Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Unwittingly, our president is taking a hugely unwarranted risk by offering to negotiate with the Iranians while having publicly proclaimed that we cannot allow them to have nuclear weapons.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will necessarily have to assume that once it becomes fully apparent Iran won’t voluntarily abandon its nuclear quest, the United States will launch a pre-emptive strike. And if not, Israel certainly will.

We in turn would be foolhardy not to assume Iran would seek to clandestinely obtain nuclear warheads from Russia or North Korea in order to launch its own pre-emptive attacks. And given that the Russians are enabling the Iranians to develop nuclear weapons, it’s not much of a stretch to assume the Russians would also be willing to sell them a few nukes.

The Russians would love to see a big blow-up in the Gulf drive oil prices sky high. Even better, if an Iranian electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack put the United States out of commission, no one would stand in the way of Russia regaining control of its former republics. Also,the Persian Gulf would be up for grabs. And no longer would North Korea need worry about the United States taking out its nukes.

So consider this: Just as the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor while negotiating with the United States, the Iranians themselves launch a pre-emptive EMP attack on the United States before negotiations totally break down. But the real wild card in all this is Israel, for even if neither we nor the Iranians do anything, Israel has no other rational choice than to eliminate Iran’s nuclear facilities. Remember, Mr. Ahmadinejad has already said he would “wipe out” Israel if he had nukes. And given Israel’s warnings to Iran and its prior attacks on Iraqi and Syrian nuclear targets, Iran will very likely try and nuke Israel first, especially with the very hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu now in charge. If so, the United States would presumably “obliterate Iran,” as Hillary Clinton earlier pledged. This makes an Iranian pre-emptive EMP attack on the United States all the more likely.

For those that wonder why Iran would invite its own obliteration by attacking the United Sates, understand that the apocalyptic, messianically driven mentality of their leadership views martyrdom as a reward and not a deterrent.

As a practical matter, however, Iran’s leadership would very likely survive a U.S. retaliatory attack, as would the great majority of their 70 million people. The Iranians, with their relatively low-tech society, would in many ways likely come out in much better shape than would the United States. And most important to the mullahs, we would then be incapable of displacing their regime.

So from their leadership’s horribly warped perspective, Iran’s the winner. Former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani said, “the use of an atomic bomb against Israel would destroy Israel completely, while [the same] against the Islamic only would cause damages. Such a scenario is not inconceivable.”

No matter how you figure it, it’s an almost unbelievably scary situation, especially given the relative ease with which an EMP attack could be launched against our homeland and how utterly catastrophic it would be.

An EMP could be generated by detonating a single nuclear-armed missile some 200 miles above America’s heartland. Such a missile could be launched from a freighter off our Gulf coast. A chilling congressionally authorized EMP Commission report (April, 2008) said an EMP attack would render most computers inoperable, thus knocking out 70 percent or more of our electric grid system and leaving most of the country without light, heat, power, running water, communication, mechanized agriculture or transportation. Simply stated, the United States would be put back into the early 19th century, with most of our population dying from starvation and disease.

Note: The Iranians have already successfully test-fired missiles from a cargo vessel in the Caspian Sea. Some experts believe Mr. Ahmadinejad was alluding to an EMP attack when he suggested that “A world without America is conceivable.”

For those who do not delude themselves with naive fantasies about charming Mr. Ahmadinejad into abandoning his nuclear quest - for which the prospects are virtually zero, our nation’s only rational course of action should be black and white. Accordingly:

(1) Urgently initiate a massive buildup of the conventional weaponry needed to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities and wipe out its retaliatory capabilities as well as arm Israel to the teeth. Also station Aegis anti-missile ships along our coasts while beefing up homeland security and taking steps to mitigate the effects of an EMP attack. To do any less would be totally irresponsible and reckless.

(2) Launch a massive series of preemptive strikes on Iran as soon as possible and send in special ops forces to ensure the mission was accomplished.

The key is for the United States to hit the Iranians so hard and so fast with such overwhelming and devastating force that they have no chance to react or recover, something the Israelis alone cannot do unless they nuke Iran.

Never before has an American president faced a more fateful decision. Fortunately, however,the risk of military action is inconsequential as compared to the risk of inaction.

A possible temporary interference with the flow of Persian Gulf oil, for instance, as bad as it would be, would not begin to equate to the consequences of an EMP attack on the United States. The American people must understand that no less than the survival of our nation as we know it today is at stake and that circumstances beyond our control could prompt a catastrophic EMP attack upon us at any moment. In my view, absolutely nothing can justify our living with such a horrific risk for one day longer than we must.

Because the public and most of the Congress have little or no understanding of the nuclear doomsday hanging over us, it is imperative to immediately begin a national debate on this issue. Only such a debate may prompt us to overcome our biggest weakness: The seeming inability of too many Americans - including our present leadership, to come to grips with the idea that some of our enemies would willingly self-destruct if they could take us down. So tragically, since we won’t act on what we won’t believe, it will very likely take a cataclysmic catastrophe to bring us to our senses - but only after it’s too late.

It is past time for America to get its head out of the sand if we are to prevent a looming nuclear doomsday.

Roger Chapin is founder and president of Make America Safe, a new San Diego-based policy and educational organization focused on the threat posed by radical Islamics to U.S. national security.

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