A letter to the president

September 10, 2013 

Dear Mr. president,

There's no doubt that you have one of the toughest jobs in the world and I certainly don't begrudge your passion for playing golf. But I have one bit of advice that even Tiger Woods wouldn't turn down. "Keep your eye on the ball." Combine that coaching tip with the Serenity Prayer (I've been praying night and day since you came into office). It goes like this, "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. The courage to change the things I can. And the wisdom to know the difference."

Don't get distracted. Every time you feel a sudden urge to fire a Tomahawk missile at Syria, take a deep breath and repeat this mantra ten times slowly, "Syria is not that serious…Get my eye back on the ball."

Right now you feel that you are up a creek without a teleprompter. Last year you were talking tough about "red lines," never expecting anyone to take it literally until Bashar Al Assad, called your bluff. I've often heard you say, "I don't bluff." So now it seems that you have to back up your words.

I know you tried to weasel out of that "red-line" phrase and pin it on the "world or congress or Bush," but it didn't fly. Please listen closely because I have an idea that will not only get you out of this mess but also make you the hero your dog Bo, probably thinks you are.

Continue to fool Congress into debating your proposal to strike Syria. It won't matter how the vote comes out because you are not going to do it anyway. Syria was just a misdirection play, a head-fake that got everyone leaning and looking the wrong way. But you will keep your eye on the ball. The real target is the biggest threat to civilization and global stability and it is…come on now think…who hates you baby? Who has stuck it to you every time you have reached out to them? Come on now Mr. President, concentrate…it starts with an "I." No it's not India, not Indiana or Iceland. The biggest threat in the world is ... Iran.

Eventually you will tell the nation that all the "red line stuff" was a subtle figure of speech designed to send a message to another country and it wasn't literally meant for Syria or Assad. A whole bunch of our "low-information voters" will buy that and be impressed by how cool and James Bond-like sophisticated you are.

You'll never get the chemical weapons away from Syria…but who will care about that if Iran goes nuclear? If Iran gets the bomb and even if they never use it (which isn't likely) they will dominate the Middle East and Europe. It will set off a nuclear race in the region. It will put Iran in the driver's seat in controlling all Mideast oil. The world economy will be turned upside down. You are the only one that can stop that scenario from happening.

Wake up and smell the napalm. Iran means what they threaten. Israel will be forced to do it if you don't. Netanyahu, (whom you love like a brother), doesn't have the firepower or assets to do the job. Israel doesn't have the bases, the bombers, the missiles or the naval firepower to do the complete job like you can. Have the wisdom to see the difference between Syria and Iran.

It is Iran that has never backed down on its headlong rush to develop nuclear weapons to wipe us "Big and Little Satans" off the face of the earth. You can change all that. You can use those cruise missiles, B-2 Stealth bombers and Bunker Busters to send the Iranian program back into the stone-age.

Much of the attack can be done over a weekend when Congress is out of town. When they come back you can ask them if it was alright with them that you saved the world (after the fact). Your legacy as the most decisive and clear thinking Commander-in-Chief will be assured.

Let's break down that prayer. You need to clearly understand and accept that you cannot change anything for the better in Syria. "The courage to change the things I can." You are intent on wanting to fire some missiles…all us good ole' boys understand that, go ahead, but shoot them where they will do some good. Assad is peanuts. Go after the big Kahuna and his junior Ayatollahs in Iran.

Your pal, John Somerville

Dr. John Somerville is a retired Marine Corps Colonel who first went to Syria and the Middle East in 1972 and more than 70 times since then. He often speaks about the importance of U.S. support of Israel and is returning there this fall. He has an earned doctorate from the Ohio State University and makes his home near North Fork.

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