Former Vice President Dick Cheney criticized presidential aspirant Sarah Palin recently for irresponsibly engaging in war-mongering with respect to Iran. He took issue with Palin’s suggestion that President Obama could help himself politically if he declared war on Iran.
“I don’t think a president can make a judgment like that on the basis of politics,” Cheney said. “The stakes are too high, the consequences too significant to be treating those as simple political calculations. When you begin to talk about war, talk about crossing international borders, you talk about committing American men and women to combat, that takes place on a plane clear above any political consideration.”
Regrettably, the Wall Street Journal did exactly the same thing as Palin, in an editorial entitled, “Obama and Iran.” Its editors fell into the trap of carrying water for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is possibly the most dangerous and irresponsible leader that Israel has ever had.
When Israel engages in targeted killings in Dubai and elsewhere, and adopts “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” approach, its enemies around the world are emboldened to respond in kind or worse. In turn, this puts innocent Israelis at risk whenever they travel outside of Israel; and it potentially begets violence against innocent Jews everywhere in the world. It is so senseless, yet it garners headlines for Mossad—Israel’s national intelligence agency—and makes some Israelis and other Jews feel good and proud.
Clearly, Netanyahu has no qualms about using these tactics. He was hated by former Israeli Prime Ministers Ariel Sharon and Yitzhak Rabin—and especially by Rabin’s wife Leah, who blamed Netanyahu for her husband’s assassination. She saw “only doom for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process” with Netanyahu at Israel’s helm; and her views were prescient.
Nothing has changed since Leah Rabin’s death, except Netanyahu is once again Israel’s Prime Minister—despite the fact that Tzipi Livni and her Kadima party won the most seats in the Israeli Knesset. Indeed, it was the first time in Israel’s history that the party with the most seats was not asked to govern. Quite predictably, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is going nowhere, which is likely until Netanyahu leaves office. In the interim, the United States must not be drawn into hostilities with Iran, or another war that the American people oppose vehemently.
To those who would argue that getting rid of Netanyahu changes nothing, except possibly to get rid of an ally who is willing to fight back, the answer is that Netanyahu is not an ally of the United States. He never has been, and he never will be. He is a narcissistic impediment to peace in the Middle East, and always has been. He is a moral midget and a pygmy when compared with Sharon and Yitzhak Rabin, who were both courageous and remarkable men and had the credentials to prove it. Again, Leah Rabin was right in seeing “only doom for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process” with Netanyahu at Israel’s helm. The sooner he is gone, the better.
Fortunately—like Sharon, Yitzhak Rabin and other world leaders before him—it appears that Barack Obama learned early on that Netanyahu is dishonest and cannot be trusted. Also, Obama seems determined not to be manipulated by Netanyahu, which bodes well with respect to American policies vis-à-vis Iran and Israel, at least for now. The Wall Street Journal’s editorial is irresponsible when it describes “Iran as the single biggest threat to . . . U.S. security.” This is utter nonsense.
American hearts go out to the advocates of democracy in Iran, many of whom have been arrested, tortured and killed recently. These opponents of the country’s brutal theocracy deserve U.S. support whenever, wherever and however possible. Regrettably, Obama did not support them. Like the courageous peoples of Eastern Europe who have become our partners in NATO, this seems to have been an opportunity that was lost at least for now, but not forever.
Regarding those who irresponsibly advocate that the United States should go to war with Iran, we have not gone to war to free the oppressed peoples of North Korea, Cuba or other totalitarian-controlled countries; and an exception for Iran is not warranted. Surely—with our ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—neither the Wall Street Journal nor any other responsible media organization is advocating that America embark on a third war without end, against Iran, much less as Israel’s “sponsor” or at Netanyahu’s behest. That is lunacy.
One of the greatest concerns today involves the possibility of an EMP Attack against America—by al-Qaeda, North Korea, Iran, or by China, Russia or their surrogates. Our only real protection is a reliable, broad-based missile defense system, which Obama has been taking steps to weaken. Similarly, as the Washington Post’s Charles Krauthammer has written:
[T]he Obama 2011 budget kills [the U.S. Space Shuttle’s replacement,] Constellation. Instead, we shall have nothing. For the first time since John Glenn flew in 1962, the United States will have no access of its own for humans into space—and no prospect of getting there in the foreseeable future.
This has serious strategic ramifications too, aside from the peaceful exploration of space.
Lastly, what are America’s alternatives to the use of force against Iran? Aside from supporting democratic movements within the country, as we did in the case of Eastern Europe, the Wall Street Journal’s editorial outlines steps that can be taken now, which should have been implemented ages ago to put the screws to Iran. More “dithering” is not an option, but neither is war.
© 2010, Timothy D. Naegele
 Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass), the first black senator since Reconstruction after the U.S. Civil War. He practices law in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles with his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates (www.naegele.com). He has an undergraduate degree in economics from UCLA, as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University. He is a member of the District of Columbia and California bars. He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, where he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal. Mr. Naegele is an Independent politically; and he is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, and Who’s Who in Finance and Business. He has written extensively over the years. See, e.g., www.naegele.com/whats_new.html#articles
 See, e.g., http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article7028123.ece and http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article7025821.ece; see also http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1251581/Terror-innocent-Britons-named-Mossad-assassins.html and http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article7029553.ece and http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703444804575071561636104090.html?mod=WSJ_hps_MIDDLEThirdNews
 Some of the tactics used against Israeli government officials include arrest warrants issued in other countries, such as against Livni. See, e.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tzipi_Livni#UK_arrest_warrant