Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Period: The End

The British military hostage situation has me remembering 1979 in many ways. Probably my most vivid memory of the days immediately following the seizure of the Americans at the U.S. Embassy is my father watching the evening news.

Dad was angry. This was an unusual state of being for him; Dad was by nature gentle and fun-loving. I hardly ever saw him upset. But he had a finely-honed sense of justice and principle, and that quality flashed through his reaction to the images on the television screen.

Disgusted with then-President Jimmy Carter's foot dragging (and this was only a few days in, mind you), Dad turned to me and, while pointing an accusatory finger in the general direction of the TV set, spoke with controlled fury in his voice:

"I would tell them, 'You've got 24 hours to let them go. If you don't, we're coming in to get them. Period.'" (He really did say "Period." That was a favored way of emphasizing that he meant business.)

I remember that moment so well because my father didn't speak lightly about such things. Today, I wonder how much death and destruction might have been avoided by an immediate policy of giving the Iranians 24 hours and then "coming in to get them."

It makes me wonder how much better off the world might become if someone showed the Iranians that they're not going to take any more of their nonsense. I wonder what would happen if someone showed that they mean business.