August 15, 2006

Links

Here are some good links to tide you over until I get my next piece ready to publish.

Lisa Goldman went to Northern Israel just before I did and wrote Welcome to the Shooting Gallery.

Noah Pollak went with me to Northern Israel and wrote One Cheer for Ceasefire.

Check ’em out. More soon.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at August 15, 2006 05:54 AM
Comments

On Noah's piece I have to disagree. In fact I like a number of Noahs points and observations, but the core thesis is preposterious.

Noah you got spun. When you were a kid do you remember when one kid would try and do somthing and fall down and fail instead, get up and say "I meant to do that." Yeah, right.

Anyone following any number of studies out of the Pentagon knows that what the strong majority of planners are saying is that we cannot inderdict Iran's nuclear progam through military action. This exact message is leaking out of the command level in a torrent.

Firstly the Briish have already told us this will totally break our partnership. British troops in the Shiia area of Iraq would be slaughtered. It would be a cold day in hell before they ever lifted a finger to help us again.

We will be alone. Us and the Israelis. We will have a hobsons choice between the Kurds or the Turks that makes todays considerations seem easy and the net will be no help as any significant movement by one would result in reataliation by the other.

Air power will make no dent on the Iranian program. none. The only idiots who beleive that must still believe that air power would solve Iraq or Israeli air power would do anything to Hizbullah.

Tactical nukes are an empty threat.

We have not got the troops to handle Iraq and Iran by any estimate.

The oil shock will result in economic decimation in the west that will make the depression look like a hiccup.

God bless Israel and the IDF, but this was a very poorly planned, poorly implimented military action.

It is a minor copying of Rummy's failed "shock and awe" with the same result: more power for Iran.

The contention that the operation was strategic to harm Iran is Orwellian. Any more like the last two short sighted strategies and Iran will be ruling the world.

Posted by: joe at August 15, 2006 07:46 AM

If Noah is correct, one of the best results will be for more folk to scream out "wrong!" like Joe did.

I agree with Noah that the key ME question today is: does the US allow Iran to get nukes?

I'm not sure that the Israeli non-victory (= Hez win?) is the best way to stop Iran; but I'm so unconfident of Joe's analysis as to believe he's mostly wrong: the USA, unilaterally, can certainly interdict and stop the Iranian nuke program.

The questions are of costs: US soldiers, Iranians, others; military costs; political costs (so what?); oil-price increase shock costs. Many of these costs are high, and fairly certain if the US starts action. While US deaths pretty uncertain, my estimate is taking Tehran with less than 10 000 KIAs; quite possibly less than 5000. Is 5000 killed too many to act? Meaning, we let Iran get nukes?

Finally, Leb profile has some fine posts about Israeli failure; how he was wrong about how strong Hez was; and how this wasn't a big Hez victory.

I now am thinking maybe Israel should lose more -- how many such Pyhrric victories can the Arab/ Muslims afford. Perhaps if Israel would just accept such a loss to the Palestinians, the "victorious" Palestinians would decide they could accept peace.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at August 15, 2006 09:42 AM

I'm gonna have to disagree with Noah on some of his basic premises.

Iran is not an arab country, and is actually in a struggle with the major arab countries for dominance in the Middle East. There is absolutely no reason to fear an arab oil embargo if the US or Israel were to take on Iran. In fact, I would argue that countries like Saudi Arabia and Egypt wouldn't mind seeing Iran brought back down to size.

Noah's entire premise kinda falls apart when you take this into consideration.

Posted by: bad vilbel at August 15, 2006 11:08 AM

I agree with Noah that the key ME question today is: does the US allow Iran to get nukes?

A straightforward question, with an equally straightforward answer: No.

All else follows from that.

Regarding Noah's specifically: If Iran is likely to try to use Hizbullah as a way to draw Israel into an Iran-US war, the logical thing to do is to negate that strategy by destroying Hizbullah now.

With a ceasefire, Hizbullah looks good, the Israelis look foolish, and the Arab governments that condemned muslims who were fighting the Israelis look unbelievably stupid.

This is bad. Very bad.

[...]

The questions are of costs: US soldiers, Iranians, others; military costs; political costs (so what?); oil-price increase shock costs. Many of these costs are high, and fairly certain if the US starts action. While US deaths pretty uncertain, my estimate is taking Tehran with less than 10 000 KIAs; quite possibly less than 5000. Is 5000 killed too many to act? Meaning, we let Iran get nukes?

No.

If Switzerland wanted to build a few nukes, I wouldn't care. But we are not talking about Switzerland, we are talking about Iran.

These are the guys who siezed the US Embassy in Tehran and held accredited diplomats hostage for over a year.

This is the government who (via proxy) bombed the Marine barracks in beirut in '83.

This is the government who (via proxy) bombed the Khobar towers in saudi arabia in '96.

This is the government who (via proxy) is supporting militants who are killing American soldiers in Iraq today.

...and these are just the times they've struck at us. Other people can probably add times the Iranian government has struck at others, either directly, or via proxy.

Now this government is enriching uranium to levels beyond what is necessary to fuel a nuclear reactor.

It is not difficult to see where this is going.

If we lose 10,000 soldiers- people who volunteered to go in harm's way to protect the rest of us- the price will not be to high. The reason is because Iran's history of involvement with terrorist organizations forces me to conclude that if we allow Iran to become a nuclear power, we will lose far more than 10,000 civilians down the road (via proxy).

If the government of Iran is not capable or willing to comprehend how serious this is, tragedy is inevitable- either a (relatively) small tragedy now, or a medium tragedy (here) and a freakin' huge tragedy (there) later.

My main regret will be that many, many Iranians are going to suffer because of the stupidity of a few mullahs. I wish there was some way to get rid of the mullahs, and spare the Iranians... but that would be as impossible as removing Hizbullah from Lebanon without harming any Lebanese.

Sometimes, there are no good choices, and you have to decide between the awful and the horrible.

Posted by: rosignol at August 16, 2006 02:22 AM

rosignol:

1) Do we have enough ground troops needed for an invasion of Iran?
2) Assuming we make it to Tehran, destroy Nuke making infrastructure, then what?
3) Does the US public and Europe have the stomach for this?

My answers: yes; leave without rebuilding; no

Posted by: Joe Marino at August 16, 2006 02:42 PM
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