Via Bill Quick we find a piece by Michael Ledeen at National Review Online reminding us of one huge reason that we've consider Islamofascist terrorism to be something worth going to war over, and the results of the sort of fearful milquetoast politics that has passed for leadership in this country.
Sometime in late November or early December, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei gathered his top advisers for an overall strategic review. The atmosphere was highly charged, because Khamenei’s doctors have diagnosed a serious cancer, and do not expect the Supreme Leader to live much more than a year. A succession struggle is already under way, with the apparently unsinkable Hashemi Rafsanjani in the thick of it, even though Khamenei, and his increasingly powerful son Mushtaba, is opposed to the perennial candidate-for-whatever.
Despite this disquieting news, the overall tone of the conversation was upbeat, because the Iranians believe they see many positive developments, above all, the declaration that "it has been promised that by 8 April, we will be in a position to show the entire world that 'we are members of the club.'" This presumably refers to nuclear weapons. Against this cheery background, the assessment of the Iranian leaders continued:
- The weakness of the Bush administration is notable. Recent public opinion polls show the country seriously divided, and the top Iranian experts on North America have concluded that the president is paralyzed, unable to make any tough decision (and hence unable to order an attack against Iran);
- 2006 is an election year, and even some Republicans are distancing themselves from Bush, weakening the White House even further;
- Israel is facing the darkest moment in its history (remember that this conversation took place before Sharon’s stroke). Likud is divided, Netanyahu is openly against Sharon, and the Labor party has lost its old guard. No strong government is possible (and hence Israel is similarly unable to order an attack against Iran). Therefore this is a moment for Iran to take maximum advantage;
- Khamenei called for two urgent missions. The first was to do everything possible to drive up oil prices by an additional 30 percent by the first week in April. The second was to intensify the propaganda war against the West in the same period. He stressed that it was important to compel the United States to face at least three crises by the April 8.
In short, the Iranians at the highest levels of the regime believe they have good reason for behaving quite feisty.
This is bad news, folks, and it's made all the worse by our failure to act with any kind of backbone or courage up to now. Sure, there's plenty of guts and cojones to go around among our soldiers, even among our citizens in general; but politics has reduced our leaders to mere practitioners of ineffective posturing, more concerned with their own political fortunes than their country's future.
Yes, I'm blaming President Bush in large part for his failure to be a strong leader—heck, much of a leader at all—since the days immediately following 9-11. Now, I've tried to support him as much as I could, especially when he has been blamed unfairly for things that are not his fault by people who obviously place more importance on the defeat of their political enemies (the Republicans) than on the defeat of their nation's real enemies (the Islamofascists). The one thing worse than an ineffectual president strangled by fear of criticism is an opposition party bent on his political downfall at the expense of the nation. So while I have harsh words for the president, I have nothing but spittingly contemptuous disdain for the leadership of the Democratic party, who seem more intent on our defeat than Al Quaeda itself. I'll happily share that contempt with any rank-and-file Democrats who share their leaders' "vision."
Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, we have been mostly lucky that nuclear devices haven't already fallen into the hands of terrorists, who would most certainly use such a thing if they got hold of it. Should Iran successfully test a nuclear device this April, our sworn enemies—the people (loosely speaking) who are fanatically determined to kill as many of us as they can, see the US fall to the status of a second-rate nation and eventually fall under Sharia law—will no longer need to find one of the USSR's old bombs and try to figure out how it works. They'll be rolling their own from then on, and there will be little or nothing we can do to prevent Iran from giving one or two to whichever terrorist organization most impresses them with their Islamic piety and/or the likelihood of successfully delivering it to our doorstep.
This is why it has been imperative that we prevent any Islamic nation, be it Iran, a Baathist Iraq, or any other, from obtaining or developing any nuclear technology that could be used this way. Unfortunately, we have been far too willing to kowtow to the idiots who insist on giving diplomacy far too much "time to work" (the trouble, of course, is that diplomacy never works for things like this), resulting in Iran's being able to take a leisurely waltz down Nuclear Avenue at their own pace.
Now that diplomacy has evidently failed to keep these fearsome weapons out of our enemies' hands, we will doubtless now fall all over ourselves in an effort to allow diplomacy to then divest them of their hard-won prize.
Lots of luck.
But our luck has apparently run out. We're about to have to make a difficult decision, made all the more difficult by our procrastination and faintheartedness. We're going to have to decide whether to wait for them to kill thousands of us—perhaps hundreds of thousands—at a stroke before we strike them, or whether we will shake off our paralysis and strike them first in such a way as to remove their ability to hurt us. We'll have to decide whether we're ready to answer the idiotarians who will shout that "Bush lied, mullahs died," or whether we'll simply take the politically more expedient route of letting them make the first move.
I'm by no means optimistic that we have what it takes to do the right thing.
Of course, the very people who now blather endlessly about how we can't strike first, the same ones waxing apoplectic about "warrantless domestic wiretapping," will be outraged—outraged, I say!—and demand answers as to how we could have failed to stop such a terrible thing from happening.
The trouble is that, if we do let them strike us first, we will have deserved exactly what we got.