The Magazine

Speak Softly .  .  . and Fight Back

Oct 24, 2011, Vol. 17, No. 06 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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The foiled Iranian plot to blow up the Saudi ambassador to the United States has met with a tough U.S. response. Tough talk. And lots of it. If words were dollars, the federal budget deficit would have disappeared, as U.S. officials from President Obama to Vice President Biden to Secretary of State Clinton have been waxing eloquent against assassinating ambassadors, condemning any and all who would order such a thing, insisting there will be repercussions, and promising “accountability.”

Cartoon of a man writing "Death to U. S." on the side of a missile

There’s been plenty of talk. But of course no action.

This Iranian regime has the blood of American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan on its hands. It’s a sponsor and facilitator of terror organizations that have killed innocent Americans, Israelis, Iraqis, Afghans, Argentines, and many others. It’s a brutal dictatorship. And it’s seeking nuclear weapons while denying it’s doing so. It’s long since been time for the United States to speak to this regime in the language it understands—force.

And now we have an engraved invitation to do so. The plot to kill the Saudi ambassador was a lemon. Statesmanship involves turning lemons into lemonade.

So we can stop talking. Instead, we can follow the rat lines in Iraq and Afghanistan back to their sources, and destroy them. We can strike at the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and weaken them. And we can hit the regime’s nuclear weapons program, and set it back. Lest the administration hesitate to act out of fear of lack of support at home, Congress should consider authorizing the use of force against Iranian entities that facilitate attacks on our troops, against IRGC and other regime elements that sponsor terror, and against the regime’s nuclear weapons program.

The next speech we need to hear from the Obama administration should announce that, after 30 years, we have gone on the offensive against this murderous regime. And the speech after that can celebrate the fall of the regime, and offer American help to the democrats building a free and peaceful Iran.

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