Brief overview of issue area
Decades of appeasement in the Middle East have led to increasing contempt for the U.S. September 11, 2001 was the climax. According to the State Department, Iran is “the most active state sponsor of terrorism.” [ii] U.S. appeasement has led to an escalation in violence. Further appeasement will only lead to more violence, with the possibility of a CBRN attack. U.S. security is at stake. The risk of overreacting is negligible compared to the risk of underreacting. The U.S. must choose between Iranian and U.S. lives, between Iranian or U.S. security.
Overview of existing policy(ies) or policy discussions
When 241 U.S. marines were slaughtered in Lebanon in 1983, Reagan not only failed to retaliate, but he also armed and trained bin Laden and his cohorts in Afghanistan, effectively creating terrorists who, emboldened, turned to the U.S. after defeating the Soviets. When two U.S. embassies in East Africa were attacked by al-Qaeda in 1998, Clinton responded by bombing two meaningless targets. When nineteen U.S. soldiers were killed in their barracks in Saudi Arabia in 1999, Clinton evaded evidence that Iran sponsored the attack while the U.S. and Saudi Arabia pursued improved bilateral relations with Tehran.[iii] When al-Qaeda attacked the U.S. homeland on September 11, 2001, Bush responded by invading Afghanistan and Iraq. While retaliation against Afghanistan is understandable, invading Iraq is less so. Also, in the context of ending terrorism, Afghanistan and Iraq are insignificant. Furthermore, to end terrorism, decisive military action is needed.