August, 2006 … Or August, 1939?
Vol: 59 Issue: 24 Thursday, August 24, 2006
I was thinking just how apt a choice a mushroom is as a symbol for a nuclear explosion. Mushrooms, as you know, thrive when they are kept in the dark and fed manure. It is a great, if somewhat muddled, analogy for the way Iran and North Korea are managing global opposition for their nuclear programs.
A news report last week quoted US officials as saying activities at a possible North Korean nuclear site suggested preparations for a nuclear weapons test were under way. The North defied international warnings and test-launched 7 missiles on July 5, including a long-range missile which officially ‘failed’.
I say ‘officially’ because, according to initial reports by the Japanese Defense Agency, Pyongyang’s missile exploded after reaching an altitude of approximately 180 miles. Japan calculated from its trajectory that the missile’s target would have been the waters off Hawaii.
Shortly thereafter, the US Defense Department said the North Korean Taepodong-2 never made it off the launch pad. Then it said that it flew no more than a mile. After trans-Pacific discussions between Washington and Tokyo, Japan changed its assessment.
Somebody is growing mushrooms.
In 1998, Iran tested its version of the same North Korean long range missile, renamed the ‘Shehab-3’ — that test ALSO ‘failed’ when it exploded after reaching an altitude of only 180 miles.
Similar mushroom growing ensued after Iran’s ‘failure’ as well.
In both cases, the White House (Clinton AND Bush) claimed the failures were evidence that the threat of a nuclear missile attack was troubling, but not all that worrisome.
Maybe. Maybe not. But one hundred and eighty miles is the optimum height at which to detonate a nuclear warhead in order to achieve a maximum EMP pulse.
According to the blue-ribbon Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack, chaired by the esteemed scientist Dr. William R. Graham, a nuclear warhead detonated one hundred and eighty miles above the east coast of the United States would fry every electronic circuit on the Eastern Seaboard, which would transport the affected area into the technological 1890’s for months, if not years.
An EMP attack would damage the national power grid, unprotected computers and all devices containing microchips, from medical instruments to military communications, and knock out electronic systems in cars, airplanes and those used in banking and finance and emergency services.
The electrical devices themselves are rendered inoperable. This begins what the Commission report calls unprecedented cascading failures of major infrastructures.
According to the Commission’s report, if the initial explosion is big enough, the effects could be ‘irreversible’. The Commission’s nightmare scenario includes mass starvation when stores run out of food; no clean water when water treatment plants fail, breakdown of police and fire protection, loss of banking records — you get the idea.
A single large weapon detonating over mid-America could permanently cripple the country. The result would be direct and indirect deaths of millions of Americans and the transformation of the US in an eye-blink to a pre-19th century environment.
To give some sense of the risk, three quarters of all Americans live within 200 miles of America’s shoreline. So are three-quarters of all American military assets, military bases, weapons assembly plants, power generation plants, etc.
Which brings the whole mushroom-growning analogy into focus.
Why is the US taking what are, ostensibly, ‘failed’ missile tests so seriously? After all, if the tests failed, then at worst, it means any threat is only on paper — no genuine threat can exist unless they actually work.
On the other hand, if the threat exists, but the US has no counter-measures to prevent such an attack, it is in the best interests of Washington’s political establishment to keep it under wraps until they can.
In light of all this, it is worth noting that Iran sent military experts to Pyongyang to watch North Korea’s long-range missile failure on July 6th.
Noted the Los Angeles Times, “Israeli intelligence believes North Korea recently sold 18 intermediate-range missiles to Tehran. Some accounts also place Iranian observers in North Korea when the Pyongyang regime test-fired seven missiles over the Sea of Japan this month.
A Japanese newspaper reported recently that 10 Iranians were invited to North Korea to observe the missile tests. A South Korean military expert, who asked not to be quoted by name, said he heard that Iranians were stationed at two launch sites along North Korea’s east coast and on a boat in the Sea of Japan.
Testifying before a Senate committee last week, Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill confirmed that Iranians were present for the tests.”
Significantly, the LA Times report noted that Hill retracted his remarks the following day, saying ‘he was not sure.’
The mushrooms should by now be just about ready to harvest.
The world situation in August, 2006 is eerily similar to the world situation in August, 1939. Adolph Hitler had already outlined his war plans and telegraphed his intention start a world war in order to conquer the world for Nazism.
He had developed his own Axis of Evil, consisting of the weaker, but strategiclly located Italian fascists, and the inscrutable, but ultimately useful Japanese Empire.
Hitler’s first target was Poland, and in August, 1939, while pretending to negotiate with the West, he began putting his attack plans into motion, massing troops along Poland’s borders and securing a non-aggression pact with Stalin.
Hitler used his Axis partners, Italy and Japan, in a coordinated effort to keep the Allies off-balance until he was ready.
In August, 2006, we find an equally unbalanced Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose many speeches have telegraphed his intention to start a world war to conquer the world for Islam.
Ahmadinejad is following Hitler’s template, stalling for time under the pretense of negotiations, while using his Axis partners in Damascus and Pyongyang to keep the Allies off-balance until he is ready.
According to an al-Jazeera report yesterday, a senior official in Tehran said “that in the next few days, a “surprise” was expected regarding Iran’s nuclear program.”
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reported Wednesday that the Iranian news service Al-Borz, which it said is known to have access to sources in the Iranian government, predicted that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would announce what the news service called Iran’s “nuclear birth” on the first anniversary of his government later this month.
And the headline in this morning’s Jerusalem Post warns, “Israel May Go It Alone Against Iran,” noting, “Iran “flipped the world the bird” by not responding positively to the Western incentive plan to stop uranium enrichment.
The Post quoted a senior Israeli official has having “expressed frustration that the Russians and Chinese were already saying that Iran’s offer of a “new formula” and willingness to enter “serious negotiations” was an opening to keep on talking.”
“The Iranians know the world will do nothing,” he said. “This is similar to the world’s attempts to appease Hitler in the 1930s – they are trying to feed the beast.”
Take note of the players: Russia. Iran. Syria. China. North Korea. (Gog, Magog, Persia, Damascus and the Kings of the East.)
Waiting in the wings are a billion or so Muslims, representing about a sixth part of the global population.
On the other side? The United States and Israel.
“For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:22)