Eleven years ago, the United States of America was attacked by Al-Qaeda and nearly 3,000 people lost their lives because America slept as an enemy was rising. We have taken the fight to Al-Qaeda over the course of the last eleven years, with the killing of Osama bin Laden and capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, but work still needs to be done. What has always been Al-Qaeda’s strength is that they have time on their side. America cannot turn back the clock to a pre-9-11 mentality where we ignore potential threats. If we do, we do so at our own peril and put the rest of the world at risk.
That is why the Obama Administration’s handling of the threat of a nuclear Iran is so troubling. Since President Obama took office he has done nothing to stop Iran from building a nuclear weapon. Obama’s policy is one of “engagement” with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Clearly, this policy has not worked because the centrifuges keep on spinning and they are developing the necessary fuel for a weapon. President Obama should have imposed crippling sanctions from Day One instead of negotiating for negotiation’s sake.
The Obama Administration also missed an opportunity in 2009 when the Green Revolution took hold in Iran. Many Iranians took to the streets of Iran’s capital city to protest Ahmadinejad, but as the regime quickly put the rebellion down with the use of deadly force, the Obama Administration stood idly by. If the Obama Administration used its assets in the region wisely, there was a brief opportunity to take out Ahmadinejad in 2009 and encourage a free Iran. But instead they preferred to continue the course of “engagement” with that brutal regime.
A nuclear weapon in the hands of such an erratic country would be a threat to us all. A nuclear Iran could very well lead to an arms race in the Middle East that would destabilize an already volatile region and harm global security. The likelihood that a nuclear device would land in the hands of an international terrorist organization would drastically increase because Iran is a state sponsor of terror. Even if Iran does not directly launch an attack, can we be sure a dirty bomb wouldn’t “accidentally” slip into the hands of terrorists bent on topping the death and destruction of 9-11?
If Iran were to get a nuclear weapon, not only would America’s national security be in jeopardy but Israel, too, would be at risk. Israel has been a staunch ally of ours in a region of the world where America can count the number of allies we have on one hand. Time and again, the Obama Administration has not worked with Israel in good faith. The Iranian regime has said repeatedly that they would like nothing more than to wipe Israel off of the map – if America was threatened with such language, we would react decisively. However, the Obama Administration has been trying to undermine Israel’s response to one if its most challenging security threats since its founding. Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton continues to warn that Iran is moving forward to putting nuclear warheads on long range ballistic missiles and President Obama has failed to stop them.
In Citizens United Productions’ film America At Risk: The War With No Name, hosted by Newt and Callista Gingrich, we lay out the dangers still facing our country in the wake of September 11th. With Iran on the path to developing nuclear weapons, the United States must show a position of strength. We are dealing with people for whom not even mutually assured destruction is a deterrent, “it’s an inducement because that is what they’re hoping for,” as Bernard Lewis says in America at Risk. Iran has continued to thumb its nose at America and the world.
As we remember those who died eleven years ago and the many who have died in defense of freedom since September 11th, we must not forget the lessons learned from that fateful day. I fear that the Obama Administration, with its inaction on Iran’s nuclear program, does not realize the dangers a nuclear Iran poses to the world. America must be at the tip of the spear on this issue, not leading from behind.