Diplomacy is a weak tool;
action needed, says scholar.
Jim Colbert and Sophie Allweis
Special to the Jewish News
merica cannot wait any longer
and must act against Iran,
declared a Jewish Institute for
National Security Affairs scholar before
an audience on June 25 at the Holocaust
Memorial Center in Farmington Hills.
An advocate of deci-
sive, strong action,
Dr. Michael Ledeen,
on the Washington-
based JINSA Board of
Advisers, despairs that
"every single American
President from Carter
to Obama" has tried to
make a peaceful deal
in negotiations with
the radical Islamic
Republic of Iran, none with any success.
The appearance was in recognition of the
third anniversary of Israeli soldier Gilad
Shalit's kidnapping by Hamas terrorists.
Ledeen took President Obama to task
for failing to learn from his predecessors'
mistakes. Ledeen thinks it is delusional
for the White House to believe that it can
achieve different results with the same
soft attitude towards the same hard-line
Ledeen has focused for nearly 40 years
on terrorism and Iran/ He was a consul-
tant to the National Security Council, the
State Department and the Pentagon. He is
affiliated with the nonprofit Foundation
for Defense of Democracies. His latest
book is Accomplice to Evil: Iran and the
War Against the West (Truman Talley
Books, 2007). He recently set up the
Centre for Democracy in Iran, an action
group focused on producing regime
change in Iran.
Ledeen noted that Iran's rulers, the
ayatollahs, have made no secret that they
desire both to destroy the United States
and Israel and to extend the domain of
their version of Islam all over the world.
On these grounds, Ledeen argued prior to
the 2003 American-led attack on Saddam
Hussein's Iraqi forces that if America were
to wage a war against terror, the key coun-
try to target would be Iran.
Taking action against Iran would be
unpleasant and cost lives with the poten-
tial for failure, Ledeen acknowledged.
However, it is necessary to realize that
action at some point is inevitable and the
longer it is put off, the greater the threat
to American national security and the
more costly and deadly the future warfare
will be. Unlike President George W. Bush,
who was forced to fight back after 9-11
although he was unwilling to act earlier,
Obama should see that America has the
upper hand and preempt Iranian action.
Ledeen detailed why "this is a time
for us to act:' He reminded the audience
that since the fraudulent recent election,
Iranian citizens have been dying on their
streets for the common value of freedom.
He estimated that about 75 percent of
Iranians want to see an end to their dicta-
torial regime. The U.S. should seize on the
fresh wave of hostility towards the regime
and support the people of Iran in this
time of change, he said.
The wife of presidential challenger Mir-
Hossein Mousavi was a central figure in
his election campaign, inspiring women
with her attitude that although she wears
a hijab, others should be able to choose
whether they do so. This was a revolu-
tionary statement of human rights for a
country where the Iranian constitution
places the value of a woman at half that
of a man.
Strategically, Ledeen said, Iran has been
a dangerous enemy for 30 years, today
killing as many Americans as possible
in Iraq and Afghanistan. The current
Iranian regime is the driving force behind
international terrorism. The more Iran
enhances its nuclear capability, the greater
the instability in the Middle East, the
greater the threat to Israel and the greater
the danger to the U.S.
Ledeen recommended that in the short
term, America make use of advanced
technology and step up efforts to ensure
that the Iranian people have access to
accurate information about what is hap-
pening around their country. He advocat-
ed a strike fund so workers can leave their
jobs while still supporting their families,
especially those in the oil and textile
industries, which are two major sources of
revenue for the regime.
In a thought-provoking end to his
address, Ledeen challenged his audience
whether they want their children to grow
up and ask, "Why didn't we do anything
about Iran?" 111
Jim Colbert is communications director and
Sophie Allweis is a research associate for
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