Friday, February 02, 2007

 

All Roads Lead to Iran

Call this an update from yesterday’s post on Iran.

Michael Ledeen laments the complete lack of leadership in Washington or elsewhere on our sworn and committed enemies in Iran, over at National Review Online. Close readers of Ledeen will note he no longer calls for acceleration (“Faster, please”), as by his account, we’ve reached a final point of decision.

In contrast to the foolish Editors at the Times, and the spineless majorities in Congress, Ledeen holds this Administration and its heavy laden and latent Foreign Policymakers accountable: for too little action, too little show of strength, too little resolve, and no amount of clue at all, in dealing with Iran. Here’s how Ledeen opens his blast:

Never has a country strained so hard to avoid a conflict as the United States concerning Iran. They have waged war against us for 28 years, and we are only now beginning to contemplate the possibility of a response.

So perhaps it’s finally come to a reckoning, long overdue.

I had a chat today with my former OIF Company Commander. We spoke of the bug-swarm of Presidential wannabes, and then turned to the subject of Iran. How desperately important is has long been, to send Iran a message that can’t possibly be misunderstood. The last straw, for him, was Iranian arms and expertise, used against us in war in Iraq.

“You don’t hear a lot about all the helicopters being shot down, all of a sudden. [Military officials] aren’t saying anything about why.”

“Shoulder fired missiles from Iran?”

“Of course, where else would they be coming from?”

The CO mentioned that his wife asked him about those downed helicopters, mentioned in recent news reports. He said he got to thinking, and we both did, how for the first 2 years of OIF, air travel just wasn’t any concern for us. He flew rotary and fixed wing, in and around Iraq, to Kuwait, and never had any serious concern about being shot down. We felt this complacency in-air, quite in contrast to driving in convoys on the ground, where alertness and adrenaline defined the experience. Has that changed? Probably not, I worried about it immediately post 9/11 for civilian air traffic. We should have always expected the possibility in the combat zone, but like anything, you lose the expectation when it never happens.

There is nothing secret about Iranian offensive operations against us, directly or by proxy. I reveal nothing from classified Intel briefings in declaring that Iran and Syria have had a direct and heavy hand in everything the fledging Iraqi Government and the Coalition forces have faced in the nearly 4 years since we toppled Saddam Hussein. However much we have deceived ourselves, the attention of our enemies has never wavered, has never weakened.

Ledeen notes a flurry of press reports about this or that evidence of Iranian perfidy, as if we needed any more “smoking guns,” and declares it self-deception:

This is the pattern that led us straight to 9/11. For that matter, it got us to Pearl Harbor and to Khobar Towers, and to the Beirut bombings of our embassy and the Marine barracks. It is a pattern of denial and self-deception, driven by an absolute conviction that the truth must not be passed on to people whose view of the world differs from your own. And so our kids get blown up in Iraq, while the Bushes, Rices, Rumsfelds, Cambones, Tenets, Negropontes, and their cohorts deny that we know who’s doing it. Deputy Secretary of State Burns, the architect of our failed Middle East mission, goes to Israel to thump his chest and talk about getting tough with Iran, meaning tough talk and a few symbolic gestures, certainly not regime change. Such people talk about “insurgency” as if the shattered remnants of Saddam’s ruined state were capable of mounting the terror war we face, when common sense points in the direction of professional intelligence services in Tehran and Damascus.
We are not alone in this suicidal self-deception. Our friends across the water, those tough-minded Englishmen who have recently decided to abolish the Royal Navy for all intents and purposes, have been frenetically seducing us into one diplomat failure after another with regard to Iran for many years now. It is no surprise, then, that the London Times yesterday quoted British officials are denying there is a “smoking gun” to show Iranian support for terrorists in Iraq. I think the unnamed officials who are saying that are either out of the intelligence loop or lying. American intelligence has known for at least a year and a half that the frightful shaped charges that have killed and maimed so many American soldiers were manufactured in Iran — they traced the serial numbers back to the Iranian manufacturer — and it is inconceivable that we would have failed to share that fact with our British allies.
I can well imagine the debates now raging inside the Bush administration over what is apparently a substantial trove of devastating information about Iranian activities in Iraq, and perhaps also Afghanistan. American officials long opposed to any serious challenge to Iran pronounced the information “a bombshell,” and some of them now say they have changed their minds about going after the mullahs. So those who still want to take the diplomatic route, and continue to appease Tehran, must set up a series of obstacles: first try to keep the intelligence bottled up; if that fails, discredit it; and if all else fails join the “war is not the answer” crowd, whose credibility rests on the hope that nobody in America has read any history.

We come to the end of a very long road indeed, and the meter has greatly accumulated since we started our meandering journey. No matter what means or manner of payment, none of us will be happy about the fare. That won’t save us from paying every penny due.

This was never about happiness, or ideal solutions, or the smug complacency of all those strutting about today with eagle-eye hindsight and Chicken Little courage. Yesterday, I heard some clueless commentator lament that, although we’re all sure Iran is behind a lot of the sectarian violence and terrorism in Iraq, “it’s extremely difficult to prove it.”

The affairs of state, of National Security, aren’t the purview of some twisted OJ Simpson celebrity trial, where “if the glove don’t fit, you must acquit!” That kind of misguided devotion to certainty surely led Neville Chamberlain to believe Hitler would stop with Czechoslovakia, or convinced a spiteful and callous Congress that the citizens of South East Asia would be better off working out their own problems, under Communism if need be, but without further US support.

This kind of logic will destroy us, come the day of the first terrorist nuclear detonation, if we allow it to survive, whereby the handwringers and the morally crippled will say, “We don’t know Iran [or North Korea or Venezuela, or any of a dozen other nation states who plot and plan our destruction] had anything to do with it!”

Ledeen has gotten far more right than wrong, these years since 9/11, and more right than proponents and surely critics of the Bush Administration’s policies. He’s right now, though I doubt it causes him much comfort. Vindication will come, but much will be lost and the cost will be severe, the longer it takes us to wake from present slumber.



UPDATE: It looks like I attracted some hate comments and even hate rebuttal, both deleted. I apologize if anyone was offended by the crude and offesnive language, which will not be tolerated here.

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