The Six Signs/The Seven Signs

William Arkin has a post in the Washington Post’s blog listing six signs that we’re not going to war with Iran. I agree with his conclusion but I’m not sure I follow some of his logic.

Contrariwise, I’d like to propose some indications we might look for if war with Iran were imminent. First, bipartisan support. As chagrined as the Democratic senators who voted in favor of the Authorization to Use Military Force are about their votes now, there was demonstrable bipartisan support for an attack on Iraq. Not to mention the 1999 declaration that regime change in Iraq was the official policy of the United States.

Second, cessation of diplomacy with Iran.

Third, redeployment of our troops within Iraq. My guess is that there would be some combination of dispersal to reduce the likelihood of concentrations of our troops being a target for Iranian attacks and mustering at the border with Iran. We might also see some missile defenses being installed.

Fourth, increases in the Gulf fleet.

Fifth, probing attacks. I think that special forces attacks within Iran would be pretty likely if war were imminent. And the world being what it is today we’d hear about them.

Sixth, ratcheting up of rhetoric. I’d think the Bush Administration would be making some sort of case for the need for an immediate attack if one were imminent. While I think there’s been a rather ineffective combination of saber-rattling and assertion of a desire for a diplomatic solution to the differences between the U. S. and Iran, there’s been no escalation in the rhetoric.

Seventh, at least the perception that some worthwhile objective is achievable by attack or invasion. I don’t think we can achieve anything useful by attacking Iran and in all likelihood we’d actually accomplish things that we wouldn’t like to see, e.g. making the case to the rest of the world that Iran should have nuclear weapons and shoring up the regime.

5 comments… add one
  • You are not considering the wide range of options that fall within the category of “attacking Iran.” In fact, Iran is already under attack from the US, and may not realize it.

    An invasion of Iran a la “Iraq 2003” has never been in the cards. That leaves several billion other options still on the table.

  • Fletcher Christian Link

    Oh, something can be achieved by attacking Iran. The problem lies in the question of what form the attack should take.

    The right sort of attack on Iran could solve the problems of Iranian WMD and Iranian-sponsored terrorism swiftly and permanently, with zero Allied casualties and very little cost. The right sort of attack would also probably solve the problem of Islamic terrorism permanently as well, given the assumption that most Islamic leaders have a functioning brain.

    No prizes for guessing what form such an attack would take.

  • I see nothing in the discourse here which would suggest that an exterminatory nuclear attack against Iran would be politically acceptable. Short of that, little can be accomplished by attacking Iran.

  • Fletcher Christian Link

    One more thing:

    Some way of kickstarting space industry and presence (I would favour a large prize for some clearly defined goal) gets us quite a lot. It gets the West independence from Arab oil (and cuts down the money tree being harvested by people who want to kill us), shuts off the CO2 tap if you think that’s important, stops many other types of pollution, and eventually gives us room and materials enough for a quadrillion people to live in comfort.

    It also probably cures many of society’s illls, by giving rambunctious young men somewhere to risk getting themselves killed (as they had until maybe 40 years ago). Oh, and one last thing; gives those who control it a way of doing what I was hinting at in my first post – without nasty little inconveniences like fallout.

    Why, in the name of whatever deity you favour, don’t we get started?

  • I think that it was Abraham Lincoln who said (to a member of his cabinet) that we should only fight one war at a time.

    Having said that, you can bet your bottom-dollar that we are NOT going to go to war with Iran.

    The Iranians have a demonstrated capacity to field thousands of young men who are more than willing to fight to the death for their so-called “revolution” as well as their own peculiarly warped version of Islam.

    And besides, if we take any sort of military action, the Iranians would likely cut-off Japan’s oil supply as well as negatively impact that of China.

    That would make the Japanese and Chinese very unhappy.

    And we can’t have an unhappy China, (not to mention Japan) can we?

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