Thomas Sowell

What are we to make of President Barack Obama's latest pronouncements about Iran's movement toward nuclear bombs? His tough talk might have had some influence on Iran a couple of years ago, when he was instead being kinder and gentler with the world's leading terrorist-sponsoring nation. Now his tough talk may only influence this year's election -- which may be enough for Obama.

The track record of Barack Obama's pronouncements on a wide range of issues suggests that anything he says is a message written in sand, and easily blown away by the next political winds. Remember the "shovel-ready projects" that would spring into action and jump-start the economy, once the "stimulus" money was available? Obama himself laughed at this idea a year or so later, when it was clear to all that these projects were going nowhere.

Remember how his administration was going to be one with "transparency"? Yet massive spending bills were passed too fast for the Congress itself to have read them. Remember the higher ethics his administration would practice -- and yet how his own Secretary of the Treasury was appointed despite his failure to pay his taxes?

If you were an Israeli, how willing would you be to risk your national survival on Obama's promise to stand by your country? If you were a leader of Iran, what would you make of what Obama said, except that an election year might not be the best time to attack Israel?

Members of the Obama administration have been pointing out how hard it would be to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities, now that they have been built deep underground and dispersed.

That would have been something to consider during the time when President Obama was taking leisurely and half-hearted measures to create the appearance of trying to stop the Iranian nuclear program, while vigorously warning Israel not to take military action.

Time was never on our side. The risks go up exponentially the longer we wait. When the Iranian nuclear program was just getting started, it could have been destroyed before it became so big, so dispersed and so deeply dug in underground. Now, if we wait till they actually have nuclear bombs, the same kinds of arguments for inaction will carry even more weight, when the price of an attack on Iran can be the start of a nuclear Holocaust.

Nor should we assume that we can remain safe by throwing Israel to the wolves, once the election is over, as might well happen if Obama is re-elected and no longer has any political reasons to pretend to be Israel's friend.


Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate