“We knew they wanted to hurt us but we did not believe they are capable of so doing,” US intelligence members explained when asked to justify their failure to stop the Christmas bomber. They were referring, of course, to Al Qaeda Yemen. The sentiment, however, is reflecting current intelligence assessment of the Iranian Mullahcracy. Yes, it is true that Iran wishes harm to the West (and not only to Israel). It is true that Ayatollah Khamenei, whom President Obama hoped to charm by insisting on his honorific “Supreme Leader,” has just promised to celebrate the 31st anniversary of the Iranian revolution with a stunning anti-Western “punch.” It is also true that the “selected, not elected” Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has just ordered his nuclear scientists to enrich uranium to 20% purity. It must be acknowledged that such enrichment would enable Iran to produce weapons-grade uranium in a relatively short time and that the Iranians have been repeatedly able to hide their nuclear progress from the West.
So, is it not time to act?
There is no rush, the sophisticated members of our intelligence services insist: “It is far from clear that Iran has the capacity to enrich fuel to the level ordered by President Ahmadinejad.” In other words, they want, but can’t.
How will we know for sure that they can? Under the best case scenario, Iranians would tell us and the world return to the “good old days of the Cold War.” Under the worst case scenario, Iran will attempt to use it. If our luck holds, as it held on Christmas day, it will fail. If our luck does not hold, as it did not on 9/11, Tel Aviv will be no more and neither will be Tehran.
A second Holocaust, like the first, is bound to have horrific consequences and not only to Jews. So, immediate crippling sanctions and massive help for the Iranian people to rid themselves of their clerical tormentors are not only the moral thing to do but also the expedient one to do. Trusting our fate to a most imperfect intelligence services is not only wrong but incredibly stupid.