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First appeared in print in The Rhinoceros Times, Greensboro, NC
By Orson Scott Card August 15, 2010

Israel vs. Iran vs. Obama

If history has taught us anything, it is that when fanatics announce their intention to kill Jews as soon as they get the means to do it, and then get the means, they kill Jews.

Iran's current government of evil fanatics (evil being defined as "willing to kill anyone to remake the world as they think it should be") has repeatedly announced its intention to destroy Tel Aviv, Israel's most populous and most Jewish city, as soon as Iran has nukes and a delivery mechanism.

A nuclear explosion over Tel Aviv would spread killing fallout over much of the region. Israel's population would be cut approximately in half. Israel cannot afford to absorb a first strike and only retaliate afterward.

A nuclear-armed Iran is not only a danger to Israel, it is a danger to the whole world. It will immediately become de facto ruler of most of the nearby Arab oil producing countries, with a stranglehold on world oil production and prices. These Arab nations have been counting on the United States to block Iran's nuclear program.

But Obama, ignoring the needs and wishes of Jewish and Arab states alike, has made it obvious that he is more interested in "containing" a nuclear Iran than in preventing it.

Unfortunately, you cannot "contain" a nation led by evil fanatics who don't care how many die in a nuclear attack or in any kind of retaliation after the fact. We have no reason to think that Iran will restrain itself in any way, for any reason -- they certainly have done nothing to show any such willingness before.

But Obama can be fooled, apparently, by empty announcements that maybe Iran's leaders will talk to somebody, someday, about something.

According to the cover story in this month's Atlantic Monthly, last March the experts estimated that Iran would be nuclear ready in the range of 1 to 3 years. "Nuclear ready" means that it would take them less than three months after deciding to do so to get nuclear devices mounted on missiles and ready to launch.

They have calendars in Israel. By the first of December, Iran's nuclear program will be three months away from that inside estimate. Since it is now obvious that Obama does not understand America's responsibility as one of only two nations with the power to stop Iran's nuclear program and the wish to do so, it will be up to the other one. Israel.

Raise your hands if you think the Israeli government will sit passively, waiting to see if Iran acts nice with their nukes. What, nobody? Very good, class. You've been paying attention to world history.

After all, Israel has already de-nuked both Iraq and Syria by military interventions.

Since the Jew-haters of the world -- a category which now includes most of Europe's outspoken intellectuals and many of America's as well -- do not regard Israel as having any right to exist, let alone defend that existence, you can be sure that, whether Israel's preemptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities succeeds or fails, Israel will be condemned.

All of Israel's Arab neighbors -- even the ones that are fervently hoping Israel will cripple Iran's nuclear program -- will condemn Israel. And if Israel's attack fails to destroy Iran's nukes, then all of Israel's Arab neighbors will have no choice but to invade Israel immediately -- for fear of Iranian retaliation against any Muslim nation that seems reluctant to attack Israel.

So Israel will have a double fight for its life.

Expect Europe to sit by and watch, saying, "Tut tut" and "Naughty naughty."

But there is one nation honor bound to intervene -- in any way necessary, including devastating military force -- to save Israel. Raise your hands if you think I'm referring to the United States of America.

Get those hands up, boys and girls. The only people who think we are not honor bound are those who have no idea what "honor" is -- or, knowing, do not aspire to have any.

The problem is that, through the cruel manipulation of our electoral process by a press corps that did not vet Obama and that allowed his hopeless ignorance of history and foreign relations to pass uncriticized, we are saddled with a President who does not know his duty, who has no sense of honor when it comes to abiding by the promises of his predecessors, and who leans decisively toward Israel's enemies.

Israel has many friends among the American people. There is America's small but politically important Jewish population. There is also a much larger contingent of Christians whose reading of the Bible leads them to believe that the continued existence of a Jewish state of Israel is a virtuous thing.

But I believe there are sound reasons why every American should support Israel if it takes action to defend itself.

1. An attack on Iran's nuclear capability would not be "aggression." Just as mobilization of one country's armies is an act of war, long before they cross an international boundary, so also Iran's statement of its intention to use nukes to bomb Tel Aviv gives Israel complete legal grounds to take Iran's leaders at their word and take military action to remove their capability to do so.

2. Iran is already at war with Israel. Iran is funding, arming, and training Hamas, Hezbollah, and Syria in their continued terror attacks against civilian targets in Israel. Just because Israel has not retaliated directly up to now does not mean they have not had the legal right to do so all along.

3. Israel was legally brought into being by the United Nations. We voted for the creation of Israel. So did the majority of the world's independent nations at that time. There is no legal basis for rescinding that action. Israel's existence is more clearly legal than that of most other countries in the world.

4. Israel has never waged an aggressive war. Israel was attacked by its Arab neighbors the moment it came into existence, but defended itself so successfully that when the ceasefire came, they were in control of part of Jerusalem. In 1967 Egypt, Syria, and Jordan attacked again in the "Six-Day War," and again Israel successfully defended itself, acquiring more-secure borders. If anyone tells you Israel is an "aggressor" that waged war to "conquer" its neighbors, they are either lying or hopelessly ignorant of the facts.

5. Israel has made ridiculous sacrifices for the sake of peace. In exchange for a peace treaty with Egypt, Israel gave back the Sinai peninsula. That treaty has held. Then, in an effort to bow to world opinion, Israel entered into agreement after agreement with the terrorist leaders of the "Palestinians," who never kept any of their promises, but kept and keep demanding more and more concessions from Israel. And Israel kept making concessions -- while the Jew-haters of the world kept accusing them of being the barriers to peace!

6. Until the US-protected Iraqi elections, the freest Arabs in the world were the Arab citizens of Israel. Even though Jews have been savagely mistreated or expelled by most Muslim nations, Israel has given its own Arab citizens more freedom and protection than Arabs have in any Arab nation until Iraq took its first steps toward democracy.

7. So-called Israeli "mistreatment" of Palestinians was both lawful and merciful. Let's see ... Palestinian terrorists murder Israelis. Israelis find out who the perpetrators were and ... blow up their houses, after making sure there was nobody inside. And the Israelis are oppressive monsters? Only a full-fledged Jew-hater could see Israel as an oppressor when it takes such markedly stepped-down actions to deal with terrorism.

8. After the Holocaust, we said, "Never again" to genocidal attacks against Jews. Most of us meant it then. I think most Americans mean it now, even if much of Europe has gone back to its ancient habit of blaming Jews for everything.

The world is rightfully ashamed of its inaction when Hitler persecuted and then murdered the Jews of Europe. We vowed that we would never stand by and let such a thing happen again.

But Obama is poised to do exactly that. Israel should not have to send its military to do a job that America is uniquely suited to do. If we had an actual President -- that is, a commander-in-chief who understood that a nuclear Iran changes the shape of the whole world, making it far more dangerous to everyone, and potentially destroying our economy and limiting the freedom of our allies -- we would already have taken military action against Iran.

Some of you may remember that I expressed a hope, near the end of Bush's second term, that he would take action after the election to end Iran's nuclear ambition. But I understand why Bush did not do so. The American people had repudiated him in 2006 with the election of a Democratic Congress and again with the election of the Artless Dodger as his successor. Why should Bush bring down more vilification on his own head? Much more delicious to force his "peace-loving" successor to deal with Iran.

Except that Obama is not dealing with Iran. Instead, his foreign policy is "Global Apology."

I can imagine him, with Tel Aviv in radioactive ruins and Israel crippled and helpless before its enemies, apologizing to the world for the fact that America had not allowed the destruction of Israel many years before. "We are sorry that Iran was forced by endless Israeli provocation to take such drastic and un-Muslim measures."

To me, the Obama foreign policy is the most dangerous in American history. He projects such weakness that he invites our enemies to do whatever they want. He stands by no ally; he keeps no promise; he punishes no offense against American interest, American allies, or American honor.

But it is our sacred duty, after the promises of many Presidents and Congresses, to stand by Israel. If we don't have the sense of duty and honor to stop Iran's nuclear program ourselves in the interest of protecting the whole world's peaceful trade, then we must at least stand firmly behind Israel when they do our job for us.

If this president condemns or criticizes an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear capability, or fails to support them completely -- with arms, supplies, and military intervention -- if they are attacked after such intervention, then I will do everything I can to bring about his impeachment or, failing that, his defeat in the next election.

This is not a matter of honest political differences, as with health care or taxes or deficits or debt. This is a matter of the safety of American interests abroad and at home, which would be devastated by a nuclear Iran and/or the destruction of Israel.

We already see the results of Obama's pathetic performance in foreign policy up to now. Our enemies are bold, our one-time allies in retreat, because everyone sees that under Obama, America is weak and unwilling to act. This remains invisible to the ideologically blinded White House, because everything seems to be going along normally. As with his pork-barrel "stimulus" and unfundable health care program, he assumes that any criticism is nothing but racism, Fox News, or conservative talk radio.

But a nuclear Iran will bring everything out into the open. Obama's greatest "achievement" in his first two years will have been the realignment of the world and the isolation of a greatly weakened America, undoing the work of every President from Truman to G.W. Bush. It will take a generation for America and the world to recover from the damage Obama has done and is doing.

Right now the only man standing between America and its ruin is not an American at all, though much of his education took place here: Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel.

The Artless Dodger will almost certainly refuse to do his duty; but Netanyahu will almost certainly do his. After all the years in which Israel relied on us to back them up in times of woe, perhaps there's something symmetrical about us depending on Israel to protect us from the weakness and willful blindness of our own President.

Now the American people have to make it laser-clear to Obama that we will not tolerate from him anything less than full support of Israel in its acts of self-defense against Iran.

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