• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Morning Bell: Obama's Failure to Confront the Iranian Threat

    Yesterday, America learned that Iran conspired to launch a terrorist attack in Washington, D.C., with a planned assassination of the Saudi ambassador and bomb attacks on the Saudi and Israeli embassies. U.S. authorities disrupted the plot and have brought charges against the men who planned to carry out the attack, but the audacity of Iran’s actions highlights a disturbing truth: The Obama Administration has done far too little to deter state-sponsored terrorism, and it has utterly failed to confront the Iranian threat.

    Not one month ago, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stood before the United Nations General Assembly in New York City and delivered a speech rife with hatred of the United States, September 11 conspiracy theories, anti-Semitism, and Holocaust denials. His diatribe at the U.N. has become an annual ritual, but as we learned yesterday, this year’s performance occurred all while Ahmadinejad’s government was seeking to attack the United States–a fact that President Barack Obama was made aware of in June of this year.

    It is being reported that following the charges against Iran, the Obama Administration is seeking to use the development as leverage to “unite the world” against Iran, with Vice President Biden saying, “That’s the surest way to be able to get results.” Meanwhile, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton remarked that the plot “crosses a line that Iran needs to be held to account for.” Iran, however, crossed the line long ago, be it the country’s rogue pursuit of nuclear weapons, its calls for the eradication of Israel, its support of terrorism, its meddling in Iraq, or its interference with the movement toward democracy in the Middle East. Even without yesterday’s charges, the Obama Administration has had plenty of reason to take the lead on confronting the Iranian threat, but it has utterly failed to do so.

    On June 28, 2011, the White House released its “new” National Strategy for Counterterrorism. The 19-page document makes exactly one reference to Iran. The subject of state-sponsored terrorism is virtually ignored. In August, The Heritage Foundation Counterterrorism Task Force criticized the Administration for failing to address the threat:

    The President’s strategy pays insufficient attention to state-sponsored terrorism, which will increasingly be a major force to be reckoned with. Iran is one of the most prominent and aggressive state sponsors of terror and its proteges–both Hamas and Hezbollah–represent potentially grave threats. In addition, transnational criminal cartels in Mexico are increasingly taking on the character of terrorist networks.

    Now we see that those criticisms are well-founded, and the threat of Iran launching a terrorist attack on the U.S. homeland very nearly became a deadly reality. The Heritage task force wrote that it’s a threat that can’t be ignored:

    The iron triangle of state-sponsored terrorism–Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah–is potentially as significant a threat to U.S. interests as a reconstituted al-Qaeda. Iran remains the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism. Breaking the triangle apart can only be accomplished by bringing freedom to the people under the tyranny of the leadership in Tehran–change that has to come from within the country.

    The Obama Administration, to date, has pursued the Obama Doctrine–a foreign policy that calls for the United States to engage with its enemies instead of confronting the threat of state-sponsored terrorism head on. It’s an attitude and a posture that has been pervasive in President Obama’s rhetoric–abjuring American exceptionalism, passing on the opportunity to speak loudly to promote the spread of democracy in the Middle East, failing to condemn Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s ruthless regime, offering weak support to Israel and failing to condemn those who threaten the country’s very existence, and presenting a face of international accommodation and ambivalence. Obama’s strategy invites aggression and leaves the American people less secure as a result.

    The Administration must finally change direction. Heritage’s James Carafano writes that it should take strong measures to respond to Iran’s actions, including conducting a proportional military response against suitable, feasible, and acceptable targets (in many ways the situation is similar to military operations conducted against al Qaeda in Pakistan). It should impose and enforce the strongest sanctions, target public diplomacy to expose the regime’s human rights abuses, reduce Iran’s meddling in Iraq, and rescind and rewrite its counterterrorism strategy.

    The time for flowery speeches and benevolent engagement with America’s avowed enemies is over. President Obama must wake up to the fact that Iran and countries like it pose a very real threat to America, its friends, and its allies, and it must take proactive action to protect itself from those who seek to do it harm.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    56 Responses to Morning Bell: Obama's Failure to Confront the Iranian Threat

    1. Arizonaguy says:

      I'm sorry, but the fact the Eric Holder and posse appeared with this white knight event on the same day that he is to get a subpoena for lying about fast and furious leaves me a little suspect about the whole story…

    2. Independent Cuss says:

      And, you're surprised? BHO is WAY over his head in governing, in economics, in foreign policy and he even does it without class. Everything except community organizing.

      Can't believe I'm saying this, but Hillary was right…….

      • evermyrtle says:

        You are correct. Who on earth knowing these men Obama and Holder and others and expect them to attempt to protect America from the enemy, wherever or whoever it might be, has been asleep these last 33 months. They have proved without a shadow of doubt exactly where they stand. I believe the big O even said if it came down between America and the Muslims he would stand with the Muslims.

    3. Bingsley says:

      Does anyone have a vial containing DNA from Ronald Reagan? Perhaps a lock of his hair? Oh my, do we need him now! The OBAMA regime would welcome the likes of Mitt Romney ascending to the GOP nomination– why you ask?! Because the regime would beat Romney like a seal pup rubbing "RomeyCare" in his face as the model upon which "ObamaCare" was based. Can you say, "McCain with a different tie?!" The guy is a RINO! A deja' vue of this magnitude would be a nightmare, and should Obama get another four years he will have ample time to finish his demolition of our country and her founding principles!

      • Mugatu says:

        You mean the same Reagan who traded US weapons for hostages, Iran-Contra? Or the Reagan that cut and run in Libya after we lost 200+ US citizens?

    4. bobby banyan says:

      With all due respect: you opinion is greatly apprenticed. Iran War will be the worst decision that USA can make.
      Iran throughout history showed its unity when there was a threat to its borders. The best way to overthrown the existing government is to support those who are against it. Going to was makes all Iranian unite as one and make the government much stronger. Don’t go to war, provide tolls so they turn themselves apart internally.

      • Stargazer says:

        Somebody mentioned Ronald Reagan here….I seriously doubt that Iranian unity would prevail against the measures Ronald Reagan would have already taken concerning todays Iranian threat….Iran would already be a sheet of glass…And the Russians and the Chinese would have nothing to say….as nuclear subs patrol their coastlines and F-22 Raptors buzz like angry bees in their airspace…Putin would be hiding in some bunker until the dust settled like Ghadaffi did in the 80's…The fact that Iran is a direct threat to anyone other than themselves is a testimonial that diplomacy has completely failed….Like BO has failed.

    5. David says:

      It's increadably apparent that this President if a failure, period. Specifics are nice for understanding but you can choose anything Obama has anything to do with and it has failure (for the country and working class) all over it. Except for his Marksist dreams, Democrat party and Union empowerment of course.

      • flajim says:

        Au contraire, David. Buckwheat has been very successful in his goal to reduce the US to a second rate country and enlarge the dependent class. That's obviously been his goal from the beginning and it's why many conservatives agreed with Rush Limbaugh who first publicly said that he hoped the boy in the White House would fail.

    6. MikePinNaperville says:

      Iran has figured out that it can possibly work with Mexican drug cartels to sponsor terrorism on American soil. It's first attempt was to deliver an explosive device to Washington DC, which fortunately failed. However, a much more sinister aim would be to deliver a small nuke to the US once it has the capability. They are probably thinking along those lines. What is Obama going to do about this? Since he has already publicly taken the military option off the table (stupid) then he expects sanctions to do the job. This will not work. This is a perfect opportunity to take out Iran's nuke capability, either immediately or with the threat that if they don't cease their efforts it will be taken out.

    7. Daver says:

      And wasn't the million dollar payoffs to get our "hostages" back eerily similar to negotiating with kidnappers?

      I don't see any of the Repub candidates being a war hawk with the possible exception of Santorum–and yet it was this reputation that Reagan possessed that effectively controlled Iran for a few years back in the 80's. I'd like to see the candidates talking more about this to see where their heads are–and develop their own policies prior to the general elections.

      Appeasers never understand how to beat the bully–cause they either consciously or unconsciously don't believe they can. I will never believe that about the US of A, and I don't believe many of Heritage's readers do either.

      How can people call Obama the smartest person in any room except an outhouse when he can't figure out something this simple?

    8. KC - NM says:

      All Obama wants to do now is campaign for 2012. That is what he has been doing lately with his failed jobs bill. What a joke. He is a joke as well – just look at what his "hope and change" got us! Absolutely nothing but an angered set of world leaders, countries that do not like us, a failing infrastructure, terrible economy, dumbed down education, illegals coming into this country like rats in a sinking ship, and corruption in the Whitehouse and Washington. And we expect him to be a leader and tell Iran what to do! Ha – what a joke! God help the USA and lets hope we are around to vote in 2012!

    9. @NW7US says:

      I thought that President Obama was going to "sit down" with these problematic leaders and "work out our differences", solving all these pesky problems.

    10. Leith N Wood says:

      Dream on. It is way beyond time to expect any constructive action from Obama, even after yesterdays news. We must get him out in 2012 and not expect useful action from the UN. I want a strong, conservative president with courage to confront our sorry situation. Romney is not the answer.

      • KC - NM says:

        I think we need a strong business leader as president and also one who is charismatic and a cheer leader type. Then we need a highly knowledgable leader as VP. How does a Cain/Gingrich ticket sound?

    11. Chip says:

      I wonder is the administration looking into conterterrorism startups in Dearborn, MI? I doubt it. Obama has pretty much put the US on the defensive when it comes to how we tolorate this type of insurgency here in the states and supporting Isreal.

      We need a defensive backbone that will demand that we take action in advance of something like 9/11 happening again. At this point we have just been lucky.

    12. @dboyerdr says:

      Obama is not only inept, he doesn't want to take any real action against a nation of his faith. If I were President I would let Isreal destroy Iran or at least their nuclear plants. i would announce when the attack starts that America supports Isreal and any counter attack against Isreal will be met by an American action that would be extremely destructive!!!

    13. ThomNJ says:

      "crosses a line that Iran needs to be held to account for." wow – just wow – didn't they cross that line back in 1979? Waht about the hezbollah funded camp in Mexico, not too far from San Diego, obama? hillary? media? crickets?

    14. Penny says:

      I truly hope our country can make it to 2012 with Obama in office. He has ruined our standing in the world that is why these nuts keep on coming. Where is Obama's OUTRAGE??????????? Not just a little comment from Hilary. Plus he knew about this for awhile. It is frightening.

    15. ThomNJ says:

      And even allowing ahmadinnerjacket into this country under what was known in June is patently abhorrent – allowing him in for any other reason is abhorrent. In fact, allowing the UN to be here is abhorrent.

    16. sdfultz says:

      Are you suggesting another war?

    17. Jeff Keller says:

      The US should immediately revoke the visas of all Iranian students in the US. Send them home and tell them they will be welcome back when the current Iranian regime is out of power. Why in the world should we be training the scientists and engineers who could end up building WMD to be used against us?

    18. charlie says:

      The iranians understand the leftist socialist community organizer. They know he will not confront them or any of their allies such as syria.
      We were attacked in africa when bill clinton was president and he did nothing other than blow up some empty goat barns and a medicine factory with cruise missles. When the democrats are in power, we are constantly attacked with impunity. Expect more of the same while this community organizer and his supporters are in power.

    19. Carol M Kite says:

      This president has failed in every aspect of leading this nation but frighteningly, hasn't a clue how to deal effectively in foreign affairs. Iran is a known element ready to destroy America first chance it can, hatred was spewed at the U.N. for just one example. Sanctions against Iran is fruitless & weakly ineffective. Somehow Obama has to be forced to do the right thing, his Solcialst advisors are ineffective, any advice from them would be wrong but our arrogant president never acts from any advice anyway. The Iran threat needs to be squashed like the bug it is! Obama needs a backbone to lead!

      • Jeane Jaime says:

        I just read your reply about the Iran planned attack and how it was handled. It is cowardly I would say.
        Also I agree with your suggestion to support Israel which I believe will elminate Iran's nuclear threst to the USA and Israel. Good thinking Carol.
        Jeane Jaime

    20. Curtiss A. Greer says:

      Born and raised in the U.S. It is my feeling that the U.S. should quickly pull out of Iraq & Afganistan. Then muster troops with Isreal. This to strengthen Isreal's responce to agression against them.If we show support for the government in Isreal and stand behind them with all of our might. I believe it would change the attitude for change whithin in all the East.

    21. americancaptialism says:

      Our Country has been down this "No Action" road before!
      Rumor has it, and The 911 Report, that President Clinton's CIA had Ben Laden in their gun sights waiting for the President's command to shoot. Aw shucks, Clinton couldn't decide. 12 or 14 years later almost 3,000 die on 9/11/2001, 6000 or so American Soldiers have given their lives and many, many more have survived with injuries to body and soul!
      Thank God for Leadership that won our Revolutionary War our Civil War, our Mexican – American War, WW1, WWII and The Cold War. The rest, as they say, is History…VERY, VERY,VERY BAD HISTORY!
      All written by very bad Leaders. President Obama may TOP THAT LIST.

      We must pray for time to replace him, his administration and the Liberal majority in The Senate.
      God Bless America…a little longer please.

    22. Wayne says:

      Excellent article. There is one item I do not agree with. The worst for us is to have Obama launch any more actions except one, his resignation. I do not want him in charge of any "proactive actions" to address our enemies, our financial problems, securing our borders, and the list goes on. He has failed on every front. Why? Because Obama has a different view of the United States than most Americans. He seems to want all control in the hands of government and NOT We the People. It is time for his resignation right after Mr. Holder.

    23. bruce brinkmann says:

      I'm afraid that I've become such a skeptic that I have trouble believing anything in the news that involves this administration. All of a sudden our do nothing attorney general has his hands full. Hmmmm… They had this suspect in custody since when? Hmmmm…. Breaking news on the very day Eric Holder was to be served papers regarding "Fast & Furious". Hmmmm…. The attack was stopped in time. The suspect had no weapons on him. No casualties or injuries, which will make it a difficult case to try let alone end in conviction. Hmmmm…… Is it just me? Why do I sense diversion, smoke on the mirror, feel as if I should be watching the other hand?

    24. PippN says:

      I guess the O man's "World Apology Tour" isn't working too well for him.

      The OBama doctrine is a race from power leaving the US, in the eyes of animals like Ahmadinejad, weakened and vulnerable. WE deserve more than some narcissistic, Chicago community organizer/ communist who thinks he knows everything. When in fact, he knows nothing.

    25. Ann Wilson Kingsley says:

      We do not want war with Iran! What ever happened to turn the other cheek? The U.S. has no business fighting in all of those other countries. One of the major reasons for the problem with the Muslims is the Liberal stance of the Western World, lead by the United States. When the U.S. moves back to a more Biblical stance on sexual morality, the major problems with Islam will end. We need to stop pretending that the problem is only a problem with Muslims; it isn't. The Islamic attacks are the "wages of sin" – the karma for sexual immorality, and it is time that this was stated over and over in the press – until people get it! Americans need to clean their own houses instead of blaming Islamists for their incontinent behavior. As Americans, we need to start accepting the blame for allowing the Liberal agenda in the first place. We made a mistake years ago: Now we have to accept the error, and right it!

    26. Al Connelly says:

      Obama is an apologist! He has no backbone and does not believe his duty is to defend and strengthen the position of the country. This president and his administration are dangerous to the preservation of our country and our position with international powers. He must go!

    27. Lloyd Scallan says:

      Why, every time Obama's poll ratings drop? Why, on the same day Eric Holder is called out publicly by Darrell Issa about lying to Congress? Why, in the middle of this "green energy" corruption debacle. Why, on the same day of a Republican debat?. Why now, does this Iranian plot suddenly appear, taking over the news, especially since Obama knew about this so called plot since June? Most important; is this "crisis" real, or is it just more of Obama's lies and deception to devert and distract away from his failed policies. Do these people in the White House think we are actually that naive or stupid not to recognize who and what Obama is and the tactic he uses?

    28. toledofan says:

      Great article and to the point, but, to confront means you have to have someone willing to lead the charge and in that arena we have no one. It almost made me regurgitate last night when Hillary came out and said, now, we have the evidence for the U.N. to impose further sanctions, now that's what I call a beat down, in your face, response.

    29. Cap'n Tooth says:

      When the President of Iran was at the UN, why wasn't he arrested for spying, interrogated, slapped into prison for 6 months and then we offered to return him for 50 million in bail. Some sort of sham jury could have given him a sentence of 25 years and then the ball would be in their court. What would they do? The only way to fight is with their tactics.

    30. TLC says:

      Can't change the stripes on a zebra….we got what we got…..only hope 2012 isn't too late to reverse course and hope that the majority of voters who show up in Nov 2012 have a world view based on reality

    31. Curt Krehbiel says:

      "Even without yesterday's charges, the Obama Administration has had plenty of reason to take the lead on confronting the Iranian threat, but it has utterly failed to do so"
      Hmmm…….Could Iran being a Muslim country have anything to do with that?

    32. flajim says:

      There's a simple strategy the US could pursue if, in fact, there is incontrovertible evidence that Iran is behind this: Blockade Iranian ports from receiving gasoline. Yes, that's an act of war but Iran started it and with their aging air force and a fleet of cast off vessels in their navy, they'd be powerless to retaliate.

      Many people don't know that Iran has very little refining capacity and imports nearly all their refined petroleum. Wait a couple of weeks and see how smug and secure the oligarchy there will feel when gas stations go dry and the lights start going out.

      Of course, this is all wishful thinking until Jan, 2013.

    33. BOB GOTSCH says:

      What is the NATO policy and our NATO allies doing about about State Sponsored Terrorism?
      Let's open a discussion on this topic and ask our NATO representative for the answer.

    34. Richard Dawson says:

      It is very obvious that B.O. is in way over his head!! The problem is, can we survive long enough go get shut of him?

      Richard Dawson

    35. Joan Rogers says:

      If America does not Repent back unto God before it is too late,and do nothing at all about our leadership,America will be taken down right from within.Not a question as to if but when.

    36. allosaur says:

      Failure: a dictionary word that should have a photo of Obama beside it. A secondary definition: O = 0.

    37. Jim Magowan says:

      This is so serious I think Obama should take extreme action. He should withdraw his apology to Iran.

    38. Whicket Williams says:

      The EPA is characterized as a rogue agency that is costing us billions and millions of jobs Why don't We all concentrate on it?

    39. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Neville Chamberlain, Jimmy Carter, and Barack Obama, all have one thing in common. They were all appeasers.
      Winston Churchill, Margarate Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush, all have one thing in common.
      They never gave in.

    40. Janice says:

      I say my prayers every day and night for an end to all this chaos going on in the governments of the world. My foremost prayer is that we will get a new president who will be an effective strong leader because that is what we need. Our new president must be one who will promote democracy in the world and morality. I also pray for the end of the roles the greedy power hungry socialist advisors to Obama play.

    41. Thomas Rowe Sr. says:

      Iam 62 years old and a viet Nam veteran.I can remember Eisenhauer taking office,and I have voted every election since I was 21.None of our former Presidents scare me like Obama does If he! gets elected again you can say goodby to your right to Life,Liberty,and The pursuite of happiness.It is time for America to come together and take our country back and it would be nice if our President was on the same page.We have sattelites in space that can read a news paper but we cant secure our border that is 300 feet from Mexico.Iam going to stop now before I say something Ishould not.

    42. mary says:

      the Bible says when a people stop obedience to God He causes their enemies to rule over them.

    43. MARYANN BURROW says:


    44. Linda says:

      This article is further evidence that Obama does not know how to be President of the USA. He simply does not have the backbone or the know how to confront enemies of the United States. Again he is a poor excuse for a President.

    45. Ross Gallen says:

      The Iranians are probing us to determine our resolve. They have challenged us in every corner of the world. They are a rogue government that is hostile to western values and determined to destroy the United States.

      Come visit my new book, “Betrayed,” Unveiling the Iranian Conspiracy Against the United States. View Video Trailer: http://youtu.be/–o-QWlZzX0

      Betrayed is a spy fiction thriller centering on a conspiracy by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp to distribute heroin and cocaine into the United States. The IRGC’s purpose is to corrupt the West and provide financing for the Iranian hegemony. http://www.rossgallenautor.com

      I wrote this novel so that ordinary Americans can appreciate the threat posed by this menace.

    46. Breaking News: Reza Kahlili(pseudonym) Iranian CIA spy inside the Islamic REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS-QUDS FORCES of IRAN

      KAHLILI: " Iran already has nuclear weapons "
      Western intelligence has known it for years.


    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.