Thursday, December 20, 2007

What's More Dangerous: Iran Or A Dirty Bomb

What’s more scarier: a nuclear-armed Iran, or this?

An underreported attack on a South African nuclear facility last month demonstrates the high risk of theft of nuclear materials by terrorists or criminals. Such a crime could have grave national security implications for the United States or any of the dozens of countries where nuclear materials are held in various states of security.

Shortly after midnight on Nov. 8, four armed men broke into the Pelindaba nuclear facility 18 miles west of Pretoria, a site where hundreds of kilograms of weapons-grade uranium are stored. According to the South African Nuclear Energy Corp., the state-owned entity that runs the Pelindaba facility, these four "technically sophisticated criminals" deactivated several layers of security, including a 10,000-volt electrical fence, suggesting insider knowledge of the system. Though their images were captured on closed-circuit television, they were not detected by security officers because nobody was monitoring the cameras at the time.
I think the world community should focus its attention and energies on these kinds of incidents rather than attack Iran. I’m not defending Iran or its odious regime, of course, but the right of a sovereign nation to defend itself by any means necessary, including nuclear weapons. I have a hard time accepting the argument proffered by the United States and its allies that Iran has no right to possess nuclear weapons while the P-5 (China, France, Great Britain, Russia, and the United States) are allowed by virtue of the fact they had it before everyone else.

The world should be more concerned about low-yield nuclear weapons like “dirty bombs”. As the attempted theft has proven, a “dirty bomb’ going off is a more viable possibility than, say, Iran blowing Israel off the map. Iran will never do such a thing because they realize Israel—and the United States—would retaliate ten-fold, it’s mutually assured destruction for the new millennium.

I believe Iran getting nuclear weapons is a fait accompli. Pakistan not only has nuclear weapons, but sold the technology to whoever wanted it, including, ironically, Iran! In my opinion, Pakistan is more dangerous than Iran, yet there are no plans to defang Pakistan of its nuclear weapons (and the subsequent punishment were laughable); in fact, the United States is giving Pakistan billions in aid. Iran knows it’s just a waiting game.

Knowing this, isn’t it better to enlist the Iranians in securing existing supplies and hunt down and arrest would-be thieves? After all, Iran could just as easily be a target of a “dirty bomb” as the United States.

[via connecting the dots]