These discussions were undoubtedly about the “big picture” as well as the specific question of chemical weapons. I cannot imagine the Israelis not sharing their view of Iran’s regional strategy, which they believe includes a contingency plan (named after Quds Force commander Qasem Suleimani) for the occupation of Syria if Assad were to lose control.

…Syria’s centrality in Iranian strategy was voiced by Mehdi Taaib, who heads Khamenei’s think tank. He recently stated that “Syria is the 35th district of Iran and it has greater strategic importance for Iran than Khuzestan [an Arab-populated district inside Iran].”

Iran’s strategy includes domination of Iraq, which they could use as an operational base if Syria falls.

SIDEBAR: You may have noticed that casualties in Iraq are now running at roughly half those in Syria, as the Iranians apply the same methods they used unsuccessfully against us: foment civil war by the use of terror and religiously inspired mass movements.

BACK TO MAIN SERMON: The Israeli actions, assuming they took place more or less as described, were limited to a single battlefield of the big war, and were driven by the knowledge that Iran and its two foreign legions (Quds and Hezbollah) are preparing the destruction of the Jewish state, nukes or no nukes. Weapons move towards Israel from many directions in the region, including Sudan, and are sometimes permitted passage by the likes of Egypt and Turkey. Until and unless we show signs of recognizing the real dimensions of the menace, the weapons will continue to flow.

Just ask the king of Jordan. He knows that many of those “Syrian refugees” on his border are working with the jihadis, whether Sunni or Shi’ite. Our dribble of assistance to the Syrian opposition comes via Jordan (and it was no accident that the early meetings described above were held in Amman). Watch Jordan very carefully — along with Iraq it’s our enemies’ main strategic target.

Alas, there is no reason to believe, even now, that our deep thinkers grasp the nature of the real war. The failing New York Times spent a considerable amount of space on Sunday trying to convince its gullible readers that Obama’s celebrated “red line” proclamation regarding the potential consequences of Assad’s use of chemical weapons wasn’t serious. Why? Because “it wasn’t scripted,” he just said it.

Imagine that! An American president who makes up his own mind and announces his conclusions to the world. And now, his loyal followers are trying to walk it back, because everyone is asking Obama to make good on his ultimatum.

If his advisors were worth their keep, they’d be telling him to focus on the real issues. But no. One of them moaned, “If Assad drops sarin on his own people, what’s that got to do with us?” So much for the Valkyrie doctrine–we will move forcefully to save people from their murderous regimes–that justified our Libyan intervention. No wonder Samantha Power scampered out of her National Security Council suite.

As the piteous fall of George H.W. Bush–from 90% approval to electoral defeat–should warn our leaders, failed visions and empty heads have consequences. People die. And not just Syrians and Iranians, who are being tortured and slaughtered by their own regimes. Americans die too. The beds at Walter Reed are filling up again, as the Taliban celebrate our retreat by blowing us up.

There is no escape from the big war. We can win it or lose it, but we can’t opt out of it.