To anyone with unblinkered eyes, it becomes clearer every day that Iran is a bear the likes of which we have not seen since communism's collapse.
It heavily influences the Shiites in Iraq. It maintains Hezbollah in Lebanon, there to threaten and harass the dread Israel. It funds the Hamas terror regime overseeing the Palestinians. It trains and equips groups threatening to destabilize other governments throughout South Asia and the Middle East. It is a major producer of oil, on which the world lives. Its leaders profess a hatred of Israel, America and the West - in roughly that order. And - for insistently "civilian uses," of course - it has mobilized a host of its manifold resources to build a nuclear bomb.
When someone repeatedly professes hatred for you and threatens to kill you, prudence suggests taking him seriously in the interest of your future well-being. Yet old Europe, having fits about the rise of jihadism in its midst, has responded by changing the subject, or chatting up diplomatic incentives and "new initiatives" to coax for instance Iran toward right reason, or - please sit down for this one - rewriting the dictionary: The European Union, its member countries having endorsed in December guidelines for politically correct official parlance, is working on a "non-emotive lexicon . . . to avoid linking Islam and terrorism."
But how to deal in rhetorical niceties with those forthright about their malign ambitions?
We have the most bloodthirsty statements from the convicted would-be bomber of the White House - Zacarias Moussaoui; from al-Qaidist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, terrorizing Iraq; from Osama bin-Laden and his No. 2 - Ayman al-Zawahiri; from Abdullah Barghouti, the unrepentant mastermind of Hamas' grimmest suicide bombings; and from the bone-chilling audiotape of the thwarted jihadist hijackers driving United Flight 93 into the ground.
Consider these from leading Iranians:
- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad terms America a "second Israel" and warns that Tehran will unleash holy war and "cut off the hand of any aggressor."
- Ahmadinejad again, on U.N. resolutions calling upon Iran to curb its nuclear program: "The Iranian nation won't give a damn about such useless resolutions. . . . Nuclear energy is a national demand and by the grace of God today Iran is a nuclear country."- Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Iran's response to any attacks over its refusal to curb its nuclear program: "If the U.S. ventures into any aggression against Iran, Iran will retaliate by damaging U.S. interests worldwide twice as much as the U.S. may inflict on Iran."
- Khamenei, again, to visiting Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir: "The Islamic Republic of Iran is prepared to transfer the experience, knowledge and technology of its scientists" to other regimes desiring it. And: "The mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran (is) to erase Israel from the map of the region."
- Khamenei's predecessor, Iran's first Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini - popularizer of the notion of the U.S. as "the Great Satan" - calling for Israel to be "wiped off the face of the Earth": "We must all rise, destroy Israel and replace it with the heroic Palestinian nation." He added: Israel is "a pit viper," a "degenerative tumor that has, with backing of major powers, been planted in the heart of Islamic states and whose roots daily threaten the Islamic lands."
- Mohammad-Ebrahim Dehqani, rear admiral of Iran's Revolutionary Guards: "Whenever America does something evil, the first place that we target will be Israel."
- Former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani: "The use of a nuclear bomb in Israel will leave nothing on the ground, whereas it will only damage the world of Islam."
Such statements recall Khrushchev's "We will bury you!"
Iran long has been a state sponsor of terrorism. Yet regarding Iran's rants, old Europe, the old media, and the old left urge more diplomatic dialogue, reliance on Kofi and the U.N., the mediation of Russians and Chinese. And of course, the eternal hope always is for conciliation and compromise. Lenin had in mind exploitation of that hope when inviting Westerners to sell Soviet Russia the rope with which it would hang the West: He called them "useful fools."
It's all very well to anguish over marriage amendments and the outcome of "American Idol," but none of that really seems to count for much in the face of the worsening present danger: an Iran interested not in dialogue but in killing us.
In November 1938, a month after Nazi troops occupied the Sudetenland, Hitler said in Weimar: "We want the possibility of going on with our work. We claim for our people the right to live, the same right which others claim for themselves." Three days later he staged Kristallnacht - and went on, through the Holocaust, to incinerate 6 million Jews.
Today's Iranians - today's jihadists - speak with no such Hitlerian blandishments. An Iranian nuclear bomb could incinerate 6 million Israelis and alter the course not only of the West - but of mankind.