Diana West

Dear Sen. Specter: I'm writing today because I didn't get a chance to respond to your parting comment as you left the train last week in Philadelphia. If you recall, we were both riding the Acela out of Washington; I was the columnist sitting across the aisle from you (both literally and in a Washington way, often, figuratively). I introduced myself and offered you that day's column for your reading pleasure.

You can't blame a gal: How often do the ink-stained wretched get a U.S. senator as a virtually captive traveling companion? No office aides to intervene, no floor votes to run off to: just a nice long stretch of time to pass, sort of together.

Wondering how best to take journalistic advantage of the situation, I realized the column was the key. Not a big intrusion, but maybe an icebreaker. Or maybe not. After you accepted my column on Iraq -- an op-ed lamenting the futility of "surge" and "withdrawal" plans in Iraq that fail to address the menace in Iran (and elsewhere) -- you read it. That was nice. I sat up a little, hoping for a senatorial reaction, but didn't get one. Then again, maybe I did: You turned to another newspaper. Still no reaction. Then you fell asleep. Nothing. Then you woke up. Still nothing. Then you had lunch. Oh well. We were almost into Philadelphia.

And then, gathering your belongings, you said: "So. You just want to bomb them?"

Let me explain. Sufficiently intrigued, you sat for the whole harangue. Securing enough of Iraq so Iraqis "reconcile" is not a strategy; it's a pipe dream even a rudimentary understanding of Islamic culture can pop. Meanwhile, the dream becomes a nightmare once we notice that American blood and treasure are creating just another sharia state in Iraq. This one being majority Shiite, it's more than likely to become a natural ally of Shiite Iran, whose genocidal nuclear ambitions and terror exports go unchecked by our current efforts. Indeed, it is Iran (and other regional jihadist centers) that should come into U.S. military focus. Of course, given the limitations of the "limited war" to which we hold ourselves, can the United States ever get it together to really save the Free World?

Diana West

Diana West is the author of American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character (St. Martin's Press, 2013), and The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization (St. Martin's Press, 2007).