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.
Bibi's choice is coming ever closer.
In the Nazi concentration camp Sophie had a choice that was no choice at all: to kill one child or another. Israel was created to make sure there would a genuine choice in the future, a realistic opportunity to choose life and not death for the children of the survivors of the Holocaust. But such choices are never easy. They are never free of risk. They only exist for morally responsible people who do not escape into denial.
Bibi Netanyahu is a morally serious person, unlike most politicians in the world -- including our own. He has had to face Sophie's choice in his own life. Netanyahu's older brother Yonatan was killed while leading the 1976 Entebbe rescue raid by Israeli special forces, after more than 100 civilians were kidnapped by German and Palestinian terrorists and held at Entebbe Airport in Uganda. Yonatan Netanyahu was the only rescuer killed, because the officers' ethic in the Israeli Army demands that field office lead from the front.
So Bibi Netanyahu is the child who survived, while his brother Yonatan had to die to save his fellow Jews. If that doesn't make someone morally serious, nothing will.
Today Americans are confronted with a choice as well. Historians a century from now may tear out their hair trying to figure out why our voters elected an American Idol contestant as president of the United States at a time of greater danger than we have faced since Stalin exploded his first nuclear device in 1949.
Barack Obama is not a morally serious person. He's an ego-tripping, self-indulgent, Chicago politician who's been able to have it both ways on all the tough choices -- both to shut down Guantanamo prison and at the same time to keep it open; to campaign for abortion on demand and yet get credit for being nice to anti-abortion Catholics at Notre Dame; to play footsie with political corruption in Illinois and Washington, D.C., and yet look pure as the driven snow. He's the darling of the media, and so far they have covered for him. He's never had to make the hard moral choices like Sophie or Bibi have. Just like Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, Obama's biggest talent is dodging responsibility for his own egregious mistakes of commission and omission. Consider the bank bailouts, the take-over of the car companies, the failed effort to prosecute Bush administration lawyers, and the eleven trillion dollars of new debt.
With the media playing cover-up for the Obama administration, he can get away with every kind of dodge and blooper. Almost. Until the American people have to start paying attention.
The North Koreans explode a Hiroshima-sized bomb on May 25.
Earlier this month, a new and longer-range Iranian missile was launched.
Also this month, Rahm Emanuel issued a warning to Prime Minister Netanyahu not to take action against Iran's nuclear industry.
Today, more than half of Israeli voters want a strike to take out Iran's nuclear capacity.
Last week, Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, calls an Iranian nuclear bomb "calamitous."
A lot of Americans are still snoozing. Our liberal media have gone all-out to lull them to sleep since 9/11. That is how Obama was elected. A nation that knows it is at war would have elected John McCain, in spite of his gray hairs.
Can you hear the clock ticking? If not, you are not paying attention.