THE IRAN ATOMIC BOMB PROGRAM

And its Enablers

 

 

COMMENTARY

 

By Jay B Gaskill

 

The United States is being led by its president into an international accord that, on its face, substitutes the hope that the Iran atomic bomb program can be delayed for a time in exchange for the abandoning former US policy that radical Iran will not be allowed to join club Nuclear, period.  This is a sea change in US policy, the result of bargaining from weakness. In a recent interview with comedian Jon Stuart, Mr. Obama remarked that the opponents of the Iran deal wanted Dick Cheney to have been the negotiator.  Laughter followed.  This was a tell.  What was completely missing from the process? …A credible threat that a tough minded national security apparatus ready, willing, authorized and able to impose retaliatory punishment for Iran’s deception, bad faith and cheating.  In other words a credible threat that someone like former Defense Secretary (Vice President) Cheney would hold the trigger.  Because credibility is everything in this life or death game.

 

There is nothing more dangerously deceptive than the administration’s public claim that Iran’s failure to comply with the agreement will trigger “snap back” sanctions. The truth is totally different, especially once sanctions are suspended – remember they are the result of a complicated set of international arrangements. The sanctions are much like holding back an immense body of water by a dam constructed with lego parts. So, restoring sanctions will be a slog, not a snap back. The US will be lucky to achieve a painfully slow recovery of most but not all of the former penalties. This creates a perverse incentive for cheating, especially when the Iranian atomic bomb program is close to the finish line. Speed would be crucial. Iran is being pre-fortified against the resumption of sanctions by the billions of extra dollars it gets by signing the accord. And mark these words: Iran is actively planning for a bomb breakout within weeks – not months – once it is ready to pull the trigger. The Obama agreement gives them those weeks, and fails to provide for a robust, any place, any time inspection regime to catch the inevitable deception.

 

The administration is not willing to present this as a full treaty, i.e., a document that the US Senate must ratify by a two thirds vote. But the administration wants the accord to have the effective force of a treaty without the consent of the US Senate. Perversely, the approval process has been turned on its head.  It will take the opposite – a supermajority in both chambers of the Congress to stop the agreement. No approval vote is needed.

 

All this flows from misplaced trust, the Obama team of the Iranians and too many of the US electorate of the Obama team.

 

The watchword with the Soviet arms control negotiations was “Trust, but verify.”  This time it appears to be “trust without full, timely and reliable verification.”

 

A large dose of skepticism is perfectly warranted.  The problems with this pending agreement are less with what’s on paper, that what is left out.

 

The Iranians have been stockpiling highly enriched uranium (civilian use uranium is enriched with chain reaction grade fissile material at less than 4%), and by highly enriched I mean several times the level needed for any power-generating reactor, and much closer to weapons grade. 

 

Significantly, the deal authorizes no inspections on Iran’s military sites (except when, where and if the Iranians consent). Iran has not given up its goal of getting a working a-bomb arsenal, building ballistic missiles or destroying Israel.

 

Does anyone really believe that the Iranian government has NOT hidden most of its horde of highly enriched uranium and is NOT lying to the world about the deception?  That cohort of credulous souls should be as small the tribe of adults who still believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. No, the members of intelligentsia who appear to trust the Iran regime on this point are lying to us because they are frightened of the consequences of facing reality. They are not only eager to kick the can down the road; they are willing to ignore the very existence of the can…                                                                                           .                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

 

 

 

[][][]

 

At the end of his trip to Asia in May 2014, with press corps witnesses present, Mr. Obama described his overriding foreign policy guide as: “Don’t do stupid stuff.” We know the context – his disdain for the muscular “cowboy” approach of his predecessor, George W Bush. In lieu of “stupid” military action, we are presented with red lines retracted, indecision…then thoughtful…nuance.

 

Our president is widely known to abhor quick decisions, especially when they involve deploying American military assets in defense of US interests. To many observers, he is decision-challenged.  To others he is thoughtful, careful, just possibly to a fault.

 

No one disputes the assessment that Barack Obama is no Harry Truman.  

 

 

[][][]

 

The Iran Nuclear Deal: Barack Obama’s Latest triumph? … or a catastrophic mistake?    .     

 

 

On the international stage, Obama is drawn to soaring rhetoric and clever, nuanced solutions. The Iran nuclear weapons’ deal is a classic Obama exercise in nuance. 

 

It is fairly easy to tease out the underlying assumptions that drove this approach.

 

The administration is working on the assumption that Iran policy is being driven by a single radical cleric, Sayyed Ali Khamenei, age 75; that hard line policy will almost certainly liberalize once he is out of the way. Hence the high price for a delay. The sanctions that brought Iran to the negotiating table are hurting the common Iranian people (the so called Iranian “street”) and the people should not be made to suffer because of their bad leadership. {Senator Diane Feinstein expressed this concern in April.} Assumptions include the Iranian “street” really does not want to destroy the state of Israel; really does not regard the USA as the great Satan; and does not want Iran to have nuclear weapons. For “assumptions” read wishful thinking or fantasies.

 

Among the wishful assumptions is that the 150 billion dollar windfall that flows into Iran’s coffers as a direct result of this agreement (read ransom here, for reasons I develop below) will be spent to improve civilian economic conditions. And the final assumption is that a military solution cannot permanently prevent Iran’s atomic bomb program from succeeding, only delay it. Please note that the military solution to Nazi Germany continues to work 50 years later.

 

These assumptions have very little support from the facts on the ground.

 

The supreme cleric, Khamenei, has countless radical allies within the governing apparatus. These radicals inhabit the Revolutionary guard; stubbornly cling to power; and will probably continue to do so until they are dislodged by force.

 

The economic sanctions have actually damaged the regime and crippled its plans to export terrorism and develop a nuclear weapon. In a sense, the “innocent” people of Iran are seen by Team Obama as hostages. Mr. Obama’s bargain to release them was foreshadowed. Consider the recent release of one American soldier (Private Bergdahl, now charged with leaving his unit) in exchange for the repatriation of several terrorist leaders.[1]

 

Even analysts friendly to Obama’s foreign policy concede that the relaxation of sanctions and the $150 billion “signing bonus” represent a windfall for Hezbollah and other terrorist proxies.[i] In other words, this is money destined for use in killing our citizens, allies and other friends, little if any of which will trickle down to the common people in Iran.

 

Large crowds of Iranians have cheered for an Iranian atomic bomb as a matter of national pride. The so called “liberal” president of Iran, former president, Mohammad Khatami, did nothing to alter Iran’s ambitions to attain nuclear power status.[2]

 

Obama has effectively taken the military option off the table.  This is due more to ideology and political calculation than prudent policy.  It appears to the world and the Iranian leadership that our president just can’t pull the trigger. Part of the seeming paralysis stems from humanitarian concerns and from the aversion to a “quagmire scenario”. It seems that this president will kill individuals with drones but not attack atomic bomb facilities with planes.

 

But in a surgical military scenario, the goal is to do punishing damage and leave. The economic sanctions are a necessary adjunct to that exercise and must continue or increase. Iran’s enrichment facilities can and should be completely disabled from the air, by deploying some of the Pentagon’s inventory of bunker-busting bombs. The argument that the regime will just try to rebuild these facilities depends on whether they are practically able to do so, especially when economic sanctions remain tough.  If satellites detect renewed activity at one of more of the nuclear sites, the economic sanctions can and should increase, and the sites can and will be bombed again.

 

NOTE: Military punishment, kinetic sanctions if you will, operates as a deterrent to others as well as a demonstration to the current Iranian regime of the futility of its atom bomb ambitions. Mr. Obama has complained that the critics of the negotiations have no alternative. He makes a specious point, because the president really means that military options and even harsher sanctions are simply off the table, and therefore out of the discussion.                                                                                                                             ..            .

 

[][][]

 

This is what I think has happened (and I am pleased to be corrected):

 

About 18 months ago, this administration suddenly realized that Iran had gotten much closer to making an atomic bomb than the one year time window that had blithely been assumed.  Team Obama panicked.  A military strike would adversely affect the coming election and damage Mr. Obama’s legacy.  An agreement – any agreement that seemed adequate on its face – was urgently needed.  Bold negotiating goals were stated, then quietly abandoned as the Iranians sensed weakness, and pushed back.

 

When will the radical mullahs who run Iran let go of power? … When they are dead or imprisoned.  And not before the country has gotten its nuclear power status.  The regime in control of Iran has outlasted all expectations. It is not going away via moral pressure, any more that Hitler was going to yield power before the invasion of Normandy succeeded.

 

This is a tenacious, ruthless cohort of radical Islamist fundamentalists who are aping the methods and mindset of criminal gangs like the Mafia. If there ever is be political room for this group to be replaced by moderates, the ruling clique and its allies in the Revolutionary Guard will need to be crushed.

 

We do not need to invade Iran in some WWII style attack, nor should we. But we cannot prevent this regime from getting nuclear weapons by words alone.  Like the Mafia, the ruling thugs need money to maintain their power.  But when deprived of finance, the regime will take (and is taking) desperate risks to place its rich enemies in a hostage situation – hence the current “negotiations” ploy. The beleaguered Iranian civilians, suffering from sanctions, are the hostages.

 

I strongly suspect that Mr. Obama has been played. If you are still in doubt, here are some the questions you need to ask:

 

The Iranian regime is in possession of a large cache of enriched uranium – several times the civilian grade enrichment level, shortening the time for a sprint to full weapons grade enriched stock. Where is this cache kept? How many kilograms? [Fewer than 3 kilograms of highly enriched uranium were needed make the Hiroshima a-bomb, Little Boy[3].]

 

How do we know the Iranians are not lying? Why isn’t the entire cache of over-enriched uranium to be immediately surrendered (or sold to the US or Russians) as part of any deal?

 

Why does the proposed agreement give the regime weeks after a refusal to allow inspections before there are consequences? Why are not compliance inspectors allowed wherever there is a suspected violation on scene 24/7?

 

The agreement allows for a "long-term IAEA presence in Iran" to monitor materials and nuclear development that wouldn't be used in weapons. Inspectors will have continuous monitoring capabilities at known nuclear facilities like Fordow fuel enrichment plant and the Natanz enrichment facility. For other areas in the country, including military sites where there is suspected nuclear activity, IAEA inspectors will have to request access.”  http://www.cbsnews.com/news/obama-inspectors-access-any-site-iran-true/ [ii]

 

I and many other reasonable observers believe that Iran’s regime fully intends to make atomic bombs, and intends to use this agreement to get economic relief while it covertly presents the world with a fait accompli.  Knowing this – or even strongly suspecting this is the case – why would this president rely exclusively on sanctions that require a small bureaucracy to implement and would not bite for months at best? 

 

Keep in mind that the regime was brought to the table because the sanctions finally (after months and years) started to bite? 

 

Here is the bottom line for me: The administration has no instinct for the jugular.  When a deadly enemy who is trying to kill your family starts to flag, you don’t give him water and a rest, you finish him off.

 

I hope and pray that I am wrong.  Please demonstrate that I am.  For now it appears that we are being nuanced by this intelligent, but common-sense deficient president, into a looming Armageddon scenario.[4][5]

 

 

PART TWO

 

THE ALTERNATIVE … is Winning

 

Those who are critical of our president’s diplomatic “solution” to the Iran atomic bomb program, are asked - What is the alternative?

 

This is the answer.

 

The economic sanctions almost succeeded but were rendered ineffective by a fundamentally unworkable agreement that is worse than the status quo ante. Cheating is rewarded in advance. And more cheating is almost certain to take place. The limits of Iranian wiggle room will be tested while diplomats and bureaucrats fret. We are promised snap back sanctions. Really? Not. This will be a Kabuki play that distracts from Iran’s inexorable progress towards nuclear power status.  Why else would the regime cling to its missiles and bomb manufacturing technology? The diplomatic game will play out in a dangerous new context: The Iranian path to an atomic bomb will have been de facto legitimized by the agreement; and that deadly path will be more secure because the rogue regime in Iran will have been bolstered by huge cash infusions, and the relaxation of sanctions. 

 

Think about it: For a brief moment, the civilized world had the rogue Iranian regime on the ropes. Now the sanctions are to be relaxed just before they can become severe enough to force an authentic change of behavior.

 

Yet our president chooses to ask us: What is the alternative to this proposed agreement?

 

It should be obvious:  If the US Senate can find the extra votes to overcome the expected presidential veto, the congress must block the agreement and prevent any relaxation of sanctions. Failing that, the Congress must refuse to lend any authority to the agreement whatsoever and do everything within its power to force sanctions to increase in severity until the Iranian regime actually and verifiably abandons its quest for nuclear power status.

 

…And equally obviously, some very strong executive measures will ultimately be required.  Absent an improbable change of position in the White House (this is a president who sees himself as immune from impeachment) - strong measures must wait until after Inauguration Day, January 20, 2017.

 

As Americans with a stake in the future of our country and the world, we have the right to expect that a new US president will act decisively on or before January 30, 2017 to eliminate Iran’s atomic bomb making capability. We have the right to expect him or her to employ all means necessary to achieve that goal, with or without the support of China, Russia and the other involved powers.

 

The stakes could not be higher.  The US national interest could not be more clearly at risk.

 

I predict that the immediate pressure point with Iran will be its unwillingness to supply a full accounting of the cache of specially enriched Uranium that it now possesses. In all likelihood, most kilograms of this precious and deadly asset will have been secured on an Iranian military site where inspection requests are denied. 

 

If we have elected a real leader in 2016, then on day one, our new president will declare that the nuclear agreement must be modified to permit anywhere, anytime inspections and an immediate (i.e., within 24 hours) snapback of sharp sanctions.

 

Assuming that the Iranian regime refuses to comply, then on day two, more drastic economic sanctions will be employed. In the (not unexpected) event that international support for sanctions has begun to unravel by then, our president will announce that the US is fully prepared to impose unilateral sanctions. Of necessity, these would include “kinetic sanctions,” i.e., dramatic measures like eliminating an Iranian economic asset (one example - taking out a major gasoline refinery[6].

 

This level of toughness will be shocking to some, but it will prove both necessary and appropriate.  Our new president will need a level of decision making discipline and nerve characteristic of an FDR or a Truman.

 

Ultimately the Iranian quest for nuclear weapons can be stopped, but some military action will likely prove necessary.  This can be accomplished without a massive ground invasion.

 

Why bother?

 

Are Americans really aware of the stakes? An Iranian atomic bomb will set off a regional arms race that – given the mutual hostilities and regime instabilities - very probably will lead to an exchange of nuclear weapons. This will have grave consequences that cannot be avoided or denied.

 

Contemporary climate scientists have warned us that the consequences of even a “modest” nuclear war cannot be confined to a single region of the world.  Large scale climate disruptions will likely follow even a “small” nuclear war, sharply reducing world crop yields for more than a year. We humans only have a 90 day food stockpile. {See the Further Reading Links below.}  If even one year’s growing season is interrupted, massive starvation is inevitable. People have fought and died over less. A world war is among the likely consequences of allowing Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon.

 

Permit me one final caution. Israel’s very existence is at grave risk here. Israel was recreated as a Jewish refuge state in light of the disgraceful anti-Semitism of the continental Europeans, whose chastened post WWII leaders realized that anti-Semitism would undoubtedly come back. Harry Truman was an instrumental ally of the new Jewish state.

 

The Islamic radicals who run Iran are the reincarnation of Hitler’s anti-Jewish mindset.  If Western civilization fails to prevent another holocaust, in the form of the destruction of the Jewish homeland by radical Islamist forces, a moral cancer will have taken root in the very heart of Western civilization. No amount of retrospective breast-beating or revisionist history will exorcise the cultural demon.

 

Western civilization itself will not survive the infection.

 

Nor will any complicit American political party.

 

 

PART THREE

 

 

The Emperor Has No Clothes

A Survival Guide

 

In an opinion poll reported in the July 21, Washington Post we were told that a majority of Americans support the Iran deal. And that a majority of Americans think the Iranians will get the bomb in spite of the deal. …And that a majority of Americans disapprove of President Obama’s handling of Iran.

 

What can we conclude from this? The Emperor has no clothes, and a majority of Americans have already figured that out. Obama has blown it. After 6 years of monitoring and bluffing about the Iran nuclear bomb program, the USA is suddenly revealed to be behind in the last minutes of the fourth quarter of the game. The Iran nuclear deal is a Hail Mary play by a desperate quarterback, hoping to tie the game and get us a final shot. But this quarterback has no intention of winning.

 

Winning means that the radical regime in Iran is deprived of the atomic bomb. The pending agreement, at best, only assures us that the radical regime in Iran will not be able to deploy an atomic bomb until after our current president leaves office in January 2017.

 

ISRAEL’S SQUEEZE

 

CONTEXT: There is an ongoing civil war within Islam. The warring factions, tribes and countries seem to be unified on only two issues: that the US is the Great Satan; and that Israel must be wiped off the map.

 

The most immediate concern of the Israelis is that the Iran nuclear deal suddenly provides that regime with a multi-billion dollar bonus that will undoubtedly be used to rearm Hezbollah and Iran’s other terrorist proxies. The “signing bonus” will be used to kill Israelis.

 

The first use of an atomic bomb in the region will be to wipe out Israel. So far, Israel has been denied the US military cooperation that would be necessary to prevent Iran from acquiring an atomic bomb arsenal. To provide a comfort zone for Israel, the Iranian agreement would need to be air tight. 

 

It is not.

 

The Israeli government and military are steadfastly against the current agreement because it will actually make their overall situation far worse. 

 

Even the Israeli liberals are deeply worried:

 

 “Netanyahu's … political rival, Isaac Herzog, announced he would go to the U.S. to lobby for a compensation package to insure Israel's military advantage in the region. Herzog's trip reflects the broad opposition to the deal in Israel, where most politicians fear the deal will fail to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons while strengthening the Islamic Republic's support for Israel's staunchest enemies.”

 

http://www.thepublicopinion.com/news/associated_press/national/middle-east/israeli-opposition-leader-to-visit-washington-over-iran-deal/article_5c672d5f-61d9-5e3f-bd04-eb58d3b3ae66.html

 

 

The New York Times published a piece by a left-of-center author, described as a former defense analyst (much to the left of Netanyahu), a Harvard academic named Chuck Freilich. This writer believes that Israel can live with the agreement for the time being and might benefit from it to the extent that the arrangement temporarily takes the Iranian nuclear threat off the table. The piece was interesting because of its concessions to the validity of the arguments advanced by critics of the pending Iran deal.

 

Key excerpts:

 

President Obama negotiated from a position of weakness and conveyed a message that failure to obtain a deal was not an option. He misguidedly took the military option off the table long ago and made it clear that a return to sanctions would be a poor outcome.

 

“Indeed, Iran will be allowed to retain its nuclear infrastructure instead of dismantling it, and most parts of the agreement are limited to 10 to 15 years, instead of being permanent. It remains to be seen what inspections Iran will actually allow, and the dispute resolution mechanism is cumbersome.

 

“The agreement also does not address Iran’s destructive regional role, including its support for terrorism. In fact, the added revenue it will receive as a result of the relaxation of sanctions may enable more aggressive action.”

 

…And...

 

“Israel may, at some point, still have to go the military route, but it is abundantly clear that no one in Jerusalem has been avid to do so. Had Mr. Netanyahu wanted to launch an attack, he had many chances. But for very good reasons, not the least of which was American opposition, he did not.”

 

My translation: This is a potentially dangerous deal, but Israel has to live with it because of American pressure. One quote acknowledges the grave weakness in the agreement – “It remains to be seen what inspections Iran will actually allow, and the dispute resolution mechanism is cumbersome.” In other words, it remains to be seen if Obama was gamed.

 

FROM THE JERUSALEM POST

By YAAKOV LAPPIN \

 

07/20/2015 16:57

Senior defense source: IDF preparing for possible covert Iranian nuclear production

 

“….we are preparing for a scenario in which, Iran after the agreement, moves into covert nuclear production." 

“He added that no one within the Israeli defense establishment thinks Iran has given up on its vision of reaching a nuclear capability in the future.

‘"The IDF's role, and test, is based on capabilities. The working assumption is that they [the Iranians] will try in the near future...to go for a basic [nuclear] capability. The assumption is that there will be an Iranian pattern of action through the covert [nuclear] channel. I think it's right to assume this severe assumption, in light of our familiarity with the Iranians,’ the source stated”.

“In addition, ‘there's no doubt that lifting the sanctions will enable Iran to activate its influence in the region in a discernible and significant manner, more so than today,’ he said.”

“Iran is currently spending 4 - 5 billion dollars on its proxies and clients. ‘The restraint for Iranian activities on the other side of our borders comes from economic limitations. There's no doubt that lifting the sanctions will lead to an increase in Iranian influence and terrorism,’ the source said.”

 

Here is the link:  http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Senior-defense-source-IDF-preparing-for-possible-covert-Iranian-nuclear-production-409576

 

 

 

THE STATE OF PLAY, A SUMMARY:

 

OBSERVATION

 

[]  UNDER THE PENDING IRAN AGREEMENT, IRAN RETAINS 5,000 CENTRIFUGES.

 

“If you are going to have a nuclear weapons program, 5,000 is pretty much the number you need,” Morell, now a CBS analyst, said on Charlie Rose. “If you have a power program, you need a lot more. By limiting them to a small number of centrifuges, we are limiting them to the number you need for a weapon.”[7]

 

OBSERVATION

 

[]  UNDER THE AGREEMENT, INSPECTIONS ARE LIMITED.

 

“The International Atomic Energy Agency has the big job of making sure Iran complies with the landmark nuclear deal reached this week in Vienna. So how will the IAEA go about this? How many inspectors will they have? How many will be Americans?

 

“Thomas Shea, who spent more than two decades as an IAEA inspector, says Iran does not accept any American inspectors today.”[8]

 

OBSERVATION

 

[]  IRAN RETAINS STASH OF ENRICHED URANIUM THAT CAN QUICKLY BE CONVERTED TO BOMB-READY MATERIAL.

 

 “Under a November 2013 temporary accord, the International Atomic Energy Agency verified that Iran eliminated its known stockpiles of 20 percent-enriched uranium, which can be used to make medical isotopes and to power research reactors but can also be purified to weapons-grade at short notice.” (note my emphasis - known - meaning revealed to the Agency). [9]

 

OBSERVATION

 

[]  HOLES IN THE AGREEMENT WILL ALLOW THE COVERT ACCUMULATION OF BOMB-READY FISSILE MATERIAL. THE ONLY QUESTION IS -- HOW SOON?.

Iran's stockpile of low-enriched uranium is now sufficient, after further enrichment, to fuel approximately eight nuclear warheads.”[10]

 

 

 

 

 

SURVEY OF THE PENDING POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS

 

The next pivot point is in the House and the Senate, where an attempt will be made to repudiate the agreement and continue the sanctions on Iran until it is replaced by effective guarantees of nuclear disarmament.  The president will oppose. Therefore a two-thirds vote in each chamber will be required to override Mr. Obama’s expected veto.

 

Can this be done?

 

Yes, it is just possible. A number of democrats have raised issues with the agreement already, some quietly, some publically. The House can probably muster the 2/3rds vote needed to overcome a veto.  The Senate vote is more problematic. The key player (whether as obstacle or ally) is the still-undecided Jewish Senator from New York, democrat Charles "Chuck” Schumer.

 

“It's a political straddle that reflects the 64-year-old New York senator's competing roles as next-in-line Senate Democratic leader, unquestioned congressional ally of Israel, leading fundraiser and strategist for his party, and lawmaker from a state that is home to more than a million-and-a-half Jews.

 

"’Sen. Schumer is going to be instrumental in helping to determine where this lands’ said Rep. Steve Israel, a fellow Jewish Democratic lawmaker from New York who's been an outspoken skeptic on the deal. As the White House lobbies.

 

‘"There is no way a veto would be overridden without Sen. Schumer,’ said Aaron Keyak, a consultant to several Jewish groups and former Democratic congressional aide. "Finding 67 votes to override a presidential veto is a very high threshold and there is no way to get to that number without Sen. Schumer."[11]

 

[][][]

 

The administration, having promised Iran billions of dollars as an inducement to suspend (but not end) their atomic bomb development program, is now about to find additional money for the Israelis. Why? …Because the Iran inducement money will be spent on terrorist proxies that will attack Israel. 

 

Think about the implications. 

 

Iran is agreeing to a leaky inspection process that, at best, will delay its atomic bomb program until Obama leaves office. At the same time, the Obama administration will be funding both sides of an intensified war against Israel and Western interests in the Middle East.

 

This is one of those situations in which incompetence and malevolence are so indistinguishable that the difference is irrelevant.

 

 

AN HISTORICAL NOTE

 

A correspondent that I respect has reminded me of the dismal history of non-proliferation to date. After the Russians acquired the bomb, we acquiesced when the Chinese joined the club, and were not particularly concerned when the French and British followed.  The Israelis were given a secret pass.

 

Then in fairly rapid succession, some patently irresponsible regimes slipped by, principally Pakistan and Korea, and ultimately India followed.

 

South Africa is the one example of a regime voluntarily leaving “Club Nuke.”

 

Each unstable or irresponsible member of that club increases the possibility of a nuclear exchange.  And we now know that even a “modest” nuclear war could trigger a nuclear winter that would blight agriculture and starve hundreds of millions of men, women and children.

 

To date, no world power has been willing to use military force to prevent a rogue regime from going nuclear.

 

Few countries have that capability.  But we do.

 

As I put it to my correspondent.

 

Humanity will probably not survive even a modest nuclear exchange. This comes from the research of the climate scientists who have reworked the Cold War nuclear winter scenario, using modern computer modeling.

 

See- http://jaygaskill.com/dot2dot/2011/10/24/averting-nukistan-avoiding-islamageddon/ .

 

Even the Pakistan arsenal alone (probably a small fraction thereof) if detonated in urban areas would trigger a global cooling that would essentially stop agriculture for a year.  One estimate is that 1 billion would starve.  

 

Any student of history will be able to predict the other consequences - word war, the possibly fatal weakening of civilization.  

 

So I choose to frame the problem not as "non-proliferation" but as interdiction of rogue regimes access to world-killing technologies.  

 

The crew of the Star Ship Enterprise would not allow primitives to have a photon torpedo, and we shouldn't allow mad mullahs to deploy nukes.

 

So we start here.  Now. …Partly because we must draw the line.  …Partly because we actually have the military means to make interdiction work.  Partly because that lesson will not be lost on the other rogue regimes that aspire to nuclear glory.

 

Among the questions that will be posed by the surviving later generations, if we fail to do the right thing now, are these two:

 

What were you thinking? Did you realize that you almost wiped out our future?

 

 

FURTHER READING

 

 

http://jaygaskill.com/NukistanIslamageddon.htm

 

http://climate.envsci.rutgers.edu/pdf/RobockToonSciAmJan2010.pdf

 

 

Conclusion…

THE SURVIVAL GUIDE

Chances are fair to middling that, by Inauguration Day, 2017, Iran will not have been able to construct a working atomic bomb, capable of being delivered to a target.  But the fuse will be short and public opinion may or may not be ready for kinetic sanctions, i.e., air strikes on key locations within Iran.

 

So our task in the meantime is two-fold: (1) Do whatever we can to bolster support in the Congress to reverse the concessions made in Mr. Obama’s arrangement with Iran; (2) get Congress to redouble the sanctions that brought the Iran radical mullahs to the table in the first place; (3) whether the foregoing is successful or not, apply relentless pressure so that all the leading candidates for POTUS (including Mrs. Clinton) are ready, willing and able to win, meaning to bring Iran firmly into the non-nuclear power category, by any means necessary. 

 

No presidential candidate who is unwilling to pull the trigger to stop Iran from getting an atomic bomb should be trusted with protecting American security. 

 

Iran will be but a seemingly small, but crucially important, struggle in the much larger one - to keep the existing nuclear arsenals under the control of sane and responsible leadership; and where possible, to reduce or eliminate the atomic bomb arsenals of the most dangerous among them, principally Korea and Pakistan.

 

The risk of a regional atomic war must be reduced to zero within the next fifteen years or the risk of a conflict cascade leading to war and massive starvation will become unacceptably high. This means that Iran must be the last major attempt of a country to “go nuclear.” And that attempt must not be allowed to succeed.

 

In the meantime, Israel needs to have the means and support to defend itself, especially where a potential nuclear attack is concerned.  Iran is not the only threat, as long as Korea or Pakistan are available to offer covert material and technical support to non-state actors interested in using nukes for terrorist objectives.

 

Our survival requires that we never again succumb to the illusion of “fortress America” isolation.  The irony of the day is that the Welsh-English poet, John Dunne (1572-1673) has become the poet of the nuclear age.

 

“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.”

 

Assume for a bleak moment that we fail.  …That a nuclear war ensues. …That somehow, we are spared an attack, but must nevertheless get through the chaotic post-war period during with a huge part of the world’s population is out of food, and that basic foodstuffs in the USA are drastically curtailed. Our best survival advice is to do what many of my LDS friends have been quietly doing for their families for years: Stockpile food - that is, stockpile, store, sort and periodically replenish a full year’s supply of food for you and your family.

 

Then pray that this was an unnecessary precaution. 

 

As a science fiction writer and a futurist, some of this seems all too real in my imagination. But I refuse, absolutely refuse to give up on us, the human race, or to blithely assume the good people, who have built and sustained the greatest civilization this planet has yet seen, can somehow “make it through” by just trusting incompetent, imprudent officials, elected and non-elected. 

 

With all our follies and flaws, I love this country and the good people here and elsewhere all over the planet. I will not, I cannot give up. Nor should you.

 

 

 

ABOUT NEVER FORGETTING

 

My Jewish friends teach their children to never forget the holocaust.

 

This is what I can never forget. My wife and I were close to ground zero in Manhattan on the morning of 9-11-2001, close enough to smell the dust and see the tears.  It was an epiphany for me. This is part of what I wrote my children in California from that place and time.

 

I wish you had been with me.  On the night of September 10th 2001, I went to sleep in Nathan’s Manhattan office, a few hours after we had looked across Roosevelt Island at the Manhattan skyline, sipping wine with friends.  We slept in a Murphy bed near a tiny bathroom, about twenty short blocks from the World Trade Center.  On Tuesday morning, I woke at 9:07 A.M.

 

R. was still asleep as I quietly slipped out of bed, went to the desk chair and tapped on a keyboard.  Seconds later, I stared numbly at an odd color image. An airliner had been captured mid-collision, partly inserted in the side of a skyscraper. It was an absurdly tiny image, not more than two inches on my screen. It framed the last horrific moment when most of its passengers were still alive. Evil had paid a call on our most vital city, vividly and obscenely exposing itself.

 

A few minutes away, the second of two airliners had blasted America into a different world. That morning, we would smell and taste the dust of falling buildings. If a moral seismograph existed, this event was a 10. Everywhere we walked over the next few days, the psychological and moral environment had profoundly shifted.

 

Wednesday, we wandered into mid-town.  By accident, we found a sacred spot.  Across from St. Francis Church, a fire wagon, Ladder Truck 24, was parked by its station. The truck, covered in white powder, still piled high on the rear bumper, had become an impromptu shrine for N.Y.F.D.’s Chaplain Father Mychael Judge and his fallen comrades. 

 

I walked around and around that truck, staring at the tracings in the dust. Loving fingers had left benedictions on every surface, like “HONOR AND PRAISE TO N.Y.F.D.” and “WE OWE OUR LIVES TO YOU 9-11-01.” The American flag was draped across the ladder. Candles and photos adorned the hood and grillwork of the truck.  A large black and white photo of Father Mychael leaned against the fire station doorway. The station was nearly empty; two solemn men stood watch in the doorway.

 

For the next week, among the floating grief and shock, we encountered countless other sacred spaces, in doorways, shop windows, on a block long unrolled scroll of butcher paper in Union Square, where a solemn little girl sat, writing... 

 

Then I reflected on the deeper meaning of the event:

 

Evil clarifies.

 

I was in Manhattan on September 11, 2001 and remained there for several days afterwards. When we humans are confronted with large scale evil, the experience is illuminating, much as a descending night flare on a battlefield reveals the configuration of forces around us. Our many differences are exposed as different versions of the good. 

 

I believe that our capacity to recognize evil is innate and allows us to “reverse engineer” if you will the core affirmations that evil in its various forms seeks to deny or destroy.

 

When confronting prospective evil the core nature of the threat matters.  Think of an earthquake or tornado, and contrast an example of large scale, human directed malevolence, like the Nazi death camps or the Pol Pot massacres. In common natural disasters, structures and the physical basis for life are imperiled.  Our response is calibrated accordingly. 

 

When purposeful human malevolence looms, we are threatened on the immediate physical level, but we are also attacked on the level of our deepest values. This is why true evil draws us back to our core values.  Any recognized confrontation with evil illuminates the core ethical values that tend to unite all that it threatens. 

 

 

 

The ruling clique of Iran, a small country in the thrall of murderous, authoritarian religious zealots, actually are advocating and pursuing a policy that closely resembles that of Adolph Hitler, the personification of 20th century evil. And we are the Great Satan?

 

The lives of Jesus of Nazareth and Hillel the Elder overlapped in the first century.  Both were Jews. They lived in a region that has spawned radical Islam, a malignant development in the Muslim faith whose fervent acolytes kill Christians, Jews, and regard the USA as evil.  This is, of course, a complete moral inversion.

 

We live in a cultural atmosphere of moral relativism, but some moral questions are bright line clear. This is one of them. Evil is real, and it has captured a murderous, militant part of Islam. And the resulting jihad is enslaving women, murdering children and other innocents.

 

“…whoever may cause to stumble one of those little ones who are believing in me, it is better for him that a weighty millstone may be hanged upon his neck, and he may be sunk in the depth of the sea.”  Jesus

 

Yet too many of our leaders temporize...

 

If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And when I am for myself, then what am "I"? And if not now, when? Hillel

 

 

It is said that the major decisions in a democratic republic are made by a critical mass of the informed and motivated.  You, my friends, are in that number. But you are not yet a working critical mass.  The case for preventing the radical Islamist in Iran from going nuclear and against putting our faith is a deeply flawed international accord has been made. What remains to be done? This case needs to connect with far more people that it has.

 

If you have this essay helpful, please get it into the hands of the people who need to be informed and persuaded.  

 

I can hear the clock ticking, can you?

 

 

J. B. G.

 

[][][]

 

 

 

Copyright © 2015 by Jay B Gaskill, Attorney at Law

 

A license to link to this article or to publish pull quotes from it (with full attribution) is hereby granted. For all other permissions and comments, please contact the author via email at law@jaygaskill.com. The author served as the chief Public Defender for the County of Alameda, CA, headquartered in Oakland for 10 years, following a long career as an Assistant Public Defender. Then, Gaskill left his “life of crime” to devote more time to writing.  Learn more about Jay B Gaskill, attorney, analyst and author, at http://jaygaskill.com/WhoIsJayBGaskill.pdf

 



[1]Among the seven special operations troops who captured Fazl in 2001” (one of the terrorist released for Bergdahl) “and were interviewed for this report, Col. Mitchell was alone in expressing confidence that the released Taliban leaders” (i;e;, traded for Bergdahl) “would not return to the battlefield before their supervision ends. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/aug/4/taliban-prisoner-traded-for-bowe-bergdahl-a-danger/#ixzz3g0qSH0Xw 

[2] { http://fas.org/spp/starwars/congress/1998_h/s980514-eisen.htm } Bottom line: Iran has no Mikhail Gorbachev.

 

 

[4] The economic windfall from the Obama agreement is money that will go to support terrorism. {Even the Saudis agree. See http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/iran-nuclear-deal-agreement-could-increase-risk-of-terrorism-in-uk-says-saudi-official-10391710.html }

 

[5] Even a small nuclear exchange in the Middle East can trigger catastrophic climate change. See http://jaygaskill.com/dot2dot/2011/10/24/averting-nukistan-avoiding-islamageddon/

[6] The Iranian rulers do not believe that any western power is prepared to endure economic hardship or disruption of commerce in order to impose sanctions on Iran. Nor – at least as long as Mr. Obama is in control – do they believe that the USA would risk any military engagement. They suspect that we are reluctant to deploy our bunker-busting bombs because we are afraid they might be exposed as ineffectual. Hitting one or more gasoline refineries would impose an immediate economic cost on the Iranians and its shock value would be dramatic. It would be a double message – about both US determination and capabilities.  As to the USAF bombing capabilities, we can say with confidence that we can deliver weapons on Iranian targets that, at a minimum, will effectively deny access to any Iranian uranium enrichment facility. And we can be confident that any negotiations that follow the demonstration of US determination and military capabilities will result in a much more favorable agreement.



[i] "Do we think that with the sanctions coming down, that Iran will have some additional resources for its military and for some of the activities in the region that are a threat to us and a threat to our allies?" Obama said at the White House in response to a question about the Iran nuclear deal. "I think that is a likelihood, that they've got some additional resources." { http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/obama-admits-iran-deal-could-fund-terror/article/2568354?custom_click=rss }

[ii] CBS NEWS: If inspectors have concerns that Iran is developing its nuclear capabilities at any of the non-official nuclear sites, they are allowed to request access "for the sole reason to verify the absence of undeclared nuclear materials and activities or activities inconsistent with" the agreement. They must also inform Iran of the basis for their concerns. Iran, in response, can propose alternatives to inspection that might satisfy the IAEA's concerns, the deal says. But if they can't come to an agreement to satisfy the inspectors within 14 days of the original request for access, the issue goes to a joint commission that consists of representatives from the P5+1 powers (the U.S., China, Russia, France, the United Kingdom and Germany), Iran, and the European High Representative for Foreign Affairs. They have another seven days to reach an agreement that must be supported at least five of the eight members. If they decide inspectors should get access, Iran has three days to provide it. That means a total of 24 days could elapse between the time inspectors first request access to a suspicious site and the time they are allowed entry. The deal does not explicitly state what would happen if the Joint Committee deadlocks, four to four. "It's not anytime anywhere. It doesn't allow [inspectors] to go to a site and say, 'hey I think something must be going on there, give me 24 hours and I'm in,'" Sharon Squassoni, the director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies' Proliferation Prevention Program, told CBS News. {Op Cit}