Tuesday, February 14, 2006

 

The US vs Iran & the Left

The game is on. The stakes could not be higher.

It seems the US has begun psychological operations aimed at making Iran rethink its chosen course of action:
Strategists at the Pentagon are drawing up plans for devastating bombing raids backed by submarine-launched ballistic missile attacks against Iran's nuclear sites as a 'last resort' to block Teheran's efforts to develop an atomic bomb.

Central Command and Strategic Command planners are identifying targets, assessing weapon-loads and working on logistics for an operation, the Sunday Telegraph has learnt.

They are reporting to the office of Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, as America updates plans for action if the diplomatic offensive fails to thwart the Islamic republic's nuclear bomb ambitions. Teheran claims that it is developing only a civilian energy programme.

'This is more than just the standard military contingency assessment,' said a senior Pentagon adviser. 'This has taken on much greater urgency in recent months.
The international Left has begun its own propaganda offensive aimed at undermining the US:
A major American attack on Iran's nuclear sites would kill up to 10,000 people and lead to war in the Middle East, a report says today.

Hundreds of scientists and technicians would be targets in the opening salvos as the attacks focused on eliminating further nuclear development, the Oxford Research Group says in Iran: Consequences of a War.

The research coincides with reports that strategists at the Pentagon are drawing up plans for "a last resort" strike if diplomacy fails. Plans for an assault have taken on "greater urgency" in recent months, The Sunday Telegraph said.

Tacticians at central command and strategic command, who report to Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, have been identifying targets and the weapons needed to hit them.
The ORG report concludes:
A military response to the current crisis is a particularly dangerous option and should not be considered further. Alternative approaches must be sought, however difficult these may be.
Kofi Annan warns the US:
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan yesterday warned President Bush not to "escalate" tensions over Iran's nuclear ambitions because the world wants to "find a way out of this crisis."

"We need to be able to resolve it, and I hope there will be no steps taken to escalate this approach," Mr. Annan told the president at the end of a meeting in the Oval Office.

Mr. Bush did not publicly mention Iran, although he discussed the topic with Mr. Annan before reporters were ushered in at the conclusion of the meeting
Polly Toynbee argues that, as Iran cannot be prevented from developing nuclear weapons, we must capitulate to the mullahs before its too late:
The pretence is that the world united can deflect Tehran: there is still a small chance that Russia's offer to strike a deal could work. But the experts expect an aggressive stand-off, with a risk of futile air attacks. Even if no blood is spilt, the west may find itself in a cold jihad with a God-driven, nuclear-armed adversary, and no solution in sight. Nothing suggests that sanctions and fiery words will make the more moderate forces in Iran overthrow their mullahs and choose westernisation: under external pressure in this clash of civilisations, history suggests they will close ranks. Meanwhile, oil-hungry nations will do dirty backdoor deals: oil tends to trump UN resolutions.

Fantasy diplomacy is ready to fight all the way to stop the mullahs getting the bomb. Reality suggests there is a difficult choice: if you cannot win, give up at once to minimise the damage. Get off the high horse and start to negotiate terms on which Iran can be allowed to enrich uranium. It amounts to turning a blind eye to their weapons potential while striking a deal that saves their face, affords them some dignity and entices them economically into becoming a more stable force.

It takes some swallowing, but what if there is no alternative? Either they have nuclear weapons and we are at cold war, or else they have nuclear weapons and we have an uneasy kind of peace. But that decision has to be made before UN sanctions ratchet up the rhetoric to no-turning-back resistance.
This is absurd. Aside from the fact we are already at war with Iran in Iraq, Wretchard notes the problems of Toynbee's approach:
Your hear it all the time: let's stop fighting; let's negotiate. Of course, the key problem being why anyone should be willing to negotiate with a party which is willing to surrender at the drop of a hat. As every MBA (but presumably not Polly Toynbee) knows, the unspoken alternative to negotiation is the Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement or BATNA.
BATNA is a term coined by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 bestseller, Getting to Yes: Negotiating Without Giving In. ... In the simplest terms, if the proposed agreement is better than your BATNA, then you should accept it. If the agreement is not better than your BATNA, then you should reopen negotiations. If you cannot improve the agreement, then you should at least consider withdrawing from the negotiations and pursuing your alternative (though the costs of doing that must be considered as well).
My teachers put it this way: BATNA is the penalty you pay when you walk away from the negotiating table. Since Polly Toynbee argues that Teheran should face no penalty for walking away from the negotiating table then there is no reason it cannot continue to do whatever it wants. Indeed the question is why it should negotiate at all since nothing is to be gained by negotiations. Iran is free to advance in whatever direction it wishes without opposition.
Dr Sanity gets it right:
Being attacked by either the U.S. or Israel will, on the contrary, likely confer on the fanatical Iranian regime a legitimacy they could never have obtained otherwise in the eyes of the world.

They will be VICTIMS! They will be OPPRESSED! They will be taken to task by the evilist daddy of them all - America.

I say "the world", but I really mean "the left"--and all their minions in the news business--who even now, I'm sure, are preparing the rhetoric that will undermine the U.S. no matter what course it chooses. The article cited above will be the basis of how evil we are; how inhumane and insensitive we are to human life; how warlike and aggressive against the poor mullahs.

And a second and separate set of rhetorical exigencies are ready and waiting to be used if we do not act before the Iranians nuke Israel or provide the means by which Al Qaeda can nuke the U.S.

Damned if we do act and damned if we don't act. At least that makes it easy for us.

Since either way, the left and the international media will blame the U.S.; deploy the Iranian victimhood card; and sensitively and compassionately fail to hold the thugs ruling Iran accountable in any way whatsoever-- our way is clear.
USA Today polled Americans about Iran and reports:
Americans are deeply worried about the possibility that Iran will develop nuclear weapons and use them against the USA, a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll finds, but they also fear that the Bush administration will be "too quick" to order military action against Iran.

Nearly 7 of 10 of those surveyed over the weekend say they are concerned that the United States will move prematurely to use force, but they also seem to recognize the quandary that policymakers face. There is almost as much concern that the Bush administration won't do enough to prevent Iran from gaining a nuclear arsenal.
(I wish the poll had asked responants point blank if a nuclear Iran is acceptable. That would have clarified considerably where Americans stand on the matter.)

That the Bush administration has no discernible policy concerning Iran is reflected in the polling results. Americans are ambivalent about what course the country should take. The poll results suggest that the country would likely be receptive to a Bush administration campaign outlining the reasons Iran must not be allowed to develop nuclear technology and advocating military action to prevent this should it prove necessary. The Bush administration should devise such a campaign immediately and begin preparing the nation for an overt, protracted conflict of one kind or another with Iran. An international public relations offensive must accompany this in order to counter the inevitable Iranian/Islamlist/Leftist propaganda.

Whatever the cost, Iran cannot be allowed to possess nuclear weapons.

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