Feckless Definition

December 21, 2009 by  

Feckless Definition:The lack of progress in negotiations with Iran, together with the latest report from the International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran’s announcement that it would develop new enrichment facilities, all point toward an inconvenient truth: Iran is not only not serious about negotiating in good faith. It is also very likely that it has, for more than a decade now, concealed a significant part of what appears to be a major nuclear military effort.

This has a further implication, which Debouzy did not even mention: Iran might have even more than they have currently revealed. After all, they have only revealed as much as they did because of leaked intelligence of their secret facility under that mountain.

No country has ever gone so far along the road toward the acquisition of a nuclear military capability without actually developing one.

And there is no reason to assume that Iran will be any different in this regard. The situation is currently very dangerous for Iran — we could still have an attack of sanity and choose to knock out their nuclear capability. Since the Iranians don’t actually have any nuclear weapons, this could be done at close to zero risk and cost for the West, as opposed to the risk and cost of letting Iran go nuclear or (worse still) actually carry out nuclear attacks.

Iran’s recent increasingly-severe provocations of America and Britain (the hostages taken from the American tourist group and the British yacht, the raid into Iraq) all look in this contexts like probes. The Allies’ unwillingness to respond in any meaningful manner to these outrages must be convincing the mullahs that we will simply watch, helplessly, as they deploy — or perhaps even use, if not against us directly — atomic weapons.

Debouzy points out that Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons would, among other things, be a political catastrophe to any Israeli Prime Minister or American Presidet who let it happen on his watch. This is true. There is some hope in that Netanyahu is not the man to sit idly by; but the problem is that Israel’s capabilities in this regard are limited.

The Iranians have hardened and dispersed their nuclear program in a way which poor inept Saddam Hussein was incapable of doing. To strike against Iran would involve very long flights over the territories of nations unlikely to give their permission for such attacks. And it would probably require more than one strike — more than one wave of strikes — to take out all the Iranian capabilities. Failure to do so would leave Israel holding the bag, at war with a now-nuclear Iranian Power, while the rest of the world scuttled back from Israel, crying to Iran “We didn’t do it!”

Israel does not have bases near Iran, as we do. Israel does not have whole classes of aircraft optimized to deliver strategic and/or stealthy strikes, as we do. Israel does not have an air force sufficiently powerful to easily defeat the Iranian air force, especially at such a distance. Israel is not, in short, America.

There is one way in which Israel could take out the Iranian nuclear program, with some assurance of success. They could use their own nuclear missiles against them. This would destroy the reactors and the missile production lines. In the case of the reactors, it would also cause severe fallout to a major Iranian city. Israel may have freed herself from the Cult of Apocalypse enough to do this — or she may not. And she also may not want to suffer the diplomatic consequences of being the first Power to use nuclear weapons in battle since 1945 — and use them in a pre-emptive strike, at that (though in fact Iran has provided ample provocation for such an attack by her support of Hezbullah, the rest of the world probably wouldn’t see it that way).

No … it is our responsibility to check Iran.

Continuing on the consequences of the Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons, Debouzy points out:

What’s more, the message sent to all U.S. and Western allies in the Gulf region would be dire. For all the promises made to these allies, the West has been unable to prevent a rogue state — one intent on destabilizing their societies, the strategic balance in the Middle East and beyond, and the oil market—from acquiring nuclear weapons that will make it much more difficult to compel it to behave prudently.

Indeed. What, then, would our promises in the Mideast be worth? What could we offer any ally to match Iran’s “Play ball and we won’t nuke you” …? We could promise retaliation if Iran did nuke them, but so what? We would previously have promised that Iran wouldn’t be able to nuke them, and what became of that promise? The Arabs aren’t that stupid.

Last but not least, the nuclear non-proliferation regime, which has been significantly weakened by the North Korean antics and the Iranian finessing, would be close to collapse: If Iran has nukes, the temptation for countries such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Turkey, among others, to equip themselves with such weapons would be almost irresistible.

And why shouldn’t they, in that case? And it’s more than that … in a world where America reneged on her guarantees to her allies, and the Terrorist States went nuclear, it would be irresponsible of the leader of any country which could afford to build nuclear weapons not to commence their construction immediately.

(the silver lining in this is that anti-ABM sentiment would be as dead as the prejudice in favor of horse cavalry over the tank, but it would be a very faint silver lining, as at this point a nuclear war, somewhere, would become almost inevitable).

The 2010 review conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty would be rendered a feckless pantomime, with almost as little effect as those aimed, between the two world wars, at preventing armed conflict.


Debouzy then goes on to suggest various ways of organizing an attack agianst Iran with America, Britain, France and Israel cooperating. Being French he wants the cooperation of Israel to be “deniable” (anti-Semitic frogs!), but it says something that a Frenchman would admit the importance of Israeli cooperation. It says how serious is the situation.

The time for diplomacy has passed. Iran must cave in, and quickly. If the West is not prepared to force it to comply with its commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, this in effect means that the treaty is dead and that the Gulf countries are being abandoned—stealthily, but nonetheless very definitely. It also means that the non-proliferation regime is, for all practical purposes, dead. Is this really what we want?

Exactly. This is what is at stake. Either we strike, or there’s no point talking any further about “non-proliferation” — or, for that matter, about nuclear warfare remaining purely theoretical.


Now, to the second reference.

Robert J. Avrech, in Big Hollywood, writes “Dore Gold: The Dangers of a Nuclear-Armed Iran,” which is a report on a private briefing he had from Dore Gold, former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations (, which describes what is likely to happen if we let Iran go nuclear.

The international community, explained Gold, points to Pakistan and North Korea as unstable regimes that possess nuclear weapons and yet they have been contained. Thus, why not view Iran in the same light?

The weakness of this argument reflects a misreading of Iran’s long term strategic goals. Neither Pakistan nor North Korea are attempting regional supremacy. Pakistan is focused on its bottomless conflict with India, and North Korea has no plans to conquer Japan; the Norks, in fact, are focused on maintaining their iron grip on the reins of power.

Iran, on the other hand, is an imperialist Islamic theocracy seeking to export their Shia revolution.

Intentions and relative capabilities make all the difference here. Pakistan is aggressive but her aggression is primarily focused against a stronger Power: her hatred of India absorbs all her energies not caught up in defending herself against the monsters she raised in her own Northwest. Pakistan will probably wind up committing Suicide By India one day. North Korea is surrounded by stronger Powers (Russia, China, Japan and South Korea) and thus has little opportunity for expansion.

Iran, however, is the strongest Power in her region. Armed with nuclear weapons, and abetted by Western apathy or fear, Iran could plan for expansion with some realism, even were she not insane.

The Mullahs are prepared to sacrifice millions in order to achieve their expansionist aims.

This was proven during the bloody eight-year war with Iraq. The Iranians recovered territory snatched by Iraq after just two years, but chose to continue warfare for six long years at the cost of hundreds of thousands of Iranian lives.

The Revolutionary Guard used children—wearing plastic keys to heaven around their necks—as human minesweepers.

A regime that so callously murders its own young—martyrdom operations—is, by definition, capable of anything in the name of Allah.

Hence, the calculus of Cold War deterrence—Mutual Assured Destruction—no longer applies.

This is an important point. The Iranian leadership has previously shown its willingness to throw away its own country’s youth in pursuit of an impossible dream — what might it not be willing to risk (not “throw away,” for we might back down) in a confrontation in which victory seemed quite likely?

Add to this something Gold didn’t — the Twelfther cult to which most of the Iranian leadership quite seriously adheres. This holds that, if enough “true Muslims” (read Iranian Shi’a) are “martyred” (read “killed, whether or not in a war Iran provoked”), the Hidden Imam will appear and lead the Faithful to victory over the whole world, aided by the power of Allah made incarnate on Earth.

This means that the normal mechanism of deterrence is inverted. Like a man whose response to pain is a berserk fury, rather than submission, the Iranians cannot be deterred by the threat of a mass loss of life inflicted on their civilizan population, because this is what they WANT TO HAPPEN. If we tell them “Do this and we will nuke Tehran,” they will leap forth eagerly to do precisely what we have forbidden, confident that this will bring the Millennium.

At this point, some often point out to me that the Iranian people don’t want this to happen. Apparently, they’ve never heard of “tyranny.” It doesn’t matter what the Iranian PEOPLE want to happen, because TS-EX-Y DO NOT CONTROL TS-EX-IR GOVERNMENT.

Here is the most damaging of our assumptions that They Are Just Like Us — we seem to envision impeachment, or loss of elections. But the Council of Ayatollahs is an oligarchy, and what was left of Iranian democracy died in the last election. Now all that is left is the government of Khamenei and Ahmadinejad, and they want to bring about the Apocalypse, for they have been promised that the Twelfth Imam will rise and save the world when this happens.

And if the Iranian people die screaming as American or Israeli-made fusion bombs detonate over their cities — well, that’s just part of the drama, a drama that can have only one victor, in the minds of the Iranian leaders — Islam.

Even if they do not choose an immediate attack, an eventual atomic war is likely. As Gold points out

Iran, emphasized Ambassador Gold, is the world’s greatest exporter of terror. Through various, well-funded proxy armies — Hizbullah, Hamas, etc. — the Iranians have been kidnapping, torturing and killing Americans and Israelis since Ayatollah Khomenei’s Islamic revolution in 1979. And the West has never punished the Iranians for their murderous behavior. Thus the Iranians are encouraged to keep killing for there is never any payback.

and would we eternally submit to an escalating Iranian-backed terror campaign? Iran has neither the wealth nor the technological capability to match American might, and she wouldn’t even if she controlled the whole Mideast (though she would, of course, become much more dangerous). Eventually, we would tire of submission, and elect a President who promised revenge. And then we would test our new-deployed defenses against Iran’s atomic arsenal, and civilians would die screaming in both America and Iran.

Even if we didn’t decide to strike back, we might still suffer atomic attack.

Ponder this scenario: if Iran achieves nuclear capability, transnational Islamic t*rror*sm will be sheltered by a nuclear umbrella, a deterrence — military and diplomatic —that will shield them from any consequences of their terrorist outrages. Further, nuclear weapons — suitcase dirty bombs — will proliferate among non-state Islamic terrorists, and nuclear blackmail will become coin of the realm.

Note that this refers not only to Iran, but also to Syria and whatever other countries might not join or be conquered by the nuclear-armed Iranian Power. Furthermore, while it’s unlikely that the Iranians would give their first nuclear devices to terrorist groups, once the Iranians had nuclear weapons for a while, they might very well choose to do so, as a means of creating a deniable nuclear striking force.

Why not? Humanitarianism? It is to laugh. Fear of retaliation from their victims? But retaliation would only bring the Apocalpyse and hence Muslim victory (from the Iranian leadership’s POV). And who’s to say that the first victims would be nuclear-armed Powers?

Yes, in the end Iran would lose — I don’t agree with Gold’s pessimistic conclusion that this could tip the balance of power over to those who want to restore (or create) a Caliphate. But Iran’s loss would be paid for with hundreds of thousands — maybe millions — of Western lives.

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