Monday, February 12, 2007

in the alternative

putting aside the evidence, or lack thereof, of iran's role in the iraqi conflict, there is a bigger issue of what to do about it.

i mean, i think the administration's case looks pretty weak. but let's assume for the moment that it wasn't and that everything dastardly they alleged about iran turned out to be absolutely true. i still don't think that would justify an attack on iran. why? because it isn't likely to change iran's behavior.

the u.s. doesn't have enough forces to invade and occupy iran, a country about twice the size of iraq. that's simply not an option. so all that's left is a bombing/missile attack. while bombing might be good at taking out specific facilities, it would not stop small arms and explosives from crossing the border with iraq. and you can't bomb someone into a regime change.

and in addition to not having a chance of achieving its objectives, an attack would bring about a rather long list of negatives for u.s. interests. it would probably strengthen the iranian regime (just like saddam's attack did in the early 1980s). iran could mine the straits of hormuz which could cause a huge disruption of the international oil markets and cause world-wide fuel shortages, which would also, in turn, effect american military capabilities. it would inflame people all over the muslim world against the u.s., even people who haven't been inflamed already. the shia militias of iraq (which includes much of the u.s.-trained new iraqi army and police), for example, would probably turn their guns on u.s. forces. the radical islamists would have even more proof that the u.s. covets all muslim lands (or at least all the oil producing ones). domestically, it could trigger a constitutional crisis, as the current congress would not authorize such an attack. oh, and there's also thousands more dead people to consider.

the point is that even if iran turns out to be the biggest evil in evilland, an attack on iran is still a really bad idea.