First off, many thanks to the thoughtful commenters. So far, so good, I haven’t had to edit a word or diss a commenter. I’m especially grateful for the kind words from allahpundit, one of the pioneers of the blogosphere, and a true comic genius.
I met Roger Simon after I emailed him the true story of a Middle East terrorist, suggesting that he (Roger) could use it as the basis of a hell of a film. As you can tell, the film didn’t happen (always use passive voice when you want to avoid blame), but I remain convinced that an exciting movie might be the best way to get people to take the Iranian threat as seriously as they should.
They certainly don’t now. All this talk about talking to the Iranians and Syrians is just so much psychobabble, bringing to mind that wonderful scene from “Goldfinger” where James Bond is attached to a large gold sheet, and there’s a laser slicing through the gold, headed for his reproductive organs. “Do you expect me to talk?” he yells. “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die,” Goldfinger replies.
You never realized Jim Baker and Lee Hamilton were auditioning to be the next Bond, did you? But that’s the scene they’re playing. They act as if they think the mullahs want, or would be willing, to reason together, but the mullahs don’t want us to be reasonable, they want us dead or dominated. And they’re pursuing their mission with the singleminded obsession that characterizes the true fanatic. There’s a dynamite story in the Israeli Hebrew-language newspaper, Yediot Aharanot, about the latest real information about their nuclear project. You know, the one they say is for peaceful energy generation, the one we’ve been pretending to negotiate about. Here are a few spicy excerpts:
Updated satellite photographs…which are published here for the first time, reveal unprecedented construction at all nuclear sites in Iran. Among other things, the imagery reveals extensive construction work going on at the centrifuge site at Natanz, including tunnels and bunkers; significant progress in building the heavy-water reactor in Arak; production of UF6 gas in Isfahan which, according to intelligence reports, is supposed to be enough for two atom bombs; and worrying information has also been received on advanced tests of a high-powered explosive that is designed for use in the fission mechanism.
Along with all these things, if anyone still has any doubts about the seriousness of Iranian intentions, the satellite photos reveal the deployment of numerous antiaircraft missile batteries, in a way that is perhaps unprecedented, around the nuclear sites. European intelligence information also points to the presence of Iranian scientists at the recent nuclear test in North Korea. All these things leave no room for doubt that Iran is closer than ever before to putting together the first Shiite atomic bomb.
We dither away, variously threatening sanctions and offering rewards if only the mullahs will give up their mad dream of atomic bombs and stop enriching uranium. They sometimes pretend to negotiate, and sometimes tell us to go to hell, but the enrichment program continues, along with the crash programs on other essential elements of a nuclear weapons project.
I think I was the first to write about the Arak reactor, and I have long warned about the importance of the underground facilities in Parchin, buried deep in the ground beneath an industrial park. Yediot confirms the importance of the Parchin bunker:
…extensive construction work has also been going on in Parchin recently. The photos reveal a series of underground tunnels and digging whose enormous scale is indicated by the amounts of earth dug up. The photos also show the area to which IAEA inspectors were not permitted access: special chambers that are used to test the assembly of a nuclear warhead’s explosives. Identical chambers were photographed over the years close to facilities where the Soviet Union developed and manufactured its nuclear warheads.
Read the whole thing, as they say. It’s an important article, in many ways a unique article because it’s so coldly analytical. It reveals that the Iranians are working on a plutonium device and an enriched uranium weapon, it reminds us that the Iranians are getting plenty of international cooperation, and, without the usual adjectives and breathless prose, conveys a proper sense of urgency.
All of which brings us to the policy question. We are now about to enter the seventh year of the Bush presidency, and there is still no Iran policy, aside from talking. Talking to ourselves, talking to the Europeans, talking to the Iranians themselves (don’t kid yourself, we’ve been talking to them all along). This article brutally and factually shows us that we’ve been talking too long and acting too little.
It really baffles me, this paralysis. It’s not unique to the Bush Administration; it’s been going on for 27 years. It has gripped Republicans and Democrats, lefties and righties, neos and paleos. It’s been talk, talk, talk, and never so much as fifty cents to the Iranian student movement, the Iranian trade unions, the Iranian teachers and journalists, even an amazing number of mullahs and ayatollahs, so many of whom hate the regime and are willing to risk their lives to bring it down. The nuclear program is not a problem all by itself, it simply adds urgency to the Iranian war, the war they have been waging against us all along, the war in which we stubbornly refuse to get engaged.