- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 22, 2006

The current Israeli response to the capture of their military personnel and rocket attacks into their territory by Hamas and Hezbollah is both appropriate and necessary. It is clear one objective of these two Iran-backed terrorist organizations was to utilize the captured Israeli military personnel as bargaining chips to obtain a prisoner swap arrangement with Israel.

The attacks were timed to disrupt the Israeli plan on establishing permanent borders through territorial concessions, which by the way, were quickly filled by the terrorists. So much for conceding territory. Underlying all this was an effort to place the Iranian nuclear issue on the back burner, and they were hugely successful in accomplishing that. These events should not be viewed in isolation. This is a coordinated effort orchestrated by Iran to thwart U.S. objectives not only in Iraq but throughout the Middle East.

The desecration of our two soldiers taken hostages south of Baghdad was not some random killing. They were tortured and butchered in the most horrendous way possible. While alive their eyes were gouged out; their arms and legs broken; their private parts cut off and stuffed in their mouths, and their hearts were cut out. The only way they could be identified was through DNA analysis.

This was an atrocity shoved right in our face. But where was the outrage from the White House, from Congress, and most of all, the military? Defense Department reaction seemed more concerned with the degree of humane treatment of al Qaeda prisoners held at Gitmo than with the atrocities against our own soldiers.

These terrorists are evil. You cannot negotiate with them. What more has to happen, how many more atrocities must we bear, before we summon the resolve to unleash our full military power on the terrorists and states that support them?

We can no more accept the desecration of our soldiers than we can continue to accept the renegade regime in Tehran. The current crisis was underwritten and controlled by Iran with Syria as the conduit. That this recent escalation of hostilities coincided with the G-8 summit meeting was not by chance. Again, we have to ask ourselves where was our human intelligence (HUMINT)?

The coordinated Hamas/Hezbollah attacks were well-planned operations with specific objectives. Just as Iran is supporting Hezbollah and Hamas, they also support insurgents in Iraq. All this is done at no direct cost to Iran. In fact, petrodollars largely provide Iranians the means to continue these acts of war.

Until like-minded members of the international community are ready to join us in eliminating the Khamenei regime and the terror operations it supports, nothing will change. Neither “shuttle diplomacy” nor international peacekeepers nor sanctions will solve the root problem: a regime committed to the destruction of the West and all it stands for. That’s why, on Iran and its surrogates, we need action, not words.

James “Ace” Lyons Jr., a retired U.S. Navy admiral, has served as commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet (the largest single military command, senior U.S. military representative to the United Nations and as deputy chief of naval operations, where he was principal adviser on all Joint Chiefs of Staff matters.

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