Those who do not learn from history …

This being the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, read this from National Review about the next potential missile crisis:

Among the lessons of these events, which many consider the closest we came to a nuclear exchange during the Cold War, is that our intelligence community can be badly informed. Our technical capabilities for gathering information are much improved since a half-century ago, but this lesson remains true — even regarding the possibility of a renewed threat to the United States of a nuclear attack from the south, courtesy not of the Russians but of Iran.

Indeed, even as Israel seems sure that Iran will not gain a nuclear-weapons capability in the next few months, others doubt that we really know Iran’s capabilities so precisely — and they warn that Iran could pose an imminent threat not only to Israel but also to the United States. …

For example, Reza Kahlili is a counterterrorism expert who served in the CIA’s directorate of operations as a spy in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and currently serves on the Task Force on National and Homeland Security, an advisory board authorized by Congress. He warns of an October surprise that could affect our upcoming election. Last year, he noted that when Iran gets a nuclear weapon, it will already have the tested ballistic-missile capability needed to launch it from a ship off our coasts, including from the Gulf of Mexico.

So we potentially could again be rudely awakened by a nuclear attack from a few miles off our coasts. As I have previously argued, this is an existential threat, because the associated electromagnetic pulse (EMP) from a high-altitude nuclear burst could lead to the ultimate death of two-thirds or more of all Americans, as reported to Congress by the congressionally mandated EMP Commission.

Thus, we could, in the near future, confront a modern Cuban Missile Crisis — produced by the threat of a nuclear attack either from a ship off our coasts or from Venezuela, which Iran is supporting with important technology and know-how. We are totally vulnerable to this threat.

While our missile-defense site in Alaska provides a limited defense against long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) launched from Iran, it is totally ineffective against this threat from the sea or from Venezuela. An additional East Coast site, as advocated by some in Congress, is a worthy objective to improve our defense against Iranian ICBMs, but it would not end our total vulnerability to Iranian missiles launched from ships off our coasts.

Whatever the uncertainties in 1962, President Kennedy knew he was dealing with an adversary that could be deterred from carrying out an existential threat to America. Today we confront an Iranian regime that is dedicated to destroying the “Great Satan,” America — and may even seek an “end times” catastrophe to hasten the “return of the Mahdi.”

It is not at all clear that they can be deterred. Indeed, many of their actions — and words — suggest that they are quite prepared to commit suicide to kill a multitude of Americans and destroy all we hold dear.


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