The imposition of diplomatic and economic sanctions on the regime in Tehran dating back to 1980 has done little to ameliorate or deter the pernicious effectiveness of Iranian terror -- masterminded by Shiite theocrats. Worse, it served as an exemplar for Sunni radicals and thugs such as Moammar Gadhafi. When the Libyan dictator ordered a bomb placed aboard Pan Am Flight 103, killing 259 passengers and crew when it plummeted to earth in Lockerbie, Scotland, on Dec. 21, 1988, he was congratulated by the Iranian regime. So, too, were the 19 Sunni "jihadis" from al-Qaida who carried out the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, killing nearly 3,000 on U.S. soil in the world's most horrific terror attack to date.
In the aftermath of all of these attacks, American officials testifying before congressional and other "blue-ribbon" panels professed "shock and surprise" that such acts could occur. They wouldn't have been surprised if they had bothered to read what the radical Islamists in Tehran had said and written about how they would do whatever it would take to destroy the "Great Satan" and Israel -- dubbed the "Zionist entity" and the "Little Satan." Yet the willful suspension of disbelief continues today.
For months, we have been told by the Obama administration that a "new round of severe sanctions" is going to finally stop Iran's quest to acquire nuclear weapons and the means of delivering them. We're told we finally are going to be joined in this effort by the rest of the "world community." But reality says otherwise. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified two weeks ago, "The sanctions as imposed so far have not caused them to change their behavior or their policy." Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has been saying for weeks that Iran "could have a nuclear weapon within a year." But then he told reporters that there is a "strong likelihood" that Israel will act militarily against Iranian nuclear sites between April and June. Was he trying to prevent the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps from being shocked and surprised?
Neither Barack Obama's Nobel Peace Prize nor the threat of "new sanctions" matters a whit to Tehran. His inaugural "open hand" to Iranian leaders has been rebuffed. And when it comes to "sanctions," the Chinese and the Russians won't even go along with a "strongly worded U.N. resolution" against Iran's client state, Syria -- much less support the "international community" in doing something that might bring about regime change in Tehran.
Salman Rushdie knows his enemy. When he went into hiding 23 years ago this week, he did the only sensible thing he could do to prevent being shocked and surprised by an adversary intent on taking his life. It begs the question, Where will America hide when we're shocked and surprised that the Iranians have the bomb?
Oliver North is the host of "War Stories" on Fox News Channel, the founder and honorary chairman of Freedom Alliance, and the author of "American Heroes in Special Operations." To find out more about Oliver North and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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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.