Has there been what "O" calls "casual" talk of war?....
Mike Ledeen writes "It's the War, Stupid, Not the Nukes!" He notes that the Ayatollah Khomeini's Islamic Republic of Iran has been at war with us since its inception in 1979, but that Team Obama does not grasp this elementary reality:
There is no sign that our leaders understand this or, if they do, care to do anything to win. Rare is the national figure, Democrat or Republican, in or out of the government, who speaks the well-documented truths about Iran (they just talk about nukes). The president himself continues to seek a deal with Khamenei; that is the clear meaning of President Obama’s plea to “give diplomacy more time.” And Khamenei gives him hope. The recent announcement that one of the American hostages, the Marine (Hekmati) recently condemned to death for espionage, will be retried, is a coded message to the White House: we’re going to make you look good. Khamenei is quite capable of making little cosmetic changes in the nuclear policy (letting IAEA into some sites previously declared off limits, once the damning evidence has been sanitized), or even promising to do “everything in his power” to facilitate a peaceful American retreat from Afghanistan. These gestures would likely take place during the summer, during the political conventions.
If such things do happen, they would give Khamenei more time to crush the opposition in Syria, kill more of his critics in Iran, increase his sway over the new Islamic Republics in gestation in Egypt and Libya, shore up his ally Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, and continue whatever he’s doing on nukes. In response, the president would promise to continue to lecture the Israelis on the importance of patience, demonize those of us who dare call attention to the existence of the real war, and campaign as a brilliant peace maker.
Can you imagine the effect of a Marine hostage appearing on stage with the president at the Democrat Convention?
Just what we need: a 21st century Iran hostage crisis that helps re-elect a weak Democrat, unlike the 1979-1981 hostage crisis that helped de-elect weak Democrat Jimmy Carter.
Meanwhile, as Charles Krauthammer writes, Obama leans hard on (hint: Iran--NOT) ... Israel.
It’s Lucy and the football, Iran-style. After ostensibly tough talk about preventing Iran from going nuclear, the Obama administration acquiesced this week to yet another round of talks with the mullahs.
This, 14 months after the last group-of-six negotiations collapsed in Istanbul because of blatant Iranian stalling and unseriousness. Nonetheless, the new negotiations will be both without precondition and preceded by yet more talks to decide such trivialities as venue.
These negotiations don’t just gain time for a nuclear program about whose military intent the International Atomic Energy Agency is issuing alarming warnings. They make it extremely difficult for Israel to do anything about it (while it still can), lest Israel be universally condemned for having aborted a diplomatic solution.
If the administration were serious about achievement rather than appearance, it would have warned that this was the last chance for Iran to come clean and would have demanded a short timeline. After all, President Obama insisted on deadlines for the Iraq withdrawal, the Afghan surge and Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Why leave these crucial talks open-ended when the nuclear clock is ticking?
This re-engagement comes immediately after Obama’s campaign-year posturing about Iran’s nukes.
The Daily Caller quotes an Iranian official warning that Iran has 11,000 rockets that can hit Israel. A recent report alleges that China, working via North Korea, has sent two ICBMs to Iran. They are reportedly DF-31 class, whose range is 5,000 miles; Tehran is 6,352 miles from Washington, DC. All of Europe would be in range. True, outside technical help would be needed to make the ICBMs operational; and they may have been sent primarily to help Iran build its own ICBM. Still, this development is hardly reassuring for what it augurs about Iran's nuclear program.
Speaking of vulnerability, Bret Stephens explains why the US Navy's position in the Persian Gulf is precarious; ships in the Persian Gulf could be trapped for months if Iran mines the Strait of Hormuz, cutting the ships off from access to the Gulf of Oman (which leads in turn to the Arabian Sea).
CK notes a Washington Post report quoting a Team Obama official: “We’re trying to make the decision to attack as hard as possible for Israel.” Give Team Obama a point for (however rare) candor. Another Team Obama ploy, to justify inaction against Iran-proxy Syria, is politicized intelligence that overstates Syrian military prowess, thus undermining the case for aiding the opposition.
This happened as the Palestinians fired over 100 rockets into Israel late last week (a total that has doubled since)--in retaliation for an Israeli air-strike that killed two top Hamas terrorists (one of whom was released in the 1,027-for-1 prisoner swap that freed Gilad Shalit last fall). With 75 rockets landing in open fields, Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system destroyed 90 percent (25 of 27) of the missiles it engaged--only those headed directly for population centers. This marks a major improvement in Iron Dome performance; last year's intercept rate was 75 percent.
An official with Israel's Homeland Defense Command explained the burden placed upon Israelis living within range of Palestinian missiles:
... according to the instructions in place for all those living within 40 kilometers of Gaza, all major gatherings of 500 people and more have been banned. Residents of Sderot and Gaza-border communities should remain within 15-second running distances of safe areas. Ashkelon residents should keep within a 30 second distance, and residents of Ashdod should be within 45 seconds of a safe area.
At Commentary Blog Jonathan Tobin sees the Gaza rocket fusillade as further proof that ceding land to Palestinians does not bring peace to Israel. The WSJ reports, however, that Iron Dome's performance has brought some peace of mind to Israelis living in those cities near Gaza that are the prime beneficiaries of Iron Dome deployment to date.
So, Israel takes rocket fire from the Palestinians, is smeared by media-repeating of Palestinian lies (e.g., falsely alleging that an Israeli air-strike killed a Palestinian schoolboy, who was apparently killed by the bomb he was carrying), and tries to dodge political flack from the United States. Amidst all this Iran's leaders laugh their way towards nuclear capability. We seek peace; they wage war.
Bottom Line. The persistent failure of the US to recognize that Iran's clerical fascist regime has been at continual war with us for 33 years leads to our feckless efforts to engage Iran--yet again via diplomacy. That Iran has broken every promise it has ever made is ignored. Likely someday we will pay dearly for this foolishness.
Letter from the Capitol, LFTC, Foreign Policy, Nuclear Proliferation, WMD, Conservative Politics