MCCULLOUGH: Resist being scared by saber-rattling on Iran

Nate McCullough

Nate McCullough

Iran is not going to blow you up.

Yes, there are people there who would like to do that. And Iran is a threat to Middle Eastern stability and world peace.

But despite what all the presidential candidates have said, from Barack Obama's keeping all options on the table to Mitt Romney's task force in the Persian Gulf to Newt Gingrich's dire warnings of nuclear holocaust, Iran blowing up Atlanta is simply not something you should spend a lot of time worrying about.

That's what they want you to do of course. It's a campaign tactic. They want you to think, "Well, if he can't find me a job or health care, at least he'll blow up Iran before the Iranians blow up us."

By now, don't we all know that it's not that simple?

Iran is a country that was hijacked by Islamic extremists in 1979. It is that regime that hates America and bangs on its war drum so loudly. A significant portion of the population does not agree with the regime. The near revolution over the 2009 presidential election and the subsequent government crackdown via censorship, arrest and murder was evidence of that. So it's important to realize the difference between the Iranian people and the Iranian government.

Secondly, the very act of building a nuclear weapon is not as simple as some would have you believe. You can't just put uranium in a suitcase with a stick of dynamite (that would garner you a dirty bomb, but not a nuclear mushroom cloud.) The process of obtaining and then enriching nuclear fuel to weapons grade is complicated, expensive and time-comsuming. Then, a warhead and a system of delivery has to be built, and should that system be a missile, you have to fire it and hit your target without the missile first being detected and shot down. So the odds of a country that by most counts could only have enough fuel for a half dozen bombs carrying out a successful strike are low.

Next, the United States with a president named Romney, Gingrich, Santorum or Obama is not going to allow the Iranian regime to start churning out nuclear missiles. We are keenly aware of the danger posed by a nuclear arsenal controlled by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. That's why sanctions have been strengthened and discussions are ongoing with Israel about a military strike, which brings me to my next point.

Even if the U.S. does sit and fiddle away while Ahmadinejad tries to fill his bandolier with ICBMs, the Israelis most assuredly will not. Israel is a lot closer and thus more in range. Their leaders are already talking about a point of no return in which they will be forced to strike what they believe to be Iranian weapons facilities. That point is when the facilities are all housed underneath a layer of Iranian rock so thick that no bomb could reach them, which Israel claims is going to be soon.

In the meantime, someone is killing Iranian nuclear scientists in professional hit jobs. Israel has not exactly admitted being behind these assassinations, but it has not expressed much surprise over them either. That tactic is obviously designed to stop those scientists from working on any nuclear project and to scare the rest into another line of work, thus delaying the already tedious enrichment process. And as I've already pointed out, that process might be delayed indefinitely by the Israelis anyway, and probably before the U.S. election.

So listen to the candidates' plans on jobs and taxes, but don't pull the lever based solely on who'll shoot at Iran soonest. The U.S. and its allies are going to be tough on Iran anyway, no matter who is sitting in the oval office.

Email Nate McCullough at nate.mccullough@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Fridays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/natemccullough.