The Iranian Bomb, Yawn . . .

by Jay Nordlinger

Over at Power Line, that bright, knowledgeable blog, Scott Johnson has an item about a conversation we had last night. Early last year, I interviewed John Negroponte, the longtime American diplomat who was director of national intelligence in the previous administration. (He held other posts in that administration too.) I asked him about Iran and nuclear weapons. Here’s what he said: “I think that’s what they want, I think that’s what they’re headed towards, I think that’s what they’re going to get.”

Shortly after he became DNI in 2005, his office estimated that Iran would have a nuclear weapon sometime between 2010 and 2015. Negroponte told me, “I don’t believe that that assessment has essentially changed.” I asked, “So, we can’t stop them?” He said, “I think we can delay them through sanctions, through import restrictions, through working with other countries. But definitively stop them? Even if you used coercive means, I think it would be quite difficult by now.”

Well, I thought those statements were remarkable, given the source: someone who had been the chief intelligence official in our country not so long before. He ought to know — right? — unlike the rest of us newspaper-readers and opiners. I thought I had a bit of a scoop on my hands, or at least a hot item: something that would be picked up by media far and wide.

I put it here in the Corner. I put it in my web column. I put it in a piece for National Review (at the tippy-top). I put it everywhere but in concert and opera reviews. And . . . nothing. No one commented, no one noticed — no one said, “Holy-moly!” The item did not cause a ripple. People were more interested in what I had to say about unusual names in baseball. (Mookie Wilson is a classic, though not as classic as Hack Wilson. Pudd’nhead Wilson didn’t play ball.)

Oh, well, it could be that the Iranian A-bomb is simply a foregone conclusion, or a topic that bores people. I fear it will not be so boring, when the mullahs go nuclear.