by Charles Gordon
April 2, 2007

Are we men or mice?

That’s the obvious question that arises with Iran’s latest shenanigans.

Ok, so the mullahs didn’t seize Americans — this time it was the Brits.

And one can argue that the Brits, by stripping down their Navy and whining about even the most modest attempts by Tony Blair to be courageous, set themselves up for this.

But what exactly have we done to stand up to Iran over the past quarter century?

For the most part, nothing.

In 1979, when Khoumeini’s “students” first seized Americans, what did we do? Nada. We let them play head games with us for 444 days and they’d still be hostages, if not murdered, were it not for the palpable fear of what Ronald Reagan would do once he became president.

But even during Reagan’s presidency, we had the Marine barracks homicide bombing and other Americans taken as hostages or kidnapped, tortured, and slaughtered by the likes of Hezbollah, the made-in-Iran terrorist group that haunts Lebanon to this day.

And over the past few years, as Iran has moved step by step towards going nuclear, all we can do is warn and talk about warning and talk about talking about warning — and as we talk about talking about warning, we hasten to add that actually doing something militarily is….well…..something that is, ahem, well, you know, not really an option now.

And that’s what the CONSERVATIVES are now saying…

And the LIBERALS are saying that the CONSERVATIVES are talking too toughly to Iran, and that maybe we should negotiate with them and show them that we’re really, really nice people who just want peace and all the rest…

Are we men or mice?

Can anyone imagine our grandfathers behaving this way?

Name me one politician, one academic, one talking head, one columnist, who has said not only that the Iranians must release the hostages, but that they also must pay a price for taking them hostage.

No one is saying this.


What great power in history ever put up with what we’ve allowed since the mullahs seized power during the Carter presidency?

Clearly there’s something wrong here that can’t be explained in the usual way by blaming it on oil or money or liberals or a feckless Near East Bureau of the State Department.

Just listen to us talk.

Our enemies are evil, but at least they talk like men — wicked men, depraved men, barbarian men, but men indeed.

With the rare exception of President Bush after 911, we respond by speaking in the neutered language of science and technology.

And by we, I don’t mean liberals.

Again, they’re obviously worse. They speak in pitifully plaintive tones that only highlight the supreme danger of letting them get within a hundred miles of the reins of power on matters of war and peace.

Liberals are part of the problem, but the bigger problem is that even conservatives who are below a certain age tend to be….well….wimpy.

It seems that even they have been adversely affected by our educational system, which has been stunningly successful in stigmatizing masculine virtues as barbaric relics of a bygone past.

That’s why Vinnie from Brooklyn or Sean from South Boston or John from west Texas — folks who’ve never darkened the doors of higher education, sound more like men on questions of war and peace than the usual suspects we see on TV who’ve been educated in our finest universities.

The problem is that Vinnie and Sean and John aren’t close to the reins of power — partly because they didn’t acquire the requisite education — precisely the kind of education that seems to have emasculated a whole generation of policy makers and political leaders.