Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Brand A, Brand B

The contrast between two rival strategic conceptions was never more stark. On the one hand we have an approach that recoils from engaging the enemy, seeks to contain it and study it at a distance; giving ground at every step but trusting to the threat of an Armageddon past a clear bright line to keep it at bay. This first approach is typified by Hillary Clinton's threat to "to totally obliterate Iran".

"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.

In the meantime it's all very well to reach an accomodation with Iran. To grovel before them and plead with the Ayatollahs not to kill American soldiers in Iraq. To apologize for ever slight, real and imagined which they may feel. Even to withdraw every American in Iraq as a sign of goodwill toward Teheran. And the reason it's all fine and patriotic to let Iran rush forward where we give way because they should remember that if they pass a certain line drawn by Hillary Clinton "we would be able to totally obliterate them".

Let's contrast this approach with a different strategic idea. As mentioned in previous posts, for the first time in decades, none of Iraq's neighbors need fear an invasion from them. Not even -- ironically -- the one which has suffered the worst: Iran. Neither Kuwait nor Saudi Arabia nor any of the states in the Gulf have any reason to expect a descent of Iraqi troops upon their capital any time soon. There will be no more Desert Storms. Nor should the Kurds fear gassing nor the Shi'ites worry that their marshy homelands will be drained to facilitate the passage of armor and artillery. All that is history. The more broadminded would call it a step towards peace, but who could accuse the US of actually achieving that? An article in the Age provides perhaps the saddest tribute to the persistence of media consensus that Operation Iraqi Freedom has been a waste of space:

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has chided neighbouring states for failing to bolster ties with Baghdad and write off Iraq's debts now that Saddam Hussein is gone and Iraq is not a threat to the region.

Maliki, speaking at a meeting in Kuwait of foreign ministers from the region and Western powers on Tuesday, did not name any countries but his remarks appeared aimed at Sunni Arab states that have only low-level ties with his Shi'ite-led government.

He said Iraq was now a vastly different country from that under Saddam, who ruled Iraq with an iron fist for decades until he was ousted in 2003 by US-led forces.

"Iraq today is different from the previous Iraq which assaulted its neighbours," Maliki said.

I wrote in the Three Conjectures that the eventual cost of not fighting the War on Terror selectively and aggressively would be the necessity to obliterate enemy populations indiscriminately. In other words, the price of rejecting a targeted, active strategy would be the eventual acceptance of a Hillary Clinton strategy. It's true that "we would be able to totally obliterate them" after Israel is incinerated. But that kind of misses the point.





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41 Comments:

Blogger Teresita said...

W: In other words, the price rejecting a targeted, active strategy would be the eventual acceptance of a Hillary Clinton strategy. It's true that "we would be able to totally obliterate them" after Israel is incinerated. But that kind of misses the point.

Everyone is missing the point. Iran isn't seeking nuclear weapons to obliterate Israel, it could obliterate Israel right now with biological weapons delivered by medium range missiles. No, Iran is seeking nuclear weapons to prevent the United States from doing to it what it does to non-nuclear powers it doesn't like (Iraq, Somalia, Grenada, Libya). Iran wants to be treated like the nuclear powers the United States doesn't like (Russia, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea).

4/22/2008 05:27:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Wretchard,

I think it might be necessary to point to 'The Three Conjectures'.

So many have never read it.

And, it is easily one of the most important documents of a generation defined by this war.

It is an important read.

4/22/2008 05:34:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

Al Qaeda chief slams Muslims for lack of support

Well now. Repeat after me. Al-Qaeda is beating America in Iraq. Moqtada al-Sadr is the uncrowned king of the Land Between the Rivers. I will withdraw two brigades a month. We can obliterate Iran.

4/22/2008 05:41:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Teresita,

There are other ways for Iran to avoid the eye of Sauron. Like being a normal and valuable member of the civilized world.

Why doesn't Iran try the route of Brazil, Israel, Poland, etc... There are lots of better examples to emulate than North Korea, eh.

The way they are going they are going to try the route of Germany and Japan. Which, by the way, is what this post is about, eh.

4/22/2008 05:43:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

Boghie. I took your advice.

4/22/2008 05:45:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4/22/2008 05:49:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Wretchard,

I've got my 'Panic Now' sandwich board on. I am going to dress in all pink and squeal at the top of my lungs:

"We cannot defeat the Mighty Sadrist"

"al Qaeda can beat us with pipe bombs"

Run, run away Brave Sir Robin.

"The End is Near!!!"

4/22/2008 05:50:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Wretchard,

One end game of the 'Three Conjectures' has been my greatest fear, the other a favored dream.

There are two ends to this movie.

It is a very good thing that it is starting to look like the chaps in the white hats will be walking into a natural sunset at the end of the flick.

I hate those man-made sunsets. I really hate them.

Regardless, it may all depend on whether we elect Neville or Winston. Or, maybe not. Things are moving along rather well now. The fat lady is warming up. The organ pipes are starting to murmur. Some dudes in the back are practicing a Gregorian chant. Time will tell, eh.

4/22/2008 05:57:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

We're getting an overload of Hillary/Obama peacenik propaganda right now. The proof of the pudding will be who actually ends up being elected President, and whether the American electorate will continue to want a President who will press the fight against terrorism.

We just are not hearing from that segment of the population while the Democrats are busy with their internal cockfight. McCain is laying low, too, and why shouldn't he? There's time enough for war promises *after* the conventions when we actually know who the candidates will be, and how much they're willing to sell America down the river for some whacked-out vision of 'peace and stability'.

4/22/2008 06:31:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Samuel Johnson, in his letter to Lord Chesterfield, wrote, "A fly, Sir, may sting a stately horse and make him wince; but one is but an insect, and the other is a horse still."

Sometimes just swishing the tail back and forth is enough.

4/22/2008 06:37:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Sometimes just swishing the tail back and forth is enough

I have to believe that watching all those tall, strong, smart young Americans swarming through their country, building and making things happen has had an enormous impact upon both Iraqi's and the rest of the Middle East. THIS is how you build a country ... and what has memorizing the Koran achieved for you lately.

4/22/2008 06:40:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Teresita is quite wrong.

Tehran regularly threatens to nuke Israel. They do this to gain support in the Muslim world as the "true" enemy of America and Israel. See Zawahari's statements about 9/11 Truthers being pawns of Iran in that regard (to as Zawahari put it, deny AQ it's great triumph).

Tehran has threatened/promised to proliferate technology. Which would diminish it's own nuclear weapons value (if everyone else around them has them too).

Tehran is enriching uranium, alongside plutonium production. HEU can be easily made into a "gun-type" bomb delivered by shipping container. That menace is more aimed at the US than Israel (which has little international cargo).

Tehran has habitually attacked the US with carbombs: US Embassy in Beirut, Khobar Towers, Marine Barracks. Tehran has sought war with the US (Hostage crisis) and never wavered. Tehran has boasted the Monroe Doctrine is dead (because they bombed Buenos Aires to successfully intimidate Argentina into resuming cooperation in their nuclear program).

Teresita's argument is the worst sort of boomer Narcissism. It boils down two the lack of ability of the Tehran regime to choose on it's own to attack the US. That Khomeni and Khameni don't believe what they said. That the men in Tehran are just like the boomer narcissists that believe in nothing in San Francisco or New York or Chicago. That all evil in Tehran can be adduced to ration fear of the US. Which we note has done nothing in retaliation.

The only rational conclusion looking at the evidence is that Tehran has attacked the US with impunity, found no consequences, and plans to attack us again (they provided help to the 9/11 plot at the highest levels) to "destroy us" believing us weak.

Teresita is stuck in 1972. Believing that Tehran = Moscow under Brezhnev. It's a tremendous flaw in logic, and one typically found in Liberals who can never leave the 1970's.

Wretchard -- I told you. America's political system is not willing to tolerate the money, blood, and effort needed to stave off calamity. We WILL lose several American cities (likely Dems and the Media will forestall any reaction ala Moveon.org's opposition to Afghanistan bombing).

Then we will kill half the Muslim world as a matter of pure survival. ISRAEL cannot stir itself to act ... because it would enrage the world press, cause embarrassment to the liberals at home, deny the fantasy that suburban liberalism holds ... that evil exists only in far away places and then only because we did something bad. And can be solved by a good round of talking. That all war is bad, and anything preferable to it.

Well, tell that to the families of those who died on 9/11. I'm sure they would have preferred war. I'm sure the millions of US dead will provoke the sea change that has been coming: suburban West meets Tribal Islam head on.

China has this problem too, btw.

4/22/2008 06:53:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

No, Iran is seeking nuclear weapons to prevent the United States from doing to it what it does to non-nuclear powers it doesn't like (Iraq, Somalia, Grenada, Libya). Iran wants to be treated like the nuclear powers the United States doesn't like (Russia, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea).

What a goofy bunch of nonsense.

Teresita needs her head examined by a good doctor.

4/22/2008 06:58:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

No, Iran is seeking nuclear weapons

And, by the way, you have finally admitted the obvious, which you denied for so long.

I am looking in the yellow pages for a low cost shrink, my good friend.

And I will pay for the treatment.

4/22/2008 07:01:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Ayers-Dohrn audio

Mike Allen, Ayers-Dohrn audio With Hugh Hewitt
04220801 Hewitt: Hour 1 - Hugh gets a preview of the Pennsylvania primary from Politico.com reporter Mike Allen, and then plays an amazing series of audio cuts of Barack Obama's friends, Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.

The Ayers-Dohrn 2007 Audio

Mark Steyn and James Lileks have reacted on tonight's show to the 2007 audio of Ayers and Dohrn dug up by Guy Benson. Much should be written about it and what it tells us about Senator Obama, but whether the MSM even notices remains to be seen.

A caller from North Carolina, Steve, noted the obvious: We know what Dohrn and Ayers were thinking about the U.S. in 2007. We know that they know Obama well, and have "vetted" him. And we know they supported him from 1995 forward.

4/22/2008 07:08:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

sorry o/t, but, doug, take a look:

Bernardine Dohrn, on the Manson murders:

''Dig It. First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them, they even shoved a fork into a victim’s stomach! Wild!''

Nowadays she's a lawyer, member of the American Bar Association’s governing elite, and director of Northwestern University’s Children and Family Justice Center.

4/22/2008 08:04:00 PM  
Blogger Nomenklatura said...

It's comforting to think you can 'obliterate' an enemy.

If however they acquire the power to obliterate one city, and you're more scared of that than they are of what you can do to them, then they can still lead you by the nose wherever they want to go.

4/22/2008 08:05:00 PM  
Blogger Elijah said...

one perspective on the subject thread

4/22/2008 08:06:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

I wrote in the Three Conjectures that the eventual cost of not fighting the War on Terror selectively and aggressively would be the necessity to obliterate enemy populations indiscriminately.

Nowhere have I heard any better confirmation of why I firmly believe that the West's current plan for defeating Islam will lead directly to a Muslim holocaust.

4/22/2008 08:20:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Bobal said:

"What a goofy bunch of nonsense. Teresita needs her head examined by a good doctor."

If you can tolerate it, take a look at www.dailykos.com or moveon.org . On the moonbat bell curve, she's relatively rational (scary isn't it?).

p.s. Excellent news that Hillary defeated Barack Hussein in Pennsylvania by over 10%. That was the magic number for her to remain a player. If Hussein was a real patriot rather than a 2-bit demagogue he'd negotiate with Hillary for her to run as President with himself as V.P. The Democratic Party leadership should be commanding Hussein to do this.

4/22/2008 08:46:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Eggplant: If Hussein was a real patriot rather than a 2-bit demagogue he'd negotiate with Hillary for her to run as President with himself as V.P.

That's insane. He's up by 150 delegates, and Clintoon's win in PA shaves that by probably 16 delegates. Even if she does the same thing in Indiana, it will be more than balanced by his certain win in NC. And only five superdelegates have thrown in with Clintoon since Feb. 5. You don't tug on Superman's cape and you don't go to the front runner and say, "Okay, if you surrender, I'll let you be number two."

4/22/2008 09:03:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Let me add to Whiskey's refute of Teresita's post...

If Iran wanted nuclear power they could have been generating energy right now.

Right Now.

But, they want the ability to generate Weapons Grade Uranium (Highly Enriched Uranium) that cannot be traced or measured.

They could have had a standard nuclear power plant up and running for at least a few years now.

Another point Teresita. Please review the battle plan for the initial attack on Iraq. Please note the size of the units, the dispersion of the units, the speed of advance. Our strategy in the initial strike had positives and negatives. On the positive side, advancing rapidly in small and dispersed units is mandated when you expect to be targeted by WMD. On the negative side, small rapidly advancing and dispersed units have a hard time holding ground and controlling the battlespace.

Teresita, why did we choose the strategy we did if we did not expect WMD strikes – especially when that battle plan would make ‘keeping the peace’ more problematic?

Teresita, assuming you agree that we chose a battle plan that marginalizes the effect of WMD why do you think that a nation having WMD negates our action? We have no desire to attack Russia, China, India, and Pakistan. We also have no desire to attack Brittan, France, Brazil, Israel, or South Africa. Nor do we have a desire to attack Mexico, Canada, Poland, Taiwan, South Korea, etc… And, we can just watch as the lights go out on North Korea – so why attack it.

4/22/2008 09:15:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

I would add, we have no desire to attack Sweden, Norway. Being Nordic.

4/22/2008 09:26:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

Being Nordic, I would add that.

4/22/2008 09:33:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Not really sure what you're driving at, Buddy:
Surely you must remember this link I posted, ( '60s Radical Bill Ayers Now Mainstream ) which establishes Dorhn and her husband as *mainstream.*
They are both *tenured professors,* after all,

"whose work on school reform and juvenile justice have won them bipartisan respect.
Ayers is an informal adviser to Mayor Richard M. Daley and has been awarded more than $50 million in charitable grants for his promotion of small schools as a solution to a crisis in education. Dohrn lectures widely on children's law and serves on a variety of boards and committees.
"

---
I guess what I'm trying to say is that your Dorhn quote was spoken when young Barry was only 8 years old, just as Sharon Tate was only 8 months pregnant when she and that clump of cells were terminated.
Then was then, now is now, just as that recording was made back in 2007, NOT now, in the midst of Barry's run for the Presidency.

Some people just can't let go.

4/22/2008 09:35:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

i guess what i wuz wondering, doug, lost as i am in my unevolved state of being, is if, considering the great amount of competition for the professional, academic, governmental, civic, and NGO plums each of the former bombers has been harvesting steadily ever since they escaped on various technicalities their earned lives in prison, whether there exists some sort of shadow party that has been advancing their interests precisely because of their traitorious and criminal past, and if so, then why it wouldn't be truthful to consider the various bombings, robberies, and murders as some sort of audition, or job application, or presentation of portfolio.

4/22/2008 09:56:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

there exists some sort of shadow party


There does, all round us, now catch some sleep.

4/22/2008 10:03:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

I'll add that Tehran's nuclear program dates to 1980. During the time when Jimmy Carter was on his knees to Iran.

Zenster put it better and shorter than I could.

It's all because the West looks at immediate not long-term costs.

4/22/2008 10:14:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

um, okay -- wonder where there's a safe place to doze off?

4/22/2008 10:20:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

Anywheres.

4/22/2008 10:24:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Is that Swedish?

4/22/2008 10:48:00 PM  
Blogger xlbrl said...

Stupid questions beget stupid answers. If Iran Nukes Israel, the U.S. would have little left to choose from in targeting Iran.

4/22/2008 10:53:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

Svedkin.

4/22/2008 10:55:00 PM  
Blogger xlbrl said...

Stupid questoins beget stupid answers. If Iran nukes Israel, the U.S. will have little left to target in Iran.

4/22/2008 10:55:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I don't think the competition is as stiff as you imagine, Buddy, since people WITHOUT such special resume enhancements are immediately disqualified as lacking distinction.

Probably better suited to the lowly confines of private enterprise, serving only to support the vital services performed by those in public employ.

4/22/2008 10:59:00 PM  
Blogger John Lynch said...

Niall Ferguson brought up the problem with deterrence in his book "War of the World." It gives the initiative to the enemy, to attack at a time and place of his choosing.

That's why the US never, ever ruled out a first use of nuclear weapons when faced with the USSR.

It's also why Germany attacked Poland. They weren't deterred.

If we lack the strength to attack Iran, it seems to me that the best way to deal with them is to find the strength. The British failed to build a large enough army before WW2, so had to do it during the war when it was too late to save Poland and France.

Ironically, this is also a better deterrent. If we draw a line, the Iranians will always find a way to not cross it while causing a maximum inconvenience. If we just have a very large and well equipped army, they may worry about what we'll do rather than having a free hand. That's a better situation for us.

4/22/2008 11:38:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

xlbrl: Stupid questoins beget stupid answers. If Iran nukes Israel, the U.S. will have little left to target in Iran.

Bingo. Israel has three German subs which they have fitted with nuclear missiles, she has nukes small enough to fit on F16s, and she has an arsenal of land-based rockets tipped with nukes. Iran has to take out all of these legs of Israel's "triad" before contemplating a first-strike. All of this strategery has been hashed out long ago in the 60's when it was all about the US/SU.

4/23/2008 04:32:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

I agree -- nothing for Israel to worry about -- besides, Texas is a long way from Tel Aviv and the prevailing winds should keep me safe & comfy.

4/23/2008 09:22:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

"That's insane. He's up by 150 delegates, and Clintoon's win in PA shaves that by probably 16 delegates."

That's immaterial, since the Dems didn't bother to fully vet Obama until over halfway through the process. Suddenly there are LOTS of questions Obama seems to have to be answering..."can't I just eat my waffle?"

It all depends on their ultimate goal, really. If their true goal is to just win the 2008 election, they'd be much better off pressuring Obama to deal and be the veep candidate, with the understanding that he'll get full backing as the prez candidate next time around.

If, on the other hand, their goal is to strengthen the party and keep it viable by not driving off the thousands of squadrons of new moonbat's they've collected this election cycle, then they should simply let the process play out.

They should also get rid of the "superdelegates" before another election season comes. What a stupid contraption they are.

4/23/2008 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

If Iran is able to take casualties akin to the Iran-Iraq War (which is the stated policy of Khameni and everyone else) then yes they can destroy Israel.

As Ahmadinejad has said repeatedly.

A surprise attack, which is quite possible, would leave Israel only minutes to respond. It's quite possible for less than 100 missiles to destroy Israel's land and air based nuclear retaliation.

Leaving Mediterranean based diesel subs with cruise missiles the only way to retaliate (after most of Israel is dead). Iran can kill most of Israel's 5 million Jews, and in response all Israel can do is kill perhaps a million or so in Qom, Tehran, a few other major cities.

Iran will go on. Israel will be dead.

Israel knows this. Yet it will not act. It can't. It clings to the same fantasy that Jews did in Warsaw, or Berlin, or Paris did. The alternative is just too horrible to contemplate.

The CIA will testify that the North Koreans were operating a plutonium weapons plant in Syria that Israel bombed. We know the danger to ourselves. We refuse to act also.

4/23/2008 01:04:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

whiskey_199: I'll add that Tehran's nuclear program dates to 1980. During the time when Jimmy Carter was on his knees to Iran.

Zenster put it better and shorter than I could.

It's all because the West looks at immediate not long-term costs.


Whiskey_199, I invite you and other Belmont Clubbers over to Gates of Vienna for an incredibly well written piece titled "Surrender, Genocide… or What?" by “The Danish Civil War” author, El Inglés.

Using pure layman's logic and exceptionally lucid writing, he lays out, what is rapidly becoming, Europe's almost unavoidable descent into genocide. As with Wretchard's own comments, all of it serves to cement my personal prediction of this tragically avoidable bloodbath. As always, remember:

ISLAM WOULDN'T HAVE IT ANY OTHER WAY.

4/24/2008 01:29:00 AM  

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