Jewish World Review Oct. 3, 2003 / 75 Tishrei, 5764
Get ready for Iran's drive to be national suicide bomber
After 60 years of the threat of nuclear war, we have become a bit blasť when other nations such as Israel, India and Pakistan acquire nuclear weapons.
But if Iran gets the bomb, as it appears to be in a headlong rush to do, it will be a very, very different world in which to live. President Bush needs to be far more aggressive in alerting the American people to that danger and in pressuring Russia to cut off its aid to Iranian nuclear reactors.
As shocking as the actions of individual suicide bombers are to Western sensibilities, imagine what could happen if Iran were to acquire nuclear weapons. Would the ethos of men and women willing to die to kill Israelis and Westerners transfer to a nation willing to ignore the constraints of deterrence in its desire to wage a global jihad against the "Great Satan?"
Once, the very tactic of suicide bombing by individuals was so incomprehensible to the American way of thinking that our security measures took no account of the possibility that fanatics would willingly lose their lives to pursue their religious agenda.
The recommendations of the Gore Commission on Air Safety in 1997 focused largely on ensuring that all passengers who checked baggage on a flight actually were on board. The idea that one of them might happily enter a plane that he had arranged to destroy and die with the heathens was so far from the ken of the commission that it did not even address the possibility.
If Iran gets the bomb, do we seriously believe that the concept of deterrence will effectively preclude its use? What is to prevent the logic of the homicide/suicide bomber from functioning at the nation-state level? Is it beyond the realm of possibility that the Iranian ayatollahs might, indeed be willing to sacrifice the faithful in Tehran to obliterate the infidels in New York, London, Washington, Chicago and Los Angeles?
In the '60s, much was made of China's huge population and the willingness of its leaders to accept huge casualties in a nuclear exchange with the United States. But China never had elevated suicide to an art form as the radical Muslim community has done.
Anyone who doubts Iranian efforts to acquire nuclear weapons need only ask one basic question: Why is this nation with among the world's largest oil reserves seeking to develop nuclear power if not for a bomb? It cannot be a need to replace oil. Iran is drowning in enough oil to last it for decades if not centuries.
Bush seems to have been finessed by worries that he will be accused of crying wolf if he stands up and accurately warns us of the danger we face from an Iranian bomb. But the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq will appear to history to have been an odd reason for complaisance in the face of determined Iranian efforts to go nuclear.
North Korea, while also a deadly nuclear threat, is susceptible to pressure from China, its leading source of food and fuel. But Iran is not subject to pressure from anyone. The insanity of the regime and the fanaticism of its religious devotion to countering the infidel make it the very worst country to get the bomb.
But the instability in Iran, the massive student demonstrations, the overt rejection of the theocracy by three quarters of the voters in the last two elections, all show the vulnerability of the Ayatollah Ali Hoseini-Khamenei's regime. Strong American pressure, economic sanctions (enforced on other countries through the D'Amato Amendment of 1996), television broadcasts into Iran and saber rattling by American troops next door in Iraq could work together to solve this problem for the world.
Bush just needs to get it going. His relative silence on the subject and reluctance to elevate it to its proper place in presidential rhetoric is not just bad politics (inexplicably so) but poor policy, as well.
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JWR contributor Dick Morris is the author of, among others, Off with Their Heads: Traitors, Crooks & Obstructionists in American Politics, Media & Business"
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© 2003, Dick Morris