"What you're not seeing in the press are other measures that are being taken to prepare for an attack," a retired Israeli official told me. "Last summer's engagement on our northern border exposed major deficiencies in civil defense, medical evacuation procedures, logistics support and planning for dislocated non-combatants. We must urgently address these problems because time is running out."
The sense of urgency may be well founded. While Israeli civilians marked their country's birth and Israeli soldiers were figuring how to defend their country from attack, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) -- the U.N.'s toothless "nuclear watchdog" -- "discovered" that Iran was moving "much more rapidly than expected" to enrich uranium.
Last month, Mohamed ElBaradei, the IAEA director general, dismissed claims by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Tehran had activated 3,000 centrifuges to enrich uranium. Now ElBaradei tells The New York Times that the Iranians have "solved the technological problems" and are moving ahead with enrichment. Evidently The New York Times did not see any connection between this revelation and Ahmadinejad's description of Israel as "a rotten, dried tree that will be eliminated by a single storm."
When I queried my Israeli friends about this development, one replied, "Why is anyone surprised? The IAEA didn't know that the Indians, Pakistanis or North Koreans were enriching uranium until they all built bombs. So, do you expect us to wait for an Iranian nuclear weapon on Tel Aviv before we act?"
By "you," my friend didn't mean me, he meant the United States, the first nation to recognize the existence of Israel. I didn't have the heart to tell him that the survival of the Jewish state isn't on the minds of many here. In the salons of Washington, the discussion is all about how to extricate ourselves from the war in Mesopotamia.
While sipping lattes, editorial board members conclude that things aren't going well, so we must end our involvement with the same lack of commitment as that binding a Hollywood marriage. It's been five years, after all -- longer than World War II. Our drive-thru culture and ADD-afflicted electorate just don't have the staying power to defeat a determined enemy.
The war is lost, says Harry Reid. Democrats demand withdrawal. The White House stumbles and stammers to try to explain the threat. Terrorists plotting to attack a major military base in our homeland are rooted out and the mainstream media gives it the same attention as teenagers apprehended painting graffiti under a bridge.
If Israelis want to celebrate a 60th birthday, they better not count on Washington. If it had been up to this crowd, the Jewish state would have been destroyed long ago.
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.