The Admixture Of Military And Law Enforcement

Herschel Smith · 20 Apr 2014 · 9 Comments

My son Daniel did a combat tour of Fallujah in 2007, but his other deployment with the Marine Corps was a MEU to the Gulf of Aden and Persian Gulf (which both he and I think is a horrible way to throw away money if we're never going to use the Marine Corps for anything on these MEUs except for humanitarian missions - but that's another topic). As the pre-deployment workup for this MEU, the Battalion underwent extensive training in evidence collection protocol and procedures.  At the time I…… [read more]

It’s the Regime, Stupid: Missing the Point on Iranian Nuclear Weapons

BY Glen Tschirgi
2 years, 1 month ago

Here are the key, closing paragraphs of an opinion piece by GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney in The Washington Post on March 5, 2012:

As for Iran in particular, I will take every measure necessary to check the evil regime of the ayatollahs. Until Iran ceases its nuclear-bomb program, I will press for ever-tightening sanctions, acting with other countries if we can but alone if we must. I will speak out on behalf of the cause of democracy in Iran and support Iranian dissidents who are fighting for their freedom. I will make clear that America’s commitment to Israel’s security and survival is absolute. I will demonstrate our commitment to the world by making Jerusalem the destination of my first foreign trip.

Most important, I will buttress my diplomacy with a military option that will persuade the ayatollahs to abandon their nuclear ambitions. Only when they understand that at the end of that road lies not nuclear weapons but ruin will there be a real chance for a peaceful resolution.

I am not seeking to pick on Mitt Romney.  Rather, his approach to the obvious Iranian drive for nuclear weapons is emblematic of a far wider phenomenon.   As James Carville so succinctly pointed out, the 1992 presidential campaign primarily turned upon the economy and not national security (“the economy, stupid”).   It must be pointed out (repeatedly) in this context that the primary issue is not the development of nuclear weapons per se but the nature of those who would control such weapons.  In short, It’s the Regime, Stupid.

It is a fool’s errand to simply “check the evil regime” or “persuade the ayatollahs to abandon their nuclear ambitions.”   This is akin to persuading water to flow uphill.   The Iranian Regime seeks nuclear weapons because they rightly surmise that possession of such weapons provides them with the same kind of invulnerability that has allowed a succession of dictators in North Korea from being threatened by the West.   No amount of sanctions or finger-wagging or diplomacy will convince them otherwise.

We must face the fact that the nuclear genie is already out of the bottle when it comes to Iran.   They have the scientists and industrial resources right now to re-build or re-constitute their nuclear program even if the U.S. and/or Israel successfully destroyed the present facilities.   According to the German newspaper, Die Welt, the Iranians have already successfully tested a uranium nuclear device under cover in North Korea.

This is not to say that the United States should throw up its hands and accept the inevitable.   By all means, preventing the Regime from advancing further and producing multiple devices in the near future is an imperative.   But it is simply not enough.   As Jamie Fly and Gary Schmitt argue in Foreign Affairs :

The Obama administration has avoided the choice between a military operation and a nuclear Iran — relying on the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusions that Iran has not made the final decision to develop a weapon. But if history is any guide, its faith in receiving any intelligence to the contrary in a timely and unambiguous way is misplaced. Kroenig is correct then to argue that a military strike should be in the cards. But he is wrong to suggest that a limited strike is the only one that should be on the table. If strikes are chosen, it would be far better to put the regime at risk than to leave it wounded but still nuclear capable and ready to fight another day.

But even beyond this view, the real hope— the only hope, really– is that the Iranian people will reject the militant Islamist policies of the Regime and return the country to its pro-Western, democratic norm.   If an open, pro-Western government is installed in Tehran, the fears and difficulties associated with nuclear weapons dissipate.   In the end, it is already too late to keep Iran from possessing nuclear weapons if they truly want them.   We can only ensure that those possessing such weapons are at least as unlikely as India to use them for nefarious ends.   The 21st Century, in fact, will largely be about not only preventing the spread of nuclear weapons but, perhaps more than anything, about ensuring that dangerous regimes who seek them are toppled quickly and remorselessly.

Game Over? Iran Within “Weeks” of Nuclear Weapon

BY Glen Tschirgi
2 years, 10 months ago

From Ynet News, this article:

The Iranian regime is closer than ever before to creating a nuclear bomb, according to RAND Corporation researcher Gregory S. Jones.

At its current rate of uranium enrichment, Tehran could have enough for its first bomb within eight weeks, Jones said in a report published this week.

The full RAND Corporation report is available here.

The report, titled, “Iran’s Nuclear Future, Critical U.S. Policy Choices,” was prepared specifically for the U.S. Air Force.  The report takes a four-step approach and in the first three steps it analyzes Iran’s nuclear program in the context of the Middle East and suggests broad policy options before getting to specifics relevant to the Air Force.   From my review of the report, it is assumed that Iran has or will soon have, at the very least, latent nuclear capabilities, i.e., the ability to quickly assemble a nuclear device while not openly demonstrating or testing that ability.   The report suggests several approaches for trying to dissuade Iran from fully developing a nuclear capability and, in the event that Iran does proceed with nukes, various approaches for containing or dissuading their use.

The significance of the Ynet article is the indication by one of the RAND researchers that it is already too late to stop the Iranian nuclear program by air power alone.   According to Gregory S. Jones:

He added that despite reports of setbacks in its nuclear program, the Iranian regime is steadily progressing towards a bomb. Unfortunately, Jones says, there is nothing the US can do to stop Tehran, short of military occupation.

The researcher based his report on recent findings by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), published two weeks ago. Making the bomb will take around two months, he says, because constructing a nuclear warhead is a complicated step in the process.

Jones stresses that stopping Iran will require deploying forces on the ground, because airstrikes are no longer sufficient. The reality is that the US and Israel have failed to keep Iran from developing a nuclear warhead whenever it wants, Jones says.

If this is an accurate assessment, then the world has gotten far more dangerous and America will pay a very steep price for having elected a President who was willing to allow the Iranian Regime an additional two years for nuclear development.   This does not absolve, by any means, George W. Bush for his malfeasance on this issue.  He should never have declared that Iran would not be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon if he meant to simply kick the can down the road to the next President.  Nonetheless, there is no denying that Obama was handed a golden opportunity to fundamentally change the Middle East in 2009 when the Iranian people rose up to demand their political freedom from the brutal regime.  Allowing that regime to crush the uprising was an unforgivable error and no amount of Bush bashing will ever change that fact.

If there is any hope in the current predicament it lies in the 2012 U.S. elections and the possibility that a new President will have the skill and determination to support regime change in Iran.   After all the false promises of the so-called “Arab Spring,” Iran may be the one place in the Middle East where a true, Western democracy can actually emerge, one that no longer poses a grave threat to the U.S. and its allies in the region.


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