I am turning 50 this year. I can’t remember a moment in my life, ever since I was old enough to understand world events, that I didn’t hear something about the dangerous Middle East, and that we lived on a hair-trigger to World War III because of the events there.
My first experience in this life-long intellectual exercise was the Six-Day War in 1967. I was old enough at that time to learn the valuable lesson the Israelis taught, namely, that when faced with an implacable enemy, you take overwhelming, pre-emptive action and defeat his machinations. (After much thought, I’ll say that the Israelis didn’t go far enough, but that’s another tale.) I have read mountains of material on this region over the last 30 years, and I have witnessed the folly of the faux peacemakers. We have experienced terrorism first-hand in our country on September 11; we have seen innocent little girls gunned down at airports; students blown up on buses; diners blown up in a pizzeria; car bombs, IEDs, and beheadings in Iraq; train attacks in Spain; attacks in the UK; embassies siezed or bombed; warships attacked; planes shot down or exploded in mid-flight. All of these horrors have become almost a signature of my lifetime, one of the constant threads that continuously go through it.
Today, we are faced with a desperately grave situation that very few people want to acknowledge. They are as content as ostriches before the lion pounces. Well, I’m no ostrich. All of you have read my musings regarding the world situation vis-à-vis Islam: its desire to conquer the West, establish a caliphate, and impose sharia law on all of us. (Notice that I did not say “radical Islam,” just “Islam”.) Some of you vehemently disagree with my point of view — to your peril. Days after September 11, 2001 I was asked by several family members what I thought should be done. Most of them know my opinions on the subject, and generally shake their heads in disbelief that I would actually utter the words I utter, but then again, they’re ostriches; I’m not. On that first post-September 11 Saturday I told them that the United States should use its full military might on the three countries in the world that overtly sponsor terrorism: Iran, Iraq and Syria. That would send a clear message that the United States would not tolerate threats from nations or sponsored groups of those nations. My opinion remains unchanged to this day. My only regret, while understanding the strategic necessity of going after Iraq first, is that Iran has remained unscathed.
I write all of this because that country today has a spokesman — the Mullahs are really in charge so he is just their spokesman, after all — that utters barbarities and threats, as part of an official policy, and the world seems paralyzed to take any action. Read this editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal and leave your comments. I am curious to see if I am just the voice of one crying in the wilderness or if there are others like me out there who know the threat we and children and grandchildren will face over the next few years.
Would you buy a “grand bargain” from this man?
Wednesday, May 10, 2006 12:01 a.m. EDT
About Moammar Ghadafi, Ronald Reagan once remarked that not only was the Libyan dictator a barbarian, he was also flaky. Regarding the publication yesterday of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s “letter” to President Bush, flaky is being kind.
In different hands, the Iranian president’s letter might have been a diplomatic masterstroke. The Bush Administration has been under mounting pressure to engage in face-to-face talks with the Iranians as a way of dealing with the regime’s bid to develop nuclear weapons. As Clinton Administration National Security Adviser Samuel Berger wrote in The Wall Street Journal Monday, the purpose of such talks would be to settle “all issues of mutual concern: its nuclear program, to be sure, but also its support for militant groups, its posture toward the Middle East peace process, the future of Iraq and, on their side, the removal of our sanctions, Iran’s integration into the global community and U.S. assurances of noninterference and security guarantees.”
We have deep doubts about this course, not least because every previous U.S. attempt at engagement–Presidents Carter, Reagan and Clinton all tried–was spurned and taken as a sign of weakness. But put that aside. What Mr. Ahmadinejad’s letter reveals is the thinking of the man who would, if Mr. Berger had his way, be our “partner.”
“Those with insight,” the Iranian tells Mr. Bush, “can already hear the sounds of the shattering and fall of the ideology and thoughts of the liberal democratic systems. We increasingly see that people around the world are flocking toward a main focal point–that is the Almighty God.
. . . My question for you [Mr. Bush] is, ‘Do you not want to join them?’ ”
Loopy as this sounds, it should be of some comfort to those on the American left who believe Mr. Bush is already a theocrat. But consider some of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s other weird diplomatic and historical insights:
- “September 11 was not a simple operation. Could it be planned and executed without coordination with intelligence and security services–or their extensive infiltration? Of course this is just an educated guess.”
- “The brave and faithful people of Iran too have many questions and grievances, including . . . [the] transformation of an Embassy into a headquarters supporting the activities of those opposing the Islamic Republic. . . .” That’s the U.S. Embassy he’s referring to.
- “One of my students told me that during WW II . . . news about the war was quickly disseminated by the warring parties. . . . After the war, they claimed six million Jews had been killed. . . . [Let] us assume these events are true.”
The letter also contains repeated references to what Mr. Ahmadinejad imagines, with some justification, are the main concerns of the Western left. It’s all here: the exploitation of Africa’s mineral resources; homelessness and unemployment in the U.S.; the budgetary wastefulness of the war in Iraq and U.S. fiscal imbalances. The concern is almost touching, though perhaps Mr. Ahmadinejad needs to broaden his daily media sources beyond the BBC.
What’s wholly absent, however, is any indication that he is prepared to moderate his positions as a way of meeting the U.S. or U.N. half way. As a psychological comparison, the Unabomber’s manifesto comes to mind.
One last item: this guy and his regime are becoming very chummy with fidel and chavez and other leftoids in Latin America. Is he dangeous enough? You be the judge. I have already made up my mind. (A copy of his letter to President Bush, translated by Le Monde, can be downloaded as a PDF here.)
UPDATE: Daniel Pipes has an excellent analysis in today’s New York Sun regarding this very issue.
(H/T Mike Pancier)