Looks like it's showdown time with both Iran and Irak
Three carrier battle groups are converging on the Persian Gulf. The
aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson has departed Singapore and is
currently crossing the Indian Ocean, en route to the Middle East. The
aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt is also on the move, crossing
the Atlantic Ocean, reportedly headed toward the Mediterranean.
Reports are also circulating that the U.S. Navy has dispatched ships
containing nuclear armaments to reinforce the battle groups. This will
be the first time since February 2004 that the U.S. has had three
major carrier groups stationed on or around the Middle East.
Each of the carrier groups are armed with 85 aircraft capable of
delivering precision-guided munitions. The air refueling capabilities
of the aircraft allow them to operate from long distances. Each
carrier battle group will include nuclear submarine protective cover.
The battle groups can act independently and can stay on station
The U.S. military air bases in Turkey, Qatar, the United Arab
Emirates, the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, not to mention
those recently established in Iraq and Afganistan, give the U.S.
formidable muscle in the area. In addition, we have more than 150,000
battle-hardened Army and Marine forces on the ground in the region,
capable of responding to any threat we face.
What's going on? Looks like it's showdown time with both Iran and
Syria. President Bush has said in words of one syllable that Iran will
not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons. He has also demanded that
Syria completely withdraw its military and intelligence forces from
Lebanon. Nor will George W. Bush rest quietly until the mullahs quit
How many times do the president and the secretary of state need to say
that we have not taken the military option off the table? The world by
now should be getting the point. The president has also repeatedly
said that he will respect Israel's right to protect itself. Vice
President Cheney has said very clearly that Israel could be expected
to attack Iran the minute Israel decides that the mullahs have reached
the "point of no return" and have everything they need to make an
Neither the president of the United States nor the prime minister of
Israel want to find out that the mullahs have nuclear weapons by
seeing a mushroom cloud over Tel Aviv. On 9-11, we all had that type
of rude awakening when we saw the second plane crash into the World
Trade Center. The president must have privately sworn his own form of
"never again" in pledging that he would not permit the U.S. to find
out our enemies had shipped an improvised nuclear device into America
by waking up one fine day to see a mushroom cloud over New York City
or Washington, D.C.
Is it too late for diplomacy? No. But it is too late for more lies by
the mullahs. Yes, the Europeans can continue their diplomacy. Yet the
president has demanded more than words. If the mullahs do not intend
to build an atomic bomb, then let them destroy their centrifuges and
their heavy-water plant. The only purpose of the centrifuges is to
enrich uranium to weapons grade. The only point of the heavy-water
plant is to produce weapons-grade plutonium. Anything else the mullahs
say is just another attempt by them to play the world for a fool.
George Bush is no fool. Nor does he have infinite patience. The
president would clearly prefer to see freedom come to Iran and Lebanon
by peaceful means. But, if all else fails, we have three nuclear-armed
carrier battle groups in the region that are more than capable of
resolving the problem.