Charles Krauthammer

     The fact is that the war critics have nothing to offer on the single most urgent issue of our time -- rogue states in pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. Iran instead of Iraq? The Iraq critics would have done nothing about either country. There would today be two major Islamic countries sitting on an ocean of oil, supporting terrorism and seeking weapons of mass destruction -- instead of one.

     Two years ago there were five countries supporting terror and pursuing WMDs -- two junior-leaguers, Libya and Syria, and the axis-of-evil varsity: Iraq, Iran and North Korea. The Bush administration has just eliminated two: Iraq, by direct military means, and Libya, by example and intimidation.

     Syria is weak and deterred by Israel. North Korea, having gone nuclear, is untouchable. That leaves Iran. What to do? There are only two things that will stop the Iranian nuclear program: revolution from below or an attack on its nuclear facilities.

     The country should be ripe for revolution. The regime is detested. But the mullahs are very good at police-state tactics. The long-awaited revolution is not happening.

     Which makes the question of pre-emptive attack all the more urgent. Iran will go nuclear during the next presidential term. Some Americans wishfully think that the Israelis will do the dirty work for us, as in 1981 when they destroyed Saddam's nuclear reactor. But for Israel, attacking Iran is a far more difficult proposition. It is farther away. Moreover, detection and antiaircraft technology are far more advanced than 20 years ago.

     There may be no deus ex machina. If nothing is done, a fanatical terrorist regime openly dedicated to the destruction of the ``Great Satan'' will have both nuclear weapons and the terrorists and missiles to deliver them. All that stands between us and that is either revolution or pre-emptive strike.

     Both of which, by the way, are far more likely to succeed with 146,000 American troops and highly sophisticated aircraft standing by just a few miles away -- in Iraq.


Charles Krauthammer

Charles Krauthammer is a 1987 Pulitzer Prize winner, 1984 National Magazine Award winner, and a columnist for The Washington Post since 1985.

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