But technically, if Iran can send a missile up into space and have it explode, it could shut down our electronics; that would do more damage to us than any conventional bomb ever could. Imagine the chaos if an EMP [electro-magnetic pulse] bomb took all of our computers, phones, TVs, lights and flipped them off? America would be out of business.
"Imagining" the effects of an Iranian EMP attack is exactly what you're going to have to do, because there's not a credible national security expert alive who thinks that this sort of attack is even remotely feasible. You have to love how Beck throws "technically" in there, as if to indicate that he has some idea what he's talking about, but there's a rather enormous "technical" chasm between "send a missile up into space and have it explode" and "shut down our electronics." It's like saying "technically, if Iran has lasers, they can blow us up with their Iranian Death Star." Well, yes, maybe, someday, theoretically. Not any time soon. Certainly not before Glenn Beck has scared himself into a stroke.
Turning to a video clip of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad praying to God to "hasten the arrival of Imam al-Mahdi," Beck asks "'Hasten the return of Imam al-Mahdi' -- what's he talking about?" Glenn Beck is going to tell us!
He's talking about the 12th Imam. He's a "Twelver." What is that? If journalists weren't so busy trying to land jobs with the Obama administration (14 to be exact), they'd look into that.
The "Twelvers" believe that the Mahdi, or 12th Imam, will soon return. This is end times, stuff. They are different than most Muslims because they believe that the return needs to be hastened. It's not a good idea to hasten the return of the Chosen One, because to do that, the world has to be in chaos, carnage and even genocide — so the Messiah comes and brings peace.
"Twelvers" are so dangerous that at one point the Ayatollah Khomeini banned them.
While it's true that Twelver eschatology describes the return of the Mahdi, most Twelvers (like most Christians who believe similar things about a returning Messiah and an End of Days) do not believe that it is their duty to trigger it. It’s also true that Ahmadinejad, a pious conservative Shia Muslim, lards his speeches with references to the return of the Hidden Imam, so much so that he was chastised by several Iranian clerics, who told him he “would be better off concentrating on Iran’s social problems…than indulging in such mystical rhetoric.” There is, of course, no evidence whatsoever that Iranian policy is guided by a strategy to hasten the Twelfth Imam’s return.
The idea that "Twelvers" are some sort of secretive, extreme apocalyptic sect is patent nonsense. If Beck, or anyone at Fox, would bother to Google "Twelvers," they'd learn very quickly that Twelvers are, in fact, the largest sect of Shi'ism. The idea that "Ayatollah Khomeini banned them" is rather confounding, given that Ayatollah Khomeini was a Twelver, as are all the leading ayatollahs in the world, including those serving as religious guides for the Iranian pro-democracy movement.
This isn't the first time Beck has authoritatively delivered these complete, and easily disprovable, non-facts about Twelver Shi'ism to his audience. The last time, to my knowledge, was last September. What this tells us, as if we didn't know already, is that neither Beck nor anyone who works at Fox News really gives a damn whether it's true or not. The point is it's scary.
Skilled entertainer that his, Beck saves the very best for last:
By the way, do you know what "Iran" means in Farsi? Aryan.
Actually, the Farsi word for Iran is "Iran." But still, it's derived from "Aryan," so... whoa dude. Now that I think about it, it's actually pretty crazy how Ahmadinejad caused historians in the 1700's to adapt the Sanskrit word arya to denote a subset of Indo-European languages and peoples, and then caused French racialist Arthur de Gobineau to steal the term in the 1850's for his goofy theory of a master "white" race, and then caused the Nazis to weave that nonsense into their ideology, and then caused Reza Shah Pahlavi to decide as part of his modernization program that he wanted people to use the term "Iran" instead of "Persia" so that later, decades after the Pahlavi dynasty had been overthrown by the Islamic revolution, Ahmadinejad would get to run a country whose name really means "Hitlerland."
This is what can happen when you treat Jonah Goldberg as a serious historian.