Thursday, February 15, 2007
The Tactics Are The Strategy
It's hard to get into the heads of the neocon clique that's itching for war with Iran. If the definition of crazy is doing the same thing and expecting a different result, they would certainly seem to qualify. But it would be a mistake to write them off as a bunch of lunatics. These guys are not crazy. They got the result they wanted in Iraq. And they're looking for more of the same in Iran.
The fact is, Iraq is a catastrophe, but it's a manageable catastrophe. The only thing that threatens our continued occupation there is American public opinion. And it's become clear that Americans want to call it a wash and pull up stakes. Which is why attacking Iran has now become essential: in order to create the conditions that make a continued American garrison in the Persian Gulf a necessity.
But what about all the dire warnings we've heard about Iran's capacity for reprisal, through missile strikes on our carriers, through proxies in Iraq, and with the threat Hezbollah poses to Israel? They're overblown. Yes, there will be an initial wave of casualties, perhaps even severe casualties. But it will eventually recede once a massive aerial bombardment campaign deteriorates the Iranian regime's command and control capabilities, as well as their military-industrial infrastructure.
But then what? Between the civil wars in Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, and potentially Iran, most of the region will be a chaotic, deadly mess. And in that kind of geopolitical climate, the United States will be obligated to maintain a permanent garrison (probably in the order of what we already have stationed in Iraq, with a quick-strike capacity to respond to flashpoints of conflict as they spring up around the region) in order to guarantee the security of our Arab allies and Israel.
The traditional counterinsurgency tactics of Clear, Hold, and Rebuild, as put into practice in Iraq, have become Clear and Move On. It's time to realize that this is no accident. The tactics have become the strategy, and the strategy is about to be widened to a regional level.
More later on why it won't work.