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by Barbara Lerner


The Shiite mullahs who rule Iran and have seized the leadership of the Islamofascist war against us are as dangerous an enemy as America has ever faced. Although we have chosen to be deaf to them, their war aims have never been secret. They have been shouting them out on the world stage to a billion listening Muslims, ever since they handed us the first of many humiliating defeats in 1979. These Persian mullahs and their followers aim to restore Islamic supremacy in the 21st century by leading all Muslims everywhere to victory in a great global jihad against America, Israel, and what is left of the free world. In the time since their first act of war against us -- invading our sovereign embassy territory in Tehran and holding our people hostage for 444 agonizing days -- they have made enormous progress towards their goal, despite the double handicap of belonging to a minority Muslim sect and a non-Arab ethnic group.

In the 1980s, Iran's mullahs created Hezbollah, a Shiite Arab terrorist group in Lebanon, and used it to drive us from that country the way they drove us from Iran, but this time, they didn't just humiliate us and mock our impotence; they tortured and murdered our embassy people in Beirut, and blew up 241 of our marines. In the 1990s, Iran's mullahs took control of Syria, turning it into a puppet terror state and transit hub, and transformed Hezbollah from a purely local terrorist army into a sophisticated global terrorist network. In this decade, these Shiite mullahs reached across the great Sunni-Shia religious divide, establishing close ties with Sunni terrorist groups like al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood; took control of the Brotherhood's Palestinian branch, Hamas; and reached across the world to forge close military ties with nuclear-armed Asian states like North Korea and oil-rich enemies to our south like Hugo Chavez's Venezuela. Along the way, they pioneered the terrorist arts of airplane hijacking and suicide bombing.

And all this time, the Iranians -- and their ever-growing legion of followers and fans -- have been waging an increasingly successful propaganda war against America, Israel, and the West, among Muslims in the Middle East and far beyond it.

Average Americans -- if they remember them at all -- consider the series of American defeats chronicled above and a host of others as an unconnected jumble of unfortunate events.

It's easy to do: Our media treats them that way. Muslim media do not. On the global Muslim media stage, Iran's mullahs and their frontmen look like Islamic conquerors of old, winning victory after victory against both the great and the little Satan, mocking us as impotent cowards, and intimidating and co-opting our already half-dhimmified old-Europe allies. Watching all this, every year more and more Muslims rally to their cause, eager to be on what they see as the winning side.

Today, Iran's emboldened mullahs are on a triumphant roll, waging a bloody, three-front proxy war against us, using the Mahdi army to assassinate dreams of peace and democracy in Iraq, using Hezbollah to blow up those same dreams in Lebanon, again, and using Hamas to make a grotesque mockery of them in the Holy Land. Now they threaten to activate Hezbollah terror cells, here in America and throughout the world, to kill and maim us at home and inflict more carnage on our allies. This week, they mocked our efforts to prevent them from becoming a nuclear power, announcing that nothing we do -- in the U.N. or elsewhere -- will stop them from going nuclear, and sharing their WMDs with other rogue states and Islamofascist terror groups at will. More ominous yet, they threaten to unleash an apocalyptic surprise on us on August 22, the night they believe Mohammed lit up the skies by ascending to heaven from the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.

Despite all this and more, we have yet to admit that Iran is at war with us, or to seriously consider striking back at her, and, in speaking of our own war aims, we never dare use the v-word -- victory -- anymore. Instead, we make head-in-the-sand happy-talk about "peace," "democracy," and "ceasefires," rejecting any military action against Iran for fear of "widening the war" -- as if Iran were not already at war with us -- and rely on the U.N. and "the international community" to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions and to prevent her proxies, Hamas and Hezbollah, from continuing to bring death and destruction to our smallest, truest, and most vulnerable ally, Israel. In doing this, we ignore two obvious realities: rather than restraining Iran, U.N. heavyweights Russia and China are busy arming her, and the perfidious EU will not even recognize the plain fact that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization. Instead, these old-Europe "allies" join with our Islamofascist enemies in demonizing our brave soldiers in Iraq, and damning Israel for daring to fight back against unprovoked aggression, pursued with openly genocidal intent.

Worse, we meet the jackals halfway by endlessly apologizing for sins our soldiers and guards are falsely accused of, in Iraq and Guantanamo, and by urging "restraint" on Israel -- as if she weren't employing near-suicidal restraint already. Then, we congratulate ourselves for our "courage" in standing up to international pressure by not forcing Israel to stop fighting for her life immediately, and promising, in return, to "protect" her with a "peace-keeping" force of enemies, led by the reborn Vichy France of Jacques Chirac and Phillipe Douste-Blazy -- the French foreign minister who just called Iran "a stabilizing force." The only good news in all this, for Israel and for us, is the fact that these cowards are unlikely ever actually to deploy, because they will not go in until all fighting stops, and there is little chance of that while the people of the Book still live, augmented by a growing tide of French Jews, seeking refuge in Israel from the ever increasing violence against them in France. Even in the midst of war, hundreds more arrived in Israel last week, feeler safer there, despite the rockets raining down on their heads, than they did living as unprotected dhimmies in the land of their birth.

Our U.N. representative, John Bolton, is an admirable man and an outstanding spokesman for America, but his masters in the Oval Office and the State department have saddled him with an impossible job. Diplomacy before a war can sometimes provide an honorable alternative. "Diplomacy" in the midst of a war we are losing by failing to confront our main enemy is a euphemism for appeasement -- a dead end road. The more eager our president is to rely on "the international community," the U.N., and our EU "partners," and to avoid, at all costs, any military confrontation with Iran, the more confident of ultimate victory the mullahs become. To them, and to hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world, watching Al Jazeera or its like on their TV screens, it looks like Iran is winning one glorious Islamist victory after another, striking blow after paralyzing blow at the once-mighty giant of the Christian West, while we cower in fear, afraid to strike back. We look like losers, while Iran looks invincible, and that image of invincibility is the most effective weapon Iran has in its hugely successful battle for the allegiance of the Muslim masses everywhere. Most Americans are still unaware of Iran's promise to light up the skies with a great surprise on August 22, but Muslims everywhere are keenly aware of it; most await the day with growing excitement.

We should not wait, passively, for the Iranians to unveil their surprise. We should light up the skies with our own surprise: a massive aerial bombardment that wipes out most of Iran's nuclear facilities, and decimates the ranks of its mullahs as well as those of the Revolutionary Guard and Basij forces that keep them in power, defeating these monsters and decimating their fan base by shattering their image of invincibility. Retired air force Lt. General Tom McInerney already has a plan to wipe out most of Iran's nuclear facilities from the air. As I've argued,[1] we should augment it with additional targets and let fly, as soon as possible, with no forewarning, for maximum effect. Lt. Col. Gordon Cucullu, one of the few who argues in public for a similarly bold course sums it up this way:[2]

By waiting for a first strike we are put in a position of playing a retaliation game after we have already endured unacceptable losses in population and perception. Once America and Israel are seen as weak enough to defeat, then the international jackals will all join in for the kill. This is what our enemies hope to accomplish... We face a crisis of major proportions. Hesitation may be fatal.

He's right. The time to act is now.


1. Barbara Lerner, "Three Mistakes and a Danger," May 11, 2006, National Review Online

2. Lt. Col. Gordon Cucully, July 27, 2006, Front Page Magazine

Barbara Lerner has been writing about American security and the Middle East for a variety of publications since 1992. This article appeared August 4, 2006 in National Review Online


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