Editor's Note: This column was co-authored Bob Morrison.
It was just a short clip on CNN. Reporter Erin Burnett recited some statistics that suggest Iran’s oil tankers are all tied up, that the Islamic Republic’s oil revenues have been hard hit. Economic sanctions have been tightened on the Mullahs’ tyrannical regime by the UN, the European Union, and the U.S.
“It appears the sanctions are working,” said Burnett. She challenged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s assessment of Iran’s headlong drive to build a nuclear weapon.
“How do you know what [the Iranians] are doing?” she asks, hoping perhaps to see the Prime Minister flustered. Maybe he will stumble. Or, he may be reduced to wringing his hands—as our own State Department spokespeople do every day on TV.
Netanyahu looks steadily at his interlocutor. He doesn’t waver. His baritone voice conveys finality: “We know,” he says. “We know, and others know. And we share what we know with others.”
The CNN reporter is just the latest in a long line of talking heads from that network. CNN was the favorite channel of Israel’s mortal enemy, the late terrorist Yasser Arafat. It was from watching CNN that Arafat got the idea for airline hijacking for terror purposes.
The CNN reporter is trying to build the case for more time for sanctions. The Prime Minister takes her to school, just as he did President Obama at their famous Oval Office meeting last year.
The sanctions, he politely informs her, have yet to take a bite out of Iran’s nuclear program. “The centrifuges are spinning,” he tells her levelly. The centrifuges, of course, are the critical component of a nuclear reactor, that unmistakable step in building nuclear weapons.
Benjamin Netanyahu is not about to be distracted by arcane discussions—which the media and the U.S. State Department love—of how many oil-laden Iranian tankers are riding at anchor in which Iranian ports and by how much their oil revenues have been decreased. Is it 56%? No, it’s 65%. Maybe even 67%!
These media/State Department fixations are a perfect replay of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s feckless leadership during the “Phony War” with Hitler in 1939-40. Convinced he could bring down the Nazis through economic warfare, Chamberlain latched onto every intelligence report that suggested Germany was on the verge of collapse, that German civilians were going hungry, that surely they would rise up and oust the Hitler regime.