“The Iranians are on the march,” warned John McCain Sunday.
“Iran is building a new Persian Empire,” echoed Col. Ralph Peters.
So alarmed is Speaker Boehner, he invited Bibi Netanyahu to come and challenge U.S. policy toward Iran from the same podium where the president delivered his State of the Union address.
Bibi will make the case for new U.S. sanctions on Iran; sanctions that Obama has said he will veto as they would sabotage talks on Iran’s nuclear program and potentially put us on the road to war.
Why are Bibi’s insights needed?
Because, says Sen. Robert Menendez, the outgoing chairman of foreign relations, White House statements sound like “talking points from Tehran.” This beloved poodle of AIPAC is always a strong contender for best in show.
“Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence … a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government.”
So warned our first and greatest president in his Farewell Address.
But this column is not about how Washington would weep at what has become of this Republic, nor a polemic against the corruption of a capital where the currency is campaign cash and national policy is the commodity bought and sold.
The issue is whether Iran represents a threat to our security worth risking a war. For that is where many, including Bibi, want us to go.
Last week’s panic was triggered by the ouster of the pro-American Yemeni President by Houthi rebels. Suddenly, we heard wails that Iran has now captured four Arab capitals â€” Baghdad, Beirut, Damascus and Sanaa.
“Death to America, death to Israel,” is a slogan of the Houthis who are a Shia minority in Sunni Yemen. But who do the Houthis view as their mortal foes?
Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, AQAP. Our enemy, too.
The crown jewel of the new “Persian Empire” is said to be Iraq. So how did the Iranian imperialists manage to acquire it?
George Bush sent an army up to Baghdad, ousted Iran’s greatest enemy, Saddam, disbanded his army, smashed his state, and brought to power a Shia majority with religious and historic bonds to Iran.
A masterstroke of Bismarckian brilliance. And both parties voted in Congress to authorize it. Mission Accomplished! â€” as they say in Tehran.
As for Damascus, Iran is but backing the Alawite Shia regime of Bashar Assad, whose father, Hafez Assad, was Bush I’s ally in Desert Storm.
As for Beirut, Hezbollah arose as a resistance movement when Ariel Sharon invaded Lebanon in 1982.
Yitzhak Rabin would come to regret the consequences: “We let the Shia genie out of the bottle.”
Looking over the chaos that is the Middle East today, we see failed states in Libya, Yemen and Syria, with Iraq and Afghanistan perhaps next.
A strategic disaster, largely of our own making. But if al-Qaeda and ISIS are our real enemies now, Iran, Hezbollah, Assad and the Houthis are all de facto allies, fighting on the same side with us.
Alarmists may see a new Persian Empire threatening all mankind.
A closer look reveals a Shia minority in a Sunni-dominated world where Shia are despised heretics. And of all the terrorist organizations we have the most reason to fear and hate â€” al-Qaida, Islamic State, Ansar al-Sharia, Boko Haram â€” none is Shia, all are Sunni.
What about Iran’s drive to build a nuclear bomb?
Well, Israel has 100-300 atom bombs. America has thousands. Iran’s Muslim neighbor Pakistan has scores. And Iran? She has no bomb.
Iran has never tested a nuclear device. She has never produced weapons-grade uranium. Her Fordow underground plant now has IAEA inspectors and its 20-percent-enriched uranium is all being diluted. Construction of the heavy-water reactor at Arak has been halted. Half of Iran’s centrifuges are not operating. There are International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors and cameras blanketing Iran’s program.
The U.S. intelligence community has twice said Iran has no nuclear bomb program. And the most recent finding, 2011, has never been reversed by the Director of National Intelligence.
And just how credible a foreign leader has Boehner invited to undercut his own president’s credibility?
This is the same Bibi who told the Jewish community of Los Angeles in 2006, “It’s 1938 and Iran is Germany … racing to arm itself with atomic bombs.” President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad “is preparing another Holocaust for the Jewish state.” Bibi even had the war plans:
“Israel would certainly be the first stop on Iran’s tour of destruction, but at [Tehran’s] planned production rate of 25 nuclear bombs a year, [the arsenal] will be directed against ‘the big Satan,’ the U.S.”
Twenty-five Iranian nuclear bombs a year! What bullhockey it all was.
Boehner seem to have concluded that new sanctions on Iran, even if it aborts negotiations and brings on a war with Iran, will be rewarded by the electorate in 2016.
Perhaps. But if this is where the GOP is heading, we’ll be getting off here.