Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Cold War Isn't Over

Thank you for staying with me past the first posting, which, I know, must have sounded alarming. It may also have sounded irresponsible and reckless. I assure you, however, that The Case Against Iran will be conducted fairly and dispassionately. Within this blog, I will be writing in an informal tone, as if I were speaking directly to you, and only you, sort of as a guest in your living room. However, I have prepared a more formal written document, also entitled The Case Against Iran. Currently, it comprises about 180 pages. It is, in fact, a national security assessment of Iran. Throughout the past year, I have been sending it to selected members of Congress, the Administration, and key foreign diplomats.

Ninety-five percent of American families have a television. We are bombarded daily with frightening, angering, and confusing snippets of news. We see and hear compelling stories about global warming, radical Islam, oil, Israel, the Middle East, the war on terror, and nuclear weapons. Yet we have few prominent journalists who are able to distill this news in a way that is actionable by the American Public. As a result, it is all too easy for us all to simply do nothing.

But fear has a remarkable way of clarifying the mind. Ever since I became convinced that Iran is already in possession of nuclear weapons, I have been fearful of Iran, and of its chief patrons, Russia and China. And that fear, rather than clouding my judgment, has crystallized all of the news since 9/11 into a simple picture. Since I must draw this picture in words, I will begin by summarizing it in a three-item list:

1. There is no war on terror; we are at war with Iran.

2. The Cold War isn't over; it has blossomed into World War III. The first shots were fired in Beirut, Lebanon, on October 23, 1983. On that day, a uniformed branch of the Iranian military attacked and killed 241 American Marines. Instead of counterattacking, America retreated.

3. If we do not act quickly and decisively, World War III will become a nuclear war.

I will provide compelling evidence supporting these three claims in subsequent postings. In order to avoid boring you, I will weave this evidence into a story. (A few side trips will be needed, however, to provide context to the main plot.) The most important part of any story is the beginning; but it is difficult to know where to begin when the problem posed is large, complex, and developed over many years. Such is the case with Iran:

• We could begin the story 3,000 years ago in the early Bronze Age, when Iran was known as Persia, and Persia was the world's only superpower;

• Or we could begin with the treaty of 1856, when the United States began a 123-year-long partnership with Iran;

• Or we could begin with the Islamic Revolution of 1979, when Iranian students invaded our embassy in Tehran and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days;

But, in my view, the story of the current crisis begins in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1983: for it was here that Iranians first killed American citizens on foreign soil. The Beirut bombings were the first acts of terrorism ordered by Iran against American targets in another land. As such, they were a harbinger of 9/11.

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