Like many politicians, many in the media have a herd mentality and push or follow the flavor-of-the-week-month, or even year, “crisis” of the moment. More than that, like these less than resolute politicians, many in the media will kick the can down the road when the real problems before their eyes have no easy solutions.
Such being the case with the “impending threat” from Iran.
Really? Is the radical Islamic leadership of Iran crazy enough to eventually use nuclear weapons assuring the instant destruction of their nation, or are they instead “crazy like a fox” playing the United States and other nations for fools while using these foreign governments as foils to prop themselves up before their own people?
Day after day, week after week, and now literally year after year, we hear constantly about “soon to be unleashed nuclear threat from Iran.”
For a number of experts in our nation and around the world, the “can being kicked down the road” by our politicians and the media is the real and ever escalating threat posed by Pakistan and not that of Iran.
In a somewhat bizarre moment of candor from President Obama -- as related by actor George Clooney -- when Clooney asked Mr. Obama several years ago what kept him awake at night, President Obama eventually answered “Pakistan.” Strange that he would admit that to Clooney and not the American people, but no matter, how right the president was and is to fear the multiple threats emanating from that nation.
Going back to the media and politician hype regarding Iran, it is almost always coupled with a mention of the State of Israel.
During my time in the Pentagon, I had the opportunity to work with the Israeli Defense forces. Today, I fear President Obama is moving further and further away from supporting our best ally and friend in the Middle East for reasons known only to him.
As that reality is upon us, some of the leaders and people of Israel seem to be getting caught up in the same “Iran hype” which floods our media and losing sight of the more lethal threat to their safety.
Addressing that real threat, a journalist in Israel recently sought to remind his nation of the dangers posed by Pakistan. In his piece, he quoted Tarek Fatah, founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress who said in part: “The nuclear threat from Iran is a real one, but the nuclear threat from its neighbor Pakistan is just as dangerous if not more so...Pakistan, unlike Iran, already brandishes about 100 nuclear warheads…Pakistan has emerged as the world’s number one source of jihadi suicide bombers and ground zero for the training of Islamic terrorists around the world.”
A few months earlier, Dr. Rafael Ofek, a former senior researcher and analyst in Israeli Intelligence and an expert in the physics and technology of nuclear power, warned of the same threat.
He said in part, “All eyes are looking to the direction of Iran, but in the meantime, Pakistan has accelerated the build-up of its nuclear weapons arsenal, and has been hard at work fitting these weapons onto short-range ballistic missiles. Pakistan's nuclear arsenal already amounts to more than a hundred bombs.”
More importantly, Dr. Ofek stressed the very real possibility of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons or its nuclear weapons technology, falling into the hands of Islamic terrorists or it being outright given to them by Pakistani scientists or government officials sympathetic to the theocratic ramblings of the terrorists.
Make no mistake, the government of Iran is a threat on multiple levels. From the U.S. perspective, Iran exports terrorism and it is directly responsible for the killing and maiming of thousands of young American military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan through its program of supplying IEDs or IED technology to the terrorists attacking our troops.
For that alone, they should always be held accountable.
That said, are we endangering our own safety and that of Israel by over-exaggerating the nuclear threat posed by Iran while drastically under-estimating the growing threat posed by Pakistan?
Someone in authority had better answer that question before it’s too late.
Douglas MacKinnon is a former White House and Pentagon official and author of the memoir "Rolling Pennies In The Dark." (Simon & Schuster, 2012).