Later Will be Too Late

There was big drama in Israel today.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak stated today that time has run out to stop Iran’s progress in developing nuclear weapons.

He didn’t just say time has run out to stop Iran, but said that we have to deal with it now, and not later. The dealing with it later is in response to U.S. officials who have said to be patient because the European oil embargo is working and hurting Iran’s economy enough that they will become more compliant and cooperative (by default, not being able to afford the nuclear program). Israel’s response, as of today, is that something has to be done now, and that “later is too late” – a phrase he used in his speech, a phrase he said for emphasis in English (the rest of the speech was in Hebrew).

The Washington Post was the first to release the quote:

“Whoever says ‘later’ may find that later is too late,” Barak said. He switched from Hebrew to English for the last phrase: “later is too late.”

This is not new-news to anyone. The drama today was that Israel was officially saying they would no longer wait for others to help them or delay confrontation for the issue. Israel was saying, as of today, they are willing to attack unilaterally (on their own, even without the support of or help from other countries).

This was the big news, that lines were drawn in the sand (again), and Israel basically announced that they are planning a surprise attack against Iran, regardless of whether or not the US supports them, helps, or gives approval.

According to the WP article, Defense Secretary Panetta has been quoted as saying Israel could launch an air strike attack against Iran within the next nine months, but probably before April (as in sometime during February or March).

CNN was the next to report, citing anonymous sources in the Obama administration. They confirmed the news that Panetta thinks Israel is preparing to attack Iran. This also explains the unmanned drone that crashed four days ago.

The CNN report also reminded us all that Israel, since the beginning of time, can often throw temper tantrums where it gets all aggressive and threatening in attempt to bolster support for its policies or recruit help in fighting for its causes. What is different this time, they say, is that Iran’s nuclear program has advanced far enough that soon no one will be able to take action against it… making the complaint fairly legit in that context.

Specifically, the Iranian facilities for the nuclear program are currently being moved to underground bunkers that will make them much more difficult to monitor, track, or attack. The move to the underground bunkers started about three weeks ago, and then more recently announcement in the New York Times that Iran has begun enriching uranium at a second location that is completely underground.

The IAEA arrived this last Sunday to investigate.

These are the developments that change everything, Israel says.

This is why “later will be too late”.

There have been no “official” confirmations of this statement or any official policy or official opinion regarding the statement – not from Panetta himself, nor from the Pentagon.

But they are also not denying the statements; they are simply not commenting.

However, they did confirm that the Iranian government have released several al Qaeda members from house arrest. That will make the Pentagon cranky, even being a catalyst for all three theories (below).

The other related issue is, of all things, gas prices. The Guardian states that the US has been slow to enforce sanctions because of concerns about causing the oil prices to go up when the global economy is already in a critical state. Note: 35% of the world’s oil comes from Iran. However, Iran has enough support from other countries (like China), that our embargo on their oil may not make a dent in their profits. Something bigger, like the 1962 quarantine of Cuba, would be needed if that is the tactic they think will work; however, this will not happen because that counts as an act of war, and no way will this administration declare it so directly – especially in election year (if we declare war on Iran, then Iran responds by shutting down the Straight of Hormuz, through which Iran’s oil comes).

The drama is really that we have been dancing around the Iranian nuclear issue for ages, but if Israel attacks on their own, it is game-changing. We are, thus far, still considered an ally of Israel (and would be foolish not to be), and along with Israel’s other allies, are working hard to talk Israel out of attacking Iran. This means that if we support Israel against Iran, we will also be fighting Iran’s supporters: China and Russia.

For all of these reasons, as well as issues in Afghanistan, the US does not want to attack Iran.

And for all of these same reasons, it is a big-big-big deal for Israel to threaten to just do it on their own.

And if it happened, it would affect everyone.

Really, none of this should be new-news. Joint Chiefs chairman General Martin Dempsey told us all this a month ago.

But is it really news? What’s really going on? There are several options:

1. Preparing the Public – It may not be so much that Israel drew lines in the sand today, as much as they are just now today releasing the official plan decided weeks or months ago. It is also highly likely that part of the deal is that Israel has to take the fall for initiating it – the US is not in a position to initiate the war, but would be “required” to back up an ally that initiated it. This is especially interesting in the timing of pulling out of neighboring Afghanistan, so that resources are available for a “new” war.

2. Threat to Iran – It could be that these statements were not so much about the reality of an actual war (more a “rumor of war”), so much as a direct threat to Iran to formally rebuke them and let them know they are busted for being naughty. It may not be so much an actual threat as it is bully bravado trying to make a political point using the now-effective technology of social networking following its success in all the political movements in the Middle East last year.

3. It could also be that Israel is taking advantage of US election year to get us to commit to backing an attack on Iran. If this is what is happening, then the threats will escalate until they are personal enough or local enough or direct-to-US enough that we as a “people” are motivated (or at least consenting) enough to officially join (or declare) war on Iran. However, the last war we jumped into (the one that has just been declared over) was technically illegal fishy, never not waiting for permission from Congress or the American people. If this is the new trend, the administration may not need to get us motivated so much as they will be busy “explaining” what is happening so that we think we know (which takes us back to theory one about preparing the public for what has already been designed). They think now, post 9/11, that if they can get our emotional response, then they can get our consent (if they bother asking for it).

Major General Amir Eshel talked to the New York Times in Jerusalem last week, and he said:

Who would have dared deal with Gadaffi or Saddam Hussein if they had a nuclear capability? No way… When the other side has a nuclear capability and is prepared to use it, you think twice…

So what do the locals think?

The Jerusalem Post has already escalated everything (see theory three, above) first thing today (tomorrow there already), stating now that the Iranian nuclear missiles are able to reach the US – and so therefore, it is not only Israel in danger (so therefore, we should back them and help them go to war against Iran). This article also has the best news clips of all these quotes out of any of the online articles, so definitely check out the link if you are interested in viewing any of the video footage.

Al Jazeera and Palestine News are both silent on the issue so far, worried enough about their own plights and starvation that they don’t yet have comment on what they think about who Israel wants to attack next.

All of us are weary of aggressor nations.

It is an ancient cousins’ war, with bickering grandchildren of a covenant-keeping grandfather.

But this is the reason the cousins’ war has continued since the beginning of time: the cousins will not give up. Success is the same symbol on both sides of the family, and winning has existential meaning far deeper than geographical boundaries.

The problem that makes this moment different than any other time in history is that the weapons are now nuclear.

What do I think?

I think a good orchestra concert is way better than nuclear weapons, government oppression, bullying other cultures, or ghettos-by-force-despite-our-own-ghetto-history.

And I think we should learn now to make music together in peace, because later will be too late.

I think if we can make music, we can make peace.

Now, because later will be too late.

And while that peaceful music plays, I will sit and wonder what in my tiny world needs to be addressed now, because later will be too late?

About Emily

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2009. I serve as a Chaplain, and work as a counselor. I got bilateral cochlear implants in 2010, but will always love sign language. I choose books over television, and organics over processed. Nothing is as close to flying as ballroom dancing - except maybe running, when in the solo mood. I would rather be outside than anywhere else, especially at the river riding my bike or kayaking. PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently doing a post-doc in Jewish Studies and an MDiv in Pastoral Counseling. The best thing about Emily World is that it's always an adventure, even if (not so) grammatically precise. The only thing better than writing is being married to a writer. Nathan Christensen and I were married in the Oklahoma City temple on 13 October 2012, and have since fostered more than eighty-five children. We have adopted the six who stayed, and are totally and completely and helplessly in love with our family. Nathan writes musical theater, including "Broadcast" (a musical history of the radio) and an adaption of Lois Lowry's "The Giver". He served his mission in South Korea, has taught song-writing in New York City public schools, and worked as a theater critic for a Tucson newspaper. This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


Later Will be Too Late — 4 Comments

  1. I love Israel, which is why I can’t vote for Ron Paul. I don’t know if it’s my religious background that has given me that love, or what, but I feel “maternal” toward Israel. So I rather enjoyed the comparison to father figures. As for the theories, who knows. From the way Obama has acted toward Israel, I doubt he will back them up, but like you said, it will have to be an emotional response from the people. By the way, under the War Powers Resolution of 1973 Bush did not go to war illegally. It states that, “this provides that the President can send U.S. armed forces into action abroad only by authorization of Congress or in case of “a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.” They might have been at issue, but it wasn’t illegal, at the time. Just in case you were wondering :)

    • Oh, I was not referencing that law. I was referencing more H.J. Res. 114, October 16, 2002, which changed everything and made 1973 null and void. Never before could the President just do what he wanted, without first making his case to the American people via Congress. It removed the opportunity for the people to be on board before we went to war, so that the country went to war divided instead of united.

      So maybe I should have said “fishy” instead of illegal.

      But also, nothing like 9/11 had ever happened, and in the context of those threats and the immediacy of danger and the speed of technology these days, it may very well have not been the time for fancy speeches and the slow wheels of administrative paperwork. I get that. And many say that was about budgeting more than anything. They say Congress didn’t want him to ask because they couldn’t budget it that fast, which is why it fell under the whole war-on-terror-emergency stuff.

      Also, the official declaration of war issue is about proving to the country (via Congress) the case against the country we are fighting – like a jury case, there should be some crime committed. This is what plagued Bush the whole time, and what gave the Democrats power against him… whether they were right or wrong, since he skipped the formal process of having the people first agree with him on the case against the country, the whole time he had to battle justifying why we were still there… even though he had the emotional support of the people.

      Regardless, my problem with all of this was not so much the formality with Congress, but that he did it without UN approval – and before they could align themselves with him – which was HUGE, and isolated us from the rest of the world, which was not wise. That was a bad move, but foreign relations was one of his biggest weaknesses (besides his speaking ability, regardless of whether you love him or hate him, he totally has a speaking disability, for serious). So the entire world hated us for a decade, and war on terror or not, it’s never good to isolate ourselves so much from every ally we have. I was abroad many of those years, and it was a really scary experience, different than ever before. It was just offensive more than anything else, and the world held it against us as arrogance. Sympathy for our experience of 9/11 was enough for our people to support our troops (especially post-Vietnam, where we have learned to support our troops regardless of our own personal political opinions), but sympathy for 9/11 was not enough to maintain trust in foreign friendships.

      That’s why it comes up again now, because Israel is doing the same thing, wanting to act unilaterally.

      I don’t mean it is illegal for us or them to do so, but if we do – then what meaning is there left in being an “ally”?

  2. You’re right. Although I think at the time, the “people” (Americans) would have backed, and did to an extent, or at least for a time, any war on “terror”. It was unlike any attack in United States history, with no name, no face, no nation behind it really, most like the Gadianton Robbers. Although we were quick to give it a name and a face, for whatever reasons.

    But at what point do you dabble with procedure and quarrel and then say, “that’s enough”, I’m going to war with or without the support of my friends? Israel is apparently at that point, so are we going to be like the French were with us? Or Canada? Or everyone else? I hope not. I hope we recognize their plight, and after long talks, support them regardless. As for the UN, well, I’m of the school of thought that we should just get out. But that in and of itself is sticky.

    Regarding the UN Charter, “Not only does the Charter Organization not prevent future wars, but it makes practically certain that we shall have future wars, and as to such wars it takes from us the power to declare them, to choose the side on which we shall fight, to determine what forces and military equipment we shall use in the war, and to control and command our sons who do the fighting” -Ambassador J. Reuben Clark, Jr.

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