War! What is it good for?
Victor Davis Hanson has a grim article about the very limited possibilities facing America regarding Iran. He spells out a number of scenarios, all of which range from bad to worse. One of those grim possibilities is as follows:
The fourth scenario is as increasingly dreaded as it is apparently inevitable — a U.S. air strike. Most hope that it can be delayed, since its one virtue — the elimination of the Iranian nuclear threat — must ipso facto outweigh the multifaceted disadvantages. The Shiite allies in Iraq might go ballistic and start up a second front as in 2004. Muslim countries, the primary beneficiaries of a disarmed Iran, would still protest loudly that some of their territories, if only for purposes of intelligence and post-operative surveillance, were used in the strike. After Iraq, a hit on Iran would confirm to the Middle East Street a disturbing picture of American preemptory wars against Islamic nations. Experts warn that we are not talking about a Clintonian one-day cruise-missile hit, or even something akin to General Zinni’s 1998 extended Operation Desert Fox campaign. Rather, the challenges call for something far more sustained and comprehensive — perhaps a week or two of bombing at every imaginable facility, many of them hidden in suburbs or populated areas. Commando raids might need to augment air sorties, especially for mountain redoubts deep in solid rock. The political heat would mount hourly, as Russia, China, and Europe all would express shock and condemnation, and whine that their careful diplomatic dialogue had once again been ruined by the American outlaws. Soon the focus of the U.N. would not be on Iranian nuclear proliferation, or the role of Europe, Pakistan, China, and Russia in lending nuclear expertise to the theocracy, but instead on the mad bomber-cowboy George Bush. We remember that in 1981 the world did not blame the reckless and greedy French for their construction of a nuclear reactor for Saddam Hussein, but the sober Israelis for taking it out. Politically, the administration would have to vie with CNN’s daily live feeds of collateral damage that might entail killed Iranian girls and boys, maimed innocents, and street-side reporters who thrust microphones into stretchers of civilian dead. The Europeans’ and American Left’s slurs of empire and hegemony would only grow. We remember the “quagmire” hysteria that followed week three in Afghanistan, and the sandstorm “pause” that prompted cries that we had lost Iraq. All that would be child’s play compared to an Iranian war, as retired generals and investigative reporters haggled every night on cable news over how many reactor sites were still left to go. So take for granted that we would be saturated by day four of the bombing with al Jazeera’s harangues, perhaps a downed and blindfolded pilot or two paraded on television, some gruesome footage of arms and legs in Tehran’s streets, and the usual Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Boxer outtakes.I found this interesting, because it tied in with a conversation I had with an acquaintance a few days ago about Vietnam. Vietnam is a popular destination spot right now, because it's cheap, beautiful, and exotic, and because, for all those whose youth was intimately tied into thoughts of Vietnam, it's a blast from their activist past. The woman I spoke with said what everyone says: it's a beautiful country, and that it still bears the scars of the last war in which it was involved (as well as scars from incursions by French, Japanese and Chinese invaders over its long history). She was much struck by the Vietnamese people's rather gracious acceptance of the wounds they and their country still bore. To her, there was no merit either in what we tried to do, or what we actually ended up doing. It occurred to me during that conversation that Democrats have a very limited view of war. To them, war is about killing. That is, killing and property destruction are the sole goals of war. It is true that there can be no war without death and destruction. It is also true that some wars reach a point of diminishing returns where its hard to imagine any goals other than death and destruction. Indeed, most do: the Hundred Years War, the Thirty Years War, the Civil War, WWI, etc. But the fact is that wars are begun, not for the pleasure of killing, but to achieve specific geopolitical goals. Now, you may or may not agree with those goals (the South bitterly disagreed with the North's goal of ending those state's rights that allowed slavery; Britain resented America's efforts to free herself from the nonrepresentative monarchy), but that was still the war's purpose. The Civil War, for example, did not begin because Northerners decided to hunt Southerners for sport, instead of just having that year's Turkey shoot. I mention this because of what VDH says about one of the main risks the government would face if it struck against Iran -- not a war risk, but a media risk. That is, the media, unable to comprehend the geopolitical issues involved, would focus entirely on its one-dimensional view of war: dead people:
Politically, the administration would have to vie with CNN’s daily live feeds of collateral damage that might entail killed Iranian girls and boys, maimed innocents, and street-side reporters who thrust microphones into stretchers of civilian dead. The Europeans’ and American Left’s slurs of empire and hegemony would only grow.And just to show that VDH isn't overreaching in that paragraph, think of one of the iconic anti-War song's from the 1960s, Edwin Starr's War! What is it good for? Until the Left figures out that war, no matter how destructive, is sometimes good for something, there will never be an intelligent debate about the merits of defending America against her very real enemies. Talking to Technorati: War, Iran, Vietnam, Anti-war protestors, Media