National Security & Defense

A Leader and a Speech We Can All Appreciate

Netanyahu’s speech made the nuclear threat from Iran clear and unmistakable.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu showed great leadership with his speech to a joint session of Congress about America’s potential nuclear deal with Iran. History and our past relations with Netanyahu indicate that the prime minister has earned some trust, and no matter what side of the aisle we stand on, we must stand with Israel.

Last December, I had the magnificent opportunity to travel to Israel and visit many historical sites of spiritual importance. After speaking with many Israeli citizens and witnessing firsthand the beauty of a nation with so much pride, I could not help but think of how we in the United States have a strong Judeo-Christian heritage. Israel is one of our strongest allies, and acknowledging the history that we share is important to our identity and to the promising value system we maintain.

Iran continues to conceal aspects of its nuclear program, and thus its compliance with agreements it has signed is heavily questioned. Iran’s regime, and its quest for nuclear weapons, is not merely a Jewish problem, but rather one that poses a substantial and realistic threat to world peace. As Netanyahu said, things undoubtedly will become worse if there is a deal that gives the Iranians protection and enables them to continue flagrantly operating secret nuclear facilities (as they had been doing in Natanz and Qom) while ostensibly invested in a diplomatic process with the United States.

We must not allow them to continue to enrich uranium and maintain their enormous nuclear infrastructure. According to estimates, Iran could have 190,000 centrifuges enriching uranium within a matter of weeks. A “breakout time” to a nuclear bomb (“breakout time” refers to the amount of time it takes to accumulate enough weapons-grade uranium or plutonium for a nuclear bomb) would be approximately one year, according to a U.S. assessment. In February of 2014, the Institute for Science and International Security estimated this time period to stand at roughly two months.

Meanwhile, the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog) continues to report that Iran refuses to be transparent with IAEA inspectors about its military nuclear program. The current deal with Iran allows for various concessions, including no requirement to destroy any nuclear facilities, as well as enabling all restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program to expire automatically in a decade. Does that sound comforting to you?

As the United States works to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, we are also dealing with ISIS as a formidable enemy that threatens our way of life. Every resource available should be used to eradicate the threat of ISIS while it is still in its adolescent stage. That means using every tool we have: banking facilities, sanctions, you name it. And I would not hesitate to put boots on the ground, because nothing should be beyond consideration.

The whole concept of “no boots on the ground because of what happened in Iraq” is silly. The threat that Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda posed at that time was on a completely different level from what we are looking at now. It is immature to equate the two in terms of reactions. ISIS wants to destroy our way of life and us. We have two choices: We can sit back and wait for them, or we can use the resources we have to destroy them now.

We need to be the leader and take serious action. I am extraordinarily concerned about the fact that we are not responding to the barbaric acts that are taking place, as there is a tremendous leadership void. A coalition will form if it has a leader.

I would commit everything to eliminating ISIS right now. We have to make sure that our military, which is extremely talented and maintains very good leadership, is not put into a compromised position where we are trying to micromanage things. Otherwise, we will be exposing many people to a state of grave danger.

Across the globe, citizens are dealing with an evil in today’s society that is threatening Christians, Jews, and anyone who does not believe as ISIS does. If we allow it to keep growing, it will become a big tree with lots of branches and roots, rather than the bush it is now. The lack of an adequate response to both ISIS and Iran will endanger not only us in the long run, but the entire world.

Ben Carson — Dr. Carson is an emeritus professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery and pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. In 1984, he was named director of pediatric neurosurgery at ...

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