Bombing Iran?

I appreciated this incredibly interesting piece from The Telegraph (London).  It considered all sides of the Iran argument and was actually a strong, objective article – amazing for a Euorpean paper.  As many of you probably have noticed by now, I am obsessed with Iran.  It’s the neocon in me.  But regardless of what you think about Iran’s potential threat or America’s overstretched military, one thing is for sure – Iran is a problem that won’t go away.  We can either deal with Iran before it tests a nuke or deal with it afterwards – knowing that an Iranian nuclear strike against Israel or other US allies is possible.  Which option seems more sane?

The article points to a recent simulation of a strategic air attack against Iran.  The attack would involve about 400 military and nuclear targets.  The main obstacle would be Iran’s predictable move to block oil shipments in the Strait of Hormuz in order to disrupt the global economy.  Participants in the simulation, however, believe that such a move can be countered.

In the meantime, administration officials are studying the lessons of the recent war game, which was set up to devise a way of weathering an economic storm created by war with Iran. Computer modelling found that if Iran closed the Straits of Hormuz, it would nearly double the world price of oil, knock $161 billion off American GDP in a single quarter, cost one million jobs and slash disposable income by $260 billion a quarter.

The war gamers advocated deploying American oil reserves – good for 60 days – using military force to break the blockade (two US aircraft carrier groups and half of America’s 277 warships are already stationed close to Iran), opening up oil development in Alaska, and ending import tariffs on ethanol fuel. If the government also subsidised fuel for poorer Americans, the war-gamers concluded, it would mitigate the financial consequences of a conflict.

The Heritage report concludes: “The results were impressive. The policy recommendations eliminated virtually all of the negative outcomes from the blockade.”

Nothing is ever certain when you are dealing with the Middle East, but it’s good to know that officials are weighing their options.  The bottom line is – the Iranians are pursuing nukes to the detriment of Israel and Middle East stability.  The question is – what is the US prepared to do about it?  True, there is a potential that Iran will screw with the oil markets and cause turmoil in the event of a US attack, but we should also consider the turmoil that will be caused for decades to come if Iran is successful in developing nuclear weapons.  What to do?

Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, doesn’t take us seriously obviously –

In Teheran, Mr Ahmadinejad was also quick to make the Iraq connection, but as an impediment, not impetus, to American adventurism. “We have an expression in Farsi which says, ‘Bring up the one that you have given birth to first, then go for another one’,” he said. “Let them do what they started in Afghanistan and Iraq then think of other countries.” He dismissed threats of military action as “more of a propaganda measure than factual”.

This only makes the case for US action stronger.  Iran does not take us or the international community seriously.  Who can blame him?  The Chinese and Russians have done their best to protect Iran, and Europe has been woeful in its statements and actions against the Iranian nuclear program.  The UN is just a joke.  Why should Ahmadinejad worry at all?

I’m proud to be a hawk.  When I see the potential of a nuclear Iran, I have no problem at all advocating military action.  There isn’t much to rationalize.  Either we get them first, or they eventually act against us and our allies.  To me, this is a no-brainer.

I realize that much of this may well be rhetoric meant to push Iran into diplomacy.  I would like to see diplomacy work, but I don’t hold out much hope.  One Iranian sums up the American way –

But in Teheran they are waiting. Abbas Abdi, one of the US embassy hostage takers in 1979, now a reformist political activist, said: “The style of the Americans is that they go forward with the political dialogues, get a couple of resolutions and then they wait to see what the circumstances are. They have no problems in attacking Iran, for sure.”

Yup.  That’s how it works.  I would wear that assesment as a badge of honor.  American resolve is unrivaled in the world.  We are often accused of acting unilaterally.  And that’s often the case.  The reason we do so is because the international community does not possess the spine or resolve that makes America a mighty nation.

Update:  This is a good read from Ollie North on