Israel Dodges a Bullet

by PAUL HOLLRAH October 28, 2008
As the U.S. presidential election grinds slowly toward conclusion, the most significant foreign policy issue of our time… nuclear weapons in the hands of rogue states… rates barely a mention. The Democrat nominee, Barack Hussein Obama, has said that he would meet with friend and foe alike, anywhere, any time, and without preconditions… It represents a recklessness and a naïveté that is unparalleled in the post-World War II era and sends shivers up the spine of those who believe that idealists, children, and madmen should not be allowed to play with nuclear weapons.   
 
Some have suggested that, if Obama is able to talk his way into an unthinkable electoral victory on November 4th, the long term dangers of his presidency would almost certainly trigger an Israeli attack on Iran sometime prior to Inauguration Day, January 20, 2009.
 
If the implications of a nuclear-armed sponsor of worldwide terrorism are not enough to make voters reject Obama, then they are either beyond fear or beyond rational thought. Three recent news reports, taken together, form the basis for a terrifying scenario.
 
First, in a July 2008 speech before conferees at the Claremont Institute, Dr. William Graham reported on a series of recent Iranian missile tests that he believes could be a plan for a nuclear attack on the United States. Graham is Chairman of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack,
 
According to Graham, one group of tests involved the launching of a Scud missile from a platform in the Caspian Sea. “Why would they be launching from the surface of the Caspian Sea?” he asks. “The only plausible explanation… is that the Iranians are figuring out how to launch a missile from a ship and get it up to altitude and then detonate it. And that’s exactly what you would do if you had a nuclear weapon on a Scud or a Shahab-3… and you wanted to explode it over the United States.” 
 
He continued, “If even a crude nuclear weapon were detonated anywhere between 40 km and 400 km above the Earth, in a split second it would generate an electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) that would cripple military and civilian communications, power, transportation, water, food, and other infrastructure.
 
“While not causing immediate civilian casualties, the near term impact on U.S. society would dwarf the damage of a direct nuclear strike on a U.S. city… The food distribution system… would grind to a halt as cold storage warehouses stockpiling perishables went offline.” The United States “would quickly revert to an early 19th century type of country… with ten times as many people, (and) ten times fewer resources.”
 
When asked how many Americans would die if Iran were to launch an EMP attack, he replied, “You have to go back into the 1800s to look at the size of population… America would be reduced to a core of around 30 million people.”   
 
We know from what Obama has told us about the sources of his campaign cash that he’s either a very good liar or a very poor mathematician. But more importantly, is he capable of understanding what Dr. Graham is suggesting… which is that, following an EMP attack on the U.S., some 270 million Americans would die from disease, exposure, starvation, and urban violence?
 
Second, in an August 5th article titled, “While Diplomats Dither, Iran builds Nukes,” the former Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, Ambassador John Bolton, warns that, “The rationality of continued Western negotiations with Iran depends critically on two assumptions: that Iran is far enough away from having deliverable nuclear weapons that we don’t incur excessive risks by talking; and that, by talking, we don’t materially impede the option to use military force. Implicit in the latter case is the further assumption that the military option… remains equally viable a year from now as it is today. Neither assumption is correct.” 
 
Taken together, these two reports describe what may be the most frightening international security threat in history. But it gets worse. There are those who, like Obama, think that we have a year or two to talk Iran out of any evil intent. But do we? Has Iran given even the slightest hint that they can be either contained or mollified? And just how close are they to actually pursuing their dream of an Israel-free world? 
 
Obviously, much closer than Obama might think. Numerous reports out of East Africa tell of the capture and subsequent looting of an Iranian cargo ship, the MV Iran Deyanat, off the Horn of Africa. The vessel was steaming in a westerly direction toward the Suez Canal when it was attacked by 40 Somali pirates in high speed boats, all armed with AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades. 
 
The Iran Deyanat was taken to an anchorage at Eyl, a fishing village off the northeastern coast of Somalia, where it has been under constant surveillance by American, French, and Russian naval vessels.
 
As expected, the pirates issued a ransom demand for the ship and its crew. However, in the days that followed, as the pirates attempted to assess the value of their prize, things took a terrible turn. Upon opening one of the ship’s seven heavily-secured containers, they found it filled with a “gritty, sand-like” substance. In the days that followed, a number of the pirates suffered severe skin burns and loss of hair, and within two weeks 16 of them were dead.  
 
Under the circumstances, HAZMAT teams were unable to board the ship to identify the contents of the containers, but can there be any doubt that the Russians are correct when they describe the ship as “an enormous floating dirty bomb, intended to detonate after exiting the Suez Canal… in proximity to the coastal cities of Israel?” Thanks to an unlikely “savior,” a group of Somali pirates, the Israelis have apparently dodged a bullet that would have devastated their population.
 
In an October 19th campaign speech in Seattle, Sen. Joseph Biden said, “Mark my words, it will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy… We’re about to elect a 47-year-old senator president of the United States of America… Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.”
 
Yes, and it’s quite clear that the election of Barack Obama and Joe Biden will all but guarantee the truth of that prediction, while the election of John McCain and Sarah Palin will cause our enemies to proceed with caution. Is that a price the American people are willing to pay just to see what kind of “change” is inside the Obama “surprise package?”
 
It does not bode well for the people of America, or for the people of Israel. Just as we cannot allow children and madmen to play with nuclear weapons, neither can we elect overly-permissive idealists to protect us from those who have them. So, if you are of the Jewish persuasion and you believe that Barack Obama and Joe Biden, with a little bit of “sweet-talk,” could convince the Iranians not to send another dirty bomb your way, you’d better ask your friends and relatives in Israel how they feel about it.   
 
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Paul Hollrah is a Senior Fellow at the Lincoln Heritage Institute.

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