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Tom Brokaw regretted not connecting the dots on terrorism prior to 9/11. Why are we making the same mistake with Iran?

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Why Aren’t We Connecting the Dots on Iran?

Tom Brokaw regretted not connecting the dots on terrorism prior to 9/11. Why are we making the same mistake with Iran?

Upon leaving NBC Nightly News in December 2004, Tom Brokaw was asked if there was any story he regretted failing to cover.  His response?  Failing in “connect(ing) the dots on terrorism” prior to 9/11.

As we recovered from the shock of 9/11, many Americans wondered why we did fail to “connect the dots” — properly combine and analyze — and then act on the intelligence we were gathering.  Three years earlier, a little known terrorist by the name of Usama bin Laden had declared war against the U.S. Perhaps perceived as no more than the inconsequential leader depicted in the movie The Mouse that Roared, al-Qaeda’s top terrorist evoked little serious concern.  The result was devastating as 9/11 caught us by surprise.

When Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, completes the role he has scripted for himself in detonating a nuclear weapon within the next two years with a view to targeting Israel and/or the U.S., the same question will be asked. Once again, we will be in shock.  Soon after we may again be struggling to recover from a devastating attack that caught us by surprise.

As illogical and irrational as Muslim extremists bin Laden and Ahmadinejad are, there is still some logic to their madness. As the Quran compels believers to forewarn enemies before slaying them, Bin Laden issued his warning in 1998. His Western audience ignored it.  Ahmadinejad has issued similar warnings with his threats to wipe Israel off the map and to slay the Great Satan (i.e., the U.S.).  Again, we fail to heed such threats at our own peril.  

Sadly, too, we fail to recognize Ahmadinejad has already declared war against us.  This is evidenced by attacks, carried out by terrorist proxies but masterminded in Tehran, against our Marine Barracks in Lebanon in 1983 and Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996.  Iran has been the source of weapons and munitions that have killed American soldiers in Iraq for the past six years.  American lives have been claimed in a war being fought by Iran but ignored by the US which has failed to hold Tehran accountable.  

The forensics investigation that will be done after Ahmadinejad’s Armageddon occurs will reveal numerous dots that should have been connected, forewarning us of what was to come.  It will find they were disregarded as, focusing instead on diplomacy, we failed to see Iran’s hand reaching for the nuclear weapon launch button.

The doomsday dots continue to fall into place, where they continue to be ignored by the West.  

In the aftermath of the fraudulent presidential election Ahmadinejad stole from the Iranian people in June, his brazen disregard for our ability to understand these events was displayed by his recent selection of a new Defense Minister, Ahmad Vahidi. To the uneducated observer, Vahidi’s selection might not seem noteworthy; but it is a clear indication Ahmadinejad wants this man to finish a war he started.

A former commander of the Quds Force, which is an elite unit under the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Vahidi is now identified as the person who sanctioned the 1983 attack against the Marine Barracks, killing 241 U.S. servicemen.  He is also linked to a 1994 terrorist attack against a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.  An extensive investigation by the Argentine government into the latter resulted in an arrest warrant being issued for Vahidi.  Today, he is on Interpol’s Most Wanted List.  Having started his terrorist campaign by targeting the U.S. and Israel, Ahmadinejad now wants his Defense Minister to finish the job.  It will require nuclear weapons to do so.  

Another doomsday dot was added in September when Iran revealed — only because the West was preparing to do so — that it had been building a second uranium-enrichment plant.  Tehran’s claim the facility is for civilian purposes rings false as construction had been secretly undertaken into a mountain side near the holy city of Qom and under military auspices. Even the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Egyptian Mohamed el Baradei, who never found a leader of a country secretly seeking to develop nuclear weapons he did not like, says Iran acted illegally by starting construction of the facility without prior notice.

This revelation comes six years after another significant doomsday dot appeared. The existence of Iran’s first uranium-enrichment plant at Natanz, also secretly built, was admitted by Tehran, while the mullahs deceived Western negotiators they would be more forthcoming about their nuclear program. When the admission came, Iran claimed Natanz was for civilian, not military, use.  But a subsequent IAEA inspection found, despite Iran’s claim and unsuccessful efforts to scrub the evidence clean, traces of weapons grade uranium — something having no purpose in a purely civilian application.  And, again, these activities were taking place under IRGC auspices.    

A most damning dot is a three-minute, highly-secret video obtained from Iran by a high-ranking IAEA inspector played for member state representatives last year. The film depicts a computerized simulation of what appears to be a nuclear warhead, re-entering the atmosphere before detonating about 2000 feet above the Earth’s surface.  (At such an altitude, a nuclear detonation could inflict maximum damage on the surface below).  

Viewers were reportedly stunned by what they saw, realizing the Iranians have secretly conducted, alongside any civilian research of nuclear power, military research and the calculations for weaponization.  The fears the video raises are further supported by secret documents smuggled out of Iran and obtained by the IAEA.  But el Baradei, taking a Neville Chamberlainesque approach in dealing with a 21st century Hitler, has worked hard to keep this evidence of Ahmadinejad’s intentions concealed, arguing it is insufficient to prove military intent.  This video should be released at once to the general public so we can assess the evidence ourselves.        

Coupling the above dots with Ahmadinejad’s personal view he was put on Earth to prepare the way for the return of Islam’s 12th Imam by creating the world chaos that must precede his arrival should leave no doubt about this madman’s agenda.  Ahmadinejad has told his inner circle the 12th Imam, who disappeared centuries ago, will return during his term in office, which ends in four years.  This was why it was so critical for him to "win" the presidential election he had lost.

Three questions surrounding Iran’s true intentions about nuclear weapons are “if” Tehran will obtain them; “when” it will obtain them; and “what it intends to do should such weapons be obtained?” Connecting the dots should make it clear the only question left unanswered is “when.”

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Written By

Lieutenant Colonel James Zumwalt is a retired Marine infantry officer who served in the Vietnam war, the 1989 intervention into Panama and Desert Storm. An author, speaker and business executive, he also currently heads a security consulting firm named after his father -- Admiral Zumwalt & Consultants, Inc. He has also been cited in numerous other books and publications for unique insights based on his research on the Vietnam war, North Korea (a country he has visited ten times and about which he is able to share some very telling observations) and Desert Storm.

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