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LYONS: Regime change in Iran
Doing nothing not an option
The legion of those who would do nothing in the face of Iran's drive to achieve nuclear weapons capability has another member: Anthony H. Cordesman, a military analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. In an Aug. 31 column, Charles Krauthammer lays out Mr. Cordesman's three-step plan. First, we must establish "clear U.S. red lines," second, "make it clear to Iran that it has no successful options" and third, "give Iran a face-saving way out." Mr. Cordesman proposes an agreement in which "we offer Iran the most generous possible terms -- economic, diplomatic and political. End of sanctions, assistance in economic and energy development, trade incentives, and regional security architecture. Even Russian nuclear fuel."
While I agree that there are times when the best way to prevent a war is to "communicate clearly that it is possible," this would be a herculean task under the Obama administration. Regretfully, a U.S. military option to eliminate Iran's nuclear infrastructure is not taken seriously by anyone.
Nonetheless, all the illegitimate Khamenei regime would need to do would be to sign a piece of paper. For such a concession, the United States would, in effect, guarantee the legitimacy of a corrupt regime that is preparing to annihilate our ally Israel and, most likely, continue attacks against U.S. interests. We also would be selling out the hopes for freedom of the Iranian "Green Revolution" seeking liberation from this oppressive, seventh-century regime. At the end of the day, what would an agreement really mean? While the Koran forbids taking disbelievers as friends or making agreements with infidels, the Shariah concept of Taqiyya would certainly come in to play.
Taqiyya is described as "lying" for the sake of Islam, particularly if you are weak compared to your adversary. As William Gawthrop, the modern-day authority on Islam, has observed, the practice of Taqiyya includes the ability to maintain two messages -- one for the believer and obfuscation and denial for nonbelievers. In Iran's case, its continual denial of a nuclear weapons program is a prime example.
Under the Cordesman proposal, we would be offering an agreement with the implied message that terrorism works. The United States would be telling Iran, the leader of state-sponsored terrorism: "It's OK to blow up our embassies, killing hundreds of our people. It's also OK to blow up a U.S. Marine barracks, killing 241 of our finest military personnel, and the Khobar Towers, killing 19 and wounding more than 500 of our military personnel. It's OK to blow up reflagged U.S. tankers. And while you are planning more bombings and assassinations throughout the world, including in our nation's capital, should al Qaeda form another group that wants to duplicate the horrific acts of Sept. 11, killing almost 3,000 innocent Americans, it's OK for you again to provide material training and support -- just sign the agreement."
What happened to our national character and integrity?
Yes, there is something terribly wrong with this picture. We learned long ago that when you are confronted with evil, such as the Khamenei regime with its apocalyptic mindset, it must be eliminated. We learned that hard lesson in World War II. We do not want history to repeat itself.
There are those who also believe that a nuclear-equipped Iran could be contained by "deterrence." They promote the argument that because we successfully deterred the Soviet Union, we'll prevail in similar fashion with Iran. Mr. Krauthammer has it exactly right in pointing out that these people do not understand the fundamental difference between the materialistic and atheist Soviet regime and the apocalyptic-minded Khamenei regime, which believes in the supremacy of the afterlife gained through a chaotic holy war. This is particularly relevant because Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a member of a small extremist sect known as the "Twelves" that believes a man can play a key role in causing world chaos, which would open the door for the return of the "hidden" Twelfth Imam. Mr. Ahmadinejad has demonstrated that he believes he has been chosen to be that man.
We expended our national treasure on a questionable conflict in Iraq only to end with an Iranian clone as president. We continue to needlessly expend our human resources in Afghanistan, subjecting them to unconscionable green-on-blue attacks, but we fail to address the main threat, Iran. Iran's recent technology exchange agreement with North Korea only compounds the problem. To correct this situation, we must first provide material and other support to the Iranian regime's opposition forces so that when our strategic strike plan is implemented, opposition forces will be prepared to make their move as part of a coordinated effort. Iran's oil-producing infrastructure should be held at risk along with other key industrial targets as a means of limiting Iran's response. Even though we have been involved in two wars over the past decade, there is no good alternative. Regime change must be the objective.
Retired Adm. James A. Lyons was commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and senior U.S. military representative to the United Nations.
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