If this article is correct, Iran’s inherent systemic failures mean that it’s not as far along in developing a nuclear bomb as concerned Western nations have feared. But the article’s author goes on to ask what I can only call a really stupid question (emphasis mine):
The news comes as a great relief. But it also raises questions. This was a serious intelligence failure, one that has led some of Israel’s own officials to wonder aloud, “Did we cry wolf too early?”
Indeed, Israel has consistently overestimated Iran’s nuclear program for decades. In 1992, then Foreign Minister Shimon Peres announced that Iran was on pace to have the bomb by 1999. Israel’s many subsequent estimates have become increasingly frenzied but have been consistently wrong. U.S. intelligence agencies have been only slightly less alarmist, and they, too, have had to extend their timelines repeatedly.
Overestimating Iran’s nuclear potential might not seem like a big problem. However, similar, unfounded fears were the basis for President George W. Bush’s preemptive attack against Iraq and its nonexistent weapons of mass destruction. Israel and the United States need to make sure that this kind of human and foreign policy disaster does not happen again.
What explains Israel’s most recent intelligence failure?
From there on out, the author talks about intelligence failures, politics, and all sorts of other stuff.
That’s all so complicated. It seems to me that Israel overestimates the bomb threat for one very simple reason: She’s the first in line when/if Iran finally gets a bomb. Given Israel’s highest priority as Iran’s first target for its weapon of mass destruction, Israel might be a little antsy and might think that it’s better to be too worried, rather than too sanguine. After all, as one Holocaust victim memorably said, “When someone says they’re going to kill you, take them seriously.”
No matter how far Iran has gotten with the bomb, it’s already too far for Israel’s peace of mind and safety. Anything greater than no bomb at all is a risk. And that’s why the article’s question is disingenuous. Even if all the other reasons for Israel’s intelligence errors are true, one must never lose sight of the fact that Israel has reason to be very afraid — and that tends to make both people and nations jumpy.