Published by The Freeman Center
The Maccabean Online
Political Analysis and Commentary
GOVERNOR PALIN’S PROMISE
At first Senator Clinton was scheduled to appear at the rally. But when Mrs. Palin was put on the schedule, she backed out. When the organizers contacted Senator Biden\'s staff, they were told he had a prior commitment. The Obama campaign offered up Rep. Robert Wexler, who has been trying to palm off on Florida voters the idea that Mrs. Palin is an avatar of Patrick Buchanan, even though she supported Steve Forbes in the GOP primaries for 2000.
Mrs. Palin, in her speech, makes it plain that for all her alleged naivete in foreign affairs, she fully comprehends the danger Iran\'s president poses to the rest of us, particularly, but not exclusively, to Israel. "Senator McCain has made a solemn commitment that I strongly endorse: Never again will we risk another Holocaust," her speech says. "And this is not a wish, a request, or a plea to Israel\'s enemies. This is a promise that the United States and Israel will honor, against any enemy who cares to test us."
Sadly the sense of urgency in Mrs. Palin\'s speech is missing from other quarters. A panel last week at George Washington University featured five former state secretaries. All agreed that the next president must start talking to Iran without preconditions. As Warren Christopher, secretary between 1993 and 1997, said: "Frankly the military options here are very poor. We don\'t want to go down that route."
[COMMENTS BY EMANUEL A. WINSTON: Each of the 5 former Secretaries of State: Henry Kissinger, Warren Christopher, Madelyn Albright, James Baker III and Colin Powell were shown to be anti-Israel in their mind-set, planning and programs during their various tenures. Their interests were primarily the oil and not the survival of Israel.]The secretaries nodded sagely. Secretary Powell expressed regret that private American talks with Iran abruptly ended in 2003. Secretary Albright said we do better when we reach out, instead of isolate, our adversaries. Secretary Kissinger was only slightly more hard-headed, saying we needed a new approach to dealing with the world\'s leading sponsor of terrorism. What will Mr. Ahmadinejad make of it while supping with the Quaker lobby at the Iftar dinner scheduled in Mr. Ahmadinejad\'s honor Thursday at the Hyatt Hotel on 42nd Street?
President Bush himself sent the third ranking American diplomat, William Burns, to Geneva this summer to deliver the latest offer to get the Iranians to stop their nuclear enrichment. Shortly after the Swiss parley, the French daily Le Monde got hold of the minutes of the meeting and quoted Mr. Burns explaining that all the tensions between American and Iran amounted to a big misunderstanding.
Before sending Mr. Burns to meet with Iran\'s nuclear negotiators, Mr. Bush has pursued talks in Baghdad to press the Iranians to end their support for Shiite death squads. Ambassador Khalizad has held numerous back channel talks with Iranian diplomats. Messages have been delivered to the mullahs by American allies, from the Kurdish Iraqi leadership and other foreign governments. Secretary Rice has offered to meet Iran\'s leaders any time and any place if they end their uranium enrichment.
These offers of dialogue have been met with emboldened behavior from the mullahs. Whether it\'s Iran\'s continued support for the Hezbollah coup in Lebanon, the rapid expansion of the centrifuge facilities, or the Tehran conferences on Holocaust denial, the message from the Islamic Republic is that the leadership is in no mood for talking. Nonetheless it seems that some will always seek dialogue with this regime.
He must be stopped.
The world must awake to the threat this man poses to all of us. Ahmadinejad denies that the Holocaust ever took place. He dreams of being an agent in a "Final Solution" — the elimination of the Jewish people. He has called Israel a "stinking corpse" that is "on its way to annihilation." Such talk cannot be dismissed as the ravings of a madman — not when Iran just this summer tested long-range Shahab-3 missiles capable of striking Tel Aviv, not when the Iranian nuclear program is nearing completion, and not when Iran sponsors terrorists that threaten and kill innocent people around the world.
The Iranian government wants nuclear weapons. The International Atomic Energy Agency reports that Iran is running at least 3,800 centrifuges and that its uranium enrichment capacity is rapidly improving. According to news reports, U.S. intelligence agencies believe the Iranians may have enough nuclear material to produce a bomb within a year.
The world has condemned these activities. The United Nations Security Council has demanded that Iran suspend its illegal nuclear enrichment activities. It has levied three rounds of sanctions. How has Ahmadinejad responded? With the declaration that the "Iranian nation would not retreat one iota" from its nuclear program.
So, what should we do about this growing threat? First, we must succeed in Iraq. If we fail there, it will jeopardize the democracy the Iraqis have worked so hard to build, and empower the extremists in neighboring Iran. Iran has armed and trained terrorists who have killed our soldiers in Iraq, and it is Iran that would benefit from an American defeat in Iraq.
If we retreat without leaving a stable Iraq, Iran\'s nuclear ambitions will be bolstered. If Iran acquires nuclear weapons — they could share them tomorrow with the terrorists they finance, arm, and train today. Iranian nuclear weapons would set off a dangerous regional nuclear arms race that would make all of us less safe.
It is said that the measure of a country is the treatment of its most vulnerable citizens. By that standard, the Iranian government is both oppressive and barbaric. Under Ahmadinejad\'s rule, Iranian women are some of the most vulnerable citizens.
If an Iranian woman shows too much hair in public, she risks being beaten or killed.
The authorities have reacted with predictable barbarism. Last year, women\'s rights activist Delaram Ali was sentenced to 20 lashes and 10 months in prison for committing the crime of "propaganda against the system." After international protests, the judiciary reduced her sentence to "only" 10 lashes and 36 months in prison and then temporarily suspended her sentence. She still faces the threat of imprisonment.
Senator Clinton understands the nature of this threat and what we must do to confront it. This is an issue that should unite all Americans. Iran should not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons. Period. And in a single voice, we must be loud enough for the whole world to hear: Stop Iran!
Tomorrow, [September 23rd] Ahmadinejad will come to New York. On our soil, he will exercise the right of freedom of speech — a right he denies his own people. He will share his hateful agenda with the world. Our task is to focus the world on what can be done to stop him.
We must rally the world to press for truly tough sanctions at the U.N. or with our allies if Iran\'s allies continue to block action in the U.N. We must start with restrictions on Iran\'s refined petroleum imports.
Senator McCain has made a solemn commitment that I strongly endorse: Never again will we risk another Holocaust. And this is not a wish, a request, or a plea to Israel\'s enemies. This is a promise that the United States and Israel will honor, against any enemy who cares to test us. It is John McCain\'s promise and it is my promise. Thank you.