Iran’s First Nuclear Warhead
Where Will it be Targeted?
No, they don’t have it yet. But all informed observers, from the
IAEA, to the
Israeli intelligence experts agree that they will have it,
probably not later than early 2009. Even that estimate is somewhat
delayed from some of the projections from two years ago. But
Iran has with great
fanfare acquired a few thousand additional
that are faster and superior in their ability to
uranium than those that were in use at the time earlier
estimates were made.
Israel is an
obvious target, given the
abject hatred of its presence.
Iran’s threat-spewing president, has prophesied Israel’s imminent
destruction more times than anyone cares to remember. And he’s
shaken his fist in the face of the United States loudly and often,
predicting our demise.
Prominent officials in Israel take the threat very seriously, and in
recent weeks have instigated center stage discussion of a
strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Israel is no stranger
to threats of demolition. They’ve endured the most extreme wild-eyed
rants since their inception, and more than a few ill-fated attempts
to make good on them.
This time it’s different. Iran has the missiles to deliver nuclear
warheads. The best informed estimates are that they’ll have the
ability to deploy a nuclear warhead inside of one year from now,
maybe half that. Israelis are understandably nervous. The problem is
exacerbated by the fact that
Olmert has been in the middle of a political and personal crisis
that has escalated to the point that he has just announced that
he’ll step aside from his post when party elections take place next
month. Who will lead Israel? Will it be his female deputy,
Or might the hawkish
Netanyahu regain that position? As convoluted as Israeli
politics are, it’s difficult, maybe impossible to predict.
But would Israel turn out to be Iran’s first target?
Or mightn’t the United States, Israel’s dependable benefactor,
military supplier and financial backer, attract Iran’s crosshairs
first. Previous clashes have seen the U.S. hurry to Israel’s aid, a
fact that infuriated the whole Arab world and led to the oil crisis
of the 70s. Today’s political dynamics are much the same. In the
event of an outbreak of military hostilities between Israel and
Iran, the United States will be implicated and involved regardless
of any posturing to the contrary and all parties know it.
That brings us to the recent resurrection of the
discussion. There is no doubt anywhere of the results that will
accompany the detonation of a nuclear weapon thirty to three hundred
miles overhead. The micro-burst of such a detonation would fry our
civilian circuitry, knocking out all communications and rendering
nearly every artifact of our lifestyle inoperable. We’d all be on
foot, without phones, radios, TVs; you can think your way through
it. It would bring our lives to a halt and our nation to its knees,
at least figuratively speaking.
In all likelihood, we’d be cut off from information about what was
going on elsewhere in the country, never mind the
Americans would be on a primitive quest for mere survival, and one
shudders to imagine such a scenario, particularly in the big cities.
This EMP scenario is not mere theory. It has been demonstrated, and
no one is denying its potential. The military has reportedly worked
to “harden” at least critical aspects of its electronic
infrastructure, but no such measures have been taken in the civilian
Certainly, the ability of the U.S. to rush to Israel’s aid in the
wake of an EMP attack would be severely distracted and hampered.
Ambassador to the UN John Bolton said this week on national
television that he thinks President Bush has “given up” on the idea
of a military strike on Iran’s nuclear operations. For one thing,
some would see it as an attempt to change current dynamics on the
eve of our presidential election. If action were undertaken after
the election but before the
it might be seen as undercutting the next president. There’s no
question about it. This situation has been an object of lengthy
procrastination, and time may have run out, at least in the eyes of
A raft of Israeli officials, current and former, have predicted that
the U.S. “will be there for Israel in her hour of need,” while
conceding that Israel may ultimately have to deal with the Iranian
But the U.S. is under a major threat as well, and by all
appearances, most Americans are blissfully unaware of the