2007/02/09

Utter insanity

Good heavens! These people are insane!!! In mid-1996, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came up with a plan called "A Clean Break."

"Ten years later, 'A Clean Break' looks like nothing less than a playbook for U.S.-Israeli foreign policy during the Bush-Cheney era. Many of the initiatives outlined in the paper have been implemented—removing Saddam from power, setting aside the 'land for peace' formula to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, attacking Hezbollah in Lebanon—all with disastrous results."
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"More recently, Netanyahu himself, who may yet return to power in Israel, went as far as to frame the issue in terms of the Holocaust. 'Iran is Germany, and it's 1938,' he said during a CNN interview in November. 'Except that this Nazi regime that is in Iran … wants to dominate the world, annihilate the Jews, but also annihilate America.' "

Now remember, Germany in 1938 was a major industrial power, roughly equal to the US in it's level of technology. In fact, German was the standard scientific language for the world (French was the usual diplomatic language. English didn't become the universal language until after World War II). The US, Germany, Italy, France, Britain, the Soviet Union and Japan made up the seven "Great Powers" of the world. Far from being a "Great Power," Iran is at best a "Regional Power." Also, Iran is surrounded by American-occupied Afghanistan to the East, long-time American friend Saudi Arabia to the South and American-occupied Iraq to the West. Obviously, Russia to the North can take care of itself.

"Nevertheless, neoconservatives still advocate continuing on the path Netanyahu staked out in his speech and taking the fight to Iran. As they see it, the Iraqi debacle is not the product of their failed policies. Rather, it is the result of America's failure to think big. 'It's a mess, isn't it?' says Meyrav Wurmser, who now serves as director of the Center for Middle East Policy at the Hudson Institute.'My argument has always been that this war is senseless if you don't give it a regional context.' "

"She isn't alone. One neocon after another has made the same plea: Iraq was the beginning, not the end. Writing in The Weekly Standard last spring, Reuel Marc Gerecht, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, made the neocon case for bombing Iran's nuclear sites. Brushing away criticism that a pre-emptive attack would cause anti-Americanism within Iran, Gerecht asserted that it 'would actually accelerate internal debate' in a way that would be 'painful for the ruling clergy.' As for imperiling the U.S. mission in Iraq, Gerecht argued that Iran 'can't really hurt us there.' Ultimately, he concluded, 'we may have to fight a war—perhaps sooner rather than later—to stop such evil men from obtaining the worst weapons we know.' "

Problem with giving the Iraq War a "regional context" of course, is that the US can barely provide enough people to keep the Iraq War going all by itself. Sure, if the US could call up millions of people and send them in uniform to the Gulf in the hundreds of thousands, the neocon plans might have a chance. But the Republican Party as a whole has shown absolutely zero enthusiasm for even suggesting a draft and voluntary additions to the Army and Marine Corps have obviously declined as enthusiasm for the war has declined. No other nation has shown any desire to join in. Why should they? The US has not offered to share Iraq's oil, so there's no percentage in it for anybody else.

As for bombing not causing any trouble (PDF p.14) for the US,

"It sounds simple. Air planners always tell a good story. By the same token, they almost always fall short of their promises, even in strictly military terms. That was true in World War II. It was true in Korea. It was true in Vietnam. It has just proved true with the Israeli attacks on Hezbollah. No serious expert on Iran believes the argument about enabling a regime change. On the contrary, whereas the presumed goal is to weaken or disable the leadership and then replace it with others who would improve relations between Iran and the United States, it is far more likely that such strikes would strengthen the clerical leadership and turn the United States into Iran’s permanent enemy."

As to the idea that US forces would have nothing to fear from Iran, the same study points out that "Moqtada al-Sadr has said publicly that if the United States were to attack Iran, he would target U.S. forces in Iraq." There is no reason whatsoever to believe that Iraqis would defend the US occupiers in the event they came under attack from Iranian and Iranian-inspired attackers. Iran has had several years to infiltrate and to prepare their forces to hit Americans inside Iraq and Iraqi insurgents have spent years learning how to most effectively attack US troops. The US could very easily lose the entire army in Iraq. Remember also that the Straits of Hormuz (Only 20 miles wide at some points) would come under attack with the objective of cutting off ship traffic. Not only would making that journey perilous bump oil up to $100-$125 a barrel, that's where the main supply line for the US forces in Iraq is. Putting a crimp in that line would cause serious problems. Sure, airplanes could still get through, but a modern army needs thousands of tons of supplies to function effectively. Back in the days of the Hundred Years War (1337 to 1453), an army could live off the land, requisitioning food from the civilian population and manufacturing arrows from local materials. Those days are long gone.

Let's take a look at one of the people backing Bush's "surge" proposal:

"Kagan's study, on the contrary, suggested that with a massive surge of new troops America could finally succeed. It cites the military's new counter-insurgency manual, which suggests that a nation can be secured with a force of one soldier for every 40 to 50 inhabitants. That calculus would call for stationing more than 150,000 troops in Baghdad alone (there are currently 17,000 there), far more than is politically feasible today. But Kagan skirts this issue by asserting that 'it is neither necessary nor wise to try to clear and hold the entire city all at once.' Focusing instead on certain areas of Baghdad, he concludes that the deployment of 20,000 additional troops would be enough to pacify significant sections of the city."

Who's Frederick Kagan? Well, he IS a scholar, but his studies have no clear relevance to either the Middle East or to guerrilla warfare, nor has he ever served in uniform. His specialty has been in Eastern Europe. He has indeed written a few peer-reviewed articles, but none of them have anything to do with the relevant subjects here, they concern the Soviet Union, Napoleon and Star Wars/SDI/Missile Defense. Bush is favoring the study of some guy who really doesn't have a clue as to what he's talking about.

These people are insane and with an attack on Iran, are threatening unparalleled disaster for the US.

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