France, Germany, and England have spent two years trying to talk the Iranian terrorist regime out of its nuclear weapons program. That is, of course, what Iran’s program is designed to do — build nuclear weapons, not electric power — as even the Washington Post had to admit. Last week the negotiations reached their inevitable and comprehensive failure when Iran announced the resumption of uranium processing at its Isfahan nuclear facility. The EUnuchs’ reaction was consistent with their strategy. They reneged on their promise to demand that the UN’s embalmed nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, pass a resolution reporting Iran’s violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to the UN Security Council for consideration of sanctions. To understand why they didn’t we must listen to Hosein Mosavian, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator. In an interview last week he said that Iran had already maneuvered the EUnuchs into a promise to block any effective UN action against the birth of nuclear terrorism.
In an interview with Iran Television, Mosavian revealed that the EU-3 have committed an act of appeasement that, by comparison, renders Neville Chamberlain’s 1938 Munich agreement with Hitler a masterful act of statesmanship. Mosavian said, “During these two years of negotiations, we managed to make far greater progress than North Korea. North Korea’s most important achievement had to do with security guarantees. We achieved the same thing a year ago in the negotiations with the Europeans. They agreed to give us international guarantees for Iran’s security, its national rule, its independence, [and] non-intervention in its internal affairs, [as well as] its national security, and for not invading it.” There is no denial of Mosavian’s assertion from the EUnuchs. Silence is an horrific proof.
The enormity of the EUnuchs’ action cannot be overstated. They have unilaterally given Iran more than the North Koreans have always demanded and never received: a guarantee against military and UN diplomatic action to stop their nuclear weapons program. Their concession to Tehran is a de facto agreement to enable the world’s principal terrorist nation to reshape not only the Middle East, but the entire world. If Iran becomes a nuclear power, it will — as its one-time leader, Rafsanjani, advocated — use those weapons on Israel. It will threaten to use them against American forces deployed anywhere in the Middle East, and be able to deter American military action against it and its terrorist proxies. It will hold Europe in thrall to its nuclear threat, and arm its terrorist proxies with those weapons to attack any nation that opposes them. The world will be safe for Islamic terrorism — and for nothing else — if Iran obtains nuclear weapons.
Europeans blame all the world’s ills on American unilateral action, but when they act unilaterally to protect the world’s most dangerous regime, it’s not for us, says Germany’s Schroeder, to dissent. President Bush said that force remained an option against Iran, but only as a last resort. Schroeder’s retort was, at least, succinct: “Let’s take the military option off the table. We have seen it doesn’t work.” In fact, Germany and its two partners have agreed with Iran that the military option is already off the table. In so doing, they have preemptively destroyed the minuscule chance that anything could have been done at the UN to block effectively Iran’s violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The Iranians have played Europe like a ten-ounce trout hooked to a twenty-pound test line. Whatever direction the Iranian line pulled, the EUnuch fish was dragged along. Not that the UN would do anything but talk even if the Iran nuclear program were brought before it. But now — with two of the Security Council’s veto-holding members in agreement against interference with Iran’s “internal affairs [and] national security” — the UN option is off the table. Worse by far, the EUnuchs’ concessions leave us without the option of an international coalition based on the NATO nations that might be able to pressure Iran effectively without resort to military action. What’s left? Nothing, except to stand alone against Iran. Which the President must begin doing without delay.
THE VARIOUS INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATES, including the recently leaked National Intelligence Estimate, say that it may be a decade before Iran actually has nuclear weapons. But the Estimate is just that, and worse. NIE’s are the consensus view of Defense, State, and CIA. They represent the lowest common denominator. A senior Defense Department official told me last week, in answer to a direct question, that we really don’t know how soon Iran will have nuclear weapons. Because we don’t know, we have to act on the basis of the worst-case estimates, which say we have only two or three years before Iran is nuclear-armed.
Because the EUnuchs have already given up all others, the military option the President mentioned is all we have left. It is essential to understand what this option is, and what it isn’t. There is no invasion option. Even if our forces weren’t stretched too far in Iraq, we haven’t either the ability or the necessity of mounting a ground invasion of Iran. But there are three other parts to the military option.
First, though we hear endless reports about the Iranian people’s desire to overthrow the mullahs, there is great popular support for the nuclear weapons program. We should help foment revolution in Iran, but to do so is not to deal with the ultimate problem of the nuclear program. If there were a democratic regime in Iran that stood for decades solidly against terrorism, perhaps — just perhaps — a nuclear-armed Iran might be tolerable. This is not an option we will be able to engage in the foreseeable future.
Second, we can use stealth aircraft to destroy some few of the Iranian nuclear facilities. We don’t know where they all are, and some are buried too deeply to be reached with anything other than the burrowing nuclear weapons we haven’t even begun to develop. To whatever extent we can, we must delay the Iranian nuclear program by these strikes.
Third, we can use covert action to delay and disrupt Iran’s nuclear program. Sending special operations forces into Iran covertly will be enormously dangerous for the men assigned. But this high risk is paralleled by the possibility of a high reward. Such operations can do two things. First, they can help the Iranian resistance train, arm, hide, and prepare to overthrow the mullahs. In doing so, they can identify strong Iranians whose interest in democracy is sincere and ready them to install an interim government immediately after the mullahs are driven out. We failed to do this in Iraq, and are still paying the price for this mistake with the blood of our soldiers. Second, they can pinpoint the location of concealed nuclear arms sites for stealth air strikes and penetrate and attack those too deeply buried for conventional attack. Third, they can provide hard intelligence on the progress of the weapons development. It’s hard saying, but it would be worth the loss of some of these wonderful guys to achieve these goals.
Opponents of air strikes and other military action say that if we attack Iran, it will unleash every terrorist it employs against us, and more Americans will die. But the choice they pose, between inaction and terrorism is a false one. The choice is between action now, and nuclear terrorism later. It is false to say that the ends never justify the means.
(The many e-mails from you suggesting it are forcing me to mull a presidential bid. At this point I can only say — with apologies to Gen. Sherman and Mr. Buckley — that if nominated I will run, and if elected I will demand a recount.)p> TAS contributing editor Jed Babbin is the author of Inside the Asylum: Why the UN and Old Europe Are Worse Than You Think (Regnery, 2004). br> /p>
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H/T to National Review Online