Monday, May 20, 2019

Seven Reasons NOT To Invade Iran (w/ 2020 Update)

(Update: Thanks to Tengrain for promoting this entry on Crooks & Liars and Mike's Blog Round Up! Please do stay awhile and read the latest entries especially today's memorial for the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre)

(Update 06/17/2020: Well, I submitted this article to the Florida Writers Association's 2020 Royal Palm Literary Awards in their Non-Fiction/Blog category, and good news tonight it's received Semi-Finalist status!)

(Update 07/25/2020: Follow-up on the RPLA for 2020, this article is now a FINALIST in the Non-Fiction/Blog category! Which comes with another GIF to upload. On a serious note, this qualifies to be a First, Second, or Third Place winner by late October (not guaranteed however, there may be more than three finalists in most Royal Palm categories)).

(Update 10/18/2020: The RPLA awards ceremony was last night, and this article received Silver (Second Place) in the Non-Fiction/Blog category! Thank you, judges!) 

Now, back to the article:

So trump - through his war-hungry advisor John Bolton and other proxies - has been saber-rattling towards Iran lately.

This after he and Bolton saber-rattled at Venezuela before backing off, and after saber-rattling at North Korea before Jong Il figured out how to turn trump into a gushing fanboy.

But this is serious. trump's committed harsh acts towards Iran: Dissing the nuclear deal Obama made with them, re-issuing the hard sanctions Obama relaxed, adding more sanctions towards nations still working with Iran on limiting their nuclear program to non-weapon levels, and essentially threatening to turn the whole country into his next parking lot.

And in the past week, trump's people had been laying the groundwork for a full-out invasion, talking up 120,000 troops getting deployed, a carrier fleet heading to the area, everything they can think of to make the Iranian government freak out. There's been sudden and unconfirmed reports of Saudi shipping getting attacked with mines. A ton of "Gulf of Tonkin" style setup.

And while trump is now showing signs of backing off - that he's suddenly aware that throwing a punch in this schoolyard standoff might mean getting punched back - there's just too many reasons in trump's head - and in the heads of all his neocon war-happy lackeys - to avoid the reality that sooner or later trump wants his goddamn war so he can play Commander-in-Chief. And like it or not, Iran remains at the top of the neocon Wish List.

However, for all the fantasy reasons trump (and Bolton) have for invading Iran, there's a lot of reasons in the real world we shouldn't be eager to start yet another land war in the Middle East.

Starting with 1) The United States will be going into a land war with Iran all on its own.

This is the first thing trump needs to understand: Thanks to all his bluster and bullying on the global stage, most of our natural allies (Hi, NATO!) are in no mood to help us anymore. Unlike 1991 in the first Iraqi War where we formed an international coalition over specific goals (end Iraq's invasion of Kuwait), and unlike 2003 in the second Iraqi War where we formed a smaller but dedicated coalition over questionable goals (end Saddam's attempts to gain WMDs that turned out not to exist), we are not going to find a lot of teammates for this one. The United States has no specific causus belli on this. While Iran's got a lot of ties to terror organizations across the Middle East (especially in Lebanon) they're not enough of a threat to U.S. interests to the area. Despite claims, Iran's been keeping up with their end of their nonproliferation deal with the other nations. The majority of nations prefer keeping the peace now, and are coping with their own problems at home (some of them can even profit dealing with Iran if/when trump's sanctions end).

The only nations that could ally with the U.S. in an invasion would be Saudi Arabia - Iran's primary competitor for regional influence - and the United Arab Emirates. Also Israel, which has been in a war of sorts against Iranian-backed terror groups. However, Saudi forces are tied down fighting a war in Yemen, the UAE's not much of a military, and if Israel joins in on any invasion of a Muslim nation we're basically talking World War III involving half a dozen African/Middle Eastern nations attacking Israel. The other nations in the region with U.S. military presence - Kuwait and Iraq and Afghanistan - are bogged down with their own issues (Iraq in particular is still coping with ISIL and the overflow from the Syrian Civil War) to be of any help. Turkey, our closest NATO ally, is too busy with Syria as well.

We'd be facing a likelihood of nations helping Iran against us. Primarily China, who would have an interest in gaining more Persian/Arabic oil as well as spit in trump's face for his tariffs war. Hilariously enough, Iran is a client nation with Russia - military and regional economic deals - meaning Russia at best will sit on the sidelines eating popcorn while their BFF trump sweats this out alone.

IF the United States enters into a war with Iran, we will be doing so with the fewest number of allies we've ever committed since the Spanish-American War.

2) Rolling Into Iran Will NOT Be Easy.

Unlike Iraq in 2003 - which had been battered not only by international sanctions but by constant military strikes since the First Iraqi War, along with genuine demoralized troops Saddam treated like cannon fodder - going into Iran will not take days, it will take weeks or even months.

Geographically, Iran is bigger than Iraq and with harsher terrain. It'd be similar to fighting in Afghanistan with vast mountainous ranges. A direct strike at the capital - Tehran - would do nothing to quell the rest of the nation, and is far enough inland that supply routes are necessary between any US bases (likely from Iraq) and the front lines, requiring occupation of a lot of major cities between the coast and inland.

Leading up to:

3) We Will NOT Be Greeted As Liberators.

That was one particular fantasy from the 2003-2009 Iraqi occupation that died a quick death. Cheney's assertion back then about Iraqis wanting new leadership was based on genuine hatred of Saddam... but ignored the reality that Iraqis hated getting invaded in the first place. They saw the U.S. trying to impose rule by a hand-picked toady (Hi, Chalabi!) and refused to accept him. Tied into the overall failure of the U.S. occupiers to organize and function to create a new political infrastructure to succeed Saddam's dark rule, and you got a nation full of resentful residents who allowed insurgency and opposition to turn Iraq into another Quagmire for America.

And that was with a nation that wanted independence from a despot. With Iran...?

Granted, the Iranians are oppressed as well - the recent history of uprisings and protests prove that - but they've seen the damage done to Iraq and aren't too impressed with the mess the U.S. is leaving in Afghanistan. The Iranian people know that if the Americans come knocking we aren't going to be all smiles and chocolate bars, we're going to be bombing the shit out of everyone and let God sort em out. They'd rather side with the despots they know than deal with whatever crooked puppet we'd put in office (remember the Shah? That was us putting him on the throne back in the 1950s!)

4) We Do NOT Have the Troops For a Prolonged War Effort.

Especially considering we're STILL active in Afghanistan, with forces in Iraq and Syria coping with ISIL, as well as keeping ourselves deployed in South Korea and Japan to deter North Korea/China, and Gods help us the crap trump is forcing our military to commit to along the Mexican border.

Bolton and others are talking up sending in 120,000 troops if/when we get serious about Iran, which is a smaller number than the 150,000 troops sent into Iraq in 2003... and even then we had retired generals warning us that was half of what was needed to make the occupation work. If trump were serious, he ought to be calling up for volunteers to kick that number into the 300,000 troop range... and the way recruiting is suffering, that's not likely.

We're going into a larger nation, with tougher terrain, more cities to siege. They have roughly 500,000 active service personnel. We may have technological advantages that can shut down things like their own Air Force and communications, but they have advantages of watching us in action the last 15 years and knowing how to counter all that (not to mention getting cyberwar help from Russia).

Remember Millennium Challenge 2002? That war game after 9/11 where the U.S. tried out their game plan against an unnamed country that they later revealed was Iran? The Marine general playing as Iran used crafty asymmetrical methods and "sank" a carrier fleet, and the only way the U.S. side won was by "resetting" the whole thing and ordering that general to not use the methods he deployed. Do you think Iran is going to play by OUR rules if we invade? This is the real world: YOU DO NOT GET TO RESET WARS.

Iran can, arguably, bloody our military's nose early enough in any invasion attempt to make Americans recoil at the losses. And we won't have the troops to recover quick enough.

And it's definitely not going to look good for "the boss" because trump wants his victories pretty like him...

5) We Do NOT Have A Unified And Supportive Home Front.

When 9/11 happened, the entire nation mourned and stood united against a terror threat. When we sent troops into Afghanistan where the threat was, there was near agreement from all Americans that it was the right thing to do.

When Dubya wanted to invade Iraq as part of his Global War on Terror, the unity faded. A lot of Americans argued it was the wrong war at the wrong time (we hadn't captured Bin Laden, we were still nation-building in Afghanistan).

When Obama wanted to do something about Syria or Libya, he was constrained by a GOP-leaning Congress and by general public apathy, and so left it to minimal efforts that left both nations deep into their own civil wars.

So here comes trump, likely claiming (and believing) a majority of Americans want this war in Iran. he probably thinks ANY war effort will force his critics to shut up to avoid getting labeled "unpatriotic" and "treasonous" (which he and his GOP worshipers are doing anyway). he's ignoring the facts that A) he's still unpopular across the general population and B) the likelihood of a bad opening attack wave would make him over-react in public to cause more Americans to distrust his leadership.

6) Don't Forget: Everything trump Touches Turns to Shit.

As a war-time leader, trump will be all over the place. Meddling in military affairs when he shouldn't, ignoring all warning signs when he should. his point men on Iran - Bolton most of all - will only care for the results they want, not what they'll get, meaning worse decisions will follow after bad. Considering how trump may rely on a private merc army - hi Erik! - to beef up his forces could cause confusion and mayhem on the ground in ways our legitimate military won't be able to control.

In short: We're dealing with a White House that won't cope well with any early setbacks, that can well over-react and cause more damage not only in Iran but also here at home.

With the likely bonus of trump selling off billion-dollar contracts to his corporate buddies that can siphon off much needed funding and supplies while the invasion quickly sours. It's Lose-Lose for the nation when this happens.

trump is not serious about going to actual war. Bolton and Sec of State Pompeo and maybe a lot of other neocons are, but trump is going to treat this as a photo op, a chance for him to perform his immigrant-bashing tirades in front of soldiers who won't enjoy being used as props. The whole thing will be over-managed and under-planned, with money going the wrong way while the troops get sent into death traps.

7) Any war is a bad idea when diplomacy is possible and ought to be pursued.

That's just goddamned common sense. trump and the neocons just want this war to prove diplomacy - at least the way it's been done since the Second World War - doesn't work and that they have better ways to resolve everything. It's trump's Id at play again: Every deal he doesn't make is a bad deal, so he'll blow things up and force people to deal his way (where he gets all the credit and probably all the money).

And yet... trump's saber-rattling continues on.

Sorry, Middle East, we're heading into another decade without any goddamn peace again.


williamsam said...
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dinthebeast said...

I want to know if Fergus believes or is being led to believe that war is the only way he can win the 2020 election and thus run out the clock on the statute of limitations for the growing list of felonies he could be charged with in 2021.

-Doug in Oakland