By Brian Bresnahan
Originally Published 4 May 2006
Every day Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad becomes more and more obstinate.
The increased belligerence by him and the clerics who run Iran is of direct concern, especially with our troops fighting next door in Iraq. Their proximity to Iran makes them an easy target for a brash regime whose actions are increasingly bold. Within the last week we’ve seen an Iranian intrusion into northern Iraq in pursuit of Kurdish rebels, an Iranian supplied roadside bomb which killed three Italian soldiers, growing proof of Hezbollah activity in Iraq, and increased presence of Iranian explosives in Iraq. With each day Iran becomes more confrontational.
But why shouldn’t Iran become more confrontational? Their allies and the important countries neutral to their cause outweigh any threat which might force them away from their own nuclear program, heated rhetoric, and increased terrorist activity.
On their side are the other Muslim countries who consider themselves brothers in Islam, and who also share a decades old grievance against the west. A long-standing complaint of middle eastern Islamic countries is that the west is intentionally holding them back, denying them the expertise and capacity to improve their own industries, culture, standard of living, and power within the world. They believe the west is deliberately impeding the quest by Islamic countries to advance and regain the glory and position they held as a civilization centuries ago. (An ironic argument when juxtaposed against the desire by many of the same radicals for a return to life of the 7th century for religious reasons) But, in open defiance of the west, Iran has embarked on a technological journey intent on rivaling the west. This puts them in a commanding position for other Islamic countries that may see Iran leading them back to industrial, religious, and cultural preeminence.
The neutrality of others, especially China, is of benefit to Iran. Any proposed sanctions or actions against Iran are likely to be met with a Chinese veto in the U.N. Security Council. China sees no threat from Iran, nor does it want a showdown that could interrupt the supply of oil to their burgeoning economy.
It’s not as if the U.N. were a threat to Iran anyway. Their inclination toward talking in circles coupled with an aversion to action of any consequence exudes nothing but ineptitude. Gambling on the U.N. not taking any action against them is a safe bet for Iran.
Unilateral action by Israel would likely cause retaliation by every known Islamic terrorist organization as well as some Islamic states. The U.N.’s hostility toward Israel would likely bring further headaches for them should they attempt preemptive action against the very country which has stated that its desire is to “wipe them off the map” while producing the means to do so.
Nor does Iran appear to fear retaliation or retribution from the U.S. They are preparing for an unconventional, guerilla style war against us. Their proclaimed intent is to utilize their own state sponsored terrorist organization, Hezbollah, as well as other groups to carry out attacks against our country and world wide interests. They are preparing to bring us the same kind of asymmetrical fight we have in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the rest of the ongoing war on terror.
And why shouldn’t they be confident of success in that kind of war? Our military and intelligence agencies certainly possess the ability to defeat them if given the time and resources. But liberals like John Kerry, Russ Feingold, and their supporters continuously show Iran and other potential enemies that a certain segment of the American populace lacks the intestinal fortitude and perseverance to fight that kind of war. Senators Kerry and Feingold have both, in the last couple weeks, demonstrated their lack of resolve for this kind of fight by once again raising “white flag” plans for Iraq, with capitulation dates this May and December, respectively. Strategically and tactically, the Iranian’s could count on that group of Americans to foment anti-war positions within the U.S. and acquiesce to their demands in a protracted asymmetrical war.
So, we find ourselves in a quandary. One like we’ve been in before, with Americans divided on how to deal with an ever growing threat from a country whose actions appear to be illogical or insane, and a world community that seems more interested in appeasing a mad-man than confronting him. Illustrative of the current situation, Charles Krauthammer described his conversation about Iran with the venerable, world renowned historian and Islamic scholar, Bernard Lewis, who said (paraphrasing) that “this is just like 1938, with the world staring down Hitler.”
Will American’s collectively acknowledge the threat this time before rhetoric moves much farther into the realm of action? Will we allow our leadership to move forward with a plan to deal with the mad-man before it’s too late? Or will the thirst for political power during an election year override national security necessities, portraying America as a paper tiger while letting the mad-man march forward? It took hard lessons for America to finally get it right and enter WWII. My prayer for this National Day of Prayer is that regardless of the course we pursue, we won’t have to learn the hard lessons this time.