During the debates, Rep. Ron Paul often wonders aloud why the US should fear an Iranian nuclear weapon.  I’d call this a good reason:

U.S. intelligence agencies believe that Iran is prepared to launch terrorist attacks inside the United States in response to perceived threats from America and its allies, the U.S. spy chief said Tuesday.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in prepared testimony that an alleged Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington that was uncovered last year reflects an aggressive new willingness within the upper ranks of the Islamist republic to authorize attacks against the United States.

That plot “shows that some Iranian officials — probably including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei — have changed their calculus and are now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States in response to real or perceived U.S. actions that threaten the regime,” Clapper said in the testimony, which was submitted to the Senate Intelligence Committee in advance of a threat assessment hearing Tuesday. “We are also concerned about Iranian plotting against U.S. or allied interests overseas.”

The assessment signals a potentially dire new direction in the adversarial relationship between the United States and Iran, at a time when there are indications that a covert campaign is already underway to thwart Iran’s alleged ambition to develop a nuclear weapons.

And now that covert campaign takes on a lot more significance.  If Iran develops a nuke, the presumed primary target of such a weapon would be Israel, which could get devastated by such an attack.  An attack on Washington DC simultaneously would decapitate most of our government and military leadership and make it difficult to organize a defense or a response.  However, it would also make it clear that Iran would have been the culprit, and any opposition to a full-scale war on Tehran after conducting such an attack on American soil would dissipate overnight.

Iran knows this, and if they acted in a rational manner, they would not dare to invite such a devastating war on their country.  The problem for us is that Iran’s policy is neither rational or irrational, but non-rational.  The theocratic clique running the show are true believers in the Twelfth Imam and the need for a conflagration to produce him, and the promised result of Islamic rule throughout the world.  Starting a war with the US won’t bother them as they believe that (a) the Muslim world will find itself in such a conflict anyway, and/or (b) they can hasten the arrival of the mahdi by kicking one off.  If they see their position threatened in Iran, they may even accelerate those plans before they lose the chance to put them into action.

Even without the nuclear aspect to the threat, though, this report should make clear to everyone that Iran’s mullahcracy has been at war with us ever since it took power in 1979.  Sometimes they have been more effective at it than others, but they have conducted a low-level war against the US that Americans are loath to acknowledge.  Fortunately, our intelligence services have taken a more practical look at Iran than they did in 2007, when they produced a thoroughly political and widely discredited NIE that claimed Iran wasn’t working on nuclear weapons at all as a means to curb George Bush from acting against the Iranian threat.  What’s changed since 2007?  Hmmmm …..