Without question, the most significant responsibility of the U.S. government, and specifically the President, is to protect the safety of U.S. citizens. The 9/11 attacks reminded all of us of that fact as the United States launched its largest government re-organization since World War II to create the Department of Homeland Security.
The 9/11 Commission Report focused on all aspects of the attacks to determine what information and intelligence was available to the U.S. government before September 11, 2001. The question was and remains, “Why was the United States unable to discover the 9/11 conspiracy ?” Clearly, if the government was able to uncover the 9/11 plot, there is no doubt that all efforts would have been made to neutralize the threat.
Today, one of the most significant threats to the United States (and the world) is Iran’s nuclear weapons ambition. Last week on Capitol Hill, General Petraus listed Iran as key to the top two security concerns facing Central Command. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert voiced his similar concern directly to President Bush during his visit to Israel earlier this month. Egyptian and Saudi Arabian leaders also expressed their worries about Iran’s nuclear program when Bush met with them on his trip to the Middle East.
If diplomatic efforts to solve this dilemma continue to look unlikely to produce an acceptable outcome, isn’t it the President’s responsibility to take action? Is bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities even an option or are the President’s hands tied when it comes to dealing with Iran? And, perhaps most importantly, is time running out ?
Most U.S. (and world) nuclear experts believe there is enough evidence to verify Iran’s nuclear weapons program. As the debate continues over how to deal with this sensitive situation, it seems more and more likely that any sort of decisive action will come too late. Perhaps some future “Commission” will publish reports criticizing the government’s inaction and President Bush’s failure to take the appropriate action to neutralize this threat.
Bush approaches the end of his Presidency facing a very difficult dilemma with a determination and reputation to take exceptional measure to defend the United States.