Addict (drugaddict) wrote,
Addict
drugaddict

The Washington Post Strikes (Out) Again

What was bad enough was a disgraceful lead editorial last Sunday
(April 9) entitled "A Good Leak" that praised President Bush's selective
declassification to defend his invasion of Iraq with false
"intelligence," and that in the same paragraph accused Joe Wilson of
"twisting the truth" when in fact Wilson exposed the truth about what
was subsequently revealed to have been based on crude forgeries. Now the
Post has today (April 13) published on its op ed page the following
piece of verbal garbage about Iran. Read the article first and then read
the identity of the author at the end.

*After Diplomacy Fails*
Think Imaginatively About Iran

By Mark Helprin
Thursday, April 13, 2006; A21

Even were one to believe that, despite its low and stagnant per capita
gross national product and having the world's second-largest reserves of
petroleum and natural gas, Iran would invest uneconomically in nuclear
power generation, one would also have to disbelieve that it wanted
nuclear weapons. But with an intermediate-range strategic nuclear
capacity, it could deter American intervention, reign over the Persian
Gulf, further separate Europe from American Middle East policy, correct
a nuclear imbalance with Pakistan, lead and perhaps unify the Islamic
world, and thus create the chance to end Western dominance of the Middle
East and/or with a single shot destroy Israel.

Iran's claim of innocuous nuclear ambitions comports both with the
Islamic doctrine of /taqqiya/ (literal truth need not be conveyed to
infidels) and the Western doctrine of state secrecy (the same thing),
and it is part of a strategy of deception and false compromise deployed
to buy time. After almost three years, the Bush administration has
maneuvered the International Atomic Energy Agency to refer Iran to the
U.N. Security Council, where it will fall under the protection of Russia
and China, which will make any resolution meaningless or veto it
outright. In the event of sanctions, Iran can sell oil to China in
exchange for all the manufactures it might need, trade on the black
market and eventually reenter the world economy after the inevitable
unveiling of Iranian nuclear weapons stimulates the resignation of the West.

Were Russia not playing a double game, it would not have agreed in
December to upgrade the Iranian air force and sell Iran 29 SA-15 SAMs
for the protection of key facilities. Russia and China can operate in
contradiction of what many assume to be their self-interest because they
have always had a different appreciation of and doctrine relating to
nuclear weapons, because they are willing to live dangerously and
because they are the least likely targets. In addition, the agitation
that they support roils the smooth surface of the Pax Americana to their
maximum opportunity and relief. For example, chaos in the Middle East
makes Russia in comparison a stable supplier of energy and shifts
European resources and dependency to Russia's advantage.

Other than the likely nothing, what will the United States have done in
the months and years ahead to prepare for the failure of diplomacy and
sanctions? The obvious option is an aerial campaign to divest Iran of
its nuclear potential: i.e., clear the Persian Gulf of Iranian naval
forces, scrub anti-ship missiles from the shore and lay open
antiaircraft-free corridors to each target. With the furious capacity of
its new weapons, the United States can accomplish this readily. Were the
targets effectively hidden or buried, Iran could be shut down, coerced
and perhaps revolutionized by the simple and rapid destruction of its
oil production and transport. The Iranians know their obvious
vulnerabilities, but are we aware of ours?

In this war with a newly revived militant Islam, we think systematically
and they think imaginatively. As we strain to bring the genius of
imagination to our systems, they attempt to bring systematic discipline
to their imagination, and neither of us is precluded from success.
Despite our superior power, its diminution by geography, overcommittment
and politics means that they might confound us. And because they believe
absolutely in the miraculous, one must credit their stated aim to defeat
us in the short term by hurling our armies from the Middle East and in
the long term by causing the collapse of Western civilization.

If, like his predecessors Saladin, the Mahdi of Sudan and Nasser,
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad goes for the long shot, he may
have in mind to draw out and damage any American onslaught with his
thousands of surface-to-air missiles and antiaircraft guns; by a
concentrated air and naval attack to sink one or more major American
warships; and to mobilize the Iraqi Shia in a general uprising, with aid
from infiltrated Revolutionary Guard and conventional elements, that
would threaten U.S. forces in Iraq and sever their lines of supply. This
by itself would be a victory for those who see in the colors of
martyrdom, but if he could knock us back and put enough of our blood in
the water, the real prize might come into reach. That is: to make such a
fury in the Islamic world that, as it has done before and not long ago,
it would throw over caution in favor of jihad. As simply as it can be
said, were Egypt to close the canal, and Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey
to lock up their airspace -- which, with their combined modern air
forces, they could -- the U.S. military in Iraq and the Gulf, bereft of
adequate supply, would be beleaguered and imperiled.

In trying to push the Iraqi snake by its tail, we have lost sight of the
larger strategic picture, of which such events, though very unlikely,
may become a part. But because the Iranian drive for deployable nuclear
weapons will take years, we have a period of grace. In that time, we
would do well to strengthen -- in numbers and mass as well as quality --
the means with which we fight, to reinforce the fleet train with which
to supply the fighting lines, and to plan for a land route from the
Mediterranean across Israel and Jordan to the Tigris and Euphrates. And
even if we cannot extricate ourselves from nation-building and
counterinsurgency in Iraq, we must have a plan for remounting the army
there so that it can fight and maneuver as it was born to do.

To make these provisions will secure our flanks and give us a freer hand
in the potentially difficult project of denying to a rogue nation of 68
million people, with a well-developed military and a penchant for rash
action, the nuclear weapons it is bent on acquiring and rushing to
construct. Our problem in Iraq has been delusion and lack of foresight.
Iran is bigger and more powerful. What a pity it would be either to do
nothing or once again to lurch forward with neither strategy nor thought.

/The writer, a novelist and journalist, served in the Israeli army and
air force. He is a senior fellow of the Claremont Institute. This
article will also appear in the Claremont Review of Books./

© 2006 The Washington Post Company
Subscribe
  • Post a new comment

    Error

    default userpic

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.
  • 3 comments