Monday, November 20, 2006

The scraggly line in the sand

Chester has a brilliant description of the fundamental problem with trying to "contain" Iraq or negotiate a way out of Iraq by appeals to Iran and Syria after so abjectly folding.


Pundits and armcharists have struggled for months to articulate a military strategy vis a vis Iran that fits the following constraints: the nuclear program must be stopped; there can be no invasion; and if possible the regime should be removed.

He then proceeds to quote Arthur Hermman's prescription for an impressive array of air-sea signalling indicating to Teheran that "thus far and no further", but wonders: who are we trying to kid?

The first step would be to make it clear that the United States will tolerate no action by any state that endangers the international flow of commerce in the Straits of Hormuz. Signaling our determination to back up this statement with force would be a deployment in the Gulf of Oman of minesweepers, a carrier strike group’s guided-missile destroyers, an Aegis-class cruiser, and anti-submarine assets, with the rest of the carrier group remaining in the Indian Ocean. The U.S. Navy could also deploy UAV’s (unmanned air vehicles) and submarines to keep watch above and below against any Iranian missile threat to our flotilla.  ...

Sounds great, but with a lame duck President who is contemplating a time-based withdrawal from Iraq coupled with negotiations with Iran and Syria; and a liberal Democratic leadership that never met an enemy it didn't like, perhaps Herman might better spend his time in search of the fountain of youth, or perpetual motion, or alchemy.

Chester looks at proposals to bomb Iran, now, before they get the bomb and finds that whatever logic or plausibility underpins it, it ain't gonna happen. Because the fundamental problem with the Global Cop isn't that he isn't armed, isn't trained, isn't strong. It's that he won't shoot. Ask Nancy Pelosi. He ends his post with perhaps the most succinct characterization of where the Line in the Sand is now, where we have ended up with in five years of the War on Terror.

Something that Michael Scheuer said at the Defense Forum in September has stayed with me. "History will show that Americans have trouble with borders." Perhaps the entire campaign in Iraq, much like the Spanish Civil War, has served, among other things, to redraw the coalitional borders of the world, a clarifying event as we press inexorably toward phase two of the Global Islamist Insurgency. What it will consist of is hard to tell, but it seems likely to begin as the first phase did: with a United States that believes it can be left alone within its own borders, just as it believed it was on September 10th, 2001.

And oh, there are those that argue that the Border Fence is dead. That the election of the Democratic Party in November provided the Mandate to kill it.

10 Comments:

Blogger Woman Catholic said...

wretchard wrote:

Signaling our determination to back up this statement with force would be a deployment in the Gulf of Oman of minesweepers, a carrier strike group’s guided-missile destroyers, an Aegis-class cruiser, and anti-submarine assets, with the rest of the carrier group remaining in the Indian Ocean.

I do believe an action of this kind would garner broad international support, especially from China and even France (a one-stop shop for credentials of "multilateralism"), right after the Iranians sink the first tanker and send oil north of $100.

11/20/2006 03:20:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Reuters reports:

Iran probably has germ weapons: "North Korea may have developed them and Syria could have carried out research into such banned weapons, according to the US delegation head at the sixth review conference of the Convention on Biological Weapons (BWC),saying it was of particular concern given these countries' 'support for terrorism'."


How seriously do you think anyone is going to take this? How seriously is Iran going to take any warning on the subject? Personally, I think this will get less attention than either OJ Simpson or Kevin Federline, which really isn't a good thing but understandable under the circumstances.

11/20/2006 03:24:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Again,

I am very happy the United States has the worlds largest economy, the worlds third largest population, a significant portion of the worlds resources, etc...

We will need it.

3000 murders in 1 1/2 hours was just not enough. And, the hundreds that followed were news items for a week.

11/20/2006 03:51:00 PM  
Blogger charlotte said...

The politics of the radical, transnational, anti-war, pro-revolution, anti-Christian-Yankee-Zionist Imperium and multicultural/ environmentalist polytheism sixties have won. It just took decades to see them manifest when we called on ourselves and putative allies to stand firm for all of us. And we didn’t.

11/20/2006 03:53:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Bill Roggio analyzes an attack on an Ethiopian convoy ambushed in 'Greater Somalia'. "The Islamic Courts Union has ambushed an Ethiopian military column of 80 vehicles, and killed 6 Ethiopian soldiers and wounded 20. The Islamic courts conducted a sophisticated attack against a professional military, hitting the column with roadside bombs first, then attacking with small arms."

So where is the Line in the Sand going to be drawn? Once the enemy starts focusing on Ethiopia, do we help them? This is not an argument for standing fast in an arbitrary place like Iraq at all costs, but a question about where, if anywhere, the final line is. We know that in Israel, that target of Kassams, it is not longer automatically at the border.

11/20/2006 04:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seriously, no matter how deathly serious a new threat surfaces, or possibilities of germ, dirty and biological warfare capabilities that are postulated from the inconclusive intel (or lack thereof), the truth is that nobody will take it at face value.

George Bush may be genuinely alarmed at the prospect of biological warfare, but any statement he makes will be viewed as a panicmongerer crying wolf - Pelosi and the Dems have the tendency to view such matters through their own adversarial paradigm.

It seems to me that the more attention Bush attempts to call for swift and decisive action against Iran, the greater the disincentive for the Dems to actually do anything about it.

The (front)lines are being drawn closer and closer to home, and taking Israel's fruitless disengagement from Gaza and Lebanon as a bellwether, that is surely not a good sign. Not at all.

11/20/2006 09:29:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> How seriously do you think anyone is going to take this? How seriously is Iran going to take any warning on the subject? Personally, I think this will get less attention than either OJ Simpson or Kevin Federline, which really isn't a good thing but understandable under the circumstances.

Is this because of the "president who cried wolf?" Because Bush said the only way for our nation to survive was to invade Iraq to remove their weapons of mass destruction, and then once we invaded Iraq there were no WMD?

11/21/2006 03:58:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

"It just took decades to see them manifest...."

That phrase says to me that you were not alive very long before 1994.

11/21/2006 04:46:00 AM  
Blogger greginboise said...

First, I read where a task force almost identical to the one mentioned left various ports in October.

Second, i recall that immediately after 9/11, the world was described as, "holding it's breath", to see if we were enraged enough to turn the boomers loose on that wretched chunk of real estate known as the Middle East.

If only it had been so...

11/21/2006 12:52:00 PM  
Blogger TonyGuitar said...

No false pride in this family. We just blurt out a theory and learn from the corrections from our better informed peers.

Bigger encounters against the Sunni?. More successful encounters, true. Pulled punches, all the same.

Amassing the Nato gang against Moqtada*s Blackshirts in Sadr City is what is called for and Nouri al Maliki was allowed to call that one off. More window dressing. More pulled punches.

Oh, and I forgot to mention. The Sunni minority is no longer the enemy.

We need their help, [along with the Sunni in the countries surrounding Iraq], to tackle the real enemy, the Persian Shiia, [Iran] and they are the Blackshirts of Moqtada al Sadr.

The Blackshirts are to Iraq, exactly as the Hizbollah are to Lebanon. [Iran proxy]

The Sunni and Shiia are at each other*s throats so for us to attack the minority Sunni is beyond stupid as we are working for Ahmadinejad and Iran.

Who appointed al Maliki anyway? This has gone away off the tracks.

Bush and the Repubs are making a choice between our friends the Royal Purple, the Kurds, and an oil price hit to the economy.

Bush is avoiding today*s work in hope of winning the next election. . . . Big mistake.

No major bumps for the next year and a half? Impossible! = TG

11/21/2006 08:46:00 PM  

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