4 years, 9 months ago
The Washington Times runs a piece today that serves as a useful, historical lesson.
There are no, particularly surprising or revealing facts reported. In this respect, the article is a bit of a re-hash of stories that emphasize the costs of taking direct, military action against the Iranian Regime:
Iran is contemplating violently shutting down shipping in the Persian Gulf as one of several counterattack options if Israel strikes its nuclear facilities, regional and intelligence analysts say.
Such attacks would present the Obama administration with the option of undertaking a limited war against Iran by striking its warships and shore-based anti-ship missiles to keep the Gulf open for business.
“One of the things that Iran has exercised, has the capability to do, is shut down the Persian Gulf,” Mr. Johnson said. “The best-case scenario is they shut it down for a week. The worst case is they shut it down for three to four months.”
He said Iran could unleash small boats laden with explosives “that we don’t have adequate covers for. Add to that the ability to fire multiple missiles. Our naval force will try to stop it, and that’s the hope.”
Mr. Johnson, now a consultant on counterterrorism, said Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, which has orchestrated attacks against the U.S. in Iraq, also likely would hit targets in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations.
“I think we would be looking at a significant wave of terrorist retaliation by them,” he said.
What makes this article worthwhile is what it says about the point we find ourselves in at this juncture of our struggle against Islamofascism. As all the news accounts indicate, stirred by the recent IAEA report, Iran is much closer to developing a nuclear arsenal. There is a sudden panic among policymakers to head off Iran’s nuclear program. We are, evidently, at the eleventh hour and The Washington Times article duly recites the serious consequences of any attempt to disrupt Iran’s nuke program by overt military action.
The sad fact is that the West is facing yet another instance of weakness in the face of tyranny.
As Winston Churchill noted in his brilliant history of World War II, The Gathering Storm, Vol. I, p. 218 (Mariner Books Ed.):
Mr. Chamberlain was imbued with a sense of a special and personal mission to come to friendly terms with the Dictators of Italy and Germany, and he conceived himself capable of achieving this relationship. To Mussolini he wished to accord recognition of the Italian conquest of Abyssinia as a prelude to a general settlement of differences. To Hitler he was prepared to offer colonial concessions.
Does Chamberlain remind you of any, current political figure who believes in their own, personal charm and powers of persuasion? Someone who is willing to cede concessions to dictators in the hopes of currying their favor and cooperation?
Here is the heart of the matter. The historical parallels are astounding. Churchill summarizes the state of things as Adolph Hitler threatened Poland with invasion in 1939:
In this sad tale of wrong judgments formed by well-meaning and capable people we now reach our climax… Look back and see what we had successively accepted or thrown away: a Germany disarmed by solemn treaty; a Germany rearmed in violation of a solemn treaty; air superiority or even air parity cast away; the Rhineland forcibly occupied and the Siegfried Line built or building; the Berlin-Rome Axis established; Austria devoured and digested by the Reich; Czechoslovakia deserted and ruined by the Munich Pact, its fortress line in German hands, its mighty arsenal of Skoda henceforward making muitions for the German armies; President Roosevelt’s attempts to [intervene] waved aside with one hand, and Soviet Russia’s undoubted willingness to join the Western Powers and go all lengths to save Czechoslovakia ignored on the other; the services of thirty-five Czech divisions against the still unripened German Army cast away, when Great Britain could herself supply only two to strengthen the front in France; all gone with the wind.
… There was sense in fighting for Czechoslovakia in 1938 when the German Army could scarcely put half a dozen trained divisions on the Western Front, when the French with nearly sixty or seventy divisions could most certainly have rollend forward across the Rhine or into the Ruhr. But this had been judged unreasonable, rash, below the level of modern intellectual thought and morality…. History… may be scoured and ransacked to find a parallel to the sudden and complete reversal of five or six years’ policy of easy-going placatory appeasement, and its transformation almost overnight into a readiness to accept an obviously imminent war on far worse conditions and on the greatest scale.
This is the situation now facing us with Iran, but the indictment is far greater for us. We have thrown away decades of advantage on “placatory appeasement” with Iran, refusing to confront their repeated attacks and declared ambitions to do us further harm. “Death to the American Satan” was not just an idle slogans for the Regime in Tehran.
There were decades when the U.S. could have unseated the Regime. From the very beginning in 1979 when the terror masters invaded our embassy and took our diplomats and Marines hostage, the U.S. had ample cause to take down the Regime. But we had Jimmy Carter at the helm and he refused to act. Reagan, George H. Bush, Clinton and George W. Bush all failed to take down the Regime despite clear provocations and at a time when the power of the Regime to retaliate was far weaker. During this time, “regime change” was the stated and official U.S. policy.
Now it falls to this pitiful Administration to make the hard choice. We refused to take action when action would have been comparatively easy. Churchill’s words echo: this was judged unreasonable, rash, below the level of modern intellectual thought and morality. Now we are forced to confront a Regime that is far better armed, with weapons and means to inflict serious injury to our economy and well-being.
Here again Churchill speaks directly to us:
Still, if you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed, if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly, you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than live as slaves.
The U.S. has certainly passed the first stage and the second stage. Fighting now will certainly be costly, but hopefully not “precarious.” Yet. We dare not delay any longer. If an Islamofascist Iran obtains a store of nuclear weapons (assuming that they do not already have at least a few), things begin to look increasingly precarious. May we never reach that stage.