“Will The U.S. Attack Iran?” Having The Wrong Conversation

BY Glen Tschirgi
1 year, 10 months ago

Last week, Lee Smith published an article in Tablet that gave three, main reasons why the United States is not going to attack Iran now nor will it attack Iran under a President Romney, notwithstanding all the talk to the contrary.

This article got quite a bit of play in the Statist Media because, it was argued, the article seemingly showed that Mitt Romney is carrying on a charade of getting tough on Iran and that any criticisms of President Obama’s current Iran policy are hollow or hypocritical.

Lee Smith advances three, main arguments for why no Republican president would openly attack Iran:  1) Domestic politics;  2) History of Iran-U.S. relations, and;  3) the disguised reliance upon nuclear deterrence.

The article makes perfect sense at a certain level.   On domestic politics, Smith is correct, but for the wrong reasons.   While Smith points to the desire to avoid destabilizing economic effects of any attack, the real bar to Republican action is entirely political.   The Democrats established a clear precedent with George W. Bush that any military action abroad, even if a broad authorization is obtained from Congress in advance, will be subjected to the worst partisan attacks and scurrilous accusations.   Democrats will mobilize every resource to demonize a Republican president who dares to use force against America’s enemies.   Use of force is an exclusive, Democrat prerogative.

On the history of dealings with Iran, Smith also scores points:

No American president has ever drawn red lines for Tehran and enforced them by showing that transgressions are swiftly and severely punished.

It’s true that it was a Democrat, Jimmy Carter, who sat by idly when Ayatollah Khomeini and the founders of the Islamic Republic stormed the U.S. embassy and held Americans hostage for 444 days. But GOP hero Ronald Reagan provided the Iranians with arms—after the Islamic Republic’s Lebanese asset, Hezbollah, killed 241 U.S. Marines in the 1983 bombing of their barracks at the Beirut airport. When the FBI said Tehran was responsible for the 1996 bombing of Khobar Towers, Bill Clinton failed to respond or even name Iran, lest it derail the “dialogue of civilizations” promised by the newly elected reform-minded president Muhammad Khatami. And the last Republican in the White House was no more proactive in countering Iran’s actual attacks on Americans: The more than 100,000 American servicemen and -women that Bush had dispatched to Iraq were targeted by the IRGC and their local allies, a fact that U.S. officials tended to obscure and did little to change when they did acknowledge it.

As to a hidden reliance on nuclear deterrence, Smith is also likely correct:

If you can kill Americans without any consequences and the Americans will in fact collaborate in covering up your malfeasance, you can certainly build a nuclear weapons facility without too much concern that the Americans are really keeping “all options on the table”; the White House is not and almost surely never will—no matter who’s calling the shots. Short of an American city suffering thousands of casualties in a nuclear attack that the Iranians boast of publicly, it is difficult to know what would compel a U.S. president to take military action against Iran.

Maybe U.S. policymakers just believe, in spite of what they say publicly, that Iran really isn’t that big a deal. Remember that even today, a number of American officials, civilian and military, cut their teeth on Cold War strategy, an era when the United States faced off against a real superpower. Washington and Moscow fought proxy wars against each other on four continents with the fear of an eventual nuclear exchange leading to mutually assured destruction looming in the background. Perhaps, if seen in this context, for American policymakers Iran just doesn’t rise to a genuine threat level.

The problem with Smith’s analysis (and many others who have been endlessly debating the pros and cons of attacking Iran to stop its nuclear weapons development) is that it fundamentally is the wrong conversation.

The focus of the debate should not be about stopping a totalitarian, Islamist regime devoted to martyrdom from getting nuclear weapons.   The focus should be on removing the Regime itself.  The Iranian people have lived long enough under the hand of an oppressive theocracy to know that the next government must be anything but that.  The Green Movement that began with the phony elections of 2009 explicitly called for a true, secular, democratic government.  The Regime immediately recognized the counter-revolutionary nature of the Greens and put it down with absolute brutality.  The Regime knows that the people of Iran want normalized relations with the U.S. and the West in general.  Any change in government is going to be a sharp repudiation of the current leadership and the mullahs.

Fortunately for the U.S. and the West, the Regime is clinging on to power on a cliff’s edge of explosive public unrest and simmering revolution.   All that is needed to effect the removal of the Regime is a little… more… time.

This plays directly into the debate over Israel’s decision whether to attack Iran.

The current debate suffers from the same mistake.   Critics endlessly point out that even if Israel could muster the nerve and assets to attack Iranian facilities any such attack would “only” delay the Iranian nuclear program, not end it.   If any attack could end Iran’s nuclear program that would certainly be preferable.   But that is, of course, highly unlikely.   Delaying the program, however, is the very point.   Delaying the program is more than a sufficient goal because it gives more time to change the leadership of Iran.

Obama has been doing everything in its power to subvert and forestall an attack by Israel against Iran’s nuclear facilities.   This is directly contrary to U.S. interests in bringing down the Iranian Regime.  An attack by Israel, even if incomplete, would undeniably set back the Iranian nuclear program by some years according to most estimates.   This additional time could be the crucial difference in allowing the U.S. to work, covertly, toward bringing down the Regime.

In the end, the U.S. must realize that it is not the possession of nuclear weapons in and of itself that should be feared.   It is the government that possesses such weapons.   Simply seeking to keep nuclear technology out of the hands of totalitarian regimes is, ultimately futile.  As North Korea demonstrated, with enough determination and sacrifice, even a poverty-stricken country can get nuclear weapons.  The goal must always be to eliminate any regime that evidences any intention to go nuclear.   It is a red line that cannot be crossed.

How and when we go about doing that is the conversation we should be having.



  • http://www.skywatchmap.org Rich Buckley

    Glen,

    Yes, “The focus should be on removing the Regime itself.”

    An avenue I’ve harped on at least three times in the past months (years?) regarding the actual process is to start by insuring all internet, phone, and communication links inside Iran that are available for Iranian use, has a back-up system that can not be shut down, which is overlaid by western high technology that enables continued transmission (of video’s, voice and pictures) of Iranian descent from within country.

    Americans will not accept another dog and pony show from the joint chiefs of staff, or another false flag operation (my deeply-researched personal opinion of 9/11), as a ruse to auger up another war.

    The evidence of change first needs to appear to “strongly emerge and sustain itself” from the Iranian youth.

    Additionally, for those many, many, many of us who while serving in the military had ET-alien encounter (in or out of military service) of one degree or the other, have connected the dots globally, studied the symbolism as well as the hard evidence, and concluded we are only seeing a small local window of a far greater, multi-dimensional war so large, that no rational mind can reasonably be expected to buy into such a thesis yet that is the level at which we, John Q. Public, must begin to study.

    And just how will buying into such an outlandish thesis of a multi-dimensional war front, change what we do here, one might reasonably ask?

    I would not suggest tasking anyone to publicly admit to my outlandish thesis as it has no career advantages yet. But it’s time is coming and appears to be coming quickly. What I would suggest however is to privately begin preparing yourself by looking at all the latest online reports on just a few subjects:
    (a) What’s going on and has been going on around the Federal Reserve.
    (b) What’s going on and has been going on with alternative energy studies in Zero Point Energy research.
    (c) What’s going on and has been going on in “symbolism in-your-face displays” globally at events such as half-time entertainment at the Super Bowl and Closing Ceremonies at the London Olympics.

    This doesn’t mean we will execute our tactics and field maneuvers any differently, it simply means we will who, where, and what the enemy actually is…. and that changes many strategies to follow, including how we deal with Iran and what level(s) of force we bring to bear on the events to surely follow. You are fundamentally and absolutely correct that…”The focus should be on removing the Regime itself,” or get them to see through the fog of the moment that were they plan to be a decade from now may not be so different from where the west wants to be a decade from now.

  • Pingback: We Know How to Remove the Terrorist Regime In Tehran – So Why Haven’t We Done It? | Daily Pundit

  • http://www.captainsjournal.com/ Herschel Smith

    Rich,

    Sigh …

    I’m going to use this as an opportunity to say what is needed. It’s as good as any other time or means. I have been patient with your musings, but when you digress into ET experiences, conspiracy theories (clearly these aren’t acceptable on my site and I’ve said so many times before to you), and even marginal things, it detracts from the professionalism of the web site and makes a mockery of the work that Glen and I put into the study, writing and analysis associated with being a good source for advocacy journalism concerning politics, firearms, national security and military. I’ve put too much work into this to watch it crash and burn because of unwarranted postings.

    This is your very last chance. There are no others. There will not be future warnings. Any futher postings such as this will lead to your IP being flagged as spam. Stick to the subject, don’t invoke consipracy theories, and don’t discuss things that would otherwise be just cause for people to mock the site or its authors.

  • Erik

    I do have to question the wisdom of allowing these regimes to collapse on their own. Especially without the proper external support to ensure a “friendly” government takes it’s place (hopefully avoiding more Iraqs).
    We’ve already seen, and are still seeing, radical groups jumping onto whatever opportunity they can to grab power. Primarily this being nations in revolt like Egypt. While I don’t believe red flags are popping up everywhere currently, I definitely don’t want to risk seeing them pop up in much more unstable countries, like Iran. God forbid we spend another decade trying to get the locals to like our soldiers while the enemy runs nilly-willy around the country.

  • http://www.captainsjournal.com/ Herschel Smith

    It’s alright. I fixed it and removed one of the comments. It must happen if you hit submit twice. If you’re not doing that, then there is yet another issue with the site that I need to assess.

    I understand your concern. I too have such a concern with Iran. Michael Ledeen and I have had a friendly debate about whether support for the Green movement is enough to ensure a regime friendly to the West emerges. I advocate assassinations of senior Quds members and other regime authorities. I also advocate other things to ensure a more friendly regime. Iran may in fact pursue a nuclear weapon regardless of whether the Imams are in power just out of Persian pride.

    Nonetheless, taking the Imams out of power is in the best interest of everyone.

  • Erik

    The issue I was referring to was when clicking on the link to view comments from the main page. It always seems to say that there are 5 instead of the 4 that are actually there. Minor issue regardless. The double post I made was entirely my fault.
    I do agree completely that the current governments needs to go but it’ll come down to how it goes and what steps in to take it’s place. That’s the biggest question and the one that we may have to answer to ensure ‘national security.’ How willing is the U.S. government to let Iran’s nuclear research and facilities fall into the “people’s” hands when the “people” might allow some bad dudes free reign?
    Regardless of what happens in Iran, I get the irritating feeling we aren’t done in the Middle East.

  • http://www.captainsjournal.com/ Herschel Smith

    Oh. No, it will display the total number of all comments, treating trackbacks and pingbacks as a comment. So in this case since Daily Pundit linked and commented on the article, it shows that as a comment in the total.


You are currently reading "“Will The U.S. Attack Iran?” Having The Wrong Conversation", entry #8976 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Foreign Policy,Iran,Islamic Facism,Islamists,Israel,Nuclear and was published August 29th, 2012 by Glen Tschirgi.

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