Iran: Doing Nothing Is Not an Option

Iran is heading at breakneck speed toward becoming a nuclear power, thereby endangering its neighbors, setting off an arms race in the volatile Middle East, supplying dirty bombs to terror groups, threatening U.S. allies in Europe, and even targeting the U.S. American people are asking the U.S. government to do something, but President Barack Obama has opted to do nothing, and that's not an option we can live with.

Just days after a memo by Secretary of Defense Gates confirmed what many suspected -- the U.S. has no plan to head off Iran's nuclear ambitions -- an unclassified Defense Department report announced that Iran may be able to build a missile capable of striking the United States by 2015. Since we are not privy to the details of Iran's nuclear program, the timeline may even be a little earlier. Well before that date, Iran will be able to launch a nuclear attack against Italy or Poland or France, and certainly against U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. Even earlier, the leading terror-sponsoring state will have the highly enriched fuel necessary for a portable device, which can be detonated in any city in the world.

Once Iran has nuclear arms, the world as we know it will change. Yet the White House offers nothing but empty threats. The president has drawn a number of lines in the sand for deadline dates by which Iran must change its course "or else!" When Iran defied those deadlines, the U.S. responded with a resounding nothing. Even when Obama offered a carrot (with no stick) in a proposal to enrich uranium for Iran in return for a reduction of Iran's nuclear stockpile, Iran rejected the deal. The administration did nothing as Tehran continued perfecting its bombs, warheads, and delivery systems. Obama and Secretary of State Clinton have vowed that Iran will not be allowed to become a nuclear state, but they have not spelled out what the United States is willing to do to stop it. President Ahmadinejad does not seem to be quaking in fear each time the U.S. shakes a finger and blusters that a nuclear Iran is "unacceptable."

Obama not only refuses to act, but he blocks any meaningful action by Congress. Today, the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act (IRPSA), the only bill with some actual teeth in it, is languishing in conference committee. The bill targets Iran's dependence on foreign oil imports. It tells companies who supply, ship, or insure shipments of refined petroleum to Iran that they have a choice: Do business with Iran, or do business with the U.S. While Iran is the fourth-largest oil exporter in the world, it imports a reported 40% of its gasoline and another 11% of its diesel fuel. Even though IRPSA passed the Senate with a unanimous vote and got an overwhelming majority of 412 votes in the House, it has been stuck in conference since December. Representative Mark Kirk (R-IL) told, "The Obama administration is pushing Congress to postpone action on the bill[.]" The House and Senate issued letters to President Obama urging him to impose "crippling sanctions" on Iran. The letters further urge the president to sanction Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran's banking system, and Iran's ability to import refined petroleum. The bipartisan House letter was spearheaded by Reps. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL) and Mike Pence (R-IN), while the bipartisan Senate letter was led by Sens. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC). The administration is hoping for international action through the U.N., which is another way of saying that he will do nothing.

Actions have consequences, and so does inaction. Many share Kirk's fear that "...the United States is resigning itself to a nuclear Iran[.]" Senator Joe Lieberman warns that "we are losing the real-world fight to prevent rogue regimes like Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. If Iran continues on its current trajectory and crosses the nuclear threshold, it will inflict irreparable harm on the global nonproliferation regime."

President Obama, who is not above picking fights with banks, insurance companies, Wall Street, doctors, Rush Limbaugh, anyone who earns over $250,000 a year, churches, charities, and Israelis who build homes in Jerusalem, gives free reign to one of the most dangerous players in the world. Embroiled in numerous petty battles, the president of the United States does nothing about the single biggest threat that confronts the world today. Doing nothing emboldens our enemy and weakens both the U.S, and our friends. It is the option that could cost us our lives, and certainly not one we can live with.

President Obama must live up to his own rhetoric:

I think what American people are asking is, do you just want government to do nothing, or do you want it to do something? If you want it to do something, then we can have a conversation. But doing nothing, that's not an option from my perspective.