The upside to an Iranian missile onslaught on Israel is that it would facilitate new real estate projects on the crammed Coastal Plain and render obstructed sea vistas visible again. Increasingly, such morbid predictions of Tehran-initiated mega-scale land clearances in central Israel crop up in casual conversation.
Pent-up angst is vented via macabre gallows humor which presupposes that our dreadful end is inevitable, that by summertime we’d be flattened by Iranian rockets. We paint ourselves as pitiable pawns in the hands of trigger-happy leaders, as wretched victims of the unrestrained hubris and folly of demented higher-ups.
To hear some of what’s proffered by left-wing gurus and commentators, we’re now living though a terrifying real-life reenactment of Dr.Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Stanley Kubrik’s 1964 black comedy spotlighted a loony general who ignites a nuclear apocalypse that a coterie of bungling politicians and frantic generals fail to stop.
Cast as the gung-ho paranoids who push for a first-strike to break the MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) stalemate are of course PM Binyamin Netanyahu and anyone else who dares insist that Israel must help itself if no other choice is left.
Those who fear Iranian nukes are deemed deranged. In contrast, those in our midst who have learned to stop worrying and love the Iranian bomb are acclaimed as prudence personified.
Indeed, there’s a plethora of political benefits to be accrued from pooh-poohing the Iranian threat. To begin with, Netanyahu’s unremitting adversaries have homed in on yet another pretext to wallop him – his alleged unhinged obsession about an insignificant explosive device that we could easily be reeducated to live with.
Beyond that beckon greater opportunities to deepen defeatist dispositions. Our truly doctrinaire leftists – as distinct from Israel’s pragmatist and activist founding fathers – have never approved of successful Jewish nationalism. Israel’s deterrent capabilities were always anathema to those who have made it their mission to take us down a few pegs and shrink us back to what they regard as more befitting proportions.
Hence it almost gladdens certain hearts to see doomsday weapons in the hands of an implacable enemy. There can be no better antidote to what’s perceived in certain quarters as Israeli arrogance.
There’s sneering pleasure to be derived from witnessing cocky Zionists dwarfed and put in their place. Besides, postmodern moral-relativists discern no differences among assorted possessors of The Bomb. Our democracy, they aver, is no better than the ayatollahs’ theocracy. Their resolve to wipe us off the map is no worse than our resolve to survive.
Seen thus, it might not be so awful if Ahmedinejad adds a few atomic warheads to his arsenal.
It’s much like the unstinting tolerance evinced by yesteryear’s leftists toward Soviet nuclear stockpiles. Their motto back then was “better red than dead.” In other words, accept defeat without struggle. Moreover, further down the line it might be rationalized that not only is it better to be defeated than to die, but that it’s better to be defeated than to be victorious.
In this vein, novelist David Grossman – appointed by his promoters as guardian of our collective conscience – warned against a preemptive Israeli strike in a recent front-page Ha’aretz op-ed. He argued that “it is better for Israel to reconcile itself, even with gnashing of teeth, to a nuclear Iran.”
“It is forbidden for Israel to attack Iran,” Grossman reasons omnisciently, because “there’s no way to determine with certainty that Iran will attack Israel if it possessed nuclear weapons.” The subtext: Israeli self-defense is illegitimate before a nuclear mushroom rises over the incinerated Dan Region. Of course, by then it would be way too late, but why quibble.
The gist of the Grossmanian logic is that Netanyahu is cynically hyping the Iranian danger – particularly by resorting to Holocaust allusions – and that he might in the end unleash a horrific Iranian vendetta upon us. “Does any man,” Grossman rhetorically asks, “have the right to sentence so many to death only in the name of fear of an eventuality which might never occur?”
Grossman, of course, will never admit to preying on our fears but he will unhesitatingly accuse Netanyahu of unconscionably scaremongering. All the while, the powers-that-be in Tehran recommend vociferously that Israel be wiped off the map. It’s left up to us to decide whether to take them at their word and believe their genocidal bluster, or dismiss it as inconsequential ranting for domestic consumption.
Grossman would balk at historical comparisons, at our observations that we had seen it all before, been there and paid in oceans of blood for dismissing the blunt tirades of other tyrants. But the incontestable fact is that human nature doesn’t change over the generations, only specific circumstances take on different forms. At heart, we chronically prefer the serenity of today over security tomorrow.
It’s not a cliché. It’s the truth. Neville Chamberlain’s “Peace for our time” was genuinely applauded on his return from Munich in 1938 – first by grateful crowds, then by the House of Commons and subsequently by every British newspaper.
Winston Churchill, who dared swim against the tidal wave of public opinion, growled: “I believe we have suffered a total and unmitigated defeat.” That didn’t win him adherents. Churchill was heftily booed down. Why? Were the masses stupid? No, they were just like us, concerned about the here and now.
The seeds of World War II germinated on the ostensibly sane and safe middle-ground. Caution facilitated the global cataclysm. Quintessentially judicious and practical Neville Chamberlain was the then-iconic high-priest of responsibility. In his gentlemanly manner, he was the consummate champion of cop-out. It wasn’t a personal failing or an idiosyncrasy. He wasn’t pursuing a private agenda that eventually collapsed catastrophically.
Chamberlain popularly reflected his nation’s zeitgeist. Most Britons wanted to disengage. That’s why middle-Britons en masse supported the 1934-35 Peace Ballot.
It was promoted by Lord Robert Cecil who won the 1937 Nobel Peace Prize for this inanity. Some 500,000 canvassers went door-to-door to poll ordinary folk on whether they’re for peace and against war – as manipulative as asking who’s for healing and against pain (or who’s for Grossman’s moderation and against extremism).
With no terms or conditions stipulated, “peace” won by a whopping 10,500,000 votes to a mere 750,000. This gauge of the public’s mood was anything but harmless. The Peace Ballot made London’s deterrence ring hollow, because despite its inherent bias, it encouraged appeasement. It made Europe’s ensuing bloodbath inevitable, having assured Hitler that – much as the Brits abhorred him – the last thing they wanted was to fight.
There’s every chance that word of Grossman’s perceptions, and similar prattles by plenty of others, has reached Ahmedinejad and emboldened him. But let’s suppose, for argument’s sake, that this isn’t the case, that analogies to pre-WWII appeasement are spurious and that we wouldn’t be nuked if we take Grossman’s advice and learn to put up with the Iranian bomb.
What then? Nothing to worry about?
Hardly. At the very least Iranian nukes would turn all Israelis into hostages of the very ayatollahs who keep preaching for our extermination. Although unparalleled on the horrific-hazard-scale, even undetonated Iranian nukes are somewhat akin to Gaza’s and South Lebanon’s missile caches. In both cases millions of Israelis are held to ransom via the amassed firepower of Islamic zealots who try to call the shots and stymie our self-defense on pain of punishment.
While the world’s opinion-molders bewailed the blockade on Gaza, they turned a blind eye to its engorged rocket hoards. With equal perfidy, the international community ignored its own obligations under UN Security Council Resolution 1701 and allowed Hezbollah to rearm monstrously.
A nuclear threat of course is way more sinister. For one thing, it’ll trigger a regional nuclear arms race. Saudi Arabia is already showing interest, a fact which should send shivers down all spines everywhere, considering the oil-glutted kingdom’s instability and the fact that al-Qaida’s villains, including the 9/11 perpetrators, mostly emerged from the Saudi hatchery.
Secondary nuclear proliferation to a whole host of terror outfits is an unavoidable complication to boot. Assorted “dirty bombs” in the hands of Allah’s warriors will leave nobody invulnerable.
Extortion opportunities would become limitless. We could be blackmailed with varying degrees of nuclear hell if we don’t set loose every last convicted terrorist; if we don’t surrender Jerusalem; if we don’t allow Israel to be inundated with millions of hostile Arabs calling themselves descendants of refugees; if we don’t retreat into suicidal borders as delineated by would-be annihilators; if we don’t all dive into the deep blue sea and dutifully disappear beneath its waves.
Food for thought for a nation that released over 1,000 terrorists for one kidnapped solider.
And more tidbits to chew over – what would have happened if back in 1981 Menachem Begin had suddenly seen a Grossmanesque light, got cold feet and decided to desist from the destruction of Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor? How would we have fared a decade later, in the First Gulf War, if the Iraqi tyrant had the bomb? How would the rest of the world have coped?
In all, the “balance of terror” to which the Left readily acquiesces is no great shakes. There are too many shady characters and shoddy ideologies in our neighborhood to instill even a modicum of confidence in any rational stewardship next door of weapons of mass destruction.
That said, ignoring bad bombs in bad hands while hoping for the best might not be the best modus operandi for preserving life and limb – to say nothing of preserving that familiar old roof over our head.
It’s easy to ridicule and it’s easy to resort to smears in the Dr. Strangelove idiom, but fearing Iran’s bomb and seeking to preempt it may be way saner than learning to love it. Needless to stress, the sanest thing of all is just to babble a whole lot less.