To bomb or not to bomb 0

Bret Stephens explains to a Wall Street Journal TV host the problems associated with the threat of an Iranian nuclear bomb, and what Israel has to calculate in its thinking about how to deal with the threat.

The video is dated 8/10/2012

 

Posted under Commentary, Iran, Israel, United States, Videos by Jillian Becker on Monday, August 27, 2012

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Preparing to bomb Iran? 6

What was the Israeli Air Force doing in Romania when one if its helicopters crashed on July 26, killing six of its airmen?

The crash itself is distressing, but the answer to the question is good news: the IAF was rehearsing for an attack on Iranian nuclear sites.

This report comes from DebkaFile:

The Israeli Air Force had been drilling high-risk attacks on precipitous cliff caves similar to the mountain tunnels in which Iran has hidden nuclear facilities. The crash occurred in the last stage of a joint Israeli-US-Romanian exercise for simulating an attack on Iran. Aboard the helicopter were six Israeli airmen and a Romanian flight captain. …

Iran has given up on adequate air and missile defense shields for its nuclear sites and in the last couple of years has been blasting deep tunnels beneath mountain peaks more than 2,000 meters high for housing nuclear facilities. There, they were thought by Tehran to be safe from air or missile attack.

The American and Israeli air forces have since been developing tactics for evading Iranian radar and flying at extremely low-altitudes through narrow mountain passes so as to reach the tunnel entrances for attacks on the nuclear equipment undetected. The drill in Romania took place at roughly the same altitude and in similar terrain that a US or Israeli air attack would expect to encounter in Iran.

For such strikes, special missiles would be used that are capable of flying the length of a tunnel, however twisty, and detonating only when its warhead identifies and contacts its target.

The entire maneuver is extremely hazardous. The pilots must be exceptionally skilled, capable of split-second timing in rising from low-altitudes to points opposite the high tunnel entrances without crashing into the surrounding mountain walls.

The Israeli helicopter is reported to have flown into a cloud patch hanging over its simulated target and crashed into a steep mountainside, while the second helicopter flying in the formation avoided the cloud and continued without incident. Israeli and American Air Force pilots are instructed, when encountering cloud cover of the target, to go around it. At all times, they must have eye contact with their target.

The accident revealed to military observers that the Israeli Air Force is practicing long-distance flights not only by bombers, but also heavy helicopters, such as the “Yasour” CH-53, which would require in-flight refueling. These practice flights have been taking place in cooperation with Greece and Bulgaria as well as Romania, whose distance from Israel of 1,600 kilometers approximates that of Iran. American air bases in Romania and Bulgaria participate in the drills.

Good to know, but the information that the US is participating in the exercise, and the fact that it is being reported – albeit through news of a disaster – makes us wonder if the point of publishing it is to frighten Ahmadinejad and the mullahs rather than actually prepare for a strike. Is it really likely, we wonder, that Obama has decided to take military action against Iran?

Charles Krauthammer seems to think it possible and even probable. The administration, he says, is “hardening its line”. And he sees a growth of determination among Western states and Arab states to stop Iran forcibly from becoming a nuclear power.

He gives these reasons in his column in Investor’s Business Daily:

Passage of weak U.N. sanctions was followed by unilateral sanctions by the United States, Canada, Australia and the European Union. Already … Iran is experiencing a sharp drop in gasoline imports as Lloyd’s of London refuses to insure the ships delivering them.

Second, the Arab states are no longer just whispering their desire for the U.S. to militarily take out Iranian nuclear facilities. The United Arab Emirates’ ambassador to Washington said so openly at a conference three weeks ago.

The UAE ambassador[‘s] … publicly expressed desire for an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities speaks for the intense Arab fear approaching panic, of Iran’s nuclear program and the urgent hope that the U.S. will take it out.

It is true that the UAE ambassador, Yousef al-Otaiba, was heard to be pleading or at least arguing for military action by “an outside force”, but his government hastily denied that he meant it. There was no denial, however, that his country regards Iran’s nuclear program as a grave and imminent threat.

There is also a rumour, not mentioned today by Krauthammer, that Saudi Arabia would be willing to look the other way while Israeli planes flew through its airspace on a mission to bomb Iranian nuclear installations.

But what of American participation in such a raid? Krauthammer goes on to say:

Third, and perhaps even more troubling from Tehran’s point of view, are developments in the U.S. Former NSA and CIA Director Michael Hayden suggested last Sunday that over time, in his view, a military strike is looking increasingly favorable compared with the alternatives. Hayden is no Obama insider, but Time reports (“An Attack on Iran: Back on the Table,” July 15) that high administration officials are once again considering the military option.

Here is part of what Time had to say:

[Secretary of Defense] Gates … told Fox News on June 20. “We do not accept the idea of Iran having nuclear weapons.” In fact, Gates was reflecting a new reality [sic – shouldn’t it be “realism”?] in the military and intelligence communities. Diplomacy and economic pressure remain the preferred means to force Iran to negotiate a nuclear deal, but there isn’t much hope that’s going to happen. “Will [sanctions] deter them from their ambitions with regards to nuclear capability?” CIA Director Leon Panetta told ABC News on June 27. “Probably not.” So the military option is very much back on the table. …

Intelligence sources say that the U.S. Army’s Central Command, which is in charge of organizing military operations in the Middle East, has made some real progress in planning targeted air strikes — aided, in large part, by the vastly improved human-intelligence operations in the region. “There really wasn’t a military option a year ago,” an Israeli military source told me. “But they’ve gotten serious about the planning, and the option is real now.” Israel has been brought into the planning process … because U.S. officials are frightened by the possibility that the right-wing Netanyahu government might go rogue and try to whack the Iranians on its own.

There’s a lefty explanation! If whacking the Iranians is now considered a good thing to do, why would it be bad, or “going rogue”, for the Israelis to do it? Note the insistent mention that Netanyahu’s government is “right-wing”. Right-wings are, of course, on the edge of roguery at all times in the assumptions of the left.

One other factor has brought the military option to a low boil: Iran’s Sunni neighbors really want the U.S. to do it. When United Arab Emirates Ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba said on July 6 that he favored a military strike against Iran despite the economic and military consequences to his country, he was reflecting an increasingly adamant attitude in the region. Senior American officials who travel to the Gulf frequently say the Saudis, in particular, raise the issue with surprising ardor. Everyone from the Turks to the Egyptians to the Jordanians are threatening to go nuclear if Iran does. That is seen as a real problem in the most volatile region in the world: What happens, for example, if Saudi Arabia gets a bomb, and the deathless monarchy there is overthrown by Islamist radicals?

Message to Time: The “deathless monarchy” IS radically Islamist. The Saudis are, however, Sunni radicals who fear the hegemony of Iranian Shia radicals. So their ardor is not really surprising at all.

For the moment, the White House remains as skeptical as ever about a military strike.

Ah, we thought so!

Most senior military leaders also believe … a targeted attack on Iran would be “disastrous on a number of levels.” It would unify the Iranian people against the latest in a long series of foreign interventions. It would also unify much of the world — including countries like Russia and China that we’ve worked hard to cultivate — against a recowboyfied US. [There’s a coinage for you!- JB].  There would certainly [?] be an Iranian reaction — in Iraq, in Afghanistan, by Lebanese Hizballah against Israel and by the Hizballah network against the U.S. and Saudi homelands. A catastrophic regional war is not impossible.

Of course, it is also possible that this low-key saber-rattling is simply a message the U.S. is trying to send the Iranians: it’s time to deal. … But it is also possible that the saber-rattling is not a bluff, that the U.S. really won’t tolerate a nuclear Iran and is prepared to do something awful to stop it.

So our question remains: is it likely that Obama will even consider the bombing of Iran?

We hope with ardor that Iran’s nuclear capability is knocked out soon by military force. It would be best of course if the US and Israel acted together. But if the US under Obama’s weak leadership holds back, may Israel strike alone – soon, and to devastating effect.

From paint-balls to nukes 0

Restraint does not remove the need for war, it intensifies it.

The following was made as a comment by C. Gee on our post below, A lethal terrorist ambush, about the attempt Sunday to break Israel and Egypt’s blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza with a flotilla of ships under the auspices of Turkey.

We are moving it to our front page because what it says needs to be said:

Turkey insinuated itself into the ME “peace”. Under that cover it is promoting Muslim/Iranian interests. It is an agent provocateur and will undermine and humiliate Israel wherever it can.

There were no repercussions for Turkey when it refused entry to US troops during the Iraq war. The Turkish bluff at being a NATO ally – or a candidate for Europe – should be called. It is clear Turkey is a paid-up member of the North Korea-Iran axis. It has nuclear ambitions of its own, I have no doubt.

The Israeli government should demand an apology from Turkey – for attempting to break the blockade and for the ambush and attempted kidnapping of Israeli soldiers. If they do not receive such an apology, Israel should regard the incident as an act of war. Certainly Israel should reciprocate any summoning or recall of ambassadors.

If anything should wake Israel up to its peril, it is this incident, coinciding as it does with the US endorsement of the non-proliferation conference statement. Israel is isolated. It can expect no help from Obama. On the contrary, Obama will use this incident as cover for his stand against Israeli “intransigence”. Expect Obama to talk about being slapped in the face by Israel; about how Israel has sabotaged Obama’s peace efforts and sanctions efforts. Expect a cram-down of the two-state solution. Expect more statements concerning Iraqi air-space and the interception of Israeli bombers. ( But above all, expect more statements concerning “the unbreakable bond between America and Israel”. )

The Israelis – boarding the ship with paint-ball rifles and pistols – were ambushed by their own and the West’s liberal moral vanity as much as by the terrorist-supporting “activists”. Over and over again, the Israelis have tied their hands behind their backs, have ceded to their enemies and acceded to their friends. They have fought humanitarian wars – on the ground, rather than from the air – costing Israeli lives to minimize civilian casualties. They have turned back from Lebanon before the job was done. Each time Israel stops short of victory because of “moral” pressure, it escalates the nature of the final reckoning. Thanks to decades of holding back on war, the war that Israel has to fight next must be extremely violent, convincingly lethal. From paint-balls to, no longer unthinkably, nukes.

If Israel does not act decisively against Iran now, it will be unable to, ever. It cannot wait for a regime change in America. Turkey will make sure that the UN sanctions against Iran (feeble as they were ever going to be) will be postponed for the world to decry Israel. But who are we fooling? Sanctions were never going to halt Iran’s nukes. Obama knows that. For all we know, Iran already has a bomb – whole, from North Korea.

With North Korea playing out its own provocations (unmet), testing to make sure the US will do nothing, and Turkey/Iran doing the same in the Middle East, the Obama policy of trying to make America liked will result either in war – or Israel’s surrender. The truly awful realization is that a huge number of people in America, including Jews, will not think the price for being liked is too high.

We are in potentially greater peril now than in the 1930s.

Whoever wins, Britain loses 2

On Thursday May 6, 2010, a general election will be held in Britain. It’s likely that the Conservative Party will win with a small majority.

It will make little difference who wins and who governs. None of the parties has a policy that can save Britain from its deepening economic crisis or from its future as a predominantly Muslim country under sharia law.

Here is an address I delivered at a conference of Conservatives in London in 2008. The figures were accurate then according to each country’s published statistics, and they haven’t changed significantly.

My prognosis for Britain and Europe is profoundly depressing. I wish it could be otherwise.

*

The people of Europe are dying out. In that sense it could be said that Europe is coming to an end. The continent is entering a new phase of its history and is already being called by a new name: Eurabia.

Here are the facts and figures:

The birth-rate by which a population is merely stabilized, not increased however slightly, is 2.1 births per woman.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some European figures:

Austria 1.3

Britain 1.77

Czech Republic 2

France 1.9

Germany 1.37

Greece 1.29

Italy 1.2

Ireland 1.87

Netherlands 1.73

Norway 1.81

Poland 2

Russia 1

Spain 1.1

Sweden 1.75

These are all declining populations. Some are declining more steeply than others. Russia’s population will be halved in 50 years, while Poland’s half-life will take a little longer.

It’s hard to imagine what if anything could halt the decline. A sudden explosion of births, with most women of child-bearing age having numerous children in the next couple of decades? Too late. A mass return of European descendants from the New World to the ancestral lands? Yes, but as unlikely to happen as a miracle.

What is actually happening to swell the numbers is an accelerating growth of the Muslim immigrant populations. In Britain today the average age of the non-Muslim population is 41, the average age of the Muslim population is 28. This order of difference is typical of all West European countries. In all of them, furthermore, the Muslim birth-rate is higher than the native birth-rate. It means they have not long to wait for their Muslim majorities. Europe is being Islamized, to become in all likelihood a Muslim-dominated continent by the end of the century [revised estimate – by the middle of the century]. We can now see – we can hardly miss seeing – the change in our cities. Though it seems to have come upon us suddenly, it has been growing for decades. It is about 20 years since the Islamic Foundation issued a declaration from Leicester that the Islamic movement is ‘an organized struggle to change the existing society into an Islamic society based on the Koran’.

Realistically we must confront the demise of our political power and reconcile ourselves to a loss of liberty, because, barring a miracle, Islam will not transform itself into a force for the protection of individual freedom. By no stretch of the imagination can Muslim law, sharia, be described as liberal.

Here are a few examples of it: Women must obey their husbands who should beat them if they do not. Women must cover their heads and figures in public. Thieves must have hands and feet cut off; adulterers are to be stoned to death; unmarried fornicators lashed with 100 stripes; homosexuals burnt, stoned, or dropped from a height; apostates killed. Criticism of the Prophet Mohammed is apostasy. Non-Muslims must convert to Islam, or be killed, or, if Christian or Jewish, may pay a tax called the jizya and so be suffered to live, not as citizens but as dhimmi, subjugated and abased persons forced to submit to numerous laws which mark and preserve their inferior status.

We could cling to a hope that sharia law will not be imposed on our grandchildren, or that if it is, it will be in some modified form. We may surmise that Muslims born and brought up here will be influenced by our values and modes of thought to the extent that they themselves come to prefer our common law to sharia. For this to happen they would have to be thoroughly secularized en masse. In such a development lies our best chance of remaining free. But how probable is it? We can only read the existing signs and they do not inspire optimism.

To some degree young Muslim men in Britain are already secularized. In English cities they can be as enthusiastic Saturday-night bingers and brawlers as their native English counterparts, the Islamic ban on drinking alcohol notwithstanding. But they are inclined to adhere to Islamic customs, as in marriage for example, expecting their wives to remain in a traditionally subservient role. Importantly, the imams still have power to influence the communities, and it is largely because Muslim communities have been established in geographical enclaves that their power remains strong.

Successive British governments have failed to integrate Muslim immigrants. They have preferred, in accordance with the ill-thought-out ideology of ‘multiculturalism’, to permit and even approve the establishment of ethnic enclaves. Yet these are ghettoes of a kind, and the policy itself is, in effect, segregationist, or what might be called apartheid-lite. It has meant that there are areas into which the police are reluctant to enter, so that ‘honour killings’, forced marriages, child marriages, wife beatings and burnings, separation according to gender in schools and offices, are often – no one knows how often – practised with impunity.

Then there are the madrassas. Some 700 [many more now in 2010 – JB] of these religious schools have been established in Britain, at least a few of them with tax-payers’ money. They teach fundamentalist doctrine, including the complete subjugation of women, and the waging of jihad, holy war.

We are often told that Islam means ‘peace’, but it does not. It means ‘submission’. We are told it is a ‘religion of peace’, but it was spread by the sword. Our experience of it in recent years has been traumatic. What Islam has shown us of itself is that it is murderous, destructive, cruel and terrifying, bringing death and agony to many places in the world, including New York, Madrid, and here to us in London.

Conquest of the rest of the world by Islam is ordained by its holy book, the Koran. There it is written that the highest duty of the ‘true believer’ is to wage war against infidel lands – such as ours – until they become part of the realm of Islam and their populations are converted. Every Muslim must participate in the war. Those who do not actively fight must assist those who do in whatever ways they can. Refusal is punishable by mutilation or death.

‘O you who believe! Fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find hardness in you’ (sura 9.123). ‘Those who fight Islam should be murdered or crucified or their hands and feet should be cut off on opposite sides’ (sura 5.33). ‘Let those who fight in the way of Allah, who sell this world’s life for the hereafter; and whoever fights in the way of Allah, be he slain or be he victorious, We shall grant him a mighty reward’ (sura 4.74).

This last injunction with its promise of reward fully authorizes suicide bombing. It is the standing order for such atrocities as those of 9/11 in New York and 7/7 in London.

We have heard from imams and sheikhs that other injunctions abrogate these; or that we must not take them literally. But the important point for us is that there are Muslims who obey them literally. We can hardly avoid noticing, belatedly but plainly at last, that not only are we being colonized by Islam, but at the same time we are being subjected to jihad.

The violence can only get worse, the attacks more destructive, possibly obliterating millions. The President of the Islamic State of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, claiming to be divinely inspired, is threatening to unleash nuclear war. He has the capability of producing nuclear warheads, and Western Europe, we are told, is within range of his missiles. The nuclear bomb is the greatest boon for furthering jihad that has come into Islam’s possession in all the fourteen hundred years of its history. Can we doubt that he will use it?

Jillian Becker    May 3, 2010

Books I recommend:

Mark Steyn, America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It (Regnery, Washington D.C., 2006)

Bruce Bawer, While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam Is Destroying the West from Within (Doubleday, New York, 2006)

Oriana Fallaci, The Rage and the Pride (Rizzoli, New York, 2002), The Force of Reason (Rizzoli, New York, 2006)

Bat Ye’or, Eurabia: the Euro-Arab Axis (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, Cranbury, New Jersey, 2005)

Melanie Phillips, Londonistan (Gibson Square, London, 2006)

The view from the left 0

Hard as it is to believe, this Washington Post column by Fred Hiatt is not satire. He seems seriously to mean what he says.

Gays, immigrants, union leaders, budget hawks, campaign finance reformers, environmentalists, free-traders, human rights activists and civil libertarians all have had cause to wonder whether they were right to trust Obama. The list is familiar, but the explanation remains disputed.

My theory: The culprit is less ideology than Obama’s fidelity to a strategy he can’t, for tactical reasons, publicly acknowledge. Given the hand he was dealt, the evidence suggests he resolved that he had to choose only one domestic and one foreign objective for his first two years in office.

An ambitious set of goals motivated Obama’s candidacy, and early in his presidency the rap was that he was taking on too many. But the legacy of wars abroad and the Great Recession at home threatened his ability to accomplish any of them. Simply managing that bleak inheritance, he realized, might consume his entire term.

To avoid that trap, Obama had to govern with discipline. First, he would have to turn potential negatives into successes. At home, that meant not only engineering a stimulus program to end the recession but also designing financial reform to prevent a recurrence. In Iraq and Afghanistan, it meant charting a path to not just to withdrawal but stable outcomes.

Since both fronts would take enormous energy and political capital, Obama could not afford to squander whatever remained across an array of worthy electives. So over time he subordinated everything to just two: health-insurance reform and blocking Iran’s development of nuclear weapons. Anything else, no matter how popular or deserving, had to give way if it interfered with those.

Obama has put enormous energy into repairing relations with Russia, for example, and relatively less into ties with allies such as India, Mexico or Britain because stopping Iran would require Russia’s support of sanctions. Without a new START arms-control treaty, Russia would not play ball on Iran, so Obama worked assiduously to negotiate a new START. The nuclear summit he hosted in Washington this month; playing down trade tensions with China; the relative reticence on North Korea’s nukes; prodding Israel toward peace talks — all of these were crafted with an eye toward Iran.

At home, the mono-focus is more obvious. Obama would like to close the Guantanamo prison, curb traffic of assault weapons crossing the Mexican border, reform immigration laws and reduce carbon emissions. But each would have carried a political cost, to Obama or Democratic allies he needed on health care, so they all had to wait.

I don’t mean to suggest that Obama would go to any lengths to achieve the main objective. He bargained hard on START, for example, insisting that the treaty meet U.S. military needs as well as serve the larger goal.

And it’s not that he has abandoned everything else: Where he could advance other objectives at minimal cost, he has done so, usually by executive action. He wouldn’t fight for labor law reform, but he promulgated regulations that favor unions. He hasn’t replaced No Child Left Behind, but he allowed his education secretary to spur reform by judicious granting and withholding of stimulus funds. There’s no climate change legislation, but the Environmental Protection Agency hiked mileage standards for cars and trucks. And so on.

Obama can’t acknowledge all this. You don’t tell allies, whether gay rights groups or India, that they’ve slipped down your priority list. (That’s especially true now, before an election, as immigration, education and energy advocates jockey to go next.) And the best negotiating strategy to get things you want isn’t always to show how much you want them.

So we may have to wait until Obama writes his memoirs to discover why he elevated these two goals. Was he set on health reform from the start, for instance, or did congressional politics nudge that ahead of, say, coping with climate change?

Abroad, the strategy, with its hope of turning autocracies such as China and Russia into long-term partners, remains at best unproven. At home, it seems to be paying off, with major health reform approved and financial reform in sight. For those at the back of the line — such as the District last week — the opportunity costs are sharply felt. But even at such times, it’s hard not to admire Obama’s focus.

Every statement cries out for exegesis. Some of them – Obama’s “ending of the recession”, his financial reform, his “charting a path to stabilize Iraq and Afghanistan” – need at least a paragraph each. But there’s one that clamors for objection above the rest.

“Blocking Iran’s development of nuclear weapons” has been Obama’s foreign policy priority? Everything else except health care has been subordinated to that goal? He’s focussed on it?

Strange – we haven’t noticed that he’s done a damn thing about it. It seems to us that he’s perfectly willing to let Iran become a nuclear-armed power. A series of  “deadlines” have been allowed to pass without there being any penalty for Iran’s ignoring them. Talk of sanctions has been nothing but talk, and those talked of have been steadily weakened. No military option is “on the table”. Obama has begged Ahmadinejad for his friendship, and the poisonous little dictator has gleefully said no over and over again. How come Mr Hiatt hasn’t noticed all that?

How has the START treaty affected Iran? Russia is still not willing to vote for sanctions. And what US military needs have been served by it?  It is plainly to the detriment of the US and the advantage of Russia. Relations with Russia are in no way “repaired”. If changed at all, they’re probably worse. Nor will China vote for sanctions. And Obama’s “reticence” on North Korea’s nukes has resulted in – what?  As for the nuclear summit, Iran wasn’t even mentioned. And “prodding” Israel – that has made the world safe from Iranian bombs? What it has really done is tell Israel that it has “slipped down the priority list”, along with India and Britain and a number of other allies.

Well, we’ve recovered from being flabbergasted by Mr Hiatt’s quaint perspective and now we find it amusing. And it’s gratifying to know that numerous bunches of lefties (but surely “free-traders” and “budget hawks” do not belong among them) feel disappointed by the president of their dreams. From our perspective he has gone fearfully far to satisfy them, with the “executive action” and “regulations” and so on that Mr Hiatt tells us were thrown to them as mere sops or stop-gaps. So apparently he might have gone further and done even worse.

The implication of Mr Hiatt’s apologia for his hero is that when he has succeeded with his two chosen “electives”, he will go further. Now the health care legislation has been forced through, but there still remains the other goal Mr Hiatt believes Obama is focussed on: stopping Iran going nuclear.

If Mr Hiatt is right and the achievement of that goal really stands between Obama and the rest of the far left agenda he’s expected to foist on us, then we can rest easy. Or could, if dread of those bombs wasn’t keeping us awake nights.

But what if Mr Hiatt is wrong? We’ll get the bombs and the radical left agenda.

Obama abandons Poland and Czech Republic to the enemy 2

From The Heritage Foundation (whose work we greatly appreciate):

According to the Polish daily newspaper, Gazeta Wyborcza, sources in the United States have confirmed that the Obama Administration has made the decision to abandon the U.S. anti-missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic. Unfortunately, this news is not surprising at all. In March, President Obama “secretly” offered to give up the missile defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic in exchange for Russia’s help in discouraging Iran from building nuclear weapons.

This is a grave mistake for several reasons. First, the decision to abandon the “third site” deployment of missile interceptors in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic violates President Obama’s pledge to support missile defense that is “pragmatic and cost-effective.” Ground-based missile defense is effective, affordable and available now. Second, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), alternatives to the third site do not provide a comparable level of defense. The CBO concluded that the estimated $9-14 billion 20-year cost of the third site was half of the estimated costs of a sea-based alternative. Third, reneging on our promise to Poland and the Czech Republic sends a terrible signal to our allies in the region. Abandoning our best missile defense option in Europe only encourages Iran to speed up their ballistic missile program so that they can get their threat in place before a European missile defense system is available. This abandonment is not simply a mistake, it is a sign of weakness to countries like Iran, North Korea and even Russia.

President Obama is passing up the opportunity to protect the region against Iran, assert our authority and power to protect less powerful nations and present a strong and united front to the world. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton assured the U.S. allies in the Middle East that if Iran acquires a nuclear weapon, the U.S. will offer a “defense umbrella” to protect them. What does this mean in the context of Obama’s abandonment and proposed $1.4 billion cuts in the missile defense budget?

What does it mean?  Could it possibly mean that Obama does not want to protect Europe against Iran – or Russia? Or protect ‘less powerful nations’ at all? Or ‘present a strong and united front to the world’?

Fools, cowards, and worse 0

Jennifer Rubin writes at Commentary’s ‘contentions’ website:

Hillary Clinton insists with great bluster that Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons is “futile.” What’s missing? Well, a coherent plan for denying Iran nuclear weapons.

One is left with two possible interpretations. One may be that despite denials to the contrary that he is living in a diplomatic fantasyland, Obama is convinced of his own powers of persuasion and believes the Iranian mullahs will fall under his spell and give up their nuclear weapons. After all, we are setting such a good example by proposing all sorts of disarmament agreements; the mullahs would be foolish not to go along, right? This supposes the administration is stocked with fools who are oblivious to the nature of the Iranian regime. Possibly.

The other alternative is that Clinton knows Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons is futile because eventually Israel will “take care of it.” This is actually a less charitable explanation than the “they are foolish” option. It supposes a level of timidity, an unwillingness to assume American responsibilities, and a level of deceit. Having bashed Israel for six months and declared that no country has the right to tell another whether it can pursue nuclear power, Obama and his team now are banking on Israel to do their dirty work. They will complain after the fact, of course. Is this possible? Well, unless you think Obama and his team are fools, it is the only explanation.

In our view, the administration is stocked with fools and lying cowards. But there is a third possible explanation: While Obama is against America being nuclear armed, he is not against iran being nuclear armed, nor against Israel being wiped off the map. Nothing he has said or done contradicts these propositions.  

Posted under Commentary, Iran, Islam, Israel, United States by Jillian Becker on Thursday, July 30, 2009

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‘An awful responsibility’ abandoned 0

From Investor’s Business Daily:

In the torrent of analysis of the president’s Muslim speech, a major policy shift went largely unnoticed. We now endorse equal opportunity regarding what countries can have atomic weapons.

President Obama’s Cairo University address to the world’s Muslims on Thursday squandered a historic opportunity that perhaps only a president with a Muslim father and a Muslim name could have utilized: effectively rallying the Islamic world against Iran as it pursues nuclear weapons.

Instead, he did pretty much the opposite, declaring that “no single nation should pick and choose which nation holds nuclear weapons.”

This is multilateralism taken to its reductio ad absurdum. Since the dawn of atomic weapons, it has been mostly the United States’ job — what Harry Truman called “an awful responsibility which has come to us” — to act as a kind of global nuclear custodian.

Truman made no bones about defending our building of the bomb, noting that the Nazis “were on the search for it” and that “we know now how close they were to finding it. And we knew the disaster which would come to this nation, and to all peace-loving nations, to all civilization, if they had found it first.”

That Democratic president made it clear to the world that “Great Britain, Canada and the United States, who have the secret of its production, do not intend to reveal that secret until means have been found to control the bomb so as to protect ourselves and the rest of the world from the danger of total destruction.”

If we are honest with ourselves today, we must admit that even now, nearly six-and-a-half decades into the nuclear age, there remains no foolproof means of controlling the bomb. It continues to be, in Give ’em Hell Harry’s words, “too dangerous to be loose in a lawless world.”

So it is chilling to hear a U.S. president go to Egypt and, after issuing an unprecedented apology for the 1953 CIA coup that kept Iran and its oil from the clutches of Iran’s direct neighbor to the north, the Soviet Union, declare that Iran has “the right” to nuclear power — which it can easily use to build bombs.

There is nothing new in a president calling for “a world in which no nations hold nuclear weapons,” as Obama did in Cairo. Ronald Reagan expressed such hopes. But isn’t contending that “no single nation should pick and choose which nation holds nuclear weapons” the opposite of zero nuclear tolerance?

How is it a step toward a nuclear-free world when we announce that the West should stop practicing what might be called “nuclear discrimination?” Tehran will interpret Obama’s words as carte blanche to pursue its goal of building a nuclear weapons arsenal.

According to the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran has now amassed 1,359 kilograms of low-enriched uranium hexafluoride. It has nearly 5,000 centrifuges up and running — and is making it more difficult for international inspectors to scrutinize its nuclear program.

Yet at the G-8 foreign ministers conference at the end of this month in Italy, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will rub shoulders with Tehran’s diplomatic mission, invited to attend by the Italians, just as if Iran were Finland or New Zealand or any other civilized nation, not the Islamofascist threat to the world that it is.

Neither Europe nor the U.N. has the willingness or the fortitude to “pick and choose” multilaterally which nations can be accepted into the nuclear club. Only the U.S. can lead in such an “awful responsibility.”

But last week in Cairo we apparently relinquished that grave duty.

Posted under Commentary, Defense, Iran, Islam, Muslims, United States by Jillian Becker on Saturday, June 6, 2009

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Swinging on a hinge of history 0

From an article in Newsmax by Ken Timmerman (read it all here): 

When newly appointed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with President Barack Obama next month, don’t expect a public spat over peace process politics. Sources in the new government tell Newsmax that the Israeli prime minister is determined to focus all of his energy on convincing Obama that preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons dwarfs all other concerns either nation could have. Netanyahu sees the threat from a nuclear-armed Iran as a “hinge of history,” that could fundamentally alter the world if it goes unchallenged, sources told Newsmax in Jerusalem on Tuesday. 

If the world fails to meet the challenge of stopping the Iranian regime’s nuclear quest, Netanayhu believes “this could be a turning point that is irreversible.”

Should Iran succeed in acquiring nuclear weapons, it would be the first time that a radical Islamic regime dedicated to Israel’s destruction had ever acquired such massive destructive power. “We cannot assume that the normal rational calculations other actors have had for the last 50 or 60 years are going to hold true,” one source said.

But what if Obama desires that irreversible historical change? What if he desires Israel’s destruction? Every appointment he has made in connection with Middle East policy, every step he has taken since coming to power in relation to the Arabs and Islam, has demonstrated his sympathy with the Islamic powers – even to the point of inventing a ‘moderate Taliban’. His decision to base his Israel-Palestine policy on the Saudi plan, which is a formula for the destruction of Israel, confirms his lack of sympathy for the Jewish State. We suspect that Netanyahu is extremely unlikely to change Obama’s mind. There may or may not be a public spat specifically over the (misnamed) ‘peace process’, but there is very likely to be an irreconcilable clash over Iran. 

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, April 8, 2009

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