If you are among those that enjoy reading the funny papers with your morning coffee you should check out Charles Krauthammer’s take on Obama’s Iranian policy. When viewed through the prism of the violent protests erupting throughout the Middle East, Mr. Krauthammer’s comments are so stunningly superficial that they would be laughable if they weren’t so dangerous.
The president has stated that a nuclear armed Iran is unacceptable to the United States. He, along with a number of coalition partners has implemented tough economic sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy. He has authorized cyber attacks that have slowed the development of Iran’s nuclear capability. And he has authorized the CIA, or perhaps the Israeli’s, to take out key scientists and engineers working on the Iranian nuclear program. The plan is straight forward…slow Iran’s nuclear development long enough for the sanctions to take affect…to make life so miserable for Iranian people that they rise up and bring the program down themselves. If that strategy fails, the president has said that all options, including the use of military force, are on the table.
Mr. Krauthammer apparently disagrees with the president’s Iranian policy. Quoting Krauthammer: “A policy so incoherent, so knowingly and obviously contradictory, is a declaration of weakness and passivity. And this, as Anthony Cordsman, James Phillips and others have argued, can increase the chance of war.” Mr. Krauthammer along with Mr. Romney and their neo-conservative friends believe that the only way to stop Iran’s nuclear development, as John McCain so famously said, is to “bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.”
Krauthammer and his neo-con pals are always eager to “go all cowboy” whenever the opportunity occurs. There is nothing they seem to like better than to unleash the new toys that the procurement boys have placed at their disposal. Nothing says “Made in America” like a Hellfire missile.
The problem with this reckless neo-con strategy is that when you finally decide to pull that trigger you must be prepared for the consequences. Dick Cheney one told us that the Iraqis would greet our soldiers like the French welcoming the liberators in WWII. He neglected to tell us that the flag waving crowd that cheered as the American military rolled into Bagdad quickly turned into a riotous, looting mob. “Mission Accomplished” drug on for a decade and thousands of American lives were subsequently lost. Today Iraq is more likely to embrace Iran than they are the liberators from the United States.
If the United States conducts a military strike against Iran, the conflagration that will erupt in the region will make this week’s violent protests look like a Sunday picnic. And the thousands of missile strikes that Iran surrogates Hamas and Hezbollah will rain down on Israel will make Bush’s “Shock and Awe” look like a fireworks display at a county fair. You cannot use military force without considering the consequences and developing an exit strategy. Krauthammer and the neo-cons have ignored that part of the equation.
It is easy to beat the war drums from the comfort of one’s living room. But those who play that game have little stomach for the realities of war.
You may recall that the common criticism conservatives like to levy against this president is that he is “weak” “apologetic to our enemies” and likes to “lead from behind.” Conservatives ripped into Obama for not helping the protestors in Egypt. They said he was slow to assist the rebels in Libya. And they blasted him for standing by while tens of thousands were slaughtered by the Assad regime in Syria.
Now, having witnessed the violent attacks against our embassies, these same conservatives are questioning whether Washington acted unwisely by siding with protestors and the rebels. They were for the rebels before they were against them. The president does not have the luxury of changing his mind once he gives the order to fire. Once you pull the trigger you can’t put the bullet back into the gun. The president gets it. The neo-cons don’t.
This president has shown time and time again that he is not afraid to use military force when necessary. Each of the drone attacks which decimated Al Qaeda and their leadership was personally authorized by this president. This president formed a coalition whose air strikes enabled the rebels to remove Kaddafi without placing American troops in harm’s way. Special Operation Forces have been instrumental in stemming the flow of weapons into Syria from Iran. It was this president that authorized those missions. And it was this president who risked his presidency by ordering Seal Team Six to take out bin Laden.
The difference between this president and the neo-cons is that he goes about the country’s business calmly, thoughtfully and quietly. You won’t find any “Mission Accomplished” banners hanging from aircraft carriers under this president.
Democracy is not easy to achieve. A void occurs when dictators fall and those who seek democracy struggle find their footing. Competing factions step into the breach. The process is ugly and often violent. Patience, thoughtfulness and a cool head are required. This president has demonstrated those qualities. His record justifies our support.
So as far as Iran is concerned…we’ll put our faith in Obama. The neo-cons can have Krauthammer.