Tuesday, December 27, 2005

How to destroy a superpower in one easy step

Invade Iran. It's that easy. If you want to turn your country from #1 to #111, try putting your troops in Persia. 

Unfortunately (for America, that is), that's what being advocated on the American-based website Atlas Shrugs 2000. The post in question is called Nuclear Iran: the case for war. A fair summary of the argument by author "Pamela" is here:

Iran must be disarmed.

I would not dispose cavalierly of precious life. But the essential question is- is it appropriate for a country to defend itself? Yes. Iran, along with China, and North Korea are monstrous aggressors, whose first victims are against their own people. But if those very same people by neglect, ignorance, or helplessness couldn't overthrow their leaders, their oppressors, they must pay the price of the sins of their government. When should we attack them? At the first sign of aggresion by them, in other words NOW. We should fight them with every means we have. We must remove the comforting blinders of complicity and appeasement and recognize that Iran attacks by proxy (IE Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas, tricky business). The fact is the Iranian regime has declared war on the West.

She's mad, you know. Quite mad. The whole article has so many "features" (as Microsoft uses to describe unwanted and buggy additions to its products). Read if you dare. But I want to comment on just two.    

The most interesting part of the article is her presupposition is that the USA is up for the job. To me, it's an odd thing: thinking your country is omnipotent. I wouldn't say that it's a American characteristic in general. Most Americans I've met do not think their homeland is all powerful. Nor do they wish their country to act as if they were - quite the opposite. But this belief of "all-leistungsfähige" is a quality found almost uniquely among Americans. I can't think of any of the 190-odd nations that believes in their ability of "go anywhere, invade anywhere, take anywhere". Even the Soviets were more cautious than that, as were the Brits in their prime.

If we're going to listen to armchair pundits on the subject, why not take another American - Gary "War Nerd" Brecher - instead? His Super War Preview may be nearly a year old, but it is definitely less obsolete than day-old "Nuclear Iran":

In my "Quagmire Bowl" article I said the Iraq war probably wouldn't be fatal. It's definitely hurt us, but it won't mean the downfall of America. Well, if we invade Iran, that bet is off. All bets are off. People don't realize how fast a Superpower can fall. It only takes one invasion too many. Napoleon was unstoppable before he invaded Russia. So was Hitler. Now France and Germany are "Old Europe." Invading the wrong country can age you faster than driving a Long Beach bus on the night shift. Invading Iran helped end the win-streak of the best, biggest Empire of all, the Romans...

Then the War Nerd gives fact after fact after fact why any invasion of Iran would be a bad idea for the invader. For example, he mentions that there's 18 million men of military age in that country. I consider that an important fact by itself. I could quote line after line; paragraph after paragraph, but why should I? You know where the link is, and this time, I recommend you click it. In my opinion, Gary Brecher gives enough evidence to damn any further Axis-Of-Evil adventures in Teheran's direction. 

But even if the facts don't interest you (and they don't seem to interest Pamela, our Ayn Rand-wannabe), there's another reason to IED her argument. This time, it's a moral one. I'll repeat my quote:

But if those very same people by neglect, ignorance, or helplessness couldn't overthrow their leaders, their oppressors, they must pay the price of the sins of their government.

In other words, she advocates collective punishment, which is against the Fourth Geneva Convention (Part III, Article 33.). It's a war crime. It also shows she's an asshole, and an ignorant one at that. Has she ever lived under what she considers an "oppressive" government? I doubt it. Let's put it this way: as a thought experiment, you are given two choices in life. Choice A: make no trouble, work at your job, and feed your family. Likelihood of success: 99%. Choice B: move to overthrow your government. (Here, we're talking about armed insurrection, and not just a letter to the editor in your local newspaper.) Likelihood of success: less than 1%; thus the likelihood of messy, bloody, disgraceful failure, with blowback affecting your loved ones: more than 99%. Most governments - democratic or not - like to skew the odds heavily in favor of A, and many are successful at this. This is why very, very few people go for the armed insurrection route. It ain't worth it.

The choices are generally not that stark in real life, so there's many other options available. Such as C: leave said oppressive government. These choices can be subdivided further. Do you take C1 (board a plane illegally) or C2 (apply to study abroad, in the hope that you'll score a permanent visa there?) And so on.   

I think Pamela is pretending - if not to the public, then to herself, that if she were under the yoke of a country like Iran, she would be part of the "Fight the Power" brigade B. To that, I call bullshit. I think she's a not so bright, superficial woman who would lack the moral strength for such an occasion. Her strength lie elsewhere, such as munging for cameras. But I could be wrong. If she feels so strongly about overthrowing Iran, then she can do the one concrete thing about it she can - enlist.