Minister of Science and Chief Protector of the Faith

Monday, September 10, 2007

"Once More Into the Breech," said Bush. "Once More!"

Blue Gal has suggested that we tell the world that we would like peace between Iran and the United States by having an anti-war blogswarm for Sept 11th, and so this is my entry.

The latest edition of the classified National Intelligence Estimate states that Iran is probably 10 years away from building nuclear weapons. Previous estimates put that number at five years. That is the crux of the White House's argument. It is based on fear that Iran might get technology and material to build nuclear weapons, putting it on an equal footing with Israel.

Israel has had nuclear weapons for years, but nobody talks about it as part of a "don't ask, don't tell" policy that the United States tacitly upholds. The rest of the world acknowledges this fact openly. The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency has stated that he considers Israel as a state possessing nuclear weapons. [ Wikipedia ] It's not really a secret.

Beyond the fear that Iran and Israel might destroy each other, there is the idea that Iran might sell technology, delivery systems or fissionable materials to countries or terrorists that are unfriendly to the United States. That is really what all the fuss is all about. There is also some evidence of members of Al-Qaeda taking refuge in Iran. I don't really know, but I think that you can find evidence of Al-Qaeda being associated with just about anything the Republicans want to discredit these days. Remember, Democrats are associated with Al-Qaeda.

As much as we all hate Al-Qaeda, we shouldn't overhype their abilities or their actual effect upon the Arab landscape at this time. For example, Al-Qaeda is only responsible for approximately 2% of the violence that is taking place in Iraq. Despite Republican claims, the majority of violence in Iraq is "Iraqis fighting amongst Iraqis". [ Think Progress ]

Iran has been a long time sponsor Hezbollah, a Shi'ite Islamic organization based in Lebanon. Hezbollah is responsible for the deaths of the Americans killed in Beirut in the '80s and at Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996. Hezbollah says that they want to expel the Americans and the French from Lebanon. The are also promote other countries adopting an Islamic form of government, which they state is is the only form of government capable of guaranteeing justice and liberty for all. Oh, and they want the complete and utter destruction of Israel.

This is one of the sticky points of the whole discussion. In the region none of the Arab countries really get along very well with each other, but they all have one thing in common. They all hate Israel. Of course, Israel hates them too. (US policy is pro-Israel, but also pro-oil. Tricky!) People say this animosity is because of religious differences, but the religions of all of these countries are pretty much all about respect for your fellow man and not killing each other if you read the books, just like Christianity. Like the rest of this tale, this part doesn't really make very much sense.

All of these countries (including Israel) have governments that seem pretty awful when compared to the average John Wayne movie. By comparison, they make the Bush White House look downright palatable. Well... It's kind of like comparing turds to cowpies. I don't really like either choice, but I'm a romantic. I still remember when this country resembled a democracy.

The idea being put forward for the attack of Iran goes kind of like this: We can't really put boots on the ground in Iran because we are running out of soldiers right now. This is because we are already really busy needlessly wasting the lives of our brave men and women in uniform in Iraq, and pretending that we actually have a viable force in Afghanistan. So that idea is not really going to work.

Instead, the plan is to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities with really expensive airplanes to delay their progress. Of course, many of these facilities are near civilians, so we can expect some civilian casualties. The deaths of these civilian casualties will surely stoke the ire of Iranians, the Arab community and the entire world. (with the possible exception of certain sections of Kansas.)

I think the idea is that this is probably a good time to attack because the world is already so mad at us, this act of war can't really get them any more upset. Our standing in the world community is already so screwed up, that this won't really make it any worse. If everybody's "angry dial" is already at 10, is this really going to push it to 11? The president is ready and willing to make book that it won't.

There is another angle as well. An air war looks really good on CNN. People love planes and smart bombs and stuff. This could really help rally those people that love that war related crap. There will be video games and future in-depth specials on the History Channel. Never underestimate the effect of things that look cool on television have on the general public. The kids love it! And Mom and Dad like it too. And the president can relive some of that "Commander-in-Chief-in-a-Time-of-War" stuff, just like after 911. Maybe he can even land on another aircraft carrier!

It is kind of a moot talking point that we are even allowed to do this sort of thing. Nobody in the media seems to discuss whether or not we need a note from the teacher to do this. The majority of the discussions in the media seem to be about whether or not it will have the intended effect, who will it piss off, etc.

It is interesting the phrases used to discuss the subject, like "regime change." If you don't like the actions of a another sovereign nation, just change it! Like socks! Cool phrases make people think it is an important subect worthy of their consideration. It's like the phrase, "Sanitised for your protection" sounds so much more official than, "By the way, we cleaned the bathroom."

The idea that Iran is some kind of threat to the United States is probably true on some level, but I am not convinced that the threat is so viable that we should start dropping bombs on people.

First, Iran really hates Israel a lot more than they hate us. They aren't aiming at us. Shouldn't we be trying to help the two of them make nice, instead of hypeing the real and perceived threats to the United States? Seems like a much better idea.

Second, Israel has the bomb. It's kind of hypocritical to say that Iran can't have one either. (Not that I like the idea of Iran or any nation having the bomb, but we need a far better talking point than "No, because you're evil.")

Third, our policies in that region have been kind of crappy. How about some diplomacy? Diplomats are lot cheaper and more expendable then our men and women in uniform, if you ask me. (And don't say that diplomacy won't work in Iran. We haven't really tried.) [ Think Progress, Wikipedia ]

Fourth, shouldn't we talk to our allies about this? The last time we went commando we got our Admiral Winkie stuck in the zipper. Ouch!

Fifth, the White House seems to like this idea. That alone should give us pause. Any idea that they have liked in the past few years has turned to crap faster than FOX News can ignore a Republican scandal.

And sixth, I think that there is a far greater threat to our national security than Iran, which I will discuss in a different post.

In 2002, a different National Intelligence report that was commissioned to to assess the possibility for "regime change" in Iran stated that Iran was on a "slow march toward democracy and cautioned against U.S. interference in that process." [ Washington Post ] Whatever happened to that idea?

Nobody in the country really wants Iran to have nuclear weapons. I am just not convinced that an act of aggression is really the best way to prevent this from happening. [ ] Even if it was a great idea, our military is already kind of busy spending huge amounts of cash that we have borrowed from China in a war that the administration says was started on false information that they got from the CIA. (Yeah, right! Tell me another one.) We have already pissed off the entire Muslim world, this will only make it worse.

If we attack Iran, we will have pissed off the governments of two countries that are right next each other. I don't see how this can possibly be a good idea from a political or military standpoint.

And what about just the morality of the idea? We are talking about killing people.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button


At Mon Sep 10, 01:24:00 PM, Blogger Jess Wundrun said...

Excellent post. We also have Pakistan as an unstable owner of nukes. I can't seem to get as jacked up over Iran in ten years as I fear Pakistan now. And it's not like we are doing much to stabilize that situation.

At Mon Sep 10, 05:02:00 PM, Blogger Freida Bee said...

It seems to me that the U.S. is the most unstable possessor of nukes on the planet. I hope "they" don't sieze my next paycheck, my monetary assets, for saying such unpatriotic rhetoric.

At Tue Sep 11, 03:50:00 AM, Blogger Dr. Zaius said...

Jess Wundrun: Pakistan's leadership is crappy enough, but it is also not very stable - as you indicate. Plus we just gave India a big atomic wet kiss recently. That learn 'em! Pakistan must just love us. We have a very confused foreign policy.

Freida Bee: No, I think that North Korea would still have to be the most unstable nuclear power. Kim Jong Il is still slightly more ridiculous than George Bush. Bush is catching up, though!

At Tue Sep 11, 06:30:00 AM, Blogger FranIAm said...

Um, what- is killing people wrong?

(Seriously- GREAT post truly GREAT)

At Wed Sep 12, 01:27:00 AM, Anonymous Dee Loralei said...

This was a great post, DrZ, and seriously, just because you said exactly what I would have, has nothing to do with why I think it was a well blanced, intelligent posting.

China, Russia, North Korea are more scarier. China can call our loans, Russia can amp-up the cold war to steroid levels and NKorea's leader may be a wee bit more bat shit crazy than our own, and he has nukes!

At Wed Sep 12, 09:14:00 AM, Blogger Dr. Zaius said...

FranIAm: Thanks!

Dee Loralei: Thanks to you as well! I'm not too worried about the Russian Federation starting a war. I more worried about their starving scientists selling nuclear material to those countries that Bush has pissed off.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer Posts  |  Older Posts