09/27/2012 05:09 pm ET Updated Nov 27, 2012

"Do What We Must?"

Addressing the continued refinement of fissionable material by its government, President Obama said that the United States "will do what we must" to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. Would we or, more precisely, would he? In Germany and Japan we and Presidents Roosevelt and Truman did what we must -- leveling Berlin, fire-bombing Dresden and Tokyo, and devastating with atomic weapons Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Most regrettably hundreds of thousands of civilians perished, but the threats posed by both countries ended, each unconditionally surrendered, and they have subsequently become among our closest allies.

In Korea, Vietnam, and the two Gulf Wars we acted with "admirable" restraint but achieved no tangible lasting results. North Korea is a nuclear rogue state. North Vietnam forcibly took over the South, and Iraq expelled all of our military forces and now makes common cause with Iran.

While it remains to be seen whether President Obama will as he says do what he must, it may be fairly said that so far he has done as little as possible to little effect. Iran continues to spin its centrifuges while openly affirming its intent to "erase Israel off the map" and seek a "new world order." Why should we doubt that these are exactly what the mullahs will do unless we "do what we must" and as we assuredly can, stop them?

The administration has shown itself unwilling even to seriously engage radical Islam rhetorically. Instead of clearly condemning a political movement whose stated objective is the destruction of Western Civilization, our leaders publicly extend their sympathies for the sensibilities of its violent adherents. An administration unwilling to concede the rights of religious institutions in our country not to subsidize contraception can't seem to muster the courage to stand up to those who espouse eradicating an entire people and imposing Sharia law on the rest of us?

President Obama has made a lot of grandiose promises that haven't come true. He has an excuse for all of them. It is either the fault of George Bush or the Republicans in congress. If reelected he won't be able to find a scapegoat for this one. There appears little doubt that unless President Obama is as good as his word, Iran will have nuclear weapons within the next four years. Israel will face an existential threat. And the world will be a far more dangerous place.

Al Checchi is chairman of Join Together America, the former chairman of Northwest Airlines, and a former candidate for Governor of California. His new book is The Change Maker.