22 April 2008

weiging in at 0 foreign policy inteligence....Hillary Clinton

From the campaign trail we get the following gem:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton warned Tehran on Tuesday that if she were president, the United States could "totally obliterate" Iran in retaliation for a nuclear strike against Israel.

On the day of a crucial vote in her nomination battle against fellow Democrat Barack Obama, the New York senator said she wanted to make clear to Tehran what she was prepared to do as president in hopes that this warning would deter any Iranian nuclear attack against the Jewish state.

"I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president, we will attack Iran (if it attacks Israel)," Clinton said in an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America."

"In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them," she said.

"That's a terrible thing to say but those people who run Iran need to understand that because that perhaps will deter them from doing something that would be reckless, foolish and tragic," Clinton said.

I've previoustly posted about the foolishness of attacking Iran, here. And why I don't think that it would be reasonable or necessary, here. So this one hits me like a brick in the face from the person who claimed she has the experience and knowlege to handle the "3 AM Phone call" (I'll not link to this because I don't want to promte the original and the array of satire is to large).

Regardless, certain presidential canidates don't appear to be reading my humble postings, so I'll instead burden all of you with a couple of quick facts that might show, once again, why the military is not likely the solution to the Iranian problem.

Population65,397,52127,499,63837,897,883 more people in Iran
Square KM1,648,000437,072Iran is 1,210,928 Square KM larger

There are more statistics but I think my point is fairly evident. If you think Iraq has been bad, imagine Iran with twice the people and about three times the land area.

Additionally we can feel fairly confident in the statements of former chairman of the joint chiefs Colin Powell when he says that we cannot sustain troop levels in Iraq.

The last argument to make is that Mrs. Clinton is not proposing to invade Iran, only to bomb it or use nuclear weapons. I'll leave the nuclear threat alone. I think there are a myrad or reasons not to. On the conventional side, bombing of Serbia was less than effective (Chapter 16 of "The Use of Force" by Art, Robert J and Waltz, Kenneth N.). Plus the Iranians have learned from Iraq's experience with building nuclear weapons. They have spread their facilities out and placed them deep underground. In all likelyhood the United States would stand a limited chance of dislodging the Iraq.

So in summary:
bombing Iran = unlikely to work
invading Iran = even less likely to work
5 years of threatening iran = no results yet
evidence that "obliterating Iran" won't work = pretty conclusive

12 April 2008

Iran again?

I felt a great disturbence in the force when I read this article at Balkanization today. I really hope I'm not the only person who is disturbed by the fact that all of a sudden we are again hinting about invading Iran. I was worried this would happen when it was announced that Adm. Fallon was leaving CENTCOM. Even then I told myself, "Surely the NIEA report will stay their hand." Nope, "Special Groups" have emmerged from obscurity to be the primary problem in Iraq.

It leaves me with one question that I would like you to ask yourself, your Senetors, your House Representatives, friends, neighbors, colleages, random strangers on the street and childern.

If special groups are a problem in Iraq. What sort of problem would they be if they were fully employed in Iraq, Iran, Israel, Palestine, Syria, and Lebenon?

I've posted previously that Iran has on numerous occasions responded to international pressure to change their actions. This is because the leaders of the Iranian state are generally interested in remaining in power. They understand that as part of the international system there are things that they are lines they cannot cross and expect to stay in power.

However, if we invade or intervean in Iran I think it is exreamly likely the controlers of the special groups will want to show the West exactly how much trouble they can cause if they show less restraint.

Since the end of the Iran/Iraq war in 1989 Iran has chosen to fight most of its battles by proxy. Hezbolah, the Mhedi Army, Syria's control of Lebenon and countless others are the mechanism that the Iranians use to advance their ideology around the world. They have been developing the network for almost two decades. If the United States or any state removes their motivations for caution we are going to find out how exactly how far the network reaches and what resources they have at their disposal.

Likely scenarios:
  • Unrestrainted rocket and suicide attacks on Israel.
  • An end to al-Sadr's ceasefire.
  • Moderate leaders of the lebanease government being killed wholesale.
So ask yourself in an optamistic manner, if its bad now, how much worse could it get?

06 April 2008

On Iraqi indipendence

I'm very disturbed by this set of comments by Gen. Machael Hayden, the director of the CIA, on Meet the Press last Sunday.

MR. RUSSERT: This is an article, Friday's paper: "[Iraqi] Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ... decided to launch the offensive without consulting his U.S. allies, according to administration officials. With little U.S. presence in the south, and British forces in Basra confined to an air base outside the city, one administration official said that, `we can't quite decipher' what is going on. It's a question, he said, of `who's got the best conspiracy' theory about why Maliki decided to act now." The United States was not informed by the Iraqis that we--he was going to do this?

GEN. HAYDEN: I, I don't know what on--what went on on the ground in Baghdad prior to the operation. I do know that this was a decision of the Iraqi government by the prime minister and personally by the prime minister, and that he's relying on Iraqi forces, by and large, to take this action.

MR. RUSSERT: Were you aware of it?

GEN. HAYDEN: I was--in terms of being prebriefed or, or having, you know, the, the normal planning process in which you build up to this days or weeks ahead of time, no. No, I was not.

MR. RUSSERT: You didn't know it was going to happen?

GEN. HAYDEN: No more so than Dave Petraeus or Ambassador Crocker did.

I've written previously on the need to support the Iraqi governments efforts to become the sovereign in their country by gaining a monopoly on violence in their country. I still support that and I think that so long as we have military assets there we should employ them to that end.

However I think we need to draw a clear that the sudden and unannounced efforts like what has occurred in Basra for the past two weeks are not acceptable. It is unacceptable because it was a fight that the Iraqi government should have known that they could not win without the assistance of American forces, including close air support and ground troops. Iraqi troops are yet to go into a fight that they haven't needed American support to function effectively.

We need to make it clear to the Iraqis that we are there to help but they cannot begin operations that are going to put American lives at risk without consulting us first. To do so is an abuse of our friendship and good will.

I'm not sure if the operation as a whole will have net benefit or a loss yet. There are several troubling signs such as a possible improved position for Iran as the peacemaker and the desertion of over 1000 Iraqi soldiers and police during the conflict. On the flip side The Weekly Standard points out several encouraging signs.

Regardless of all of this, American support is not a blank check. If Iraq wants our help they need to keep us in the loop.

One last important note. Everything I write here are my own opinions gathered from what I read in publicly available news articles. In no way are the opinions expressed official government positions.