Jihad Watch Board Vice President Hugh Fitzgerald examines some of what would be involved in an American land invasion of Iran:
Many seem to think that with troops in Iran and Afghanistan, and with our “ally” Pakistan next door, the Americans “have Iran surrounded.” Not at all. A land invasion of Iran would not make sense. Where would the American troops come from? Would they be dropped from planes? Would they be taken from the forces already pinned down by IEDs in Iraq? Would they come from Iraq, where American troops are threatened by any number of possible enemies every time they take a drive in a Humvee? But from where else can they come? How is Iran threatened by the handful of American troops in Pakistan? The 15,000 or so American troops in Afghanistan? And how many thousands of miles are those troops from Iran’s nuclear facilities? And how many missiles and planes are available?
In Iran, even those who do not wish the regime well are, by and large, opposed to any tampering with the nuclear project — nationalist pride trumps common sense. American equipment could not overnight be moved in, and the equipment in Iraq has been dangerously degraded by desert conditions. American forces in Iraq are now training the very Iraqis, especially the Shi’a, who could and would turn on the Americans in a New York minute if they were whipped up by Iran to avenge an attack on fellow Shi’a. Just a half-year ago, Jaafari was in Washington, oozing the most Uriah-Heepish at-your-feet sentiments about a new “Marshall Plan for Iraq” — “let’s call it the Bush Plan” — that he thought he could squeeze out of the American taxpayers. Yesterday, however, he dared to denounce Zalmay Khalilzad for suggesting that Americans would be disinclined to pour more billions into an Iraqi government that was “sectarian.”
How much do you trust Jaafari? Moqtada al-Sadr? The SCIRI Party? You don’t trust them at all, do you? National Review’s Nobel candidate Sistani is already funnelling money to Iran. And the Sunnis are already enemies, even if we were to suddenly turn our attention to suppressing Shi’a enemies in Iran or Iraq.
The Iraq fiasco makes it much harder to attack Iran, because the troops are now already in place in a different country, assigned different tasks, and surrounded by a population that could turn on a dime and start to attack them (or at least the Arabs would, though not the Kurds).
Iran has 70 million people. For eight years, despite internal disarray, Iran continued to fight Iraq to a standstill, despite the fact that Iraq received American intelligence information, and Saudi tanks, and tens of billions of dollars from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the U.A.E. Its Basiji displayed the fearlessness of the primitive fanatics they are. Why would such fighters not suddenly spring up in Iraq today, determined to wreak vengeance on the Americans, some of whom arealready isolated in “Iraqi” units to which they have been assigned, in order to help form a more perfect Iraqi union, and where they are now sitting ducks.
In Afghanistan the American troops are far from the border with Iran and even farther from Tehran. The terrain is impossible. This is not a case of Panzer divisions rolling through Belgium. Mountain passes, nonexistent roads and bridges, a hostile population everywhere — not easy.
What are missiles and planes for? Simply to store up, and count, rubbing our hands in Uncle-Scrooge glee? Or is the Air Force and all of its powerful armory to be put to use? And what are those bombs and missiles for, if not to protect us from an enemy that is determined to acquire weaponry that it will use on Infidels, here and there and everywhere. Any assumptions made about rational behavior, the kind exhibited by the Soviet rulers, need to be reexamined in the light of observable Muslim behavior — including the willingness to engage in individual, and possibly collective, suicide bombing. The impulse remains the same.
I think some simply feel they cannot quite believe that Iraq has been such a gigantic mistake (after the initial search-and-destroy mission for weapons). They cannot quite face it or admit it. So they continue to believe that it has led to a brilliantly effective pre-positioning of troops to invade Iran. Nonsense.
And even more nonsensical is the unwillingness to recognize that the sectarian and ethnic fissures within Iraq are not to be healed, but to be helped along, so that they flourish into still-greater hostility and, one hopes, hostilities.
Divide et impera, divide and conquer, is the oldest rule of warfare. Why do we not merely ignore it, but try to do everything we can to prevent it? Sentimentalism about how everyone in the end, or almost everyone, must really want the same things, has no place. It is killing us. It is wasting lives and money. Stop it.