Going MAD

Hey, we went M.A.D. in 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s, and we did okay, right?

That’s right. Mutual Assured Destruction. It worked for our parents and grandparents, so why can’t it work for us?

I mean, those Iranians are people just like us, right?

They can’t be worse than those crazy Soviet communists, right?

No. Not right.

The Mullocracy in Iran makes every Stalinist government in the world look like Jeffersonian democrats.

In fact, I’d go as far as to say that Adolf Hitler would be preferable to what is in power in Tehran right now. At least Hitler responded to threats. No, really. Adolf only became suicidal towards the end.

The Shiite Islamists in power in Iran at this moment?


How can ANYONE believe that the threat of Mutual Assured Destruction would work with fanatics who WANT to die RIGHT NOW for what they believe in?

I mean, the Soviets actually didn’t want to die for what they believed in. They just wanted US to die.

But, if Iran – all of it – dies in the process of killing America and Israel? It’s paradise and virgins all around.

So no, MAD ain’t gonna work.

Going Mad over MAD

April 6, 2012, Nicholas Saidel, Times of Israel

The question has been floating around for some time now: “Is the Iranian regime a rational actor?” This question is more than relevant for military strategists who subscribe to the Cold War nuclear deterrence model known as Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). MAD contemplates the dynamic between two adversaries armed with enough nuclear weapons to survive and respond in kind to a first strike. The threat of catastrophic retaliation creates an equilibrium whereby both sides lose the incentive to be the first to attack. MAD theory postulates that even if Iran does acquire nuclear arms, it would not use them against Israel, as such use would be akin to national suicide, given the expected Israeli nuclear response. Instead, Iran would be locked into a cold war with Israel – a nuclear paralysis comparable to that between the United States and the Soviet Union during the latter half of the 20th century.

Proponents of MAD rely on the assumption that a “rational” state actor will not commit acts that will almost certainly result in the annihilation of a major portion of its own population and infrastructure, e.g. acts such as a nuclear first strike against an enemy state that possesses second strike capability (in this case, Israel). Most foreign policy analysts agree that since the revolution of 1979, the Islamic Republic has sufficiently demonstrated it is a rationally behaving entity. Even Israeli ex-Mossad Director Meir Dagan has been clear on this point. Assuming Iran is a rational actor; can we safely assume a nuclear equipped Iran would be deterred from attacking Israel under the principles of MAD?

MAD about the bomb

MAD doctrine’s presumption that rational actors will be guided by a self-interest averse to wholesale devastation to its populace and infrastructure is dangerously flawed. The historical record shows Iran is willing to accomplish relatively minor gains at huge cost to the Iranian civilian populace. The military tactics of Iran during its decade-long war with Iraq in the 1980s evidence a shocking disregard not only for Iraqi civilian life, but for Iranian lives as well.

Perhaps most abhorrent was the decision by the Iranian military to clear mine fields by sending tens of thousands of untrained boys to their certain death. Enticing children to commit suicide involved the invocation of the Islamic notion of martyrdom through jihad. Plastic necklaces with “keys to paradise” were purportedly given to the children prior to their ghastly mission.

In a similar vein, thousands of children and other untrained Iranians were recruited for suicide missions in which human waves would run toward enemy artillery installations to make the path easier for Iranian troops and tanks. Massive enemy civilian casualties were the intended result of the “War of the Cities,” a relatively dark period of the Iran-Iraq War during which both sides barraged each other’s population centers — ostensibly to crush enemy morale.
If a moderate like Rafsanjani can envision a nuclear exchange with Israel as a positive for Iran, what are we to expect from his more extreme cohorts? (illustration: Arie Katz/The Times of Israel)

If a moderate like Rafsanjani can envision a nuclear exchange with Israel as a positive for Iran, what are we to expect from his more extreme cohorts? (illustration: Arie Katz/The Times of Israel)

Iran has already proven its willingness to target innocent Jewish populations for mass execution. Iran was formally charged by Argentinean prosecutors for the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires — a civilian facility — that claimed 85 innocent lives. Unbeknownst to many, Iran’s current minister of defense, Ahmad Vahidi, is one of five men wanted by Interpol for his involvement in the 1994 slaughter.

Read the rest of the article here.