"A vote against the resolution by Congress [to strike Syria] I think would be catastrophic . [It would] undermine the credibility of the United States. If we don't get Syria right, Iran is surely going to take the signals that we don't care about their nuclear program . If we lost a vote in Congress dealing with the chemical weapons being used in Syria, what effect would that have on Iran and their nuclear program?"
— Sen. John McCain, Sept. 2.
The desire of some members of the Washington establishment to wage a strike on Syria to make a point with Iran goes far beyond Mr. McCain's support for President Obama. This foolhardy position, regrettably expressed by many "prominent" Republicans — ironically, the president's own party is more skeptical of his plan — extends as well to Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Rep. Peter T. King of New York and even House Speaker John A. Boehner. In effect, these and other old-time pols are making it clear that the real target is Iran, as it should be. Were it not for Iran, which funds and supports the regime lead by Syrian President Bashar Assad, this tyrannical despot would have fallen long ago.
The hard reality is that Iran is the single-biggest threat not just to Israel, but also the United States and the rest of the Western world. It is a certified state sponsor of terrorism, funding and arming such Islamic radical groups as Hamas and Hezbollah, and its mission is to spread Islamic revolution in the Middle East and worldwide. Indeed, in the hearts and minds of Iran's mullahs, this is the will of Allah. The infidels, according to their fanatical creed, must be eliminated, and that is obviously one of the major reasons that this Islamic state is on the verge of acquiring atomic weapons with the means to soon rain them down on Israel and, eventually, the United States and Europe.
In the words of the Islamic state's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, "From now onward, we will support and help any nations, any groups fighting against the Zionist regime across the world, and we are not afraid of declaring this . The Zionist regime is a true cancer tumor on this region that should be cut off . And it definitely will be cut off." ("Khamenei: Iran will back 'any nations, any groups' fighting Israel," The Washington Post, Feb. 3, 2012)
Of course, Ayatollah Khamenei has also made it clear that the "Great Satan," Israel's protector, must also be eliminated. Speaking to hundreds of youths from more than 70 countries attending a world conference on the Arab Spring in 2012, he warned, "[i]n light of the realization of the divine promise by almighty God, the Zionists and [America] will soon be defeated." ("Iran Warns World of Coming Great Event," WorldNetDaily.com, Feb. 2, 2012).
These remarks, having come with the launch of a ballistic missile carrying a satellite into orbit in early 2012, were clearly meant to convey the message that nuclear warheads could and would soon be substituted atop these rockets.
Over the course of the past five years since taking office, the Obama administration has sought to contain Iran by orchestrating a sanctions regime to try to persuade the mullahs not to proceed with the development of nuclear weapons. As has been true of all sanctions tried before in U.S. history — ranging from Cuba to the Soviet Union — they failed. This is not surprising. The Iranians are highly educated and shrewd. They have been able to skirt large consequences from these sanctions, knowing full well that once they produce an atomic weapon, the world will, out of fear, fall in line and be more receptive to doing business with them. Regrettably, these feckless sanctions and Mr. Obama's threat to carry out a crippling strike on Iran if the nation did not agree to cease nuclear weapons production, would not have been necessary in all likelihood if the administration and congressional Republicans had done more to support the terrorist state's freedom movement. This movement, which reached a crescendo in 2009 after former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was fraudulently re-elected, was far stronger at the time than the so-called Arab Spring revolutionaries in Egypt and some other Arabic states. With simply verbal encouragement and a real commitment by the United States to support this rebellion — including but not limited to covert aid — the mullahs could possibly have been removed from power, effectively ending the nuclear threat.
Now, years later, Mr. Obama and his newly minted Republican minions such as Mr. McCain and Mr. Graham, are proposing to use cruise missiles to strike Syria over its claimed use of chemical weapons on its own people. To make matters worse, the Obama administration has not presented compelling evidence that Mr. Assad even carried out the attack. To make their case, they say that the United States must send a message to Iran not to build and use similar weapons of mass destruction. However, one should ask: Why must the United States now feel duty-bound to enter into a war between radical Islamists, Mr. Assad on one side and groups such as al Qaeda on the other? In the recent words of Sarah Palin, why not let "Allah sort it out"? If these two forces are ready, willing and able to kill each other, who are we to weigh in? No one likes to see women and children killed by chemical weapons or any other means, but bloodshed — particularly in Arab countries such as Syria, where human life means little — has been going on for thousands of years. Sending a few cruise missiles in to make a point and likely start a catastrophic chain reaction with Israel and other Middle Eastern countries getting involved accomplishes nothing but risking the start of World War III, particularly since Syria is a vital client state of Russia. Indeed, Russian President Vladimir Putin's Russia is no wallflower; it has in many ways returned to the totalitarian, vehemently anti-American days of its predecessor, the communist Soviet Union.
To paraphrase an old adage, if you want to kill a snake, cut off its head, and not the tail. Syria is the tail of the snake, a surrogate of the increasingly powerful and soon-to-be nuclear Iran. If Mr. Obama and his new Republican "friends" want to make a point and finally eliminate the snake in the Middle East, it's time to cut off its head, which is Iran. This will remove the biggest source of terrorism in Syria and the world, end the mullahs' nuclear threat, and other radical Islamic nations will have lost their biggest benefactor.
It's time to finally pick on and crush the scourge that really counts and stop fighting collateral, seemingly "easy" wars as in Iraq and Afghanistan that we have ended up losing. If the past is prologue, Mr. Obama's Syria's adventure will be fruitless as well.
Larry Klayman is the founder and former chairman of Judicial Watch.