This article was originally published at Blogcritics Magazine on 11 May, 2009. Copyright © R. Kossover, 2009
Author's note: This article was written before the elections in the Islamic Republic that exposed the fundamental instability of this régime. If régime change can be accomplished from within to remove the existential threat to the Jewish State, then thoughts of destroying the nuclear plants or of the cities where the leaders who would execute plans to run a war against the People of Israel reside or have their bases, can be set aside. This writer views the nuclear destruction of Tehran, or any other place on the planet, as a repulsive act to be pursued only as a last solution to securing the security of the Jewish People. But in a hostile world, our willingness to use such brutal solutions must be clear to all of our enemies - and to our few friends.
This article is not yet another screed on the necessity for attacking the nuclear facilities in Iran, facilities which, if allowed to grow unchecked, will pose a deadly existential threat to the State and to the People of Israel. Such articles have become a cottage industry of sorts and the more they are turned out, the cheesier they get. Nearly all of these articles posit that if we in Israel attack the Persian nuclear facilities, we will retard their drive for nuclear weaponry and thereby win the (eventual) gratitude of the "civilized" world. Leaving aside the obvious military problems this nation faces in executing such an attack, it assumes that the rest of the world is civilized at all, and that with time, will have the intelligence to show gratitude to us. Considering how so many in the world continue to call for us to die, such assumptions are premature at the least.
Let's look at one of the least cheesy articles on the subject, one from 8 May's Jerusalem Post authored by Caroline Glick, "Obama's Green Light to Attack Iran." She points out that
As a consequence, the operational significance of the administration's anti-Israel positions is that Israel will not be well served by adopting a more accommodating posture toward the Palestinians and Iran. Indeed, perversely, what the Obama administration's treatment of Israel should be making clear to the Netanyahu government is that Israel should no longer take Washington's views into account as it makes its decisions about how to advance Israel's national security interests. This is particularly true with regard to Iran's nuclear weapons program.
Rationally speaking, the only way the Obama administration could reasonably expect to deter Israel from attacking Iran's nuclear installations would be if it could make the cost for Israel of attacking higher than the cost for Israel of not attacking. But what the behavior of the Obama administration is demonstrating is that there is no significant difference in the costs of the two options.
By blaming Israel for the absence of peace in the Middle East while ignoring the Palestinians' refusal to accept Israel's right to exist; by seeking to build an international coalition with Europe and the Arabs against Israel while glossing over the fact that at least the Arabs share Israel's concerns about Iran; by exposing Israel's nuclear arsenal and pressuring Israel to disarm while in the meantime courting the ayatollahs like an overeager bridegroom, the Obama administration is telling Israel that regardless of what it does, and what objective reality is, as far as the White House is concerned, Israel is to blame.
Unlike Ms. Glick, who cannot afford to say these things from her perch at the Jerusalem Post, the article that follows calls for a preemptive nuclear strike on Tehran and such other targets in Persia that will destroy the command and control systems holding together Persian offensive military capability. Even if this attack never comes about, it is incumbent for an Israeli to lay on the table and make clear to the world the necessity for such a strike, if only to make clear to our mortal enemies that we possess the will to exterminate them as they would exterminate us.
I. Carthago Delenda Est!
The title of this article is taken from the words of the Roman senator Cato the Elder, who ended each of his speeches before the Roman Senate with this declaration: Cathago delenda est!, "Carthage must be destroyed!"
According to an article from Boise State University in Idaho on the Third Punic War, the destruction of Carthage by Rome was more an act of greed than an act of necessity. Here the opposite applies. There is no greed at issue at all here. Israeli carpet weavers are not threatened by their Persian counterparts, Israel's fishing industry or shepherds are not threatened by anything Persia could do; if Israeli poets are less known than Khalil Ghibran, it is not the fault of Ghibran's superior verses but of our own insufficient verse-making.
Modern day Persia, once the home of Zoroastrian emperors friendly to our people, under its present guise of the "Islamic Republic of Iran" has decided that we must be wiped from the map, and that the world must accustom itself to a world without Israel. This speech linked to, calling for the annihilation of Israel, was made in 2005.
In 2006, HizbAllah, the Shi'ite proxy and puppet of Iran in Lebanon, began a rocket bombardment that successfully caused the inhabitants of the north of the country to flee. The Israeli government in the north collapsed, and the land was filled with internal refugees. Our brave army, which fought hard to defeat HizbAllah using the worst of military tactics, tactics largely dictated by the whims of then American Secretary of State Rice, was robbed of its victory in the north by the cowardice of the "prime minister," Olmert, who cowered before the Americans and sued for peace instead of prosecuting war. In late 2008, a different proxy of Persia, Hamas, began a steady bombardment of the country from the south in Gaza. Israeli troops again took to the battlefield, going into harm's way unnecessarily, only to be robbed of victory by the demands of the 'Blessed of Hussein," the new American president, who demanded that there be a ceasefire in place before he was inaugurated so as not to mess up his moment in the sun. Again, our leaders cowered like dogs before the American regime which, bit by bit is making itself an open enemy of the State of Israel, where previously it twisted its knife in our backs under the glove of "friendship" and "support."
So, we see clearly, that the Persians will prosecute war against us. They have already done so — twice. Those fools who say that the words of the Persian leader are just loud talk refuse to look the facts in the face. Usually, this is because the facts are far away from them, and they themselves need not look the ugly truth in the face. Having looked in the faces of internal refugees fleeing rocket attacks in the north myself, however, I am forced to face facts. The most essential fact is this: Persia, under its present guise, presents an existential threat to the State of and the People of Israel.
II. Persia's Drive for Nuclear Weaponry
There are some points that should be made clear here. The possession of nuclear weapons is the modern day version of the big swinging phallus of macho types who would pound their chests proclaiming their manhood to the world. In this respect, Persia is no different from India, Pakistan, France or Britain. The Persians all see themselves as the inheritors of a great empire, and in fact they are. For this reason, any nationalistic Persian will want that big swinging phallus of a nuclear banana for his nation. In other words, it matters little which regime one speaks of. The Persians could have an emperor, as they did until 1979, a democratic republic, as they had for very brief periods of time, or the present Shi'a mullahcracy — all would want nuclear defensive and offensive capabilities simply because they all feel that Persia deserves it. In that sense, there is no real reason to oppose the Persians obtaining nuclear weapons.
The problem comes when one sees just how belligerent the Persians, under this present regime, are concerning Israel. Since they have twice gone to war against us, even if only by proxy, and continually they call for the destruction of the Jewish State, we are fools to ignore them or the real threats they pose to this country.
III. Problems Executing This Plan
What about Pakistan's nuclear weaponry? Couldn't Pakistan be the real threat Persia is dealing with, while using hostility to this country as a cover?
As late as September 2001, one could have said that and been accurate. Israelis did not raise serious alarums about Persian nuclear efforts before then for the precise reason that our own intelligence assessed the Persians to be worried about the "Moslem Bomb" to the east. But the emergence of the Wahhabi terror network (the Taliban is heavily influenced by the Wahhabi and has close ties with them) reshuffled the whole deck of cards in South and Southwest Asia. After 9/11, the Pakistani government and military started to take on a Jekyll and Hyde nature.
The Taliban was largely the creation of the Pakistani intelligence agency, at the behest of the United States, the idea being to create a native Afghani presence that would cripple the Soviets, who had invaded Afghanistan. Until 1989 or 1990 this worked just fine. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Taliban moved in to collect its reward, control of Afghanistan. For reasons that are not entirely clear to me, the Wahhabi, in the form of al-Qaeda, turned on the United States and other western powers, and when American planes came to pursue and kill Osama bin-Laden, the Pakistanis were in a bind. This bind has slowly torn Pakistan apart since, as the government and military had to more and more compete with each other, and now with the Taliban madrassas as well.
In the last eight years, Pakistan has lost its coherence as a country. The military holds the whip hand, the civilian government sort of knows what's going on, but doesn't want to, and the intelligence agency runs its own game. In the meantime, the Taliban grows stronger and stronger within Pakistan. The point for this excursion off to South Asian politics? The point is that Pakistan is no longer a threat to Persia. As for the Taliban, they are a branch of the Deobandi school, and worship in the style of the Sufi, but have beliefs that mirror the Wahhabi. Whatever they are, they are not Sunni Moslems.
So, hostility to and hatred of Israel is not a cover for something else. It is the real thing — just like Coca Cola.
What about lopping off the head of the pimple and letting it ooze? In other words, assassinating a number of top leaders? Isn't that a lot better than a nuclear strike?
Actually, this is preferable to a nuclear strike — far more preferable. But getting the squad in to do the job, and to kill enough of the right people is a very tricky business. The Persians know who would be targeted. And unless these folks have had a falling out with the establishment, they will be guarded day and night. And the Israelis will only get one shot at this effort. So, for practical purposes, this idea of assassination, good as it is, is not workable.
IV. Justifying the Killing of Millions of People in a Bombing Attack
By now, some of you reading this are wondering how I could possibly justify killing millions of people to accomplish a military goal. Isn't that genocide? Wouldn't that make us as bad as the Nazis we protest we aren't? Actually, what is proposed is not genocide, what is proposed is mass murder. Both are despicable, but there is a difference between one and the other.
Genocide is murdering off a people because of who they are. The Turks committed genocide in Armenia in 1915. The Americans committed genocide in exterminating the Indians, though their action was not systematic, and was a lot more like what the Romans did to us Jews for 600 years. To give a different example, if one were, for argument's sake, (G-d forbid such a thing were to actually be decided upon) to decide to kill off all the inhabitants of Pitcairn Island in the Pacific Ocean because of who they were, this would be genocide, even though it would involve killing perhaps a couple of hundred people at most. One would have to stretch awful hard to call such an evil undertaking "mass murder".
Mass murder, by contrast, is the murder of masses of people, without necessarily distinguishing who they are. The key element to mass murder is the number of people being killed, whereas the key element to genocide is the reason for the killings.
The Americans, in bombing Nagasaki and Hiroshima have legitimized mass murder as a weapon of war. Similarly the British, in fire-bombing German cities in WWII, legitimized mass murder as a weapon of war. We Jews have to live in a brutal world where the British and the Americans write the rules. If we expect to survive, we have to be willing to use the brutal weapons of the Americans and the British as weapons of war ourselves. We, in a savage world, must be willing to be as savage as the most vicious savages on the planet. That is the way of the World of Lies and Falsehood, and until the World of Truth overtakes this awful world with Full Redemption, we must be willing to be the meanest bastards on the planet. Since the Persians are willing to see us exterminated like so many unwanted insects, we must be willing to exterminate them the same way.
Is this pleasant to consider? No. Is this a matter of vengeance? No. Is this a matter of being angry? No.
This is a matter of survival.
The Persians have threatened our existence, and no matter how they qualify those threats in the face of "world opinion" or some other load of garbage, they have gone to war against us twice to show they mean business. For us to fail to mean business, for us to fail to insure they cannot ever threaten us again is simply suicidal on our part. For too long, governments in Israel have chosen suicidal paths of action in a vain attempt to please "world opinion" or alleged "allies" like the United States. This is why it is not sufficient to merely attack nuclear facilities in an attempt to retard the development of the Persian bomb. It is the command and control centers that must be destroyed. Since we do not know where those centers are, we must destroy the widest possible range of areas to make sure that commanders and controllers do not escape to again seek to threaten our existence. This means that Tehran cannot be the only target of a first strike.
V. What about the Fallout?
By fallout, I do not mean the radioactive particles that will poison the air or water. I mean the results of such an attack. Persia itself has always been held together somewhat loosely from the center. If one were to do away with the center, Tehran, the control would be gone and the country would drift apart, falling under the control of local warlords, or under foreign powers. Israel would still face other existential threats — like America and Russia — but the most immediate existential threat would be gone. The chief means of support for HizbAllah, Syria/Lebanon and Hamas would be gone, and they would have to seek other overlords - who would have different requirements. And they would not necessarily go as a group.
Destroying the command and control centers of Persian society would not end Israel's problems. One is a fool to pretend that. There would be issues of who would control Persia, and there would be Moslem rage against Israel. But the Moslem rage would be tempered with the knowledge that Israel was willing to destroy completely cities and nations. Egypt, for example, has its own Achilles Heel, the Aswan High Dam. Destroy it and Lake Nasser floods the Nile, and the floods would be murderous to Egyptians who mostly live a few miles from the now tame Nile River.
VI. But the Persians are Innocent! Kill Them and You'll be Pariahs!
Are they innocent?
They chose the leaders they have. These leaders they have led them down a path of disaster. The Persian people are responsible for the evil they have chosen, and for failing to overthrow it. Their leaders have chosen to threaten us with extermination - a problem we have had to face as a people before - several times. This time, our reaction to those who would exterminate us must be one to educate. The world must learn at long last that exterminating Jews is a terribly expensive business, with consequences that will last for generations. We'll be pariahs, you say? Jews have usually been pariahs in most parts of the world. So, being a pariah is nothing new, and if the world hates us, fine. Let them hate us. We should really give a shit?
It's nice to be liked. But when it comes to us Jews, the world appears to like us most — dead. Our leaders may be waking up to the fact that Israel is indeed alone, as the Torah indicates it will be. It's time for us to stop begging to be liked, to stop whining that we aren't. Our responsibility is to Living G-d of Israel and to ourselves and ourselves alone. A world that wants us dead is best ignored and allowed to stew in its own destructive juices until it destroys itself. Better to be hated and despised alive than eulogized by a world glad to see the backs of us.
Persia delenda est! Persia must be destroyed!