In abruptly calling off a modest retaliatory military action against Iran, after its military shot down a $240 million U.S. surveillance drone in international airspace on June 19, U.S. President Donald Trump displayed a rare moment of indecision. Using good instincts and logic, he opted for a cyber-attack on Iranian military sites instead.
The president continues to seek negotiations with Iran, and has repeatedly professed his lack of desire for a physical war with Iran, even though Iran declared war on America 40 years ago. Iran’s leaders repeatedly lead public chants of “Death to America!” and vow to kill all Americans—they even did so during their “negotiations” with Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, over the nuclear deal.
So how should America confront its number one enemy, Iran? Here are nine steps:
1) We must finally accept that we are, in fact, in a state of war with Iran, and have been for a very long time—especially since its rulers were determined by the 9/11 Commission and numerous U.S. federal courts to have provided material support to Al Qaeda to perpetrate the 9/11 attacks.
Before that, in 1979, Iran kidnapped American embassy personnel in Tehran, and held them hostage for 444 days. Via its proxy, Hezbollah, Iran murdered 241 U.S. military personnel in Beirut, Lebanon in 1983.
Iran has helped to murder more than one thousand American soldiers in the Middle East since 9/11, and even put a $1,000 bounty on the heads of dead U.S. soldiers as an incentive to other terrorists to murder them.
These were all acts of war, to which the United States has never responded militarily.
2) We must decide that winning is the only solution.
3) We must work relentlessly to educate Americans on all pertinent facts concerning this conflict—and why President Obama’s “deal” with the Iranian regime, which its rulers never even signed, was “sold” to us based on lies, and primarily benefited the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Hezbollah terrorists.
4) We should focus on employing non-military tactics, as President Reagan and his predecessors did during the Cold War, to undermine and ultimately defeat our enemy.
5) We should be prepared for physical war—as we were during the Cold War.
6) We should seek regime change for the theocratic, totalitarian “government” that not only rules Iran, but also the world’s largest global network of terrorists, comprised of the IRGC, Hezbollah, Hamas and untold numbers of supporting groups, spanning territory from the U.S. mainland, Mexico, Central and South America, to Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and beyond.
7) We should stop the money flow to each of Iran’s worldwide terrorist operations, by stopping Iran’s inflow of cash. A crucial element of this will be to choke off all remaining forms of business transactions between Iran and our European “allies,” as President Trump is now doing—presenting them with a choice: they can either do business in Iran or America, but not both.
8) We must use all forms of warfare—kinetic, cyber, economic, legal and cultural—to destroy Iran’s terrorist networks throughout the world.
Winning on the cyber, economic, legal, cultural and demographic fronts would make physical war unnecessary.
To sum up: It is time to create a comprehensive, worldwide strategy to crush Iran’s global terrorist networks.
We are facing a very determined enemy, one that thinks long-term, understands and exploits our weaknesses—and one that, unlike the USSR, is driven by messianic global motivations, rendering mutually assured destruction irrelevant.
Creating a path to victory will test our governments’ best and brightest.
We trust they will rise to the occasion.
Ken Abramowitz is chairman of Citizens for National Security.