The underlying goal of the Bush Doctrine, as articulated by the president in his 2002 State of the Union Address, is to "prevent regimes that sponsor terror from threatening America or our friends and allies with weapons of mass destruction." Thus begat the targeting of the Axis of Evil - Iraq, Iran and North Korea - outlaw regimes that also

It appeared that Iraq would merely be the first of the evil dominos targeted by the Bush administration.

exported and sponsored terrorism.

The premise behind the declaration of the Axis of Evil focused on the fact that since these rogue nations were engaged in perpetrating evil against the free world - and seek to intensify their nefarious actions - then, at the very least, the leadership of those nations must either be eliminated or forced to capitulate to the United States and its allies. This was demonstrated effectively by the destruction of Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq. At the time of the 2003 US invasion, it appeared that Iraq would merely be the first of the evil dominos targeted by the Bush administration.

Even though no weapons of mass destruction were subsequently located, thus allotting rhetorical ammunition to the president's anti-war critics who ranted that the absence of such weapons nullified the premise for invading, evidence later surfaced that although the US intelligence establishment may have greatly overestimated the presence of the so-called WMD's, it vastly underestimated the extent of Iraq's involvement in the global terror network, which included the PLO, Islamic Jihad, Hamas and, finally, Al-Qaeda.

The primary beneficiaries of the elimination of Iraq as a regional threat were the nations of the Middle East, especially the small, relatively defenseless Gulf States and, of course, Israel - all of which fell into the category of "our friends and allies," in accordance with the Bush Doctrine.

Yet, the paradox remains that while the Bush Doctrine effectively eliminated one third of the Axis of Evil, the other two, North Korea and Iran, have not only been left virtually unhindered by the US, but are growing in strength every day; and in the case of Iran, actually engaging in hostilities with American soldiers in Iraq, albeit through their terrorist proxies. The evidence of Iranian complicity in attempting to destabilize Iraq by targeting the American military there is so overwhelming it's not even open for discussion. And yet President Bush has done nothing to counter it.

Even without the constant attacks on American soldiers by Iranian-backed mercenaries, it was established by the Bush doctrine that Iran, as a pillar of the Axis of Evil, should have been next on the Bush hit list, especially since the regime is as bad as Saddam's ever was. It's also incredibly convenient that there are currently two large American armies strategically positioned on Iran's borders, in Afghanistan to the east and Iraq to the west. A coordinated double-pronged invasion could probably eliminate the Iranian regime and its pitiful military in less time than it took to take down Saddam's fiefdom. It could still happen, but time is running out. Specifically, the time that George W. Bush has left in office.

It goes without saying that GW has among the lowest popularity ratings since modern polling began, which means that the prospect of invading another country would be met with widespread condemnation. But so what? Mr. Bush is not running for reelection, nor is this a popularity contest. If he chose to, he could leave office having eliminated at least two of the three legs of the Axis by swiftly conquering Iran. If the president fails to act against Iran, leaving the problem to another perhaps more timid (read: Democrat) president, then history will judge him harshly,

A coordinated double-pronged invasion could probably eliminate the Iranian regime.

especially if Iran acquires nuclear weapons.

The main beneficiary of an American invasion of Iran would of course be Israel, yet the primary reason for invading Iran would always be to eliminate a main sponsor of terror that is also attempting to amass a nuclear arsenal. By invading Iran, Hizbullah and Hamas would be cut off from their sponsor; Syria would be thoroughly isolated and perhaps forced to capitulate, a la Libya.

In the early 1950s, President Truman was roundly condemned for his handling of the Korean War and his firing of General MacArthur. Yet history has not only vindicated Truman on both issues, but elevated him to the select category of great presidents. If George W. Bush musters the fortitude to commit the unpopular, but necessary, invasion of Iran, history will likewise judge him positively. Otherwise, he could be permanently branded with the stamp of mediocrity.