What Must Be Said about the Samson Option


These days an interesting, and may be a turning point social and historic event is unfolding in Germany. The most famous living German writer Günter Grass has published last week his new poem What Must Be Said, in which he protests about the Western hypocrisy when Israel is encouraged to strike first and annihilate Iran, while the Israeli nuclear threat to the world peace is played down by all means.

This publication is truly an unprecedented event. Before, the German public discourse did not allow any freedom for a respectable public figure to say anything critical about Israel. That was reserved for the marginal neo-Nazi and revanchist groups, members of which have been quickly and readily routed and jailed.

Such a prominent figure of a renowned novelist, poet, sculptor and the Nobel Prize laureate breaking the Taboo is an unheard before mutiny against the consent of the cultural life of Germany, which may manifest beginning of a new era in the German national consciousness.

Of course that poem stirred quite a reaction in Israel, tells the article in National Post German Nobel laureate accuses Israel of plotting to ‘wipe out the Iranian people’:
“What must be said is that it belongs to European tradition to accuse the Jews of ritual murder before the Passover celebration,” said Emmanuel Nahshon, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Israeli embassy in Berlin, in a statement.”

It may seam this scandal is only German, Israeli and, may be, Iranian matter. However, there is a significant international importance in the questions brought to light by the poem.

To better understand the poem and these questions we need to look at them in the context of the, so called, “Samson Option” – the Israeli nuclear program and its aims. The main secret about the Israeli nuclear arsenal is not its existence, or even its contents, but the reason why it exists and what cities and countries it targets.

It may seam that the “Samson Option” is merely a very expensive toy of the Israeli ego, which does not have a realistic practical scenario of its use. Indeed, it could not be used against Palestinians, for number of reasons, but the main is that would be nuking the very territory of Israel (in all means of this word).

The nuclear arsenal of Israel could not be used against its neighbors, too. The nuclear weapon is a very poor tool of genocide (we will leave the moral considerations alone for a moment, and look only at utilitarian aspects), especially against the dispersed rural population of the surrounding Arab countries. As well, it has very limited military capabilities, and works well only against local targets of high importance and  occasional concentrations of the troops. The former threat is mitigated by the deep burying of such targets underground, and the latter – by the proper command and control.

The only real functionality of the nuclear weapon is to be a weapon of terror. Ideal targets for that are the large unprotected cities. However, the use of the nuclear arsenal against the capitals of neighboring Arab countries would be a political suicide for Israel, even if it were under attack.

More on that, the Israeli nuclear arsenal and its means of delivery are not suited to attack the regional targets. It’s estimated that Israel has from 100 to 400 nuclear warheads, most of which are installed on the strategic intercontinental ballistic missiles Jericho II and III with the range of 5000 and 7180 miles, the latter capable of reaching most of the continental USA; with the rest being “nuclear suitcase” devices – literally a weapon of terrorism.

The missiles are deployed in the deep underground silos, capable of withstanding preemptive nuclear strike, or on the submarines of Dolphin class of German production, Günter Grass is talking about in his poem (actually he mentions the sixth one of the fleet). These all are the weapons of the second, or the “dead hand” strike. These weapons are destined not for the local neighbors, but for the distant Nuclear Powers.

What purpose the targeting of Nuclear Powers may have? Ron Rosenbaum in his book How the End Begins: The Road to a Nuclear World War III, and Seymour Hersh, in Samson Option: Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal & American Foreign Policy argue that the purpose of the Israeli “Samson Option” program is a nuclear blackmail, and the best guaranty of the American “unconditional support” of Israel. If Israel feels the threat for its existence and suspects that its allies are planning to abandon it, it will “bring down the pillars of the world”, attacking world capitals.

Director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Iowa professor David Perlmutter and Israeli military historian and theorist Martin van Creveld are even more elaborate in The New York Times and The Guardian about the Samson Option:

“What would serve the Jew-hating world better in repayment for thousands of years of massacres but a Nuclear Winter. Or invite all those tut-tutting European statesmen and peace activists to join us in the ovens? For the first time in history, a people facing extermination…have the power to destroy the world. The ultimate justice?”

“We possess several hundred atomic warheads and rockets and can launch them at targets in all directions, perhaps even at Rome. Most European capitals are targets for our air force. Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: ‘Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother.’… We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you that that will happen before Israel goes under.”

That is the threat Günter Grass is talking about, and these questions he raises about the real source of that threat to the world’s peace is the reason he gets the smear campaign for.

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