January 19, 2006
Iran's Big Threat
The taunt still rings
in my ears. “What about North Korea? If we're going to get
so adventurous in Iraq, what about North Korea?”
of the war in Iraq tried to insulate themselves from accusations
of pacifism by asserting that they would back military action
if it were a real threat like, say, North Korea.
Well, now we've arrived
at the brink of a threat more pressing than North Korea, creating
a real honesty test for the people who made themselves feel better
by offering up a hypothetical threat that they would actually
favor responding to.
Anyone hiding behind
the North Korea facade needs to step forward and get behind the
possibility of acting against a nuclear Iran.
Some Democrats are
already trying to bat military action off the table. Before examining
why, let's assess what the range of possibilities is for America
and for the profoundly dangerous Iranian regime that threatens
the progress of Middle East stability.
Since 1979, Iran has
been led by thugs who embrace the kind of pathological terrorist
hate that we now seek to defeat.
I was 21 when a jihadist
rabble took our hostages in the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. I did
not expect that drama to last more than a year, and I did not
expect Iran's radical theocracy to last until I reached middle
But, to the detriment
of millions of Iranians, the Ayatollah Khomeini sparked an uninterrupted
string of mullahs equally dedicated to terror.
While Iran now has
a secular president who ascended from what passes for an election,
that is no comfort. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a Hitler-scale Jew
hater and a supporter of the crusade to spread an Islamic revolution
around the world. He has spoken enthusiastically about “a
world without America” and the violent eradication of Israel,
which he calls “a stain of disgrace.”
An energized generation
of young Iranians has watched enough cable news to know that it
doesn't have to grow old in the grip of tyranny that takes its
cues from centuries past. But a revolution cohesive enough to
topple Iran's despots will take more time than we have.
America's plans for
a democracy across the border in Iraq are a stumbling block the
Iranian regime will not tolerate.
Fresh insurgent ranks
are pouring into Iraq from Iran and neighboring Syria. Our troops
have the job of dealing with that threat right now. But as Iran
develops nuclear facilities that may yield more than just electricity,
we have to weigh what additional U.S. forces might be called on
to stem that new danger.
I wish there were
cause for optimism as we weigh diplomatic routes and the prospect
of economic sanctions.
While it is premature
to load the troop planes for an Iranian invasion, it is the height
of myopia to recoil at the possibility of a military solution.
Mr. Ahmadinejad already
has threatened to block U.N. inspections of his country's nuclear
programs. While we have received mild support from France and
Germany on the trial balloons of economic sanctions, China and
Russia may be in the mood to obstruct.
So what we need is
a sober realization that we will first try everything short of
a military option to thwart the unacceptable prospect of nuclear
weapons in the hands of this madman, which may work and may not.
If not, then what?
What we do not need
is American politicians looking skittish about what we might have
to do. Sen. Evan Bayh, an Indiana Democrat, is part of a small
chorus of voices already distancing from a military solution,
choosing instead to blame the Bush administration for “ignoring”
Iran for four years.
I'm wincing in advance.
Any serious assessment of the need for a military strike to take
out Iranian nuclear facilities will rely on — brace yourself
— reliable intelligence.
The lessons of Iraq
should make that intelligence better. I hope we also see improvement
in the tone of debate if diplomacy and sanctions fail. Things
will be tense enough without partisanship sullying that debate
the way it has on Iraq.
Davis is a columnist for the Dallas
The Mark Davis
Show is heard weekdays nationwide on the ABC Radio Network.
His e-mail address is email@example.com.