LONDON -- If September goes as August ended, this is going to be a very interesting month. On Monday, President George W. Bush told the American Legion in Reno, Nev., that two dangerous strands of Islamic extremism are converging in Iraq, "supported and embodied by the regime that sits in Tehran." He went on to warn that the Iranians "must halt these actions."
Earlier that same day, French President Nicolas Sarkozy observed that Iran's nuclear ambitions present "catastrophic" alternatives: "an Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran." Both Bush and Sarkozy are correct -- though it may shock liberal Democrats to see the French standing side by side with the United States on an issue none of their candidates for president wants to talk about.
Importantly, within hours of the U.S. and French presidents' remarks, Iranian Head of State Mahmoud Ahmadinejad observed that U.S. influence in Iraq is "being destroyed rapidly" and that "Iran is willing to fill this void."
A U.S. State Department spokesman rushed to the microphones to understate the obvious, by forcefully noting that Ahmadinejad's threats were "unhelpful."
And therein lies the problem. For the first time in decades, the French government is allied with a U.S. administration on the threat posed by Iran. For months, Bush has been trying to build international support for stronger measures against Iran's nuclear weapons program and Tehran's proclivity to foment sectarian violence in Iraq. Yet, all the State Department can do is observe that the Iranians are being "unhelpful."
As the Democrat-led Congress returns to "work" this week, it is likely to be equally passive when it comes to dealing with the real threats facing the United States. Though General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker have yet to deliver their report on the effectiveness of the "surge" in Iraq, Democratic leaders, and their candidates for president, have already staked out what they think is important.
Sen. Barak Obama wants to bomb Pakistan. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton prefers to "honor" our troops by getting them out of Iraq. Sen. John Edwards is ready to raise the white flag immediately. Meanwhile, congressional Democrats are intent on investigating Alberto Gonzalez, who resigned this week as attorney general. And none of them has anything useful to say about the most serious threat we have faced in decades: a nuclear-armed Iran.
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.
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