Iran is part of the “Axis of Evil” that President Bush identified years ago, along with the then-Saddam-controlled Iraq and fruit-loop-led North Korea. North Korea claims to already have working nuclear weapons. Saddam certainly wanted nuclear weapons and was actively working on them, as Lybia’s handing over of 408 Iraqi scientists proved. So this leaves Iran. And Iran wants nuclear power.

Oh, yes. Iran wants nuclear power, but you don’t have to worry. They say they only want it for peaceful purposes to generate power. And I could believe them if they weren’t already sitting on a vast sea of oil which can give them all the power they need for their nation. Why do they need something more like nuclear generated power? I can’t see the need, but I can certainly see their want of nuclear power. And this want isn’t coming from a desire to make sure every household in Iran has all the electricity they want, but rather to get rid of their long-time enemy, Israel, and become the lead player in the Middle East. Iran wants nuclear power, but not the power of electricity it can generate. It wants the power of fear and intimidation that comes from nuclear weapons.

“Israel has nukes, so why can’t Iran?” I don’t worry about Israel’s nukes any more than I worry about England attacking the United States with their nukes. But I worry every time a state sponsor of terrorism even thinks of getting nuclear weapons. Knowing that Iran is merely enriching uranium is scary even if they never put the uranium into a power plant or bomb. I can put together the news of enriched uranium and Iran’s sponsoring of terrorism and come up with the answer of a dirty bomb. I wonder how the political left and moonbats of this country would react to a Manhattan made uninhabitable due to the scattered radioactive material from terrorist-exploded dirty bombs? Or Rome? Or London? And what would their reaction be when tests prove the radioactive material came from Iran? I would rather not find out.

Victor David Hanson sums up our options with Iran in his recent post to National Review Online titled, “Dead-end Debates:”

The Bush administration is hardly hell-bent on preemption, unilateralism, and imperial grandeur in blocking Iran’s rapid ascendance to nuclear status.

Instead, there are, and always were, only three bad choices. First, we could let the multilateral Europeans jawbone, using the cowboy George Bush as the bad-cop foil while drawing in the United Nations, the Russians, and the Chinese, or the Arab League, in hopes of delay. Perhaps as we bought time we could pray that after 26 years either the Iranians would liberalize their regime or the democratic experiment in Iraq would prove destabilizing to the neighboring mullahs.

The second tact was live with a nuclear Iran as if it were a Pakistan — and perhaps hope that something like a nuclear democratic India emerged next door to deter it.

The third choice, of course, was to tarry until the last possible moment and then take out the installations before the missiles were armed. The rationale behind that nightmarish gambit would be that the resulting mess — collateral damage, missed sites, enhanced terrorism, dirty-bomb suicide bombers, Shiite fervor in Iraq, and ostracism by the world community — was worth the price to stop a nuclear theocracy before it blackmailed the West, took de facto control of the Middle East oil nexus, nuked Israel, or spread global jiahdist fundamentalism through intimidation.

All alternatives are bad. All have been discussed. So far neither the retired military brass nor the Democratic opposition has offered anything new — much less which choice they can assure us is best. The result is that Iran is the new soapbox on which talking heads can blather about the dangers of “preemption,” but without either responsibility for, or maturity in, advocating a viable alternative.

So what can we do? I don’t like any of the options, but there are times when you have to choose between options that are really bad on the one hand and horrible on the other. Read Tom Godwin’s short story “The Cold Equations” about making tough decisions when all the options are bad.

Reuel Marc Gerecht makes a good point about who is in control of this nuclear showdown in Iran in his article “To Bomb, or Not to Bomb” at The Weekly Standard. It is long, but well worth reading the whole thing.

Critical point: The Iranians–not the Americans–control this discussion and are circumscribing the diplomatic avenues the Bush administration is still determined to pursue. Tehran’s mullahs are unlikely to allow us any running room. Rafsanjani’s and Ahmadinejad’s recent statements about Iran succeeding in enriching uranium (level unspecified) and its readiness to begin industrial-scale production mean, among other things, that the clerical regime believes it now has the advantage (which it does).

The United Nations has again proven incapable of handling this challenge (the Russians and the Chinese will, so the Iranians believe, continue to block sanctions). And the Iranians have little reason so far to fear the Europeans. The Germans have repeatedly shown themselves uncomfortable with tough sanctions against Tehran, and the recent comments made by the German foreign minister recommending direct U.S.-Iranian talks signify, translated into Persian, that the Germans really don’t like the sanctions approach, even when pushed by France. Rafsanjani and Ahmadinejad are also saying that it’s too late; you can’t bomb us now since we’ve crossed the enrichment threshold. This certainly isn’t true–the Iranians don’t have enough centrifuges constructed and running–but it could become true, much faster than the Bush administration would like.

And finally, I will finish this by pointing to some text and another great cartoon from Cox and Forkum about Iran:

Apparently some on the left are mobilizing to prevent military action against the U.S.-hating, terrorist-sponsoring, genocide-threatening, Nuke-seeking, Holocaust-denying, homosexual-executing theocrats of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Mild and Woolly

I like David Brin’s writing, and many of his novels and short stories sit on my bookshelf to be read and reread. The first of Brin’s novels that I read was The Postman, a post-apocalyptic story of a wanderer who found a postman’s uniform, and how that uniform changed the people he met. The book is a fast read, and I recommend it highly.

The movie version of this story, however, stinks like yesterday’s diapers. I do understand that movies and novels are different media, and while an author may have hundreds of pages in which to tell his story, the film director has only 90 to 180 minutes. However, it never ceases to amaze me when a screenwriter rewrites a million-copy-selling novel to “make the story better.”

*movie spoiler warning*

The 1997 movie The Postman stars Kevin Costner. It shares the character of a postman, some names, and the post-apocalyptic setting with the book. Pretty much everything else comes from the brain of someone other than David Brin.

At the end of the movie, there is a major mounted attack by postmen (not in the book) against General Bethlehem (not in the book) and his survivalist troops. It ends with a one-on-one fight between the Postman and the General (not in the book) for command of the troops, ending with the Postman choking the General (not in the book – I think you get the point). Rather than finishing the General and gaining control of the troops, thus stopping the attacks on the remaining people, the Postman stops and declares, “The killing stops here.” While this sounds good and “touchy-feely,” it bears no resemblance to reality. You can’t attack a vicious killer and, after hitting him a few times, tell him that his reign of power and slaying is over – particularly when your enemy doesn’t believe in peace. The people of Oregon didn’t have peace by giving up to the survivalist troops. They didn’t have peace by negotiating with the survivalist troops. They had peace when the troops were defeated and when General Bethlehem was killed. That is what you must do when you are at war.

And we are at war.

We didn’t realize it for years, but a group of Muslim fanatics had declared war on the United States. During the many attacks on America preceding the events on September 11th, 2001, we ignored what these zealots were doing, but seeing the World Trade Towers collapse was hard to ignore.

So here we are at war – the War on Terror – and there are three basic reactions to these attacks:

We Should Give Up

Osama bin Laden has said that America could avoid any further bloodshed if we were to give up our evil ways, renounce Israel, and become good Muslims. There’s just one problem with surrendering to a bully: once you have given in to him, what will stop you from giving up when the next bully comes around? Once a band of thugs realize that you are willing to roll over and piddle on yourself whenever they threaten you, just how much respect will you have in their eyes? And what will stop them from raining down all the horrors they choose upon you? Saudi Arabia is a Muslim nation, but al-Qaeda doesn’t have a problem with killing Saudis. Indonesia has a very large and faithful Muslim population, but this didn’t stop al-Qaeda from detonating a bomb in Bali.

But as much as al-Qaeda would like to see America give up, surrendering just isn’t part of our nature.

We Should Negotiate

“They attacked us! We must start some negotiations with them right away! If we could just talk with them and understand why they are so upset, we could get down to the root of the problem and make everything OK again. Why, with just a bit of work at the negotiation table, we could have peace in our time!”

The Democrat party is a leading proponent of going all Neville Chamberlain on these terrorists. The Democrats are as eager to solve things diplomatically as the former Prime Minister of England was to negotiate with Hitler, and they will have as much success. After all, how can you find common ground with people who want you dead? Do you think you could successfully negotiate them down to only a light maiming? Do you seriously think you can negotiate with evil people? I can just imagine the discussion:

Liberals: We must have done something terrible to make you hate us so. What was it?
Evil: We will kill you.
Liberals: I’m sure you suffered from a poor childhood. Let’s get you on
Oprah so you can talk about it.
Evil: We will kill you.
Liberals: Even though you have lots of oil money, I’m sure poverty is the root problem. Have some money.
Evil: We will kill you.

Oh, yeah, negotiating is the way to go here.

We Must Defeat Them

The only way to stop evil is to defeat it. If you must negotiate, do so after you have removed the evil from power. While the threat and use of violence can be powerful in overthrowing evil, there is something better: the word of God. When the Lamanite people were under attack by the al-Qaeda of their day, they “did hunt the band of robbers of Gadianton; and they did preach the word of God among the more wicked part of them, insomuch that this band of robbers was utterly destroyed from among the Lamanites.”[link] Isn’t it interesting that preaching the word of God has a stronger effect on people than the sword, and that this type of proselyting is specifically forbidden in Muslim countries? Since we are blocked from using the word of God, we are left with the less-powerful tool of defeat – the sword – and it is with the sword that we must now defeat the evil that is in the Earth.

The War on Terror is a war against evil. Too many liberals deny that we can or should look at the world in terms of black and white – but when your opponents are willing to behead innocent people whose only fault was being alive, non-Muslim, and available, what else can you call it? Can you really consider the beheading of Paul Johnson, Nicholas Berg, and now Kim Sun-il as anything but deliberately evil acts?

So after September 11th, President Bush looked over the world and saw the greatest threat of evil to the U.S. came from al-Qaeda, and Afghanistan was guilty of harboring Osama bin Laden and his organization. President Bush realized it was time to deny this evil the nation-state that protected it, and so he launched an offensive to remove the Taliban from power. Thanks to his vision, 24 million people are no longer under that oppressive government, and they are working toward a lasting freedom they have not known for years.

Once the Taliban had been overthrown and al-Qaeda scattered to the hills, what was the next place to go in our War on Terror? President Bush had identified an Axis of Evil that actively supported terrorism, and Iraq was specifically mentioned as part of this Axis. Liberals claim that President Bush led a “rush to war,” but this “rush” took over a year to gather up and execute. Thanks to his vision, 26 million people are no longer under that oppressive government, and they are working toward a lasting freedom they have not known for years.

Iraq had ties with al-Qaeda and funded other terrorists. Russian President Vladimir Putin recently said that after September 11th, 2001, the Russian intelligence agency passed information to the United States that Iraq was “preparing terrorist acts on the territory of the United States and beyond its borders, at U.S. military and civilian locations.”

So let’s review what we know about Iraq, folks:

  • Iraq certainly had weapons of mass destruction; it used them against its own people and Iran.
  • Iraq had twice launched major wars against its neighbors in recent history.
  • Iraq was funding terrorism and training terrorists.
  • Iraq had plans to attack America and Americans.

It’s pretty clear that removing Saddam was a fundamental part of the War on Terror. Twice now President Bush has been successful in major operations in this war. Notwithstanding these successes, the liberal left is certainly fully capable of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory if they have their way. Their continual harping on President Bush and the War on Terror can succeed in distracting us and sapping from this nation the resolve we need to win against this evil. As they keep demanding that we either give up or negotiate, they are pulling us away from the only option that will truly give us peace in our time: defeating the terrorists completely.

Addendum (6/27/2004): I added the discussion about The Postman to the beginning of this editorial. And speaking of the movie, I threw it out after watching it.