What is to be done about Iran, and about Islam?

James N. writes:

I wonder if you have any thoughts about the Persians. Senator Santorum has broached the topic, popular among Bush-ite people, of an air war leading to an easy victory.

The mullahs cannot be “bombed out of existence.”

It is amazing to me that conservatives are constantly babbling about beating Iran from the air.

If we are going to defeat the enemy (and by defeat, I mean, change their society and its military expression from hostile to friendly), we have to conquer and occupy their home nations, extirpate Islam, and reeducate their children and grandchildren. [LA replies: From the start, you are setting up your argument on incorrect premises. No one has proposed bombing the mullahs out of existence, beating Iran from the air, or invading, defeating, and conquering Iran. The issue on the table these many years has been the use of military force to destroy Iran’s nuclear weapons program.]

This will require an Army of 80 to 100 divisions, a greatly enlarged expeditionary Marine Corps, and a thousand ship Navy.

Now, I can happily consider the argument for this. I MADE this argument in October 2001.

What I do NOT want to listen to is another argument for defeat on the installment plan with thousands dead, tens of thousands maimed, trillions spent, and the enemy stronger at the end.

If we are not prepared to defeat the enemy (and there is NO evidence that we are) we should be seeking terms.

Bombing Iran would be an incredibly foolish and reckless policy with no possibility of a favorable outcome. [LA replies: Why do you say this? If we can destroy or disable Iran’s nuclear facilities, and in the process cause the Iranians such damage and loss that they will not attempt to recreate those facilities again, that would certainly be a favorable outcome.]

Which means, probably, that that’s exactly what we will do.

In December 1941, our armed forces were ordered to implement War Plan Orange, a comprehensive strategy to defeat and occupy Japan. At the time that WPO was ordered implemented, we had almost no Army, a tiny Marine Corps, and the main battle fleet was on the bottom of Pearl Harbor.

Nevertheless, given correct strategic vision and a plan (whose origins go back to 1911), we sailed into Tokyo Bay in three years and nine months with Japan prostrate and State Shinto abolished.

Why now is there no war plan to defeat Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Pakistan? This war plan should have been drawn up on June 6, 1968 (the day of the assassination of Robert Kennedy by a Mideast Muslim). Obviously, execution would await the end of the Obama regime and some casus belli, but I do not believe any such plan exists. [LA replies: You think that the use of bombs and missiles to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities is impossible, utterly beyond our capacity, yet you believe that it is possible and within our capacity to conquer much of the Muslim world, govern it for decades, and remake it into a friend, as we did Japan. In reality, the destruction of Iran’s nuclear facilities is reasonably possible, while the conquest and reconstruction of the Muslim world by the United States is totally impossible. I would like to see the outline of a plan by which we would do this.]

I said in another forum on September 13, 2001 that the choices were three and only three—conquest and defeat of the enemy, a Vietnam war in Southwest Asia, or surrender. I also predicted (correctly) that Bush would choose #2.

It seems to me now that matters are worse, much worse. We must choose conquest or surrender, and the voices for conquest are few and faint. “Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, and let this be out motto, in God is our trust” is part of our national anthem.

What the hell has happened to us since 1941?

LA replies:

Evidently, though you have been reading me for years, Separationism doesn’t even figure in your thoughts as an option to be rejected, let alone as an option you would consider supporting. Separationism means: removal of Muslims from the West; isolation and quarantine of Muslims within the Islamic lands; stationing of military bases around the periphery of the Islamic world; and occasional use of military force when necessary to destroy or disable threatening Muslim regimes without occupying them.

Separationism in my view is the only viable approach because it is simply beyond our capacity to conquer the Muslim world and remake it as a non-Muslim world, which is what you favor.

James N. replies:
I was thinking out loud about a lot of recent talk about air strikes in Iran when I wrote to you.

I do not believe that air strikes can eliminate the Iranian nuclear program.

Which means that the termination of that program would require the elimination of the enemy state.

Perhaps I allowed that view to bleed over into a comprehensive analysis of the idea of defeating Islam by military action, which I do not favor.

I DO favor making those who hyperventilate about Islam follow their thoughts to their logical conclusion.

To state my position, hopefully in a clearer way: I oppose air strikes on Iran because I believe that it will start a much bigger war which we are unprepared for and are unwilling to fight.

This leaves the option of nuclear deterrence: that we credibly threaten the devastating use of nuclear weapons against Iran in response to any hostile use of nuclear weapons by Iran.

As far as the larger issue of Islam is concerned, I am a devout separationist, an approach that I learned from you, and I will not reiterate here what a wise approach that is.

Dan K. writes:

There is a way to eliminate the current threat from Iran that does not involve bombing, invading or even trying a commando strike to remove Iran’s nuclear weapons capability.

The method would also give Turkey a kick in the butt as well as Iraq.

What we should do is arm the Kurds. Recognize the Kurds as having a country diplomatically, Kurdistan, and supply mountains of weapons as well. Let the Kurds take on the Turks, Iranians and Iraqis to carve out their country in reality.

The Kurds will keep them busy for decades.

Similar actions in and around Pakistan and Afghanistan will solve the problems there.

It will be well in with American tradition. Selling guns to the Indians permitted the Indian tribes to kill off each other. For example: The Blackfeet got guns so they nearly exterminated the Kootenai in Montana. Read Parkman to see how the Indians treated each other when given weapons by the white men. Let the Kurds fight for their “freedom.”

James N. writes:

There are so many things a war leader could have done in the period 2001-2003 to harm our enemies and disrupt their societies.

Of course our friends the Kurds should have been given Kurdistan the day the Fourth Infantry Division was turned away from Anatolia.

George W. Bush apparently had no concept of war, no education in war, and no ability as a war leader.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 07, 2012 07:44 AM | Send

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