The headlines are stark indeed. “Israel Readies a Pre-Emptive Strike.” Israeli Prime Minister is said to be working to persuadereluctant members of his coalition Cabinet to go along with such a military option against Islamist Iran. The Huffington Post’s Britishedition reports Netanyahu saying this:
"One of those regional powers is Iran, which is continuing its efforts to obtain nuclear weapons. A nuclear Iran would constitute a gravethreat to the Middle East and the entire world, and of course it is a directand grave threat on us." One day later, defense minister Ehud Barak, struck a similar tone." A situation could be created in the Middle East in which Israel mustdefend its vital interests in an independent fashion, without necessarilyhaving to reply on other forces, regional or otherwise,” he said.
Ehud Barak’s comments are most interesting. He was the Labor Party Prime Minister in 2000 who offered the Palestinians 97% of the territory they claimedas theirs, reserving only those limited regions thought absolutely essential toIsraeli security. The Palestinians balked and commenced yet another “intifada” uprising. The leaders of the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) then wouldrather send stone-throwing teenagers to confront armed Israeli soldiers andtanks than engage in serious negotiations for peace.
Ehud Barak could qualify as an Israeli “dove,” but he is first andforemost a soldier and an Israeli patriot. It’s not so surprising that thehawkish Benjamin Netanyahu should be talking of a military strike against Iran. When Ehud Barak joins this conversation, you know it’s serious.
This is a most serious situation. No one knows what might happen if Israel strikes the Iranian nuclear weapons research stations. What is clear is that theefforts of the Obama administration to restrain Iran over the past three yearshave been an utter failure.
After extending an “open hand instead of a clenched fist” to the Iranianmullahs, President Obama saw his proffered olive branch stomped into the dust.He even sent Persian New Year greetings to the Iranian people and their dictatorial rulers. WhenIranians rose up in the streets following fraudulent elections in June, 2009,the Obama administration weakly claimed it did not want to “interfere” with aninternal matter for Iran. The fact that Iran is daily interfering with internalaffairs all over the Middle East seemed not to faze this administration.
The Obama administration invested precious time and resources in gettingtoothless sanctions voted by the UN. Russia and China made sure these sanctionsdidn’t bite. And Tehran has the active support of Venezuela’s anti-AmericanHugo Chavez in laundering its petro-dollars. Three U.S. administrations have said that a nuclear Iran is“unacceptable.” But beyond that, they have done little to make it unacceptable.
We in the U.S. are understandably focused on our stricken economy andour presidential elections. Distractions like “Occupy Wall Street” could notcome at a better time to keep Americans from thinking long and hard about thegravest danger in the world: A nuclear Iran with intent to use those weaponsfor terror purposes.
The recent discovery of a bomb plot in Washington, D.C., should sober usall. The Shiite Muslim rulers of Iran were said to be preparing to set off abomb in the favorite Georgetown restaurant of the Saudi ambassador to the U.S.They were more than willing to kill hundreds of innocent Americans in theirdrive to murder a hated Sunni Muslim foe.
As terrifying as that prospect was, the mullahs’ real purpose in assassinating the Saudi envoy would have been to show us they could as readilyplace a nuclear weapon in ournation’s capital, raising the death toll from scores of innocents slaughteredto perhaps hundreds of thousands. And a national government crippled.
One thing should be clear: If Israel strikes Iran’s nuclear weaponsfacilities, it will not be a first strike. Iran has been waging war againstIsrael for decades. Iran’s Ahmadinejad has announced to the world that Israelwill be “wiped off the map.”
Tehran has been arming Hezbollah in SouthernLebanon and Hamas in Gaza for years. These cats’ paw terror groups have beendoing Iran’s bidding in murdering Israelis, kidnapping their soldiers, andraining rockets down on Israeli settlements.
Israel’s dovish Defense Minister Ehud Barak is giving fair warning tothe Obama administration: Israel will act to defend itself whether other powers take part or not.
The right of self-defense is an inalienable right. The reason Israel wascreated was so that Jews would have a national home and would not have to relyon the kindness of strangers. If Israel strikes Iran’s nuclear weaponsprogram, we cannot say we have not been warned. Not much this administration has done in the Middle East should give Israelis confidence thatthey can rely on their feckless friends in Washington to support them when pushcomes to shove.