Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A War with Iran is Inevitable

 By Alan Caruba

If the U.S. and allies had known that Nazi Germany would embark on the genocide of six million Jews in Europe, along with five million others that included gypsies, homosexuals, and political opponents, is there any doubt they would have taken preemptive measures to stop the Holocaust?

What we know about the Iranian regime is that it is led by Shiite fanatics that believe that the only way the mythical Twelfth Imam can return is for the earth to be in a state of complete chaos and anarchy. Almost from the beginning, following the overthrow of the Shah in 1979, the regime has engaged in an effort to achieve nuclear weapons. Their use against Israel is a certainty, but they would also be targeted against Europe.

Thus, when Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) recently called for war with Iran, I assumed he has some information I do not. Sen. Graham said, “I think we’re to the point now that you have to really neuter the regime’s ability to wage war against us and our allies.”

In the 1980s, Iran fought an eight-year war with Iraq. It ended in a stalemate, a million casualties, and the need to rebuild from scratch what was left of its military. Iran is located in one of the nastiest neighborhoods of planet Earth. It shares borders with Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan.

The Gulf States deeply distrust Iran’s nuclear and other hegemonic ambitions. The Saudis and the Egyptians recently conducted joint military maneuvers for that reason.

Internally, it faces a growing opposition from its mostly young citizens to the rule of the Supreme Ayatollah, Mamoud Ahmadinejad, and others who support the dictatorship that passes for a government there. Given time and covert assistance, one assumes they might prevail, but the real question is whether the world has the time?

Iran’s economy is in a state of collapse. As recently as November 9th there was a report of the arrest of four prominent Iranian student activists and others in anticipation of a government plan to phase out basic food and fuel subsidies. “The government is bracing for social unrest,” said one report.

If Iran’s leadership were rational, the last thing they need at this point is a war. They are not and their openly expressed hatred for Israel gives every indication of that.

As the primary source of funding for Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza strip, Iran would seem to favor having its proxies take over Lebanon by force and to wage a new war on Israel. This would take some attention and pressure off of Iran as it works its will behind the scenes.

The Department of Defense and the CIA have war-gamed various plans against Iran over the years and the feedback was that neither liked the outcome because they always included the problem of an uncontrollable escalation.

As a point of reference, we put too few troops into Iraq in the 2003 attack on Saddam Hussein’s Iraq regime and, while Baghdad quickly fell, the result became a long, unpopular war.

This raises the question of why, before leaving for his Asia trip on November 6, President Obama, according to Debka File, ordered the Pentagon “not just to beef up American and NATO military pressure on Iran, but to do so as conspicuously as possible.”

There are three aircraft carriers, four nuclear submarines, and marine assault units in the vicinity of Iranian shores as this is being written. This suggests that U.S. intelligence has picked up some disturbing signs or that the Obama administration simply wants to send a message to Iran that any trouble-making in the Middle East would be unwise.

Meanwhile, Sen. Graham called for “sinking the Iranian navy, destroying its air force, and delivering a decisive blow to the Revolutionary Guards.” We can do that any time we want. What is the Senator not sharing with us that increases the urgency of such action now?

The problem Iran poses ultimately comes down to choking off the Straits of Harmuz through which flow millions of barrels of oil to the West. That would be a very destabilizing event and not permissible to the U.S., NATO nations, and others. If, however, Iran’s goal is to create world chaos, nuclear-tipped missiles would be the best way to achieve it.

As with so many geopolitical and military options, there are few good choices, but much of Iran’s bellicosity likely comes from its internal situation which, as we have seen, is an increasing threat to its regime. A show of force is a good idea. The use of it before Iran goes nuclear is even better.

© Alan Caruba, 2010


Anonymous said...

I think Lindsay Graham and Chris Matthews have the same personality quirk. They are democrats when the democrats have control and now they both are starting to act like conservatives since republicans are about to be in control.

TexasFred said...

“I think we’re to the point now that you have to really neuter the regime’s ability to wage war against us and our allies.”
Iran wants nuclear power... Might I suggest we send them a few megatons?

Blighty's Tuck Store said...

There is documented evidence that, even after becoming aware of what was happening at Auschwitz/Birchenau, both the USAF and RAF refused to bomb either the camp or the rail lines feeding it.

I agree with the essence of your post but the historical analogy may not hold much water.

TheJollyGreenMan said...

I like Iranians.

I worked in Iran during the fall of the previous regime and had to be evacuated when Ayatolla Khomeini returned in 1979. I have fond memories of the nice guys I worked with, and nightmares thinking about the nasty treatment I received at the hand of the ignorant revolutionary guards on the way out.

Because I picked up a few words of Farsi during my stay there, I tend to be shuttled towards any Iranian at a social gathering. I have yet to meet an Iranian in excile that I did not like or had a negative response from.

I find it so sad that the image of Iran is so bad in the West, and that the image of the USA is so bad over there. The extremely negative reporting from the MSM centered aroung NY and Washington is not helping the matter.

I can only pray that cooler heads will previal and that the two proud nations can find enough common ground to reach agreement and peace.

And if you guys in the USA start some drilling on thoses vast tracts of land that the federal government hogs (for strategic reasons, wait until the rest of the world has run out?) the hawks will find fewer reasons to flog their war talk.

DavidVV said...

You will end with this world with all your fears and panic buttons, nonsense wars in foreing countries guided by corporations looking for the petrol or gas while they lie to you with "your you are helping the world" killing inocent people and feeding the wrath of those, trying to bring your "freedom" to the world when nobody ask for it, you live cheated by the gov and the media, i feel pity about you.

Alan Caruba said...

@Jolly. I like Iranians, too. The sooner they can free themselves from the ayatollahs, the better, but I doubt they can. Whether it's a Hitler or a Saddam, sooner or later some external force is often required.

Alan Caruba said...

@David. You need to study history...say from the beginning of the last century to the present.

Germany's leaders twice started wars. Japan's started a war in the Pacific. A Communist started the Korean War. Saddam had made war on Iran for eight years and then invaded Kuwait. These were not heads of corporations. They were despots, one and all.

LarryOldtimer said...

It is every bit as bad as you say, Alan, and far, far worse. Iran has shallow water diesel subs, almost undetectable by SONAR, and bought a good many hi-tech sea mines along the way. Plus, only a few hundred miles away from Iran, on west Persian Gulf shores, there are any number of above ground oil storage and loading facilities, easy pickings for even relatively light aircraft. Aircraft capable of carrying 500 pound conventional bombs.

It is a mistake reasonable people often make: That irrational people will respond to rational persuasion. Those in charge of Iran are not reasonable or rational people.

Our nation has placed entirely too many of our must-have petroleum energy eggs into the Persian Gulf basket. We have become entirely dependent on Persian Gulf crude oil for our very survival.

TheJollyGreenMan said...

Hi Alan,

War with Iran will suit nobody.

You have lived for almost a lifetime with Fidel and his communist mob on Cuba, right below Florida, why can't you sit out the present regime in Iran?

The power of atomic weapons have been hyped up. Carl Sagan and the rest of the left-wing mob spoke about the atomic winter and stuff like that to create a mindset of fear in the public, yet, as I pointed out to you previously, more than 3000 atomic/nuclear bombs were tested in the earth's atmosphere in the 40s, 50s & 60s.

People used to drive to test sites to see the tests, much like watching a shuttle launching today!

Don't you understand that the Iranians see the stance of the US that they are not allowed to play with the 'big boys toys' as a slant, an attack on their manhood, and national pride?

The fear of atomic weapons is very much like the fear of Maxim, which was also supposed to 'stop all wars'.

If the US had any sense it would sell atomic bombs to the Iranians so that they can feel they are also part of 'the big boys' club.

LarryOldtimer said...

JollyGreen, what an absurd statement. What trouble could Cuba cause? USSR missile bases in Cuba does come to mind. As close to nuclear war as I have seen in my many years. As I recall, having been in intelligence at SAC HQ 1954-1958, SAC had 4,000 locations in the USSR targeted for nuclear bomb attack, and we would have taken out those locations, had we been attacked.

The planet can take care of itself. At some future time a large object from outer space, say an asteroid, will strike, and all of your "green" efforts will be for naught.

Iran has, if not dealt with properly, the capability of starting a world war of huge magnitude. And from what I can determine, fully intends to do so if at all possible. I am not speaking about the general public of Iran, but about Iran's present leadership, religious whackos.

But then, you must be in favor of handing out sticks of dynamite to boys to shoot off on the 4th of July. That would make as much sense as what you say.

You seem to be someone who worries about the "health" of the planet. How foolish that is. Earth will survive, whatever state of surface destruction it comes to.

Might not be pleasant for the present flora and fauna, though.

TheJollyGreenMan said...

LarryOldTimer old cock,

Of course I am worried about the state of mother Gaia, aren't we all?

In addition, I am also interested in Saxon lore. Where I live there are 3 pubs within a few miles radius with variations of the Green Man name. That prompted me to find out more about the origen of the name. Our local parish church dates back to the 13th century, and in the ceiling beams is a Green Man, only recently rediscovered and noticed again after 7 centuries.

Treating the Iranians as Red Indians that cannot be allowed to drink or make use of the 'White Man's Firewater' will only infuriate them. It is a matter of national pride, they will not rest until they have succeeded in making their own nuclear bombs. It is not that difficult, the rasist hated apartheid regime in South Africa did develop their own weapons despite all the sanctions in place.