Friday, January 20, 2012

The Fire Next Time: Let No One Say that the Next Holocaust Came Without Warning

"God gave Noah the rainbow sign/No more water, the fire next time"--lyric from the old Negro spiritual "Mary Don't You Weep" and epigraph to James Baldwin's The Fire Next Time

After the Holocaust, many people pleaded a variety of forms of ignorance ranging from "How could anyone have predicted this could happen" to "How could anyone have known this was happening?"--but the truth is that Adolf Hitler plainly stated his ideology and his goals on many occasions prior to the Holocaust and it is inconceivable that the millions of Europeans of various nationalities living next to teeming ghettoes, smoke gushing crematoria and/or pits filled with gunshot-riddled bodies (the victims of Hitler's mobile killing squads, the preferred method of extermination before the Nazis perfected the more efficient method involving gas chambers) did not know the fates of their Jewish neighbors.

Iran intends to build and/or acquire nuclear weapons and then to use those weapons first to destroy the State of Israel and then to terrorize the United States, Europe and any other "infidel" entities who the Iranian mullahs perceive to be their enemies. Much like Hitler made no secret about his plans, Iranian leaders have publicly stated on numerous occasions that Israel is a "cancer" that must be "wiped off of the map" and that even if a million Israeli Arabs are killed in the process that is an acceptable loss to achieve Israel's destruction. Iran has been similarly blunt about its feelings regarding the United States. The Europeans have been useful idiots (to borrow a phrase often attributed to Lenin) for Iran for decades but they should not be under any illusions regarding Iran's ultimate plans for them if Iran succeeds in destroying Israel and weakening the United States.

Everyone should read the following two essays so that (1) no one can truthfully say that there was no way to know Iran's plans and (2) maybe someone will figure out how to embolden the U.S. government to take the necessary actions to prevent Iran from achieving its genocidal aims:

This Holocaust will be different by Benny Morris.

Morris concludes:

BUT THE Iranians are driven by a higher logic. And they will launch their rockets. And, as with the first Holocaust, the international community will do nothing. It will all be over, for Israel, in a few minutes--not like in the 1940s, when the world had five long years in which to wring its hands and do nothing. After the Shihabs fall, the world will send rescue ships and medical aid for the lightly charred. It will not nuke Iran. For what purpose and at what cost? An American nuclear response would lastingly alienate the whole Muslim world, deepening and universalizing the ongoing clash of civilizations. And, of course, it would not bring Israel back. (Would hanging a serial murderer bring back his victims?)

So what would be the point?

Still, the second holocaust will be different in the sense that Ahmadinejad will not actually see and touch those he so wishes dead (and, one may speculate, this might cause him disappointment as, in his years of service in Iranian death squads in Europe, he may have acquired a taste for actual blood). And, indeed, there will be no scenes like the following, quoted in Daniel Mendelsohn's recent The Lost, A Search for Six of Six Million, in which is described the second Nazi action in Bolechow, Poland, in September 1942:

A terrible episode happened with Mrs. Grynberg. The Ukrainians and Germans, who had broken into her house, found her giving birth. The weeping and entreaties of bystanders didn't help and she was taken from her home in a nightshirt and dragged into the square in front of the town hall.

There... she was dragged onto a dumpster in the yard of the town hall with a crowd of Ukrainians present, who cracked jokes and jeered and watched the pain of childbirth and she gave birth to a child. The child was immediately torn from her arms along with its umbilical cord and thrown--It was trampled by the crowd and she was stood on her feet as blood poured out of her with bleeding bits hanging and she stood that way for a few hours by the wall of the town hall, afterwards she went with all the others to the train station where they loaded her into a carriage in a train to Belzec.

In the next holocaust there will be no such heart-rending scenes, of perpetrators and victims mired in blood (though, to judge from pictures of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the physical effects of nuclear explosions can be fairly unpleasant).

But it will be a holocaust nonetheless.

The Mortal Threat From Iran by Mark Helprin.

Helprin explains the only course of action that can prevent the doomsday scenario described by Morris:

Much easier before Iran recently began to burrow into bedrock, it is still possible for the U.S., and even Israel at greater peril, to halt the Iranian nuclear program for years to come. Massive ordnance penetrators; lesser but precision-guided penetrators "drilling" one after another; fuel-air detonations with almost the force of nuclear weapons; high-power microwave attack; the destruction of laboratories, unhardened targets, and the Iranian electrical grid; and other means, can be combined to great effect.

Unlike North Korea, Iran does not yet possess nuclear weapons, does not have the potential of overwhelming an American ally, and is not of sufficient concern to Russia and China, its lukewarm patrons, for them to war on its behalf. It is incapable of withholding its oil without damaging itself irreparably, and even were it to cease production entirely, the Saudis—in whose interest the elimination of Iranian nuclear potential is paramount—could easily make up the shortfall. Though Iran might attack Saudi oil facilities, it could not damage them fatally. The Gulf would be closed until Iranian air, naval, and missile forces there were scrubbed out of existence by the U.S., probably France and Britain, and the Saudis themselves, in a few weeks.

It is true that Iranian proxies would attempt to exact a price in terror world-wide, but this is not new, we would brace for the reprisals, and although they would peak, they would then subside. The cost would be far less than that of permitting the power of nuclear destruction to a vengeful, martyrdom-obsessed state in the midst of a never-subsiding fury against the West.

Any president of the United States fit for the office should someday, soon, say to the American people that in his judgment Iran—because of its longstanding and implacable push for nuclear weapons, its express hostility to the U.S., Israel and the West, and its record of barbarity and terror—must be deprived of the capacity to wound this country and its allies such as they have never been wounded before.

Relying solely upon his oath, holding in abeyance any consideration of politics or transient opinion, and eager to defend his decision in exquisite detail, he should order the armed forces of the United States to attack and destroy the Iranian nuclear weapons complex. When they have complied, and our pilots are in the air on their way home, they will have protected our children in their beds—and our children's children, many years from now, in theirs. May this country always have clear enough sight and strong enough will to stand for itself in the face of mortal threat, and in time.

Let no one who fails to act now dare to offer poignant eulogies after an Iranian-created mushroom cloud floats over the charred remains of a major American city or over a large portion of the tiny state of Israel!

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