Why Iran and Libya Dominate Our Debates

Tuesday, 23 Oct 2012 03:41 PM

By Chris Freind

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Quiz 1: Which are true?

A) It took Iran 25 years to build one subway line, and 26 to open an airport.

B) Iran garners incredible attention in our presidential elections, making President Ahmadinejad’s ego bigger than the First Persian Empire.

C) Iran fell in line when the U.S. had a strong leader with a decisive policy on terrorism (the American hostages were released the day Ronald Reagan was inaugurated).

Ahmadinejad.jpg
Ahmadinejad's ego is larger than the First Persian Empire.
(Getty Images)
All of the above.

So how is it possible that such a backwards country continually dominates headlines?

Easy. Bi-partisan ineptitude dealing with the Middle East, especially Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Oh sure, “experts” tell us the Iranian situation is far too complex for the average American — a global chess game played by diplomatic masters.

Translation: Neither party knows what they’re doing.

Quiz Two:

A) For years, Libya was a rogue nation, harboring the Achille Lauro cruise ship high-jackers, bombing the Rome and Vienna airports, and a Berlin nightclub that killed a U.S. serviceman, and incinerating Pan Am Flight 103.

B) Libya fell in line when the U.S. had a strong leader with a decisive policy on terrorism (Reagan, George W. Bush).

C) Despite this, the U.S. ousted Muammar Gaddafi, installing a regime of Libyans who fought America in Iraq.

D) That regime, at best, sat idly by while the U.S. embassy in Benghazi was attacked and the ambassador murdered.

Again, all of the above.

Sure, there are questions about security and why it took the administration so long to acknowledge that a movie was not responsible for the attack.

But the larger questions were totally missed: 1) why was Libya invaded; 2) why are Iran’s nuclear ambitions proceeding unimpeded; and 3) why is America’s overall policy in the region failing? Until these are addressed, the fuse on the Middle East powder keg will inch closer to detonation.

To solve the problem, past mistakes of both parties cannot be repeated. And the biggest has been kicking the can down the road.

The first President Bush built a worldwide coalition to wage the first Gulf War, but contrary to his generals’ advice, stopped short of finishing off Saddam Hussein. Bush also reneged on his promise to assist the Kurds overthrow Hussein, resulting in their slaughter, and Hussein remaining in power. Bush left Iraq to future presidents, including, ironically, his son.

President Clinton had Osama bin Laden literally in his sights, and could have eliminated the Sept. 11 mastermind, but failed to act. Instead, bin Laden plotted — and the rest is history. Clinton also left the problem to the next president.

George W. Bush initially seemed to understand decisive action. He invaded Afghanistan, took down the Taliban, and eliminated terrorist bases. The bad guys were running, and the noose should have tightened until they were crushed. Instead, the “need” to invade Iraq shifted priorities, allowing terrorists to fight another day. Not coincidentally, there has been a huge resurgence of terrorist activity throughout Afghanistan.

And now we have an Obama administration that betrayed Gaddafi, a leader who did everything the U.S. asked. While no angel, and clearly acting in self-preservation, Gaddafi nonetheless “played ball,” helping root out terrorists and stopping his WMD programs. Despite Gaddafi being taken off the State-Sponsored Terrorism List and being praised by George W. Bush, Libya was invaded with the purpose of regime change. The message was that America could no longer be trusted.

Each of those administrations share something else: none achieved energy independence. If they had, Libya and Iran wouldn’t matter all that much. Bush I signed the offshore drilling moratorium and no president since has made any effort to lift it.

In addition to resurrecting America’s manufacturing base, energy independence would provide economic breathing room if military action against Iran becomes necessary. While fuel prices would spike after an attack, energy independence would substantially lessen the blow, since domestic resources would alleviate the paralyzing dependency on Middle Eastern oil. Energy independence, or at least tangible action toward that goal, would de-sensitize financial markets to military action.

Is Iran months from getting a bomb? If their quarter-century infrastructure progress is any indication, probably not. But since Ahmadinejad obviously cares more about nukes than airports, it’s a good bet the unthinkable is looming, requiring action sooner rather than later.

The problem is that we are bent over the Iranian oil barrel.

If we do nothing, Iran becomes a nuclear-weaponed state — good news to those wanting to wipe New York off the map. But since America is anything but energy independent, a strike will see oil spike over $200/barrel and gas prices of possibly $10/gallon.

So what do we do?

Deal with rogue nations in the only language they understand: steel resolve, an iron fist and the mettle to act, not just talk.

Part Two will offer an analysis dealing with rogue nations, including Iran.

An accredited member of the media, Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, Friendly Fire Zone. Read more reports from Chris Freind — Click Here Now.





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