Grumpy Old Man: Iranian soundtrack

What's Israel going to do regarding that irritating business of a nuclear Iran?

BMW M5 521 (photo credit: Reuters)
BMW M5 521
(photo credit: Reuters)
Serge Schmemann of The New York Times recently told readers about a new feature in BMW’s very hot M5 performance sedan: recorded motor noise.
“I was stunned when I first learned in the December issue of Automobile magazine that the sound you hear inside a 2013 M5 will be coming from its speakers,” he wrote recently, “and, to judge by subsequent letters and Web chatter, I am not alone. ‘I don’t believe it! A car that lip-synchs!’ moaned one correspondent.”
As do all luxury automobile manufacturers, Bayerische Motoren Werke wraps the seating area of its cars with enough acoustic insulation to block out the sound of the road, including that of the engine. But the power plant in what Schmemann calls “this super-brutal version of the midsize BMW” is pretty much the M5’s entire selling point.
So, rather than rip out some of the wrapping, the Munich-based automaker went with canned vrooom aimed at reassuring motorheads – at least, perhaps, the more gullible among them – that the 4.4 liter, twin-turbocharged, intercooled V-8 and its stable of 560 horses hadn’t fallen out a few kilometers back at the speed bump.
Kind of like our government and security establishment.
I mean, there’s been a whole lot of noise about what Israel is going to do regarding that irritating business of a nuclear Iran.
Good buddies Binyamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak are of one voice, hardly muted, that basically says military force is probably the only thing that will stop the mullahs, and it’s only a matter of time.
But there’s another, discordant voice, and it’s not muted, either.
The opposing camp is being led by former Mossad chief Meir Dagan and (so numerous commentators tell us) more than a few high-ranking figures in the defense and security communities. This camp says (a) there’s more time, so let the sanctions work; (b) any strike will be ineffective yet costly to Israel in terms of military losses, and serve only to rally Iranians behind the regime; (c) a furious Tehran will throw barrages of missiles (biological? chemical?) at Israel’s rear, lash out at Western forces within reach, and make it so dangerous to move oil out of the Gulf that the prevalent sound at the world’s gas pumps will be that of eyeballs popping out over prices; (d) all of the above.
To be honest, the whole thing is, in a way, reassuring. It means the people we pay to look out for us have not fallen asleep. Perhaps they learned their lesson from the Carmel forest fire, the Second Lebanon War or any other national catastrophe that’s gained the attention of the state comptroller or spawned yet another in a long line of commissions of inquiry.
But the cacophony is getting so bad it’s likely to drown out the real roar of one of those BMWs. And it has spread elsewhere, especially to major news outlets both here and abroad, all run by number-crunchers who know a story that can boost ratings and newsstand sales when they see one. Open any paper or turn on any news channel and you can be sure that once you get through the ruckus about Snooki’s weight loss you’ll read or hear of this or that US or European official ruminating about Israel’s intentions, sounding like the old Clairol commercial that intoned, “Does she or doesn’t she?”
I THINK IT might be part of a well-planned and coordinated international psy-ops effort aimed at getting and keeping Iran off balance. The Western capitals ban trade and freeze assets, and Israel threatens war. Kind of like bad cop/worse cop.
For us this is good news. It means that much of the world actually does seem to view Israel as an important strategic ally and not just as a pain in the butt. If it didn’t, CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley’s recent Q&A with US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta wouldn’t have gone as follows:
Pelley: If the Israelis decide to launch a military strike to prevent that weapon from being built, what sort of complications does that raise for you?
Panetta: Well, we share the same common concern. The United States does not want Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. That’s a red line for us and that’s a red line, obviously, for the Israelis. If we have to do it we will deal with it.
Pelley: You just said if we have to do it we will come and do it. What is “it”?
Panetta: If they proceed and we get intelligence that they are proceeding with developing a nuclear weapon then we will take whatever steps necessary to stop it.
Pelley: Including military steps? Panetta: There are no options off the table.
Pelley: A nuclear weapon in Iran is...
Panetta: Unacceptable.
On the other hand, though, it’s an election year. Not long ago Panetta joined James Baker, Henry Kissinger and the pantheon of history’s other US Government anti-Semites when he growled at Israel to “just get to the damn table” and negotiate with the Palestinians.
(I won’t even begin to talk about Obama.) Now he seems to understand.
Of course, by the time you read this it might not even matter anymore. But enough already! Can’t you see we’re trying to get some sleep? Even without all the noise about conventionally-tipped Shahabs if we do and nuclear-tipped Shahabs if we don’t, we’re worried enough about Hamas, earthquakes, Hezbollah, poverty, Erdogan, corruption, Marwan Barghouti and whether the taste-meisters are going to hit us with yet another mind-numbing doppelgänger of Kochav Nolad.
We get it, Netanyahu & Co. You’re at the wheel and alert... although on the other hand, this might only be political lip-synch because it could yet turn into an election year here, too.
Whatever. I just wish we could turn down the volume like in one of those soundtracked BMWs. Guess I’ll have to rummage through my international flight kit for those special headphones. Time for some white noise. I have a feeling the lights will blink if anything happens.