Last week’s Iranian missile tests prompted another round of fevered speculation that war might erupt between Iran and the United States. Largely lost in the frenzy is an unhappy fact: The Iranian mullahocracy has been at war with this country since it came to power in 1979.
The problem is that the weapons available to Tehran for prosecuting its jihad against “the Great Satan” are no longer simply truck bombs and suicide vests. Its proxy army, Hezbollah, has taken over Lebanon and operates terror cells from Iraq to Latin America and even inside the United States. With help from Communist China and Russia, its Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps wields an array of anti-ship missiles, mines and go-fast boats capable of discouraging oil traffic from transiting the Straits of Hormuz – if not actually sealing that vital waterway for protracted periods.
Not least, Iran is now armed with ballistic missiles of ever-longer range. Those missiles have been developed with help from North Korea for the purpose of delivering the nuclear weapons the mullahs have been developing covertly for over 20 years. Once such weapons are in hand – perhaps just a matter of months now – Tehran will be in a position to execute its threat to wipe Israel (a.k.a. “the Little Satan”) off the map.
As a blue-ribbon commission told the House Armed Services Committee last Thursday, moreover, by launching its nuclear-armed ballistic missiles off a ship, the Iranian regime could soon be able to make good on another of its oft-stated pledges: To bring about “a world without America.”
The commissioners warned that, by detonating a sea-launched nuclear weapon in space over the United States, Iran could unleash an intense electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that would have a “catastrophic” effect on much of the Nation’s energy infrastructure. In short order, the ensuing lack of electricity would cause a devastating ripple effect on our telecommunications, sanitation and water, transportation, food and health care sectors and the Internet. Iranian missile tests suggest an emergent capability to execute such an attack.
If we are already at war with the Iranian regime and the destructive power of our enemy is about to increase exponentially, what can we do to about it? For various reasons, it remains undesirable to use our own military force against the mullahs if it can possibly be avoided. If that alternative is to be made unnecessary, however, five things must be done as a matter of the utmost urgency:
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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