It is also internationally dangerous. Khomeinist Iran, though no global power in the traditional sense of economic, political or military might, is globe-girdling in terms of involvement in controversy, revolution and armed conflict. This flows from the Ayatollah Khomeini's claim Iran would lead a global Islamist revolution.
While the ideological appeal has paled, the associated violent troublemaking hasn't. By one count, the regime is involved in at least 17 international conflicts, most of them in the Middle East or Central Asia, but its tentacles even touch South America.
This foul regime seeks nuclear weapons. Yes, a nuke would strengthen its hand domestically, playing to a certain type of nationalist sentiment. A nuke serves a defensive purpose, a form of regime protection. These are, however, narrow truths all too easily abused as arguments for inaction. The broad fact: A nuclear Iran tilts the entire Middle East toward further violence.
Obama minions have said as much, and we hear that Iran will not be allowed to get nuclear weapons. Tough economic sanction talk is one thing -- actual sanctions another. Right now, the U.S. can't get Brazil to support harsh sanctions. We also hear Beltway gossip that contends Obama is already resigned to containing a nuclear-armed Iran. What we do not hear articulated is how the regime would be contained.
Iraq is the best base for executing any competent containment regimen. Obama, however, failed to support the U.S liberation and democratization of Iraq, which are the predicates to an Iraqi-U.S. alliance against the Khomeinists. He still insists on an accelerated withdrawal of U.S. combat units.
Now the Beltway spin turns to "new war." Why? Because it must. The Khomeinists are 15 months closer to possessing nuclear weapons. A successful democratic revolt in Iran would get Obama -- and all of us -- off the terrible hook. Obama, and the rest of us, however, cannot bank on such fortune. In its own awkward, benighted and belated fashion, the administration of the American messiah of perpetual peace has begun preparing for "the military option" -- massive air and special operations strikes on the mullah's nuclear arsenal.
Austin Bay is the author of three novels. His third novel, The Wrong Side of Brightness, was published by Putnam/Jove in June 2003. He has also co-authored four non-fiction books, to include A Quick and Dirty Guide to War: Third Edition (with James Dunnigan, Morrow, 1996).
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