Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Put Paddy Mac in the pro-Iran War camp

Apparently unhappy with the war we already have in Iraq, the Journal Sentinel's Patrick McIlheran is signaling he wants one with Iran as well.

That's the only way to read some recent posts from Paddy. Just the other day he praised Norman Podhoretz's "World War IV: The Long Struggle with Islamofascism," a book he was reading as he dispensed candy to trick-or-treaters. The book -- as does Podhoretz in speeches and interviews -- calls for a conflict with Iran before it goes nuclear. "Truly frightening" Paddy says of the book -- and the Brawler agrees, albeit for what he suspects are different reasons.

And on October 29, Paddy approvingly quoted Mark Steyn who said this:

The difference between the old Indian territory and the new is this: No-one had to worry about the Sioux riding down Fifth Avenue ... But Iran has put bounties on London novelists, assassinated dissidents in Paris, blown up community centres in Buenos Aires, seeded proxy terror groups in Lebanon and Palestine, radicalized Muslim populations throughout Central Asia — and it's now going nuclear.
Of course, Paddy Mac -- who has a nasty habit of conflating differing groups of people in the Middle East (including some who hate each other) into a monolithic Islamofascist threat -- has hyped the Iranian threat before. And he's intimated, without coming right out and saying so, that he wouldn't mind a tactical nuke or two thrown at Iran. Back in January, Paddy wrote:

“The Israelis believe that Iran’s retaliation would be constrained by fear of a second strike if it were to launch its Shehab-3 ballistic missiles at Israel,” writes the Times: That is, the Israelis feel they have the threat necessary to make Iran accept that it can’t actually do what its president says he will, wiping Israel off the map. ...

Yeah, we’ve heard the arguments that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad doesn’t really mean it or somehow doesn’t count, despite being Iran’s president, and despite the other big power in Iran, supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei, also calling for Israel to be nuked -- one simply needs to state these arguments to see them as nonsense.

Hmm. Some people don't think these arguments are nonsense -- and some think going to war, or "merely dropping bombs" on Iran -- is a horrible idea.

Like this guy:

Any attempt to disarm Iran through the use of military options would in all likelihood damage America’s interests in the region. While a military option might inflict significant damage on Iran’s infrastructure by damaging or destroying its nuclear weapons program, disrupting its regional ambitions, and possibly serving as a deterrent to future proliferators, the likely costs would far outweigh the benefits.

First, any military action against Iran would send seismic shocks through global energy markets at a time when the price of oil is already at record highs. ...

Any direct military action against Iran could also have a significant impact on America’s war on terrorism. Such action would only serve to confirm many of Osama bin Laden’s statements that the United States is at war with the world of Islam. This charge would be difficult to counter, given the fact that the United States has looked the other way for years with regard to Israel’s nuclear program, accepted India as a legitimate nuclear-state, and is negotiating with North Korea regarding its nuclear ambitions.

Any military action against Iran would also undermine America’s nation-building efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, due to possible Iranian retaliation in both countries. While Iranian efforts toward stabilizing these two states have been sporadic at best, and purposively obstructive at worst, there is little reason to doubt that Iran could make achieving US objectives in Iraq and Afghanistan far more difficult.

Military strikes against Tehran would also undermine Washington’s long-term goal of seeing reform movements succeed in Iran. If the history of military incursions and the Iranian nation teach us anything it is the fact that intervention is likely to solidify
support for the current regime. The idea that the Iranian people would react to a military strike by advocating the overthrow of the existing regime is delusional.

Moreover, any preventive attack, no matter how effective, is only a temporary fix. First, such a campaign will eliminate only that portion of Iran’s nuclear program known to intelligence agencies. Even after the extensive bombing campaign of the 1990-1991 Gulf War, subsequent inspections discovered large parts of Iraq’s unconventional weapons programs that were previously unknown.

More importantly, even if such an attack succeeded in eliminating significant facets of Iran’s nuclear program, it would do little toward discouraging Iran from rebuilding those assets. Thus, even after a fully successful denial campaign, the United States, in a number of years, would likely face the prospect of having to do it all over again."
The author is Christopher Hemmer, who currently serves as an Associate Professor of International Security Studies at the Air War College and has studied and written on the Middle East. The article was published in the Autumn issue of Parameters, the Army War College quarterly.

Of course, in Paddy's world, a guy like Hemmer has less credibility than ideologues such as the Podhoretzes and Steyns of the world.

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