One of the more amazing aspects of the way events are handled in the major news media is how a huge story will burst on the scene one day and practically disappear the next. Or how some personal situation (such as marital strife or new job offer) in the life of a major sports figure or other entertainer will push out coverage of matters that affect all of us, but aren’t so flashy. Or how we never hear of some things like significant violence in some forgotten corner of the world.
I had to wonder a little bit going into the weekend whether coverage of the Stuxnet computer virus was beginning to fall into that first category. Big news—really big news—on Wednesday, hardly a mention on Thursday, back again, more or less, on Friday.
And now we’re seeing a little more about it again. On Saturday, Iran admitted that Stuxnet had been found to be a problem, but they were saying that it had not affected the main plant at Bushehr. (At the same time Iran announced the arrest of several “nuclear spies,” but wouldn’t quite say what that had to do with the situation at hand.)
Others have noted that Iran is not the only country where the problem has appeared (China has been especially hard hit), but some have explained that away as a natural consequence of the method chosen by it’s authors (whoever they are) to ensure infection of the target. Or targets.
But then today we see an admission coming from Iran that yes, indeed, significant delays at the plant have been specifically linked to the virus.
From another angle comes the suggestion that the computer code itself contains a reference to the Biblical Queen Esther – you know, the Jewish heroine who was key to her people inflicting a military defeat on their enemies in Persia (modern day Iran) hundreds of years ago. Which of course in turn implicates Israel as the point of origin. Maybe.
One of the more interesting commentaries I’ve seen today is from Caroline Glick. Though remaining among the sane voices still not ready to nail Israel on this, she points out the potential for a new cyber arms race, drawing a parallel with the way the nuclear arms race began some sixty-odd years ago. What is the world in for?
As I read the various reports, especially those relaying Iran’s responses, the overall impression I’m left with is that this a serious problem, but not the end of the world. Iran is trying, it seems, to put a cool face on it, and the major media appear to me to be playing along. But I imagine that what we’re not seeing is a substantial amount of rage going on behind closed doors. I mean, here is Iran’s obvious (and stated) purpose of destroying Israel, the U.S. and the rest of the world (pretty much in that order), and they’re being seriously tripped up by a computer malfunction of all things! Now remember that they have a stark raving lunatic in charge, and well — need I say more?