-Semitism can produce, especially
considering that Israelis are clearly being targeted by such
contemporary doctrines. To know what is at stake is certainly not a
bad thing. Such reminders strengthen resolve and renew focus on
Israeli survival -- which is, of course, why anti-Zionist elements
work tirelessly to have us forget the Holocaust, denying its severity
and significance, and sometimes even denying that it ever occurred at
Mr. Grossman argues, however, that focusing on these "doomsday"
scenarios is dangerous, and that fear has caused Israeli leadership
to accept a worldview where the choices are only "disaster and
The folly, however, is in assuming that Netanyahu has chosen this
worldview that "swings between poles of disaster and salvation." Any
discussion, if we are to be honest, must be tethered to the
indisputable fact that "disaster and salvation" are the only two
options Israel has been given by its counterpart in the conflict.
The mere existence of the Jewish state is eternally intolerable to
the current Iranian regime, as it has affirmed on many occasions.
Within this context, continued existence is "salvation," and as the
only alternative to existence is non-existence, "disaster" is an apt
description for the other option Iran has presented Israel.
Iran has never presented any acceptable circumstances that allow for
Israel to maintain its sovereignty. Furthermore, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad
has stated unequivocally that Iran´s perpetual struggle to remove
Israel will culminate in an inevitable "vast explosion that will know
no boundaries," and included in these threats are warnings that
this "explosion" will "burn" all of Israel´s Western allies as well.
Again, pertinent to note, yet somehow overlooked by Israel´s critics,
is that many of these threats are not contingent upon any specific
Israeli action, but they are a promise of what will come of Israel
simply continuing to exist. As long as a country called Israel can
be found on maps and its people live beneath that banner sporting the
Star of David, we can be sure that Iran will want to see that country
destroyed and will take steps to achieve that goal.
Given this clearly one-sided and warlike stance that Iran has taken,
criticism of an "irrational" Netanyahu would be comical if it were
not so misguided and deadly. In reality, if the world disagrees with
Netanyahu that military strikes should be considered to prevent a
nuclear Iran, the only reason for that disagreement could be that
Netanyahu is the only one taking Iran´s threats seriously -- which he
does for the sake of his people, not because of some maniacal hatred
compelling him to attack a much larger nation that also happens to be
a well-equipped military power.
And that is the hard truth of the matter. Despite the stern warnings
of a strike, no one wants Israel to go to war with Iran, least of all
the Israelis or their prime minister. But such a potentially costly
and devastating decision must be weighed against the threat. The
problem is that as Iran comes ever closer to acquiring nuclear
weaponry, the threat compounds exponentially. But rather than
recognizing that reality, Westerners choose to manipulate the threat
level to appear less dire.
Israelis like David Grossman may find it preferable to avoid taking
the costly measures necessary to keep such weapons from the Iranian
theocracy in hopes that they may have a change of heart or decide not
to use them. Pundits like Rajan Menon of the Huffington Post may
find it comforting in the bastion of Cold War understanding,
suggesting that Israel´s own nuclear arsenal will deter Iran from
employing its newly acquired warheads. But Grossman´s blind hope and
good wishes won´t make the Iranian regime any more likely to accept
Israel´s sovereignty, or any less likely to employ the most powerful
methods to end it. And Menon´s naiveté is quickly exposed by his
refusal to understand that "mutual assured destruction," the
deterrent to a nuclear showdown in the twentieth century, is an
absent element given the Islamic theocracy´s religious imperative
that values martyrdom above all things.
Ehud Olmert once said that "it´s quite obvious" why "Israel will not
tolerate nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran." Time seems to have
muddied exactly how obvious it is for the Western world, though. And
time, as it turns out, is the precise reason why an attack may become
necessary -- the very real threat of a nuclear Iran becomes less
manageable as it passes. And what is at stake is no less than a
Jewish genocide at the hands of a despotic madman.
Prime Minister Netanyahu is not a fear-monger, as his critics are
wont to claim. He has a very justifiable reason to remind the
world, "History will not give the Jewish people another chance."
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