The war in Iraq seems to be winding down. One way or another, we shall probably be withdrawing troops from Iraq beginning next year. One can put any political spin on this one wishes; it is certainly likely that the Democrats will say it is their pressure that has forced the administration to begin withdrawing troops. The more probably spin on this drawdown will be that given by General Petraeus, next week; the surge of 20,000 troops to Iraq, under his leadership, has so degraded the ability of al Qaida to fight that the extra troops will not be so needed next year. Evidence of this was given last week, when the President of the United States, the President of Iraq, the top leadership of the armies of the United States and Iraq, plus their entourages, all met in an airbase in Anbar province, last week. Even a few months ago, Anbar province was considered too unsafe for even American troops to enter. Now, due to the efforts of the surge, Anbar province is considered safe for a high level political meeting.
The next effort of the War on Terror will be Iran. Iran has been the chief source of and supply for terror throughout the world. It has been the principle bankroll for the insurgent forces in Iraq, and has been responsible for American deaths. It is currently building nuclear weapons, and delivery systems, which it makes no attempt to hide the fact that it plans to use these weapons against the United States and its allies. Despite all efforts with regards to diplomacy, Iran is continuing in its activities. There are few who have any better way to stop them besides military action.
Recently several ideas have been floated about what kind of military actions are being considered by the administration against Iran. The current idea revolves around an extensive three day bombing campaign against specific targets within Iran. Once they are destroyed, it will be assumed that Iran will no longer be a major problem to the United States and its allies. Perhaps popular opinion within Iran will even work to overthrow the present regime of Mullahs, and install a popular government…which we will, of course, be happy to help.
Pardon me if I demonstrate some distrust of the administration’s capabilities with respect to an endeavor such as that outlined above. To me, it sounds suspiciously like the lead-in to the war in Iraq, and we all know how easy THAT was. Yes, the citizens greeted us with a certain amount of enthusiasm…but it wasn’t the citizens who were to be the problem. It was all the other groups who wanted a part of the power vacuum created by the fall of the government…and we were not at all prepared to control them. They got, as a matter of fact, quite out of control, and we are just now putting them back in their place.
First of all, with regards to the bombing campaign, in the history of the world, there has never been a record of a bombing campaign that has stopped a war. Bombs are very good at starting wars…but so is everything else. Wars are easy to start. Finishing a war invariably involves ground troops. That is an axiom of war that is so basic, yet one which almost every military leader never seems to grasp.
Napoleon tried a massive artillery barrage to win at Waterloo. Robert E. Lee commenced the third day at Gettysburg with the largest artillery bombardment in U.S. history, three hours of firing by 164 guns at the Union position. World War I saw artillery bombardments to soften up the enemy that lasted a week, at times. World War II introduced air assaults, firebombings of major cities, and even atomic weapons. Except for the last example, none of them ever achieved surrender, or even victory…and even atomic weapons failed to halt the will of the Japanese people to fight. Only the intervention of the living God, the Japanese Emperor Hirohito halted the slaughter. The army and the people were willing to continue on until the end. And we have the recent attempt by Israel to bomb Hizbollah from Lebanon, and effort that was a total failure.
Bombing has its purposes, but anyone who suggests we can stop Iran from its course by bombing it is being foolish. It will not happen, and if this is the mindset of the administration, it has me very worried. Unless they know something I do not know (which is highly possible), every precept of military history gives indication that bombing Iran will only start the war with Iran…and once one starts a war, one rarely, if ever, knows how and when that war will stop. Wars have a way of spinning out of control, and ending in the least acceptable way for all parties involved.
I am not arguing against attacking Iran. I can see no reason to stop a worse holocaust than to destroy the Iranian mullahs hold on their people at this point, before they are ready to use their weapons.
What I am arguing is that I am TIRED of people thinking they can fight wars on the cheap. Invariably, that costs more lives than if we took the war seriously, and fought it as it should be fought.
If we attack Iran, we have to plan to go in there with overwhelming force. I do not know what kind of force that means, but we need to have enough troops to occupy the entire country of Iran…not just its capital, but enough to have a presence in every little piss-poor hovel in the country. We have to have enough troops to clamp down immediately on any untoward behavior before it becomes a major mess. We have to clamp a curfew on the entire country, and only gradually lift it as order is restored to each region. We have to ensure that a government is installed, and is ready to function, with its own army and police force, within as brief a time as possible.
That is the bare minimum we need…and if we are not willing to put this kind of effort into the job, we shouldn’t do it…if Iran still has to be taken out, then we should be prepared to level the entire country…because half-hearted efforts yield half-hearted results, and far too many young American boys and girls have died in efforts by politicians who are too afraid, or too ignorant, to tell the American public that wars are expensive, and are not to be undertaken lightly.