Will Israel Save Us Again?

by | Oct 15, 2003

The Iranians are on the verge of building nuclear bombs. If this is not stopped, mass death will result. The situation is not entirely without precedent, although the crisis today is immeasurably greater. By 1981 Iraq had a similar program. Had it succeeded, America would have faced nuclear blackmail in 1991, and would today be […]

The Iranians are on the verge of building nuclear bombs. If this is not stopped, mass death will result.

The situation is not entirely without precedent, although the crisis today is immeasurably greater. By 1981 Iraq had a similar program. Had it succeeded, America would have faced nuclear blackmail in 1991, and would today be at war with Islamic nuclear powers.

That this did not happen is no thanks to America, the UN, or any coalition. Instead, one nation removed this threat with a single, unilateral, coordinated air strike. With the destruction of Iraq’s nuclear plants, the Butcher of Baghdad–the man who paid indemnities to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers–was turned back into a military cockroach. Israel’s attack on June 7, 1981 was the single most important, and successful, military operation since World War II. Never have so many owed so much to so few.

Israel deserves the greatest thanks for this. She saved the entire world from the spectre of a primitive tribal warlord with nuclear bombs. What she received was condemnation. UN Security Council Resolution 487 (1981) stated that Israel’s attack was “a serious threat to the entire safeguards regime of the International Atomic Energy Commission.” According to the UN, Iraq was acting “consistent with the internationally accepted objectives of preventing nuclear-weapons proliferation.” Israel, by destroying the plant, attacked the “inalienable sovereign right” of Iraq to build nuclear reactors. By the pretzel logic of the UN, Israel was a threat to peace, and Iraq was a victim.

In its condemnation the UN was right about two things: Israel’s attack was “premeditated,” and “responsibility for which [the attack] has been acknowledged by Israel.” This is true. Israel thought about this, and decided to end the problem with the conviction of rational people under deadly attack. She did it openly, before the eyes of the world. The world, through the institution of the UN, showed its true colors in condemning Israel and praising Saddam.

Now the threat is more critical, since the level of Islamic fanaticism–the desire for death–is absolute. Iran, like Iraq, has also followed the rules of the IAEC, and has until recently remained in the good graces of the UN. Now that they are about to create the bombs, the medieval mullahs–who openly call for war on a global scale–have thrown the inspectors out. The IAEC has given the Iranians, who control one of the most oil-rich nations in the world, until October 31 to show that their program is for the sake of energy.

Someone has to destroy the Iranian nuclear plants now. There can be no pretense of any “inalienable sovereign right” for a theocracy that pledges global religious war. The thought that such people–for whom Mutual Assured Destruction is an invitation to martyrdom and not a deterrent–will soon have nuclear bombs is not something that a rational person can accept. No negotiation is possible here. The choice is offensive military action or suicide.

Will we act? Vladimir Putin of Russia told President Bush that he will continue to supply this technology to Iran. President Bush responded by calling Putin a “friend” and Russia a “partner” in the war on terror.

To Mr. Bush and his advisors, a “prudent” course will probably be to make plans to donate a missile defense to Europe, to ask Russia to slow its shipments, to bribe Iran with aid, and to learn to live with the permanent threat of an Islamic bomb by bolstering the homeland defense. The mullahs are certainly watching the results of North Korean blackmail–American promises of security guarantees, as were given to Castro by President Kennedy–and counting on the same for themselves.

There is one thing that can save us. Tel Aviv will be Iran’s first target. The life of every Israeli is on the line. The Israelis understand this fully. Perhaps Israel will again save us. Perhaps we will again be free-riders who benefit from Israel’s defense of her self. This time, perhaps we will at least veto the resolution condemning Israel as a threat to peace.

Or perhaps we will do the proper thing, and destroy the greatest evil in the world ourselves, while we still can. This would be the thanks that Israel deserves, for saving us the last time.

John David Lewis (website) is a Visiting Professor of Political Science, Duke University. He has been a Senior Research Scholar in History and Classics at the Social Philosophy and Policy Center, and an Anthem Fellow.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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