"How did it come to pass that an opposition's measure of a president's foreign policy was all or nothing, success or "failure"? The answer is that the political absolutism now normal in Washington arrived at the moment--Nov. 7, 2000--that our politics subordinated even a war against terror to seizing the office of the presidency." - Daniel Henninger - WSJ 11/18/05
"the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts." - George Orwell

Friday, March 30, 2007

A Civilian Chicken-Hawk Warmonger on Iraq, Iran, the U.S., Britain and 15 Hostages

Someone recently said regarding the 15 British hostages taken by Iran:

“Even if it is an act of war, what do you want the UK to do? Begin bombing Iran?”

Simply put, I would like the UK with our support to “get their pecker up,” and keep a “stiff upper lip.” Verbal and pitiful UN responses are the norm. Iran can continue its gamesmanship confidently. Begin bombing Iran? Well not the whole country. It’s ultimatum time - one target for each hostage perhaps.

As Victor Davis Hanson wrote regarding the hostage taking:

“The attack coincides roughly with Iran’s announcement that it will end its cooperation with U.N. non-proliferation efforts. That announcement was in reaction to a unanimous vote to begin embargoing some trade with Teheran of critical nuclear-related substances. With that move, Ahmadinejad is essentially notifying the world that Iran will go ahead and get the bomb — and let no one dare try to stop them.”

Whether one agrees with his assessment it should give one pause for thought. Hanson also offers the paradox of the U.S.’ seeming ‘go it alone attitude’ or overt international isolation in the war on terror; Hanson:

“No European nation wishes to be seen in solidarity with the United States, so too no European force wishes to venture beyond its borders without acting in concert with the American military, whether on the ground under American air cover or at seas with a U.S. carrier group.”

So it’s not all cut and dry that it is or has been an instance of the world against the great U.S. hegemon, but more an effort in keeping the U.S. in line with the rest of the Western worlds military weakness; think of it in “Harrison Bergeron” like terms if you wish.

How else might one respond or react to the lack of any serious action against Iran, if one considers the terrible luck of the Iranians as put forth by Rich Lowery:

“When the Iranians seized 15 British sailors in a blatant hostage-taking, the commander of the British ship purred that it might be a “simple misunderstanding.” If so, Iran is cursed with terrible luck. Another such misunderstanding lasted 444 days back in 1979-81. In the latest incident, the accident-prone Iranians have had the misfortune of showing the captured British sailors on television and of telling provable lies about where they seized them.”

Back to the opening questions in this post, “Even if it is an act of war, what do you want the UK to do? Begin bombing Iran?”

Bombing? Iran would reap all sorts of benefit from an act like that, but the West has no credibility whatsoever at this point and as much as one might like to think it - it isn’t just about America’s action in Iraq/Afghanistan. It comes from being willing to allow leaders from places like Iran, who have no qualms about destroying themselves if it bruises or hurts us. The fact that the U.S. exists and is targetable verbally or physically is of benefit to Iran and others. The fact that one of the parties in the U.S. and some stragglers from the other side of the aisle see fit to do what Iran and other nations like them want with its latest resolution/legislation emboldens them further and benefits them. Whatever we do will benefit them in some way, shape or form.

Consider further thoughts on the present subject from Hanson, from an angle of actions taken by the West other than in military actions, but in using the logic of we brought it on ourselves so let’s back off and do as they say:

“Now we are in the seventh year of a new century, and even after the wake-up call on 9/11, Westerners are still relearning each day that the world is a dangerous place. When violence comes to downtown Madrid, the well-meaning Spanish chose to pull out of Iraq — only to uncover more serial terrorist cells intent on killing more Spaniards.”

“To get their captured journalists freed, Italians paid Islamists bribes — and then found more Italians captured. When Germany, Britain, and France parleyed with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (the “direct talks” that we in the states yearn for) to try to get Iran to cease its plans for nuclear proliferation, he politely ignored the “EU3.” The European Union is upset that Russian agents murder troublemakers inside the EU’s borders, and so registers its displeasure with the Cheshire Vladimir Putin.”

“The latest Iranian kidnapping of British sailors came after British promises to leave Iraq, and after the British humiliation of 2004, when eight hostages were begged back. Apparently the Iranians have figured either that London would do little if they captured more British subjects or that the navy of Lord Nelson and Admiral Jellico couldn’t stop them if it wanted to.”

Those that are concerned about the ‘Bush led evil U.S.,’ say what should we do? There is nothing we can really do but negotiate or whatever you want to call it, otherwise we’ve got a mess on our hands so just take the little slap that it is.

I agree that we have a difficult situation on our hands, but from my side I see and understand the same argument but obviously not doing the same thing and expecting different results. What can we do? We can negotiate and continue to do so, but with further options that we can use - to get the point across so to speak that we mean business.

There is a third piece to the opening questions, which is a statement:

“That would be World War III, and no one besides the terrorists wants that.”

World War III? I say we are already in World War IV as Podhoretz has theorized. It’s a World War regardless of what we like/want/believe; certainly not in the World War II or World War I sense that we can all agree is/were world wars that fit the easily graspable but wanting definition for this century.

Again, I think we’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. I don’t doubt the terrorists want a world war, regardless of the number we assign it, but I also don’t doubt that the other option of withdrawing et al is what they would like as well; which would have its own set of violent and world affecting repercussions.

I prefer the ‘we will not take this sitting down and we will hit you with all our might. We will do our damndest to avoid collateral damage, but collateral damage will happen nonetheless. We would love to avoid friendly fire incidents, but they happen and will continue to happen.’

They may want a World War, but this does not mean a World War will have their desired effect.

I do not mean hit Iran ‘with all our might’ least ways right now; but they need to be scratched so that they understand that when we say ‘all options are on the table that they do not doubt that all options are on the table and we are willing to exercise those options when deemed appropriate.’

As it stands right now the U.S. has two carriers in the Gulf with the USS Nimitz battle group preparing to departure from San Diego shortly, a French carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan a short sail away in the China Sea and finally aircraft a few hundred miles away at Diego Garcia; as laid out by Mario Loyola. Considering those assets Loyola writes:

“With four aircraft-carrier battle groups, several hundred carrier-based strike fighters, and 20 strategic bombers just minutes or hours from Iran, the United States will have assembled everything it needs to cripple the regime and wipe out the most important elements of its nuclear program. Iran needs to know that this is the only alternative to complying with the Security Council resolutions. Otherwise, in a few years, Iran could be holding all of us hostage.”

I don’t want a World War, but whether we back down or fight I believe we are in the midst of one right now. So it boils down to; do we want a slow painful death or would we rather turn the tables on the enemies and give them a humane, humanitarian quick one themselves.

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