In the wake of the world having done nothing to stop North Korea from getting the atom bomb and next to nothing to stop Iran either, six other Muslim nations have now announced that they too are seeking to get the "big one" themselves. The six states are Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
Shmuel Ben-YehoshuaShmuel Ben-Yehoshua is an artist in New York. He returned to his Jewish roots as an adult through the Chassidic movement.
This is a moment of truth. The North Korean nuclear test uncovers the moral bankruptcy of a world that had slogans about North Korea being part of an "axis of evil" (Iran being also a stated part of that so-called axis), but which, in fact, did nothing to stop the North Koreans from getting the bomb.
The world will do nothing. Just like they did nothing during the Holocaust.
Israel is alone and must pull itself together and deal a crippling blow to Iran and its nuclear program, as a signal to the other six states to back down. This is like the proverbial mule that has to be hit over the head with a huge two-by-four to get its attention.
Iran has to be hit hard enough to take the world's breath away. There is no other solution. Nothing less will do. The Miss Popularity Contest is over.
It's time to get tough. In the words of Machiavelli in The Prince (chapter 17), "A prince must not mind incurring the charge of cruelty for the purpose of keeping his subjects united and faithful; for, with a very few examples, he will be more merciful than those who, from excess of tenderness, allow disorders to arise, from whence spring bloodshed and rapine." Whether we are dealing with subjects or enemies, and certainly enemies bent on our destruction, an excess of tenderness only leads to a loss of mercy. In the words of Midrash Rabbah on Kohelet 7, "He who is merciful to the cruel is destined to be cruel to the merciful."
The world is full of feckless schemes for dealing with Iran. Excluding whimpering pleas for diplomacy, so that the Iranians can continue to string the world along, Israel has to take military action; however, most of the military plans discussed in public won't work.
For instance, there is the proposal to drop bunker-buster bombs on Iranian nuclear sites. This won't work because bunker-buster bombs will not penetrate the earth deep enough to reach the most deeply buried nuclear sites; such as one hundreds of feet below ground in Neyshabour, where Iran will soon have 155,000 advanced P2 centrifuges that will be able to produce enough bomb-grade enriched uranium for a bomb in as little as a couple of weeks.
Another proposal is to drop huge "daisy cutter" bombs on nuclear sites to flatten them, spiked with enriched uranium dust to prevent Iranians from venturing into the areas for years. This doesn't get into the subterranean areas and just puts a scab over them. The Iranians might still tunnel in and, in any case, they don't care if they live or die, so the uranium probably won't stop them from salvaging the equipment.
There is also the problem that Iran has gotten state-of-the-art Russian anti-aircraft defenses, and you can't just fly planes in there so easily.
There is also the problem that, whereas at one time Iran's entire nuclear program was in one location, there are now hundreds of nuclear sites all over the country.
Some have considered nuclear bunker-buster bombs, but dropping hundreds of atomic bombs on Iran is going to produce a lot of radiation that could come back to Israel. There is a serious question as to whether Israel has the will to do that, especially if it has to be done again every few years, as one Muslim country after another nears nuclear capability.
But there is a much easier, more gentle solution, and it is the only plan that would get all the Iranian nuclear sites. It depends, sorry, on Israel getting over its allergy to territory and ground invasions. The IDF is not an air force.
Here's the plan. Israel can drop a relative handful of neutron bombs (which it possesses) not on Iranian nuclear sites, but on Iranian and Syrian conventional forces, armies and airfields, which would make a ground invasion a cakewalk. Then, Israeli forces could seize the nuclear sites, show them to the world and then destroy them. With invading Israeli ground forces, you don't have to drop an atom bomb on a nuclear plant. You can seize the sites and take the stairs.
The neutron bomb is a nuclear weapon, but it's different from other nuclear weapons. It doesn't destroy property. It merely releases radiation, and the radiation fallout is gone after only about a week. You can actually drive Israeli tanks right through a neutroned area a mere week later with no danger to Israeli troops. The neutron bomb won't produce devastated cities for CNN to take pictures of and scream about.
The neutron bomb also won't destroy Iranian nuclear sites. But it doesn't have to. Irradiated enemy planes, tanks and missiles would still be mostly intact, but the enemy soldiers manning them would be dead. No matter how advanced Iranian and Syrian anti-tank missiles are, they are useless if their operators are dead.
Israel has three-stage missiles that can go twice the distance to Iran and they can be tipped with the neutron bomb (or worse). A small handful of neutron bombs dropped on military forces in Iran and Syria would instantly render both countries militarily incapacitated. Once the radiation in those military areas had cleared, a week later, Israeli ground forces could safely invade, move through Syria and on into Iran and literally take over the whole country. Then, all Iranian nuclear sites could be seized without hardly firing a shot and then destroyed. All of them. Anything buried deep underground could be accessed the same way the Iranians do, by taking the stairs.
This same method could be used on any other Muslim country getting the bomb in the future. The Muslim world would instantly see, in an Israeli attack on Iran, that Israel could use the same approach on them if they too sought a nuclear arsenal. The plan involves destroying a nation's conventional armed forces in the course of destroying its nuclear program, a powerful deterrent to having such a program. In such a future conflict, any country in the way could simply be told to stand down, back off and allow an access corridor - or face the same neutron fate as Syria or Iran.
This is the only plan that would make it possible to get all Iranian nuclear facilities. It wouldn't just "set them back a few years," it would set them back all the way to the beginning of their nuclear program. It would ruin them.