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  • Blowback?

    Posted by ken on April 14th, 2006 (All posts by )

    According to some of our friends on the left, starting a war against Iran will cause them to do the following:

    Then we’ll get flowers and candy–not to mention a massive Shia uprising in Iran and Iraq, and terrorist reprisals at home. Nothing like another 9/11 to set the mood for the midterm elections.

    What, other than the prospect of an American military response, is stopping them from doing this right now? Is there anything on Earth that would stop the Iranians from giving us “a massive Shia uprising in Iran and Iraq” (as opposed to the helpful cooperation they’re giving us now in Iraq?) and terrorist “reprisals” at home the minute they get working nuclear weapons to ward off any possible non-nuclear attack on them?

    I guess you can assume that the Iranians wouldn’t do such a thing unprovoked, even if they thought they could get away with it, and that George W Bush would go to war even though he knew they couldn’t possibly be a threat now or in the foreseeable future… if you were willing to assume that the Iranian mullahs were more sane, reasonable, responsible, and respectful of other people’s lives, properties, and liberties, than George W. Bush.

    That’s not an assumption that some of us see any reason to make.

     

    28 Responses to “Blowback?”

    1. Ginny Says:

      I’m struck by how few quotes from, allusions to, etc. what is actually being said in Iran appear in such discussions as the one you link. Of course, the assumption that Iraq is a disaster is a given and not modified in any way (so there are few allusions to recent changes in its approaches to Sadr, etc.). I guess we all filter out what we don’t want to deal with; I’m sure I do. But these do seem somewhat relevant.

    2. James M Says:

      “What, other than the prospect of an American military response, is stopping them from doing this right now?”

      Without defending the conspiracy theorist to whom you link, there is an answer to that question: it’s not so easy to start a massive Sh’ia uprising in Iraq. Iran, i suspect, is doing the best they can in that regard right now.

      Perhaps they’d find it easier start one if Iraqi Sh’ia were looking at an American attack on Iran.

      Frankly, I suspect that Ahmadinejad is hoping for a limited attack so that he can use the war to cement his own political position among the ignorant Iranian masses. After all, it’s not like he personally would be one of those dying.

    3. Thers Says:

      Why would the Iranians want any change in the current situation when it is now so very favorable to them?

      Hard to see how they can come out a loser in any possible scenario. Hell, even if the US nukes them… they win in the eyes of most of the world.

      You getting a sense of how colossal a bad idea the war in Iraq was yet?

    4. Mark Says:

      I would be hesitant to make any claims for George Bush being more anything than a miscellaneous group of foreign religious leaders. I’ve seen some claims that he is similar to these mullahs in some ways.

      In terms of blowback you pay your money and blood and take your chances. It seems reasonable to me that there will be unexpected consequences from drastic courses of action.

      I would be disappointed if we unilaterally and pre-emptively unleash nuclear weapons against the Iranian nation-state and her people.

      If we’re set on taking them down, I wish George would have Ahmadinejad over to the camp or the ranch for a sit-down first. Maybe they could have some of the Mullahs too. If they were able to work something out man to man, then it might save a lot of blood.

    5. Val Says:

      Spengler has a theory about Bush’s “October surprise.” I only hope this time he does well, real war and no occupation.

    6. ic Says:

      “You getting a sense of how colossal a bad idea the war in Iraq was yet?” Saddam will be saying and doing exactly the same thing the Iranian president is saying and doing right now after sanction is lifted.

      What did we do to cause “terrorist reprisals at home” on September 11, 2001?

      Shia uprising in Iraq will be reciprocated with a Kurdish uprising in Iran. That may be the thing the US Iraqi ambassador and the Iranian mullahs are discussing now.

    7. GFK Says:

      Ken, you make a great point. There’s not much Iran could do now they aren’t already doing.

      Both Syria and Iran have been working to promote terrorism and destabilize Iraq, but they have been doing so behind the scenes exactly because they don’t want to face US military retribution.

      All the talk from Amohajudean and his Iranian cohorts reminds me of the threats and warnings from Saddam and Tariq Aziz prior to both Iraq invasions. It’s empty and it’s desperate, but willing ears in the US hear and believe the messages.

      I’m looking at my tax bill right now and it is huge. I see illegals marching in the streets that don’t pay taxes, pop out babies at public hospitals for free and then send the kids to public schools for free. I’m REAL pissed.

      Maybe if some of this money is spent blowing up Iranian nuclear installations I might be able to relax consider it money well spent.

    8. Mark Says:

      What did we do to cause “terrorist reprisals at home” on September 11, 2001?

      It is my impression that various people thought some of our foreign policies (diplomatic, commercial, and cultural) were immoral, officious, and downright disastrous for humans and other living things.

      The wondrous assumption behind the question is that our foreign policies are always helpful, at worst benign, and never, never, ever have bad consequences for those we help. The humor is that our paternalistic approach is hidden behind the genuine moral concern that we feel for these poor creatures who need so much of our help.

    9. Ginny Says:

      Yes, well the West’s actions in 1492 and in 1918 were hurtful to the Caliphate. But, I can’t say that I’m sorry the first at least turned out as it did.

    10. Angie Schultz Says:

      The wondrous assumption behind the question is that our foreign policies are always helpful, at worst benign, and never, never, ever have bad consequences for those we help.

      No, the wondrous question behind the question is that, since the Arabs/Muslims have been and are plagued by more meddlesome, more vicious, more predatory governments than ours, and since their own governments are masters of repression and cruelty, why are we the ones to get hit?

      Of course, to ask that question is to answer it.

    11. aaron Says:

      The wondrous assumption behind the question is that our foreign policies are always helpful, at worst benign, and never, never, ever have bad consequences for those we help

      I don’t get it, who makes such an assumption and why would that question imply such an assumption? There’s a big disconnect in your logic Mark.

      No matter what you do, some one will likely be adversely affected, or atleast perceive themselves to be. You try to do more good then harm. Sometimes, for a particular matter, you might not achieve this, but you move on and keep making things better. The problem is that no connection can be made to our policies and 9/11 and certainly nothing to justify it.

    12. Mark Says:

      Angie, of course to ask the question in that particular fashion is to assume not only “my country right or wrong” but “my country is never wrong”.

      “since their own governments are masters of repression and cruelty, why are we the ones to get hit?”—I think actually they blame us for supporting some of those repressive regimes; Saudi Arabia for instance.

      Aaron talks about people who may perceive themselves to be ill-treated. This notion of people is important because the actors in our 9/11 drama were not all nation-states. This is significant for at least two reasons. First, non-state actors can create a lot of havoc. Look as the gas pump and think how nice it would be if that Nigerian sweet were coming home to us at the levels of six months ago. Second, an awful lot of US energy in trying to deal with non-state actors has been directed at nation-states. When we lay into whole countries for the sins of a few we may end up energizing our enemies of the future.

    13. Angie Schultz Says:

      Angie, of course to ask the question in that particular fashion is to assume not only “my country right or wrong” but “my country is never wrong”.

      Nonsense. It’s more like “My country surely can’t be more wrong than the utter rat bastards who have done [fill in the blank].”

      I think actually they blame us for supporting some of those repressive regimes; Saudi Arabia for instance.

      Which is why the valiant Saudi Arabian dissidents struggle so bravely to overthrow the current rotten regime and establish one that’ll make Taliban-era Afghanistan look like Sweden. Gotcha.

    14. Angie Schultz Says:

      Oh, and as far as the post itself goes — I think you’re focusing too much on Iran itself. It’s possible that the Iraqi Shia will be so outraged at attacks on their fellow Shia that they will spontaneously rise up without Iran’s prompting or support.

      Same thing goes for terrorist attacks in the US. Even if the US could send everyone in Iran to Happy Dream Land for a few hours and whisk the Mullahs gently away to a Fun All-Islamic Caribbean Resort without harming a hair on any head, there would always be a few freelancers willing to blow themselves up to avenge this terrible Crime Against Humanity.

      So, in short, yes: our lefty friends may be quite right about that. Where they go wrong is in assuming that such attacks would be the worst thing that could happen.

    15. Mark Says:

      “My country surely can’t be more wrong than the utter rat bastards” — we’re getting that non-state/nation-state slippage again.

      Rotten regimes are rotten. Sometimes we support them for purposes of our own.

      “They’re more evil than we are” isn’t very high moral ground for an exceptional nation with a messianic vision.

    16. Jay Manifold Says:

      Given the policies and attendant death toll associated with the Iranian regime, “they’re more evil than we are” works just fine for me. I just wrote a four-figure check to the IRS to add to the five-figure amount of money I’d already paid to DC last year. And since the four-figure amounts I paid in state and local taxes can’t go toward getting rid of the bad guys, I’d love to see some of the money I dropped into the big black hole on the Potomac take a few of them out.
      I’d be fine with telling Iran that our problem isn’t with their nukes, it’s with the regime. “There are no dangerous weapons, only dangerous men.” (R.A.H.) Let’s make sure that Ahmadinejad is “personally … one of those dying.”

    17. veryretired Says:

      I think Mark and a few others here enunciate the leftist position very clearly—anyone who has a grievance against the US may do whatever they want, and we must never respond with military force becasue that would be mistaken and morally wrong.

      What else do their ideas add up to if not paralysis, and suicidal paralysis at that?

    18. Shawn Says:

      Iran is causing as much trouble as they can in Iraq, but as quietly as possible. It is along the same lines as the American troops that are in Iran causing trouble. However, Iran is holding off from launching an onslaught until the U.S. attacks. The reason for this would be to win favor in the international and Islamic region. Unlike Iraq, Iran will retaliate and they will do so against a U.S. military that is far weaker today than it was three years ago.

    19. Mark Says:

      Very, “anyone who has a grievance against the US may do whatever they want, and we must never respond with military force becasue (sic) that would be mistaken and morally wrong” is hardly the same as acknowledging that some people may feel they have a legitimate grievance, which is what I was trying to convey. In 4G war, the moral high ground is a very significant factor, and I think we can all rejoice in the mis-steps that our opponents in Iraq have made in that regard.

      But the other point that I have been trying to convey in this series of posts is that, again in 4G warfare, it is important to distinguish between non-state and nation-state opponents. Even though we have a splendid military, one which is quickly approaching or already arriving at, by the by, nuclear first strike capabilities against Russia and China, it is a mistake to conclude that all of our opponents are nation-states. Big parts of this war may have been better fought by policemen and spies than by our soldier sons and daughters.

      Meet grievances with dialog if possible. Fight when necessary, but fight smart (and cheap if you can). This borrowing for warfare is expensive for our children’s future.

    20. Shannon Love Says:

      It is important to remember that the Shia in Iraq are Arabs while most of the Shia in Iran are Persians. The difference is highly significant. It is something like the division between catholics in France and Catholics in Germany up until WWII. Ethnicity can easily trump religion. No one should base policy on the idea that majority of Iraqi Shia will flock to the Iranian banner just because they share the same basic religion.

      The Persian Shia treat the Arab Shia of Iran like dirt and the Arab Shia of Iran see that. The Mullah of Iraq have their own independent powerbase and have shown no willingness to place themselves under the dominion of the Iranian Mullahs. Even in Iran, the Arab Shia are in a state of near open rebellion.

      I think Iran is already maxed out in what it can do in Iraq. The only Shia in Iraq who turn to Iran for support are those who have no broadbase of Iraqi support in the first place.

    21. veryretired Says:

      Mark—you can dance all you want, but “they may feel they have legitimate grievences” is just another way of saying they’re justified in whatever they do because they’ve been vicitmized in some nebulous way and it’s all our fault.

      As for the rest, several nation states in the ME have been directly involved in funding, supporting, and giving safe haven to those who want to assuage their feelings of legitimate grievence by blowing up Americans or our allies.

      When people commit acts of war, you go to war in the way you see fit, and pick off the enablers in any order you wish. This BS about calling the cops is another way of recommending nothing, as the advocates well know. The international community has no effective legal system or law enforcement arm.

      The only law that matters when someone attacks the US is the law the US lays down, in any way it wishes to do so. That may offend some people’s delicate sensibilities, but seeing my fellow citizens BBQ’ed bothers mine a whole lot more.

    22. Small Pink Mouse Says:

      “Iran is causing as much trouble as they can in Iraq, but as quietly as possible. It is along the same lines as the American troops that are in Iran causing trouble. However, Iran is holding off from launching an onslaught until the U.S. attacks. The reason for this would be to win favor in the international and Islamic region. Unlike Iraq, Iran will retaliate and they will do so against a U.S. military that is far weaker today than it was three years ago.”

      Shawn, do you mind if I take a moment to correct your last sentence before I respond to your post as a whole? o_O

      Iran will retaliate *if they can* and they will do so against a U.S. military that is a lot closer to their borders than it was three years ago.”

      There. Now your sentence has been fixed. ^_~

      Logistics really is an important part of war and whether or not our military is “weaker” its proximity does give us more options for retaliation and invasion than we previously had. The government of Iran can only retaliate if they still exist. And its questionable how many of their people will actually fight for it in light of the popular unrest against it.

      Their reasoning may be precisely as you say it is but the fact is that wars usually start because one side thought it was a lot stronger than it actually was. It’s also worth remembering that the same arguements made on behalf of not attacking the Mullahs were once made on behalf of not attacking Saddam.

      - S.P.M.

    23. GUYK Says:

      Iran declared war on the USA many years ago when it took over the embassy and held Americans hostages for a year. The fact that the prez at the time didn’t have the balls to do anything about it doesn’t make the fact that Iran committed an act of war moot.

      Appeasement does not work and never has worked. Those who are being appeased see it as a sign of weakness to be exploited and exploit it they will.

    24. Ken Says:

      Any restraint that Iran is showing today is because it expects American punishment for going to far.

      If the Americans are in the process of attacking, then restraint isn’t going to help the Iranians and their reason for showing restraint is gone. They can be expected to engineer terrorist actions in Iraq and the US to the limit of their capabilities.

      If the Iranians make it impossible for us to attack, say by building working nuclear weapons, then they also lose their reason for restraint (given that they have no other reason for restraint that they recognize as valid as a civilized country would), and they can similarly be expected to engineer terrorist actions in Iraq and the US to the limit of their capabilities. In this case, however, their capabilities are greater, since they aren’t simultaneously dealing with a US attack.

    25. GFK Says:

      I wanted to follow-up Shannon’s comment which is mostly in response to Angie’s latest comment.

      Consistent with the theme of Ken’s original post, any Shia in Iraq that would have the desire and ability to “rise up” against the US in lieux of an Iranian attack are ALREADY DOING SO.

      There are a number of Shia militia, mostly under Al-Sadr that are fully engaged hunting down Sunni’s. Were they to turn their guns on the US or even the Iraqi army it’s unlikely they’d last very long. They could hope to acheive would be to barricade themselves in side a few mosques for a few days and issue fatwah’s until the new Iraq army smoked them out.

      =====

      Also, someone mentioned we are engaged in clandestine operations inside Iran? Any info available?

    26. Sol Says:

      The liberal/Democrat Line is this:

      How can anyone be certain Iran even has a nuclear program. After all, every one thought Saddam had one and that turned out to be a lie. All he had were some nuclear scientists sitting around doing nothing.

      The CIA was wrong about Saddam. Worse, the NYT was wrong. Those Iranians are so low tech they can’t even get their camels started on a cold morning. They just lying bout nuclear stuff.

      Nobody should believe they have nukes until NYC and DC have mushroom clouds and the Iranians have a victory parade in Tel Aviv.

    27. Cousin Dave Says:

      Ken: Where I think your analysis goes off is that Iran is not restraining itself in any way. They are already going wide-open with their nuclear program, their terrorst army in Iraq, and their support for Hizbollah in Lebannon and pot-stirring in the Palistinean territories. They can mount a direct retaliation against U.S. action only by taking resources away from these other actions — which would in turn free up U.S. military resources. So Iran can’t win that game, as long as they don’t have a working nuke. And if they had the resources to mount large-scale terrorist attacks in the West, they would have done so already — they themselves have said repeatedly that such is their goal. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that our enemies have unlimited resources; the Left has already made that mistake twice in regards to Iraq.

      I actually think that Iran’s nuke program is going to turn out to be a huge strategic mistake for them. If we attack their nuke facilities, yeah, there will be a lot of whining and hand-wringing in the international community, but what are they going to do about it? Send the French Army after us? Yes, there is a possibility that the other Arab states might declare an oil embargo, but I don’t think such an embargo would last very long, for three reasons: (1) the other Arab states, by and large, really don’t want Iran to have the bomb; (2) they may not love us, but they love our cash; and (3) they know that if they push U.S. energy prices up further, that could swing enough votes in Congress to put the U.S. on a new path that would include Alaska oil, new nuke plants, etc., ultimately making their shiekdoms irrelavent.

    28. A. Scott Crawford Says:

      “Meet grievances with dialog if possible. Fight when necessary, but fight smart (and cheap if you can). This borrowing for warfare is expensive for our children’s future.” Mark

      Mark…

      The US State Dept. and Armed Forces would love to follow your advice, were the world as innocent and/or sincere as we all might desire. It isn’t.

      Governments, even in the US, are all basically organized crime syndicates of greater or lesser degrees that have no obligation whatsoever to agree with your or my definitions of terms like, “dialog”, “necessary”, or “Treaty Obligation” or “justice” or “law”. The only way to evaluate the job a diplomat or soldier does is to weigh the practical results of their actions, which for obvious reasons doesn’t make for effective diplomacy or spycraft or trade negotiation or military strategy if evaluated LIVE in public. In short, one can’t hedge against imperfectly implemented policy on grounds that it COULD HAVE BEEN less imperfect… one can ONLY hedge against policy that ISN’T or HAS NOT BEEN implemented at all (as in the case of the N. Korean nuke deal).

      Now… I’d ask you to consider the “fight when necessary, BUT fight smart (AND -fight- cheap)” idea. This is killing we’re discussing, not a little league soccer match in suburbia. By using the gimmick of appealing to “our childrens future” regarding “borrowing” (ALL Federal budgets are “borrowed” against future tax revenue) Iraq reconstruction and military budget increases during a healthy economy, doesn’t it occur to you that YOU’RE stooping to political baby kissing? If it were a matter of Social Security, ok. But we’re talking killing and fighting. So please don’t include MY children in YOUR rhetorical appeal. My children can and will be able to afford the extra taxes I pay for Iraqs reconstruction, as well as their families share of veterans benefits.