Let's begin by looking at some facts.
On Saturday, June 26, only a few weeks ago, two security guards at the Iranian U.N. Mission were expelled from the United States, and allowed to sneak back to Tehran. The State Department says that they were "engaged in activities inconsistent with their duties." Sure. They were spies.
The pair had been observed by the FBI for months moving around Manhattan videotaping landmark buildings and other infrastructure. It took an alert transit police officer to arrest them when he saw them taking video images on the subway tracks. They claimed diplomatic immunity and were not charged with any crime.
In Tehran, as August began, the Islamic Republic's supreme guide Ali Khamenei, was answering questions from a hundred or so Islamic guidance officials, home from foreign postings for retraining. Most of his answers were trite slogans, but when he was asked, "Is our Islamic Republic at war against the United States," he paused before replying. "It is the United States that is at war against our Islamic Revolution."
However, Khamenei's own newspaper was even more direct. Writing this July, it said, "the White House's 80 years of exclusive rule are likely to become 80 seconds of hell that will burn to ashes. Those who resist Iran will be struck from directions they never expected."
To these facts add that an Arab newspaper published in London and Beirut reported that an Iranian intelligence unit has established a center called "The Brigades of the Shahids of the Global Islamic Awakening," controlled by a Revolutionary Guards intelligence officer, Hassan Abbasi. The newspaper has a tape recording of Abbasi when he spoke of Iran's secret plans, which include "a strategy drawn up for the destruction of Anglo-Saxon civilization."
To bring this about, Abbasi said, "There are 29 sensitive sites in the U.S. and in the West. We have already spied on these sites and we know how we are going to attack them." This Revolutionary Guard officer continued by saying, "Iran's missiles are now ready to strike at Western targets, and as soon as the instructions arrive from Ali Khamenei, we will launch our missiles at their cities and installations."
These are facts. Now let's consider the information coming in from Iraq where, day after day, our troops are being killed.
Most of the killing is now being done by Muslim militia -- Shi'ite Muslims -- in the cities of Fallujah, Mosul and Najaf. This militia appears to have some loyalty -- but not much -- to the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, but he is equally obviously not their paymaster.
The militias need weapons, ammunition, gas for their vehicles, food, water and everything else to fight the Iraqi police and our military. Just remember that these are Shi'ites. The Iranians, just over the border are also Shi'ites. So we needn't be surprised to learn that the word on the streets of Baghdad and Tehran is that they are providing millions of dollars every month for the "hot" war against the Americans.
The Iranian Shi'ites have during the past few weeks established relations with the Kurds in the north of Iraq and with the main Arab Sunni rebel group led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. And, every alliance is cemented with dollars.
Iran has been at war with the United States since the mullahs ousted the shah's forces in 1979.
Iran's war against the United States has gone on for 25 years. It is past time that the ayatollahs, mullahs and imams begin to understand that there are limits to our tolerance and that our military might is by no means exhausted?
That February in 1979, the Revolutionary Guards invaded 27 U.S. listening posts in Iran that had been set up to monitor Soviet rocket tests. The posts were closed and our guys expelled.
That was enough for Democrat Jimmy Carter. He sent a wonderful letter to the Ayatollah Khomeini, praising him as "a man of God." And, in a show of goodwill, Carter lifted the ban he had imposed on arms exports to Iran.
A few days later, the Revolutionary Guards raided our embassy in Tehran and seized our diplomats as hostages for a year and a half. In April 1980, Carter tried a military rescue attempt, which ended in disaster with more Americans being killed.
Since then Iran has created one disaster after another. The Marine barracks in Beirut with 241 U.S. Marines killed, some 30 U.S. hostages taken in Lebanon, the torture-killing of the CIA's Middle Eastern chief and the generalized support of all America's enemies.
On July 27, Iranian Member of Parliament Hamid-Reza Katoziyan told a television audience "Muslims living in the U.S. are currently, in my opinion, in a special situation. Perhaps they do not walk the streets with weapons or attach bombs to themselves to carry out a suicide operation, but the thought is there."
And, one last fact: The 9/11 commission in its report poses a question, "September 11 was a day of unprecedented shock. The nation was unprepared. How can we avoid such a tragedy again?"
The answer has to be obvious. Ensure that Iran does not have the opportunity to make a first-strike against the U.S. and that Iran stops attempting to make Iraq a colony.
Dateline D.C. is written by a Washington-based British journalist and political observer.