Benyamin (Bibi) Netanyahu has a fearful choice to make today, like Sophie in William Styron’s novel Sophie’s Choice (made into a movie with Meryl Streep). The young Sophie of Styron’s novel was forced to choose which of her two young children were to be murdered in a Nazi concentration camp.
I have known real Sophies in my life, among Holocaust survivors. They were literally forced to choose which toddlers to save from death and to single out those who could not be saved. The Nazis sent an estimated 1.2 million Jewish children to be killed in concentration camps, along with thousands of Gypsy and handicapped children.
Those choices scarred all the Jews who were forced to be involved for the rest of their lives. The nation of Israel was created by all the Sophies and Benyamins of a previous generation to make sure there would be a real choice if another Hitler ever rose again. Today, Ahmadinejad armed with nukes is about as close to Hitler and the Nazi killing camps as can be imagined.
So the moment for which the nation of Israel was founded has come.
Bibi’s choice is deeply understood by all Israelis across the political spectrum. His defense minister, Ehud Barak, may disagree on a hundred political issues, but not on this one. Barak’s military and family background is almost exactly the same as Bibi’s.
Bibi’s choice is either to destroy the danger from Ahmadinejad and his fellow Armageddon cultists in Tehran before they get a nuclear bomb, or to hide his head in the sand in the hope that every screamed threat from the Tehran regime for the last three decades was only a bluff. The bluff theory is clung to by wishful liberals around the world, including those in the Obama administration. But their necks are not on the line — not yet. The United States will not be within range of Iranian nukes and missiles for several years.
Liberals are evasive by nature; they dodge all the difficult moral questions and love to beat up on real adults who have to face them. They are moral cowards.
When Jimmy Carter allowed Ayatollah Khomeini to take over Iran in 1979, our diplomats in Tehran were taken hostage for almost a year. That humiliation was enough to defeat Jimmy Carter and bring Ronald Reagan to the presidency. But in the Iran-Iraq war that followed, a million people died. Jimmy Carter still denies any responsibility for that calamity. But had Carter supported the pro-American Shah, a million Iranians and Iraqis would still be alive. Presidents have to face such choices.
Americans have never held Jimmy Carter accountable for his ignorance, arrogance, and moral cowardice. Jimmy can still twist the history of his administration and most people won’t know the difference. After all, Iran and Iraq are so far away. More Americans know about American Idol contestants than about Iran’s Armageddon cult.
But that fact is about to change.
With the North Koreans exploding a Hiroshima-sized nuclear bomb, the American homeland will soon be in reach of rogue nuclear regimes run by madcap dictators. Long before the end of the Obama administration we will be facing a realistic prospect of nuclear attack, either by missile, or by intercontinental airplanes, or by other means like some innocent-looking shipping freighter with a nuclear bomb on board. The Iranians will have a nuclear bomb in one to three years. They already have long-range missiles, and they will soon be intercontinental in range. North Korea sells nuclear and missile technology to Iran and Syria. Venezuela and Bolivia are selling uranium to Iran. Nuclear proliferation has not been halted. Rather, it is accelerating as more and more murderous rogue regimes get more powerful weapons.