OP-EDS

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November 8, 2004

The next phase in the global war on terrorism begins in Iran

It's been a while since America has had the opportunity to breathe a sigh of relief. This past Tuesday the U.S. dodged a bullet as Americans resoundingly reaffirmed a commitment to fighting terrorism abroad and spreading good throughout the world. For those Bush-haters who didn't get the message, allow me to paraphrase: "You lost."

The time for political bickering has passed, and the time for liberation through invasion is at hand. The first place America must act with its newfound unity and mandate is Iran. It must be liberated as soon as possible. Iraq was just the starting point to a broad reorganization of the Middle East, and Iran is the logical next step for a variety of reasons:

The Iranian government is funding the insurgency that our armed forces are battling on a daily basis in Iraq. One of the greatest threats to totalitarian religious rule in Iran is the even remote possibility of a free and democratic Iraq. Knowing full well that, if America and the Iraqi people succeed in building a functioning democracy, their government will be next to fall, the mullahs have been instrumental in trying to derail American plans for post-war Iraq. From the outset of Iraq's liberation, the Iranian government has been funneling weapons, intelligence, and money to Shiite terrorists throughout Iraq. If it were not for Iranian financial and logistical backing, a little known cleric by the name of Muqtada al-Sadr would never have managed to start an uprising. If Iran were absent from affairs in post-war Iraq, southern Iraq would already have a stable and working democratic government similar to those of the Kurdish areas in northern Iraq, and there would be far fewer dead Americans. Regime change in Iran is absolutely necessary to our success in Iraq.

Iran is nearing completion of a nuclear power plant capable of producing weapons-grade plutonium. Iran already has missiles capable of reaching Western Europe (not that you care) and Israel, and all that's left for them to truly pose a threat is the nuclear payload they were designed to carry. Even if the government chooses not to build nuclear weapons, what is stopping it from handing some plutonium over to a group of terrorists? This is a far greater, and far more likely, worry for the United States. No matter what, America cannot allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons as this would guarantee military action unfeasible. We had the foresight to see the growing threat in Iraq, and we acted before it could fully materialize. We must do the same in Iran before it is too late and we are reduced to negotiation and nuclear blackmail with another totalitarian regime.

Iran funds terrorism that kills Americans and causes political instability in the Middle East. It's really just that simple. The extent to which our country, and the rest of the Western world, for that matter, has overlooked Iran's sponsorship of terror is appalling. There is no doubt as to whether or not Iran supports terror; the only question is how much. Hezbollah serves as the best example of a well-organized and well-financed terrorist organization that depends entirely on Iran. Most people know Hezbollah as just another terrorist group that kills Israelis and Americans in the Middle East. But they do far more than just send men with bombs strapped to their chests into Israel. This is an entire network with terrorism as its sole unifier. Much of Syria is under the control of Hezbollah, and Lebanon, since the Israeli withdrawal under Ehud Barak, is under total Hezbollahian occupation. They have taken the phrase "state-sponsored" terrorism to a whole new level. Hezbollah has large offices in Iran and Damascus that would make any political party in America jealous. In Syria, they do not operate at the pleasure of the government. The government operates at the pleasure of Hezbollah. Without Iran as we know it, there would be no Hezbollah, and the world would be a far safer place.

Iran harbors al Qaeda. Not only does al Qaeda actively coordinate with government-funded groups such as Hezbollah, it also receives direct support from the Iranian government. Even before our military action in Afghanistan, many al Qaeda terrorists, some suspected of having a direct hand in the 9/11 attacks, were being hidden in Iran by the government. After our campaign in Afghanistan, al Qaeda members streamed across the borders into Pakistan and Iran. But while Pakistan has been ruthless in its effort to hunt down the terrorists that crossed its borders, Iran has aided and protected them. All terrorist roads lead to Iran, and if we want to bring justice to all those responsible for 9/11, and those who wish to do us further harm, we must change the regime there.

Some may ask, "How can we invade Iran while we aren't yet finished in Iraq and Afghanistan?" In many ways, Iran is where our broad war of liberation should have started. Both the military campaign and the aftermath would have been simple: Persians are arguably the most pro-American and pro-democratic group in the region (except, of course, the Kurds). There is already a strong movement determined to bring down the already unpopular government internally, and both the societal and physical infrastructures are far stronger than they ever were in Iraq. But Iraq and Afghanistan were just "battles" in a large-scale war America is waging on the behalf of humanity. The fate of Iran is intertwined with the success of our campaign everywhere else. On Tuesday, voters called America to action.

The time to liberate Iran is now.