President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran is a dingbat, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore him any more than you should ignore a madman at your door with a lit stick of dynamite in his hand.
When he says the United Nations isn’t about to slow Iran’s nuclear program with another silly resolution, and adds that the program of developing thousands of centrifuges is proceeding far more quickly than anyone suspects, you should listen up.
You should listen up, too, when this grotesquely egotistical, religious fanatic pronounces that the United States will never hit Iran militarily because he is a well-trained engineer, has figured the issue out with tables, charts and such, and knows as well as a good Muslim that God will just never, ever let the infidels conquer the righteous.
What you learn from this nuttiness, first off, is that Iran does not presently intend to back off its nuclear plans because, after all, there’s nothing much to fear from the rest of the world, and what you learn from it secondly is that President Nicolas Sarkozy of France has the right answer.
Given what weare accustomed to, it’s amazing to hear words of courageous clarity emanate from a French leader, but this one is an exception as he tells us that a nuclear-armed Iran would be intolerable. Sanctions and diplomacy remain the moment’s best response to that eventuality, he said, ominously adding that as awful as it would be, the bombing of Iran is preferable to Iran having nuclear bombs.
The dream-world crowd begs to differ, informing us that Iranian zealots don’t mean it when they speak of Israel’s annihilation and the coming of a worldwide caliphate in which all will abide by Islamic religious law, unless, of course, some conscientious objectors don’t mind having their heads chopped off.
These reality evaders look the other way as Iranian officials murder and oppress or experts tell how Iranians could take out American cities with their weapons. Instead, they speak of a grand conspiracy in the West to capture Iranian oil supplies.
There is still a chance that a more unified and urgent world effort, including carefully targeted sanctions, ostracism, support for democrats in Iran and a host of other peaceful maneuvers, can be effective, at least if accompanied by Sarkozy-style warnings of a more definitive response.
It is meanwhile good to discover from a news account that the Pentagon has a contingency plan of aircraft blasting 1,200 Iranian sites over a period of just a few days with the objective of utterly flattening the country’s military, no ifs, maybes or buts. Such an attack would obviously be horrendous even though meant to avoid civilian casualties to the extent possible, and would create new, extremely difficult issues. It should be employed only as a last resort.
But if we bow and scrape to that madman knocking on our door, if we never let him know that we are something other than a spineless, weak, retreating pushover, it’s clear what he will do. He will blow up the house.
Examiner columnist Jay Ambrose is a former editor of two daily newspapers. He may be reached at SpeaktoJay@aol.com