Friday, March 25, 2016

More thoughts on war against Iran

I am sure most people would think my call for a declaration of war on Iran is way over the top; certainly I'd expect most "libertarians" to think so.  (Most people aren't readers, of course, and most "libertarians" aren't really libertarians, but never mind all that.)  But my position seems to me quite measured and reasonable, and positions to the contrary make no sense that I can see.

Currently the United States government plans criminal prosecutions against the Iranians responsible for the cyberattacks. Suppose instead they had flown Iranian Air force bombers in an attack on the United States.  Would the appropriate response be criminal prosecutions of the pilots, while ignoring the fact that they are agents of the Iranian government?  I'll answer my own question: no.

Even if one doesn't think the attack sufficiently serious to go to war, from the perspective of the Iranian government, they've engaged in an attack on the United States, an act of war, and have learned that they are able to do so with impunity.  The consequences and implications of this are horrendous.  A hostile theocratic dictatorship, and a major exporter of terror and guerrilla operations (a fair amount of the latter is mislabeled "terror") understands it can attack the United States without serious consequences.  Not only Iran learns from this, everyone does -- including Russia, China, North Korea, Daesh, et al.

To avoid this, at the very least the president should have ordered a retaliatory attack, e.g. a few cruise missiles on Tehran, or perhaps destruction of the Iranian naval base on Farsi Island.  I strongly oppose unilateral actions by the executive branch for the obvious reason that the Constitution authorizes the Congress to declare war, not the president; every war since WWII has been unConstitutional.  The United States have not been at war, even while waging war.  Given that a foreign power attacked targets in the United States, a declaration of war is certainly appropriate.  One might disagree reasonably with my suggested war aims, but I can't imagine any reasonable disagreement with my -- what, call for war? -- no, my insistence that since Iran is already making war on the United States, we respond by defending ourselves.  The war is already underway, whether we want it or not.

Disagree?  Then how bad does an Iranian attack have to be, how much destruction must it cause, before it's worthy of a response?  Iran is certainly developing intercontinental ballistic missiles -- should we wait until it has them, armed with nuclear warheads, before we respond?  Should we wait until Washington D.C. is a smoldering radioactive wasteland before responding?  (OK, I know, that's tempting in a way; but only in fantasy is that a solution to out-of-control government.)  I cannot see any reasonable argument against retaliation.  I can't see any reasonable argument against a declaration of war.

The USA and the entire West is psychologically not ready for war. It would prefer to die than to fight, or at least so it seems to me.
I agree in part. Your observation definitely applies to the political class, a.k.a. the establishment or the intelligentsia, and certainly the left-leaning elements of it. It also applies to the people who pay little attention to politics and don't think about such matters; they are either occupied with getting by or with entertainment. OTOH there is certainly a minority who are different -- in the U.S. it might be a fairly substantial minority. This is for better or worse; these include Trump supporters some of whom could probably be convinced to go to war against anyone so long as Trump proclaims it.

However, I think there is a substantial and growing minority in both the U.S. and Europe who are alarmed by Islam and are willing to resist. May our numbers increase.

Thanks for your comment, Maya.
Given the current glut and low demand for oil, I'm surprised the US hasn't taken a harder line against the Middle East altogether. Commodities solely support their fragile economies, no matter how large. Iran is probably more uniquely diversified in its industry but still vulnerable to this fact. Could simple financial attrition cause them to implode naturally?
Thanks for the comment, Greg. But there's no surprise. Barack Obama believes that Iran should be a dominant force in the Middle East. He also believes Israel is a problem. He also is pro-Islamist. And he also is anti-American. These aren't talking points or invective, they are descriptions, factual statements. The U.S. could take a hard line against Iran, and Iran has a very weak hand. But the U.S. government, under control of Obama and other progressives, chooses not to.

I certainly hope Iran collapses financially. The Obama-Kerry deal takes pressure off Iran by lifting sanctions and releasing frozen assets. Of course, making it easier for Iran to sell oil will help depress the price of oil.
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