Tomorrow, March 31st, marks the deadline for a framework for the Iranian nuclear agreement – a deal which many worry will be a bad one for Israel, the United States, and the free world. Writing at The Weekly Standard, Lee Smith says that Iran is vulnerable and it is not yet too late to stop its nuclear progress:
…once a nuclear program reaches a certain stage, you can’t undo the know-how that has already been acquired. That is, you can’t bomb knowledge.
Even proponents of a military strike concede there’s something to that argument. “The longer we go without doing something, the bigger Iran’s edge becomes,” says Reuel Marc Gerecht, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “For instance, the closer they get to perfecting advanced centrifuges, the efficacy of any military strike goes down. More people will have the necessary knowledge to continue.”
During his speech to Congress earlier this month, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed this very issue, noting the argument that “Iran’s nuclear know-how cannot be erased, that its nuclear program is so advanced that the best we can do is delay the inevitable.” But as Netanyahu then suggested, “nuclear know-how without nuclear infrastructure doesn’t get you very much.”
Here “infrastructure” is perhaps best understood to mean not only the facilities, equipment, and personnel necessary to run a nuclear weapons program, but also any given nation’s industrial and technological culture, its economy, and perhaps most important the society that produces them. The Islamic Republic of Iran comes up short in all these vital areas. And that’s why it has taken Tehran 25 years to buy, steal, and smuggle a nuclear weapons program from the outside world. The notion that it would take Iran only two to three years to restore a program it has taken more than two decades and tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars to build does not add up…
What’s really difficult is building and maintaining the industrial, technological, and economic complex required to sustain a nuclear weapons program. The capacity to produce a nuclear weapon is a good index of a country’s general level of development…
The White House’s mantra that you can’t bomb knowledge is simply evidence that it has already accepted an Iranian nuclear bomb. Consequently, the idea that a military strike would set the program back only two or three years is not an assessment based in fact, but a political slogan meant to rally support for the president’s policy decision.
Whether a nation’s nuclear program is indigenous or not, the program is much more vulnerable before it actually produces a bomb. Once it has built a bomb, it is less vulnerable. Which is why it feels safe in producing more bombs.