By Barry Lando
In the brief interview he gave NBC before the Super Bowl, President Obama declared, “I’ve been very clear that we’re going to do everything we can to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and creating an arms race, a nuclear arms race, in a volatile region.”
Sounds like a very laudable goal, right? Except for the fact that, as I recently blogged, the nuclear arms race in the Middle East is already under way. It began almost 50 years ago when Israel developed the bomb.
According to a 2007 study by the Federation of American Scientists, “Estimates for Israel’s nuclear weapons stockpile range from 70 to 400 warheads. The actual number is probably closer to the lower estimate. Additional weapons could probably be built from inventories of fissile materials.”
In other words, as I previously wrote, “One of the most uncommented on ironies today is that Israel is threatening military action to prevent Iran from continuing the same clandestine route to nuclear weapons that Israel took; just as Israeli planes destroyed nuclear reactors in Syria and Iraq to prevent those countries from following Israel’s lead.”
Indeed, Israel probably has more nuclear weapons today than either India or Pakistan. Speculation is that they could be fired from long-range artillery, dropped as bombs or delivered as warheads from Israeli submarines or via Israel’s Jericho 1 and 2 missiles. There has also been conjecture about nuclear land mines and suitcase bombs.
A parallel irony is the fact that, for the past 50 years, every American president has refused to publicly acknowledge Israel’s nuclear arsenal.
On Super Bowl Sunday, Obama kept the tradition intact. Of course, so did NBC News and reporter Matt Lauer who let Obama’s statement go unchallenged. But, hey, that’s what the mainstream media have done for years.
Whatever your views on this crisis, how are we supposed to discuss it—never mind resolve it—with such a political blind spot?
Think about the missing issue yourself as you follow the breathless coverage of the current crisis.
Barry M. Lando spent 25 years as an award-winning investigative producer with “60 Minutes.” He has produced numerous articles, a documentary and a book, “Web of Deceit,” about Iraq. Lando is just finishing a novel, “The Watchman’s File.”
White House / Pete Souza