Facing the Elephant

The proverbial "elephant in the room" or "elephant on the table" is an idiomatic expression for an obvious fact or problem ignored for the convenience of one or more of the parties present. In the Mid East, the elephant–in this case the massive and unregulated Israeli nuclear arsenal–has stirred and is getting restless. And while many rail at Iran for weapons it does not yet posses, they neglect to notice the hazardous and massive Israeli arsenal right before their eyes.

In the current situation, I expect that nuclear-tipped, submarine-launched cruise missiles will be launched at Iranian targets while Israeli Special Forces and long-range F-15 squadrons make diversionary attacks. (The fallout from nuclear sites will make it difficult to determine if tactical nukes were, in fact, used.)

Just prior to Ariel Sharon’s placing of the coming Israeli attack on the front burner, a campaign to justify the attack apparently began in the U.S. One of the leading proponents of such an attack is Jerome Corsi, Ph.D., and author of the book "Atomic Iran". Corsi–who claims not to be a Neocon–most recently appeared on the popular George Noory "Coast-to-Coast A.M." talk show in the U.S. on Dec. 4th.

Corsi takes the position that Iran is the mother of all evils in the world. They’re insane, suicidal. If it was up to them (and not generous U.S. oil companies) we’d be paying $200 a barrel for oil. And people like that just can’t afford to be allowed to have nukes…ever. The standard balance of power–in this case where the Israelis have 300 nukes and the Iranians just might develop one–won’t work in this case, he claims (apparently refuting my contention that Iran having a nuclear weapon might actually stabilize the situation) because those crazy Iranians are willing to all die just to get rid of poor, little Israel.

So, in order to save the "defenseless" Israelis, we’re just going to have to let them launch a preemptive strike on Iran, maybe let them use airspace we or our allies control, or maybe even overtly or covertly help them.

At first, I was a bit angry at the one sidedness of his presentation, but, thinking about that table elephant Corsi so blithely neglects to mention, he may actually have a point. A suicidal nation probably should not be allowed to have a nuclear arsenal, and certainly not submarines, cruise missiles and 300 nuclear warheads!

All Israeli soldiers take an oath never to allow Massada to take place again. Now, Massada was the place where the Zealots (an ancient proto-Zionist sect) allegedly engaged in mass suicide rather than allow themselves to be captured by the Romans. Presumably, this oath would require mass suicide in the event today’s Israel were to be overrun. (An invader could kill but could not force mass suicide, after all.) I leave it to your imagination as to what the nature of such a suicide might be, and the consequences to the millions of people in the region and billions of people around the world.

I do not think we are going to be successful in getting Iran and other countries to abandon nuclear weapons ambitions unless we first recognize that the elephant actually exists and take concrete measures to regulate it–if that is even possible any longer. This is even more important in the region as U.S. Neocons are now pointing to Egypt as a possible future target, in the event Islamic fundamentalists win in future elections. In the 1967 war, the Arabs were tricked into massing troops on the Israeli border by an Israeli buildup, leaving themselves open to being encircled and overrun. A future frontal assault on a powerful Egyptian army in Egypt could be expected to produce high Israeli casualties–even with air superiority–unless nuclear arms were used.