Three articles caught my attention today, and I thought I’d pass them along with some quick comments before I have to go outside and grill dinner.
First, Gary Hart – who I like and generally have wished would be one of the most-heard voices in the Democratic party on issues of national security has a – delusional? – post up at Huffpo. His point, simply, is that we ought to expect a US airstrike on Iran before the 06 elections. An ‘October surprise’, as he calls it.
It should come as no surprise if the Bush Administration undertakes a preemptive war against Iran sometime before the November election.
Were these more normal times, this would be a stunning possibility, quickly dismissed by thoughtful people as dangerous, unprovoked, and out of keeping with our national character. But we do not live in normal times.
Look, there are a lot of things to talk about in regards to the appropriate things to do in dealing with that dapper hipster running Iran. Some people – including some of my co-bloggers – think that a bombing campaign as outlined by Hart for the fall sweeps
Therefore, he will announce, our own national security and the security of the region requires us to act. “Tonight, I have ordered the elimination of all facilities in Iran that are dedicated to the production of weapons of mass destruction…..” In the narrowest terms this includes perhaps two dozen targets.
But the authors of the war on Iraq have “regime change” in mind in Iran. According to Colonel Sam Gardiner (author of “The End of the ‘Summer of Diplomacy': Assessing U.S. Military Options in Iran,” The Century Foundation, 2006) to have any hope of success, such a policy would require attacking at least 400 targets, including the Revolutionary Guard. But even this presumes the Iranian people will respond to a massive U.S. attack on their country by overthrowing their government. Only an Administration inspired by pre-Enlightenment fantasy could believe a notion such as this.
is the best idea since Marshmallow Fluff. I’m on record as thinking it’s a bad idea.
But politically, in the current environment – absent a YouTube video of Ahmadinejad personally machining plutonium hemispheres while pointing to a map of Washington DC – I can’t imagine that the US political reaction would be survivable for the GOP. And that once the Democrats were sworn in in January, that Bush would then be looking at some serious face time with the Judiciary Committee.
So, Gary – what the hell? Do you think Karl Rove is that stupid?
Next, over at American Footprints, another thoughtless post by Eric Martin, who points out that – in the middle of the conflict with the movements behind terrorism, there is more terrorism. This is kind of like saying that GI’s didn’t start to take casualties in Europe until after D-Day. Hint: there is an enemy, and they will fight back. While we’re engaged with them, they’ll fight back harder.
This seems so obvious that I’m puzzled that people keep bringing this point up. It’s part of the fantasy 110-minute war that people envision, I think, when they watch too much television.
In contrast, praktike has a thoughtful and smart post on the interaction between how Islam and the West talk about each other and how they act – including an interesting and first-hand account of the Muslim Brotherhood wrapup to a day of worship.
Go read it, and while you ought to know where prak and I may disagree with his conclusion:
Where I would have written: “If we don’t find a solution to the Palestinian question that Arabs and Muslims view as legitimate, and if we keep backing disasters like Iraq and the recent Israeli war in Lebanon, the decent men and women of the Middle East, most of whom are faithful Muslims, will have a very hard time defeating those who have brutalized and coarsened their culture and religion.”
The problem of course is that there may be no solution to Israel-Palestine that the Arab and Muslim view as legitimate short of the destruction (or such severe strategic disenfranchisement that it is effectively destruction) of Israel? And while we can absorb a lot of terrorism while the decent men and women of the Middle East work to defeat the bad folks – there is a limit, and I think we’ve already absorbed a lot of it.
Having said that, I’ll suggest that I line up closely to prak when it comes to defining the optimal solution – helping those decent people take control of their nations and region.
Now – the question is how?