Netanyahu's Timely Warning on Iran
Iran is the gravest danger to the U.S. and the world. Not ISIS. Not Boko Haram. Not Kony. Not Al Shabab. Iran on the path to a nuclear weapon.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to a joint session of Congress helped refocus the distracted Obama administration’s attention on this rising threat. It did not force them, unfortunately, to reconsider their ill-advised course. But at least it made President Obama and Secretary Kerry respond to the case made by Netanyuahu before the American people and the world.
Our attention has been distracted of late by the medieval horrors of ISIS (Islamist Savagery Inspired by Satan). They have beheaded and burned and crucified innocents in their drive to rivet the attention of the world to their barbarism and menace. Of course, ISIS must be dealt with.
There is nothing ISIS has done that Iran has not done. Many of the 241 U.S. Marines and Navy corpsmen murdered in their Beirut barracks in 1983 were beheaded and burned to death when the Mullahs of Tehran invented suicide bombing and sent their catspaws, Hizb'allah, to carry it out.
History is helpful here. President Franklin D. Roosevelt had to face an enraged nation at the start of World War II. Japan’s sneak attack on Pearl Harbor meant there would be a demand for strong retaliation. FDR did not ignore the public outcry for retaliation.
He sent Col. Jimmy Doolittle on that famous “Thirty seconds over Tokyo” bombing raid just months after that “day of infamy” -- Dec. 7, 1941. And he sent the U.S. Marines to battle island-by-island on a bloody path through the South and Central Pacific.
The Japanese, too, burned American prisoners to death. And gruesomely beheaded them. They even ate Americans they captured on Chichi Jima.
But Franklin D. Roosevelt never lost sight of the main enemy -- Hitler's Germany. Without ever publicly announcing it, he resolutely pursued a strategy of “Germany First.” As a result of his wise leadership, the Allies in WWII exerted 85% of their joint effort against the Nazi menace.
Why? It may well have been because Roosevelt had been informed, as early as 1939 in a letter from Nobel Prize-winning physicist Albert Einstein, that Hitler could develop a nuclear weapon. FDR exercised leadership of a higher order in resisting the understandable desire of Americans to hit Japan first and hardest.
When the Roosevelt White House announced the president would be addressing the nation on world affairs, and that it would be helpful to have a map at hand, millions of Americans rushed to map stores to be prepared. That was the level of respect we had for his leadership.
There is probably no more shameful episode in the annals of American diplomacy than the shabby treatment of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by this president. The Israeli leader, in responding to Congress’ invitation, equaled Winston Churchill’s record of three times speaking before a Joint Session.
Like Churchill, Netanyahu could say: “We fight by ourselves alone, but we fight not for ourselves alone.” Today, it is Benjamin Netanyahu and not the American President who represents the forces of civilization standing against the bloody tide of barbarism.
President Obama has sought the mullahs’ help in combating ISIS. That would be like asking Hitler to help us against Japan. Mr. Obama -- in the memorable word of his predecessor -- has misunderestimated the threat of Iran since he took office. He sent them Persian New Year greetings, he turned a blind eye to their shooting down democracy demonstrators in the streets of Tehran.
Even now, with “talks” proceeding with the mullahs, with their foreign minister, Javad Zarif, screaming and yelling at the hapless John Kerry in Geneva (so violently that security guards came running), with their Hizb'allah agents threatening Israel with mass murder daily, President Obama fundamentally misperceives the Iranian threat.
This week, Iran engaged in military exercises using “swarming” techniques to attack an exact replica of our aircraft carrier USS Nimitz. Can anyone dream that the U.S. secretarty of state in 1941, Cordell Hull, would have blandly continued his peace talks with Japanese envoys Kichisaburo Nomura and Saburo Kurusu if we had known that Japan was simultaneously planning their attack on our carriers and battleships at Pearl Harbor?
Let us all pray that Netanyahu and Israel (or Israel’s intelligence service, the Mossad) can stop Iran, for it is clear that President Obama and Secretary Kerry are only paving their pathway to nuclear status. If the Israelis succeed where the Obama administration has failed, we may once again have reason to thank God for Israel.
Ken Blackwell and Bob Morrison are senior Felllows at the Family Research Council in Washington, DC.