Did you hear the one about President Obama claiming the U.S. can use military force against Iran if it breaks the terms of its nuclear deal?
Such a claim—from a U.S. President whose red lines have been drawn, crossed and erased and who has otherwise shown those seeking to do us harm they can do so without consequence—must have Iran’s mullahs laughing in their mosques.
But, seeking to reassure undecided Democratic members of Congress preparing to vote later this month on the Iran nuclear deal, President Obama made this representation in a letter to Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), made public August 20th. To sweeten the pot, the President indicated his willingness to provide missile funding and various defense related technologies to Israel.
The letter specifically stated, “All of the options available to the United States—including the military option—will remain available through the life of the deal and beyond.”
This is the same Obama who demonstrated a lack of backbone to defend against aggression by not only failing to take action to assist Ukraine when Russia’s Vladimir Putin invaded Crimea in 2014, but then advised its leaders not to even defend itself for fear of angering the Russian leader. Such advice has proven to be a disaster as Moscow-supported “rebels” continue to gain ground.
This is the same President Obama future historians will undoubtedly cite as losing instant credibility to act by virtue of ignoring his own bravissimo in threatening Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with military action should chemical/biological weapons be moved or used by him—and then doing nothing when it happened.
Just like Obama refused to take action for fear of angering Putin, Tehran’s mullahs know he fears angering them and, as such, will not take military action against them regardless of what Iran does.
As one constantly in fear of leaders exhibiting strength, President Obama further demonstrated his proclivity to bow to those with a backbone by suspending joint military exercises with South Korea as North Korea fired artillery rounds at it across the De-Militarized Zone. While the Obama Administration suggested the suspension was to give Seoul time to allow for talks with Pyongyang, there is no doubt North Korea’s “Incredible Bulk” leader, Kim Jong-Un, took it as a sign of U.S. intimidation.
It is incredulous that Obama should fear angering mullahs who have demonstrated for 36 years they have no similar fear about angering the U.S.
Iran has been at war with America since 1979 when, in an overt act contrary to international law, it seized our embassy in Tehran, taking our diplomats hostage. It also has been linked to the bombings of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983, the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996, the USS Cole in 2000, 9/11, etc. Furthermore, Iran is responsible for about one-third of U.S. casualties in Iraq where it provided deadly IEDs, and in Afghanistan where U.S. personnel were targeted.
Additionally, there is evidence Iran has paved the way for its terrorist proxy to establish a base in Venezuela, where it has linked up with Mexican drug cartels to access our borders. Based on this access, at some future time Tehran may activate Hezbollah to conduct attacks on its behalf across the border into the U.S.
Despite such clear anti-U.S. activity underscoring a total lack of fear by the mullahs in angering Obama, Obama remains fearful of angering them.
We need not wonder whether Iran’s leadership laughs about Obama’s threat of military force as it has been quite vocal about considering it a joke.
One senior Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps official (IRGC), Brigadier General Mohammad Ali Asoudi, publicly mocked the obvious lack of U.S. resolve by stating, “We should thank Obama for refreshing us by referring to his ‘options on the table,’ including the military one; we just relax and laugh at such ridiculous words.”
Asoudi is not alone in his mockery. The IRGC’s top commander, Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, noted, “The military option that the westerners speak of constantly is ridiculous and they know that if the military option could have produced any result, they would have already used it many times…”
Jafari went on to boast, “Today, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s pride and might has made the world’s biggest materialistic and military powers kneel down before the Islamic Republic’s might.”
At the depths of an economic depression in 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt eloquently stated in his first inaugural address, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Obama, by his fear of angering our enemies—giving them the perception the use of our military force to be a joke—takes FDR’s eloquence to an embarrassing extreme.
Lt. Colonel James G. Zumwalt, USMC (Ret.), is a retired Marine infantry officer who served in the Vietnam war, the U.S. invasion of Panama and the first Gulf war. He is the author of “Bare Feet, Iron Will–Stories from the Other Side of Vietnam’s Battlefields,” “Living the Juche Lie: North Korea’s Kim Dynasty” and “Doomsday: Iran–The Clock is Ticking.” He frequently writes on foreign policy and defense issues.