By N. Richard Greenfield, Publisher ~
Cyber Attacks on Iran Growing
News from the Middle East about Iran’s nuclear capability and Israel’s plans to thwart it seemed to have been fading into the background of late. Oil prices, a proxy for some as an indicator on the possibility of an interruption of oil supply moving to the industrial West, have been in retreat as well. This tempering of tensions and lessening of a fear of war may or may not be justified, but there now seems to be some activity that has bearing on this threat. News of a new reality, “Flame”, a software infection that has hit Iran and other Middle East countries and intrusively gathers information, has started leaking out from a number of sources. The outcome of this Malware infection is yet to be determined, but it has increased our hope for avoiding or delaying a nuclear event.
Short of a physical attack on Iran’s burgeoning nuclear production facilities, writing innovative computer programs looks to be the only other way to safeguard the world from a nuclear eruption. The UN continues to show its unwillingness to contain a belligerent Iran, and the current U.S. administration seems equally disposed to avoid direct action vis a vis Iran. The sanctions legislated by the Senate are continually watered down or deferred by a State Department intent on mollifying Iran instead of deterring her. It seems as if, absent an aggressive software infection of this sort, Iran’s weapons of mass extermination will be allowed to become a reality soon.
Experts have been saying that cyber attacks won’t deter Iran’s ability to procure weapons grade nuclear material and ultimately its nuclear bomb. Hopefully, they are wrong. With the distance between what is now still a research project but is fast becoming a viable weapons program narrowing on
a daily basis, it couldn’t come at a better time.
“Golda’s Balcony” is theater not history
“Golda’s Balcony” is a well-done, one-woman play that was last performed at the Bushnell in Hartford in 2007. It is now at Playhouse on the Park, where
it will run through June 3. As theater, it is entertaining, but it has a serious historical flaw.
That flaw revolves around the Yom Kippur War when, in a moment of high drama, Prime Minister Golda Meir, in a phone conversation with President Richard Nixon, allegedly threatens him with Israel’s use of its atomic weapon if the United States doesn’t replenish her fast shrinking arsenal of conventional ammunition. The problem is that this threat is based on one man’s speculation, not fact.
While William Gibson, author of “Golda’s Balcony,” invokes artistic license, an act of this gravity needs to be grounded much closer to the truth than it is. Gibson depends on the fiction created by the controversial investigative journalist Seymour Hersh. A serial exaggerator and vendor of half-truths, here’s Hersh about his relationship with the truth in his own words. “Sometimes I change events, dates and places in a certain way to protect people … I can’t fudge what I write. But I can certainly fudge what I say.” Over the years Hersh has fudged a lot. Using bits and pieces of truth he does things like expand the number of those massacred at My Lai, the story that made his bones as a big time journalist. Later in his career ,when he commented on his inflated numbers in the My Lai story, he said “a word for what I did — an actual word, it has three letters – it’s called ‘lie’”.
My Lai was one of many embellished stories that Hersh created, but it wasn’t until he was telling tales about the Kennedy clan in the “Dark Side of Camelot” that his peers held him to account for his lies. Until then, he could do no wrong. Golda’s supposed threat to Nixon stood no scrutiny and aroused no comment while Hersh was considered one of journalism’s brightest. But as time goes on, this falsity embeds itself into the historical record to the detriment of everyone involved.
We don’t need to go deeply into the rest of Hersh’s flawed career; many others have done just that. In this instance, however, we do have to wonder why this script persists in being used in the face of a lack of historical corroboration to support its assertion. The falsehood maligns Israel, Golda Meir and President Nixon. It flies in the face of what we do know and outside of Hersh, there is no one who has talked about it without relying on his fiction. The late President disavowed it in 1992 when it first appeared. Henry Kissinger disputes it. Numerous biographers and those who were there at the time, like Nixon’s close associate Leonard Garment, make no mention of anything remotely like the threat that Golda was supposed to have uttered. They tell a different story and it’s not close to what Hersh gives us. What Nixon did was a courageous act born of strong personal conviction. Think what you like about this disgraced President for he was many things, but this one act was of singular importance to Israel and the Jewish people and deserves to be presented accurately.
To be clear. The outcome of the Yom Kippur War might have been quite different without America’s action on her behalf. At the very least, many Israeli lives were saved. At its utmost, the act of a president who was already fighting to stay in office and had little to gain politically from this act might have allowed Israel to survive.
“Golda’s Balcony” is theatre, not history. Those who see it can watch it for what it is and still enjoy the show, knowing that Golda and a U.S. president in real life did the right thing and history will record those roles accordingly.
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