Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Keep Calm and Carry On

Monday, the idiocy and insanity spouted from people like Sen. Lieberman and neo-conservative think tanks seeped into Utah's bloghive. Mark Towner, long known for his foolishness, repeated the ill-informed idea that we MUST attack/invade Iran.

When I first heard about the American move to war in Iraq in 2002, I was shocked. As a missionary at the time, even I knew that Iraq had nothing to do with al-Qaeda terrorism or 9/11, and that they posed no threat to the US. When I asked people to confirm this, I usually asked them if they were confusing Iran, which did support terrorism, that does not like the US, and was right next to Afghanistan and would have been a tactically better choice to attack.

Since then, I have learned more about how badly we have screwed up in Iran, mostly thanks to our involvement in Iraq. Those mistakes will certainly not be undone by attacking Iran; for many reasons, it will exacerbate them.

First, is the double standard. As referenced on tonight's Daily Show, Saudi Arabia has been funding the Sunni insurgents in Iraq for most of the war, but we don't hear much about that, strangely enough.

Second is the belief we cannot solve problems diplomatically. I believe the only official meeting between US and Iranian governments since 1979 was earlier this month on this issue. We have not had official relations with Iran since the hostage crisis. I can sympathize with the boycott and the three main reasons for it: they did not respect the sovereignty of our embassy; they do sponsor terror; and they have not abandoned nuclear weapons research. However, the latter two are directly because Iran fears of American attack. If we would consider talking and negotiating with Iran (probably not on Iranian soil), perhaps we would find that we could easily work some things out.

Also, Mr. Towner mistakenly believes that an attack can only help our situation in the region. In fact, it will make in interminably worse. First, we would vindicate the Iranian leadership, who for 30 years have told their people to fear the US because an attack could be just around the corner. Thankfully, a good deal of Iranians, most of them too young to remember the Revolution, are starting to disbelieve most things their leadership says. That all changes with one US bullet or bomb; like the Iraqis who were not ready to change the regime, Iranians would support their theocratic government before letting Americans attack.

Finally, Mr. Towner dramatically underestimates the fighting spirit of the Iranians. His memory does not serve him well about Iranian tactics/mindset during the Iran-Iraq war. While the Iraqis did use chemical weapons, the Iranians used boys on bicycles as minesweeping martyrs when they ran out of military men and resources. They had a fountain of blood in Tehran dedicated to the memory of martyrs.

My message is that no one should think it is easy to wage war against Iran, and that no one should believe we cannot engage in diplomacy to solve our problems.

As a side note to Mark: please don't misuse the words of Kipling's Recessional. They were meant as a warning against the kind of jingoism you wish upon us, which can only lead to destruction. If you had visited the monuments that use this phrase, such as Melbourne's Shrine of Remembrance, perhaps you would use the words more carefully.

Hat-tips: The Sidetrack, Boing-Boing


Mark E. Towner said...

Carry On What?

What do you think we ned to do? Stand aside until a Nuke goes off in Manhatton?


Davis Didjeridu said...

Sorry, Mark, you seemed to have missed the main point of my post. I believe there is a diplomatic solution to our problems without war. I also believe the Iranians are not as crazy as you think and would not dream of attacking Manhattan (that's how it's spelled), unless we attack them.

JM Bell said...

Captain Feathersword up there needs a spell check.

Diplomacy, Towner, look it up in the encyclopedia. It's what Presidents are supposed to do.

Maybe, "Captain," you might want to look at the simple fact that we're out of military. We don't have enough to carry out our current bogging down and you want to not only start a THIRD FK'N WAR, you want to use nukes.

Takes an awful lot of pondering to come up with "nuke 'em" as a strategy. Good job, you're a credit to your Party.

Voice of Utah said...

For any fellow South Park viewers, Mr. Towner's response to this post reminds me of the Tweak character. ("Aah! Iran! Aah! Nuke in Manhattan! Too much pressure!")

Nick said...

Dealing with Iran is neither as simple as sitting down with them nor attacking them militarily. Our main goal in any sort of talks would be to stop them from enriching uranium, because a nuclear Iran is just not acceptable. Iran has made it clear, though, that they aren't going to do that.

Iran has threatened our destruction, taken hostages, armed insurgent militias in Iraq, and continues to build up their nuclear program. Ahmadinejad has been been identified as one of the hostage takers from the embassy in the '70s, and follows a strict Islamicist agenda. These would have to be the greatest talks in the history of world diplomacy to come to an agreement, and W is just plain not up for that.

On the other hand, military strikes are just not an option either, for reasons already laid out by your guys.

The answer lies in strategies like starving them economically. Their economy is so bad the people are ready to revolt. And although Iran has huge amounts of oil, they can't refine it. They are the second largest importer of gas behind the U.S.! If we can choke them where it hurts like we did to the USSR, we can probably avoid another war.

Davis Didjeridu said...

Thanks for the reasoned response, Nick. I think it would be best if we engaged in a program of energy independence. If we decide we don't want to buy oil from other nations (wherein we would probably be consuming less overall in the US), we would not care so much about regime changes in Iran, Venezuela, or Saudi Arabia.

Part of the Plan said...

I find it refreshing that a young Republican like Nick agrees that containment, not confrontation, is the correct approach to handling Iran (I also like the fact that he sees GWB inept and incapable of diplomacy...I just hope he understands this is a bad thing, not an asset for a U.S. president to possess). However, it will take more than economic "starvation" to bring about regime change in Tehran. Similar to what we did with the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc, we will have to demonstrate the superiority of our ideology (liberal, secular democracy) over theirs (radical Islamic theocracy). Of course, to do that, we will first have to prove that we are not engaged in a war on Islam, which is currently widely perceived throughout the Muslim world. That's going to require a big, big change in Washington, D.C. The first thing we need to do is repudiate the Bush doctrine of preemptive war and nation-building. Then we need to begin the phased, orderly withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, and let the chips fall where they may. If we start making demonstrable progress in deconfliction and focus more on integrating their economies into the global marketplace, there may be hope that moderate Muslims will take back their religion from the fanatics who have hijacked it.