Back in 1983, in the opening scene of the movie The Twilight Zone, as the echoes of the plaintive song “The Midnight Special” hung in the air, Dan Aykroyd turns to his passenger with an evil grin and says, “Wanna see something really scary?”—and then turns into a monster.
Yesterday, at the Heritage Foundation, a passel of neoconservative would-be Aykroyds showed up in a new film, Iranium, and one by one they each took a turn at scowling and saying, in effect, “Wanna hear something really scary?” As ominous music played in the background, Jim Woolsey, Harold Rhode, John Bolton, Michael Ledeen, Frank Gaffney and many others—including a cadaverous Bernard Lewis, doing what appeared to be an impression of Ernest Borgnine—tried their best to scare viewers about Iran’s supposed plot to destroy Israel, the United States and the rest of the civilized world.
Perhaps the high point of the film was when Frank Gaffney, the extreme-right militarist who leads an outfit called the Center for Security Policy in Washington—waxed poetic about how Iran could soon be able to detonate a nuclear “electromagnetic pulse” (EMP) weapon in the American heartland that would, he warned, “take down the entire power grid” across the United States. Not only that, said Gaffney and others, but this “strategic EMP attack” would destroy everything in the United States that relies on electronics, and with a few years “nine out of every ten Americans could be dead.” This, Gaffney warned, with a serious face that made it clear that he wasn’t joking, was to carry out Iran’s “stated purpose of bringing about a world without America.”
After the film ended, screened for about a hundred Heritage stalwarts who politely applauded, director Alex Traiman—who is a radical-right Israeli settler in the West Bank and who “has worked as a media, marketing, and public relations specialist”—explained that he had made the film so that he doesn’t have to hear “air raid sirens going off in an American city.” Iran’s leaders, he warned, are serious about “a world without America,” and they’ve “put a target on the backs of three hundred million Americans.”
The film—which has been ably reviewed by Ali Gharib in excruciating detail—will be released on February 8, on which date House majority leader Eric Cantor will host a screening for the good folks on Capitol Hill. In case they wanna see something “really scary.”