BY MICHAEL FREUND—
One year from now, the American people will go to the ballot box to decide whether Barack Obama deserves a second term of office.
If recent polls are any indication, the president is facing an uphill battle.
Two new surveys, one conducted by Reuters/Ipsos and the other by ABC News and The Washington Post, showed him trailing Republican Mitt Romney in the race for the presidency.
Another found that three quarters of American voters – 76 percent – say they are dissatisfied with the country’s direction. That is almost back to the level that was in place immediately prior to Obama’s inauguration.
Of course, a lot can happen in a year and it would be a mistake to write the president off. He is a talented campaigner, has an enormous war-chest and will have all the advantages of incumbency at his disposal.
But a sour electorate, stubbornly high unemployment and a growing sense of malaise at home have all contributed to mounting disappointment with the current occupant of the White House. With little hope of an economic turnaround in the next 12 months, the president’s prospects are far from bright.
There is, however, one thing Obama can do which would transform the equation, both at home and abroad: launch a military campaign against Iran to thwart its nuclear intentions.
On the domestic front, confronting Iran would rally the American people behind him in no uncertain terms. In one fell swoop, it would put to rest any qualms about him being weak or indecisive while underscoring his commitment to protecting US interests.
Internationally, it would transform the Middle East and stave off the unbearable peril of the atomic Ayatollahs destabilizing the region. Moreover, stopping Iran would create a lasting legacy for Obama as the man who saved Western civilization.
THE US has all the justification it could possibly need for attacking Iran.The recently disclosed Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to Washington by blowing up a Georgetown restaurant was virtually an act of war. No country can tolerate a scheme by another state to carry out acts of terror on its soil, and America would be well within its right to respond.
This incident was the latest example of Tehran’s propensity for violence, and it underlines why the US State Department has declared Iran to be the world’s “most active state sponsor of terrorism.”
Moreover, the Iranians have been arming and training guerrillas to kill American troops as part of its proxy war against the West.
Indeed, in October 2007, the US Treasury Department designated Iran’s Quds Force as a terrorist organization for providing material support to the Taliban in Afghanistan and insurgents in Iraq who attacked US forces.
The Ayatollahs have the blood of American soldiers on their hands and this must not go unpunished.
But perhaps the most compelling reason for the US to attack Iran is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s dogged pursuit of nuclear weapons.
As the Washington Post reported earlier this week, “Intelligence provided to UN nuclear officials shows that Iran’s government has mastered the critical steps needed to build a nuclear weapon.”
Citing US intelligence officials, the Post said the Ayatollahs are “intent on gathering all the components and skills so they can quickly assemble a bomb if they choose to.”
These fears were further bolstered by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which released a report on Tuesday that leaves little doubt about Tehran’s intentions.
It states that Iran has carried out tests “relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device” and has conducted research on computer models that could only be used to develop a trigger for a nuclear weapon.
The IAEA also highlighted the fact that Iran has conducted “work on the development of an indigenous design of a nuclear weapon including the testing of components.”
Obviously, despite its denials, Iran is relentlessly pursuing “the Bomb.”
Let’s be clear: there is no greater threat to international peace and security than a nuclear Iran.
The possibility of the Ayatollahs getting their hands on a nuclear weapon is simply intolerable. It would enable Iran to threaten and coerce its neighbors and set off a region-wide arms race that would alter the strategic balance of the Middle East.
Thankfully, Obama is already on record as saying that he would not allow this to happen.
On June 4, 2008, in an address to the annual AIPAC policy conference, he stated, “I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Everything in my power. Everything.”
Obama reaffirmed this position again earlier this year on May 22, when he told an AIPAC audience that, “We remain committed to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.”
Now is the time for him to stand by his word. Round after round of sanctions have failed to halt Tehran’s nuclear drive. The only option left on the table is the measure of last resort: military force. Nothing else, it seems, will stop Iran from achieving its goal.
To be sure, such a course of action would enrage many throughout the Muslim world. And taking out Iran’s nuclear infrastructure would neither be easy nor quick.
But it is better to be respected than to be liked. And right now, America is neither.
Obama’s path to electoral victory goes straight through Tehran. He can salvage his presidency and protect the Western world by thwarting Ahmadinejad’s devious plans.
Though fraught with risk, a US-led military assault against Iran’s nuclear installations might just be the game-changer that Obama – and the world – so desperately need. Here’s hoping that he acts before it is too late.