In Washington, Republicans and Democrats were too busy with their own emotional political gestures to engage in Iranian nuclear deterrence. The president and his minority party busied themselves with the future of an embattled attorney general and stem cell research. House and Senate Democrats devoted their week to setting a surrender date for Iraq -- and how to unseat said attorney general. Only House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, recently returned from the first lap of her Rogue Regime Victory Tour and a disastrous seance with Bashir Assad in Syria, seems ready to deal with Iranian weapons of mass destruction.
On Wednesday, Ali Larijani, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, announced that Tehran would be "open to discussing" its nuclear program, noting that "Any proposal is acceptable should it be effective for reaching compromise, understanding and removal of concerns of both sides." Immediately, Pelosi and Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., raced to the microphones to declare they were prepared to jump back into the heady arena of shuttle diplomacy. "I would be ready to get on a plane tomorrow morning," Lantos said. Pelosi, flexing her trademark tight smile, observed, "a person of Lantos' stature and personal experience is saying that -- even as a Holocaust survivor and even recognizing the outrageous statements of the president of Iran -- it's important to have dialogue."
Those are the same sentiments that prompted Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain to rush off to Munich in September 1938 and return with the promise of "peace for our time." Rather than hurrying off to more talks with the deceptive and dangerous regime in Tehran, we must first discern how advanced their nuclear weapons program really is, and develop a coherent strategy for confronting this clear and present danger.
Iran's nukes are at the heart of this week's "War Stories" special, "Secrets of the Bomb: Manhattan Project to Tehran." In preparing for the broadcast, I asked former weapons inspector Dr. David Kay, "Should we be worried about a nuclear Iran?"
His answer is instructive: "We should be worried about it for two reasons. First, they're on a course that will in fact, at some point, produce nuclear weapons. Secondly, they have a regime which does not appear to play by the normal rules of stable international society. They speak of destruction, of chaos, wiping Israel off the face of the earth. They also are the leading state sponsor of terrorism. So Iran is not exactly what I view as a secure holder of the nuclear genie."
Failing to act on a warning that clear is tantamount to playing nuclear roulette with an Iranian finger on the trigger.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.