Wednesday, March 14, 2012

America's Nero

When I was in grade school, we were taught what to do if the U.S. came under nuclear attack. When the alarm was sounded, we were to get underneath our desks and look away from the windows. We even practiced this!

Back then, bomb shelters were designated, usually in the basement of a large building, where people were to go if atomic bombs started falling.

Atomic bombs are based upon the science of nuclear fission in which an atom is split into two smaller atoms, releasing large amounts of heat and radiation in the process. An atomic bomb generates heat measured in the hundreds of million of degrees and 500 miles per hour winds from the shock wave. At ground zero, everything is incinerated.

The first use of an atomic bomb occurred on Aug. 6, 1945 when the U.S. Army Air Corp. dropped “little boy” (the bomb's nickname because of its shape) on Hiroshima, Japan, which was considered to be a legitimate military target.

The resulting blast from “little boy” over Hiroshima was the equivalent of 13 thousand tons (kilotons) of TNT. It is estimated that 80,000 people were killed instantly and that 76% of the city’s buildings were completely destroyed or severely damaged. By the end of that year, total casualties were in the range of 90,000 to 140,000 (due to subsequent deaths from burns and radiation). This was from one primitive atomic bomb using now-obsolete technology.

Today, hydrogen bombs have a destructive force equivalent to million of tons of TNT (compared to “little boy’s” 13 kilotons). That means that a modern nuclear bomb would be the equivalent of dropping 1000 Hiroshima "little boys" all at once.

Iran is working hard on developing the capability of building a nuclear bomb. To cite only a couple of the more recent points of evidence, during the quarterly board meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, the Director General restated his concern that Iran might be testing weapons at a military site south of Tehran, and another secret Iranian nuclear site was discovered near Qom. There is no serious disagreement among the experts on what Iran is up to; the only difference of opinion is with regard to how close Iran is to achieving it’s goal of nuclear weapon capability and whether Iran will actually build a nuclear bomb once it has the capability, or be content with just the ability of doing so. Opinions on the time frame for this range from a few months to a few years.

Iran is a rogue state. In 1979, Iran took hostage 52 Americans working at the U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Tehran and held them for 444 days. Over the years, the Iranians have attacked oil tankers in the Persian Gulf, provided weapons to terrorist groups (Hamas and Hezbollah), brutally attacked it’s own citizens when they took to the street to protest the Iranian’s government’s stealing of the election in 2009. Iran’s leaders have vowed to wipe Israel off of the map, and denied that the Holocaust ever happened. Not too long ago, Iran allowed the British embassy in Tehran to be overrun last November by street thugs, no doubt ginned up by the Iranian government, when Britain said some things that Iran didn’t like. Iran is, according to the State Department, the world’s greatest exporter of terror. Iran is systematically killing Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan through Iran’s proxies. And so on.

The Obama administration’s obsession with a “diplomatic solution” to the Iran nuclear bomb program has been an abject failure, yet he dogmatically continues with it, recently agreeing to more open-ended negotiations with no pre-conditions. Yes, Obama is still negotiating, despite Iran’s history of blatant stalling and unseriousness in all previous negotiations.

“Negotiations”: That means talking to them. Does Obama really think that at this point we can talk Iran out of building a nuclear bomb? More such negotiations will do nothing except give Iran valuable time to move past a point-of-no-return in its quest for nukes.

How about sanctions? That’s more than talking, so sanctions will work, some, including Obama, say. But Obama’s own director of national intelligence told the Senate intelligence committee that sanctions have had no effect whatsoever on the course of Iran’s nuclear program. None. Sanctions have hurt Iran’s economy, but have not deterred Iran’s nuclear program in the least, according to Obama’s own expert.

Israel, meanwhile, has more to worry about than esoteric debates about the capability of producing a nuclear bomb verses actually building one. Israel faces an existential threat from a nuclear Iran. Would any sane leader in Israel trust that Obama could talk Iran out of building a nuclear bomb once Iran actually has the capability?

How hard is it to connect the dots: Rogue state; wants to wipe Israel of the map; developing nuclear weapons. Unless someone intervenes to stop it, Iran will no-doubt nuke Israel as soon as it is able. If that happens, does anyone think the U.S. will be able to stay out of it?

Nevertheless, more talking and more sanctions, both of which have already failed repeatedly, are Obama’s current plan for dealing with Iran’s unabated nuclear ambitions.

I think I hear a fiddle.

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