Iran and World War IV

The word “crusade” long ago became anathema to the politically correct.Nevertheless, America’s most successful wars were crusades fought against demonstrably evil foes to right blatant wrongs. The American Civil War, World Wars I and II and the Cold War (World War III) truly were crusades. So is World War IV.

Most Americans remain blithely oblivious to the true nature of this war. Indeed, a sizeable number think the fighting in Iraq constitutes a war distinct from the global war with al Qaeda, affiliated terrorist groups and supportive regimes…like Iran. The Michael Moores among the liberal elite believe the “War on Terror” is a case of America the behemoth bullying Arabs to get petroleum. More extreme nutcases blather about a Bush cabal making war to spread Christianity throughout the Islamic world.

The United States is at war globally against an enemy determined to destroy Western Civilization based on institutions grounded in Judeo-Christian concepts like human dignity and political, economic and religious freedom. Victory demands a winning strategy. Clearly defined policy goals define and determine strategy. It is vital to know who we fight, why, and the strategic objectives.

In his 2002 State of the Union Address, President George W. Bush made Iran part of an Axis of Evil with North Korea and Saddam’s Iraq. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright immediately dubbed Bush’s remarks, “A big mistake.” Europeans winced, congressional liberals blanched and the intellectual elite scoffed. Then, in July 2004, the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence confirmed Bush’s earlier characterization of Iran. It seems President Bush knew the enemy all along.

Iran also knows its enemies: the United States (the Great Satan) and Israel (the Little Satan). A quarter century ago, in November 1979, Iran went to war with the United States when the mullahs dispatched militant students to take over the US Embassy in Tehran. In 1982, Iran established Hezbollah in Lebanon which has since attacked Israel from camps along the border and with terrorists dispatched from the Palestinian West Bank. Additionally, Iranian Intelligence directs Hezbollah cells in Europe, South America, Asia, Canada and the United States.

Under the alias “Islamic Jihad,” Hezbollah bombed the U.S. Embassy in Beirut in April 1983 and, in October, sent a truck bomb into the Beirut U.S. Marine Barracks killing 220 Marines, 18 Navy and three U.S. Army personnel. The following April, Islamic-Jihad-cum-Hezbollah terrorists planted a bomb in a disco in Torrejon, Spain killing eighteen US soldiers. Shifting its attacks back to the Little Satan, over the next decade Hezbollah rockets fired from southern Lebanon killed hundreds of Israelis. Today Hezbollah joins with Hamas and Yasir Arafat’s al Fatah and the al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade to send suicide bombers into Israel while Hezbollah jihadists battle American and Coalition forces in Iraq.

Iran is a formidable enemy. In June the Iranian government of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei sponsored a conference in Tehran at which mullahs called for an “Army of Martyrs”—Islamic kamikazes—to attack U.S. interests around the world. The conference concluded with a Revolutionary Guard official declaring, “If Muslims create fear in the heathen world, this fear is sacred.” The following Friday, calls went out from mosques across Iran urging volunteers for the Army of Martyrs. Jihad is a crusade by another name.

With the United Nations on Tehran’s case, the only reasonable hope for preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons rests with the Israeli Air Force. Absent an Israeli preemptive strike, when the mullahs get the bomb they will expand Iran’s two-front war from attacks on Israel and on coalition forces in Iraq. They will intimidate and then destabilize moderate and pro-Western Arab regimes, especially those which host American bases. Meanwhile, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei will make good his promise “to harm America around the world” by unleashing Iran’s Army of Martyrs.

Regime change in Iraq is a key to this strategic paradigm. If the United States hangs tough to consummate President Bush’s visionary strategy for Iraqi democratization, the mullahs in Iran will come under increasing pressure.

Despite Iran’s terrorism and ongoing war with Israel and the United States, Ayatollah Khamenei’s dictatorship is failing. His regime violates human rights massively, the economy is in shambles, drug use and street crime are rampant. Families and interests close to the regime enrich themselves while others suffer.

The mullahs know President Bush will stand firm and that if a democratic regime takes hold in Iraq they could be in trouble from internal elements yearning for democratic reform. That is why, at Iran’s behest, Hezbollah will increase its attacks in Iraq, ratcheting up the body count prior to the November elections. Terrorist attacks against Israel will continue in hopes of prompting those Israeli counter-attacks sure to bring U.N. condemnations and elicit whining from squishy American liberal groups quick to condemn Israel but reluctant to speak out against Iranian and Palestinian terrorism.

Political correctness notwithstanding, World War IV is a crusade we must win.

Earl H. Tilford

Earl H. Tilford

Dr. Earl Tilford is a military historian and fellow for the Middle East & terrorism with The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. He currently lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. A retired Air Force intelligence officer, Dr. Tilford earned his PhD in American and European military history at George Washington University. From 1993 to 2001, he served as Director of Research at the U.S. Army’s Strategic Studies Institute. In 2001, he left Government service for a professorship at Grove City College, where he taught courses in military history, national security, and international and domestic terrorism and counter-terrorism. Email: [email protected]

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