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30 March 2011

How do you fight a suicidal nation?




As a backdrop to this post, I recommend reading this post from Doug Ross. In it are quotes from Ahmadinejad and cronies which are very scary, but not exactly late-breaking news. If you've been following this psycho in the news, you'd have known for quite a while that he has been clinically proven to be a nutjob, and will sacrifice all 74 million Iranian citizens for an opportunity to destroy the little and great Satan - Israel and the United States.

Here are a few choice lines from that post:

"We have a strategy drawn up for the destruction of Anglo-Saxon civilization... we must make use of everything we have at hand to strike at this front by means of our suicide operations or by means of our missiles." - Hassan Abbasi, "strategic adviser" to Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

"We are in the process of an historical war between the World of Arrogance [the West] and the Islamic world, and this war has been going on for hundreds of years... Is it possible for us to witness a world without America and Zionism? ...you had best know that this... goal [is] attainable." - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

"Our revolution's main mission is to pave the way for the reappearance of the 12th Imam, the Mahdi." - Mahmoud Ahmanutjob

"Is there art that is more beautiful, more divine, and more eternal than the art of martyrdom? A nation with martyrdom knows no captivity." - Same nutjob
We can make fun of the monkey-faced lunatic all night long (I'm too busy during the day), but the fact remains that he has an advanced technology, has advanced missile and space technology, is giving that technology to terrorist organizations worldwide, and is avidly pursuing nuclear weapons.


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad tours the Natanz nuclear facility. (AFP)

How do we fight a nation that is hell-bent on destroying you, at all costs? How to you deter such a nation when that very deterrence is seen as the ultimate reward? How do you frighten a person who spends each day conjuring up the scariest Armageddon scenarios and gleefully pursues them?

First, let's think about how you don't fight them: you don't 'engage' them. You don't talk to them. You don't deter them. MAD worked fine during the cold war against the evil (but quite sane) Soviet Empire. It is not relevant here. Similarly, the Samson Option is also not a valid military strategy. The Samson Option is a theoretical doctrine (not officially adopted by the Israeli government) that brings down the house around the Philistines, and in effect wipes out the country that destroyed you with a second strike capability. The Samson Option is not a viable military strategy as while it may provide some satisfaction to the surviving three submarine crews, it does nothing for the victims of the nuclear holocaust.

Invasion is not a viable option. Israel's army, while technologically superior, numerically is less, with 570,000 soldiers (including reserves), while Iran's army has 900,000 soldiers (also including reserves). More relevant, though, is the geography of needing to pass through Jordan and Iraq to get boots on the ground, makes this operation a solely air and navy one; possible, yet rife with supply and logistical problems. The US will not assist a Israel-led invasion of Iran.

Conventional airstrikes will be ineffective. Iran's military and nuclear sites are extremely hardened, and decentralized. So destroying a single site will be extremely cumbersome, and even if successful, many more remain to be destroyed. Tactical nuclear strikes would be effective militarily, but difficult to rationalize to the world, but more importantly, to the Israeli citizenry.

The response to the existential threat Iran poses to Israel may have its roots in the slaying of the Greek Mythological creature of Hydra by Heracles (bear with me, I'm going somewhere). Hydra was a creature with countless heads who, if a head were cut off, grew two heads in its place. Heracles (our hero) cut off many heads, but (with help) cauterized each head-stump to prevent the regrowth of the head. It turns out that the Hydra did have one head that could kill it if cut off, but the logistical problem for Heracles was knowing which head that was. So he systematically cut off and cauterized heads one by one until he finally got the one linchpin head.

Despite Hydra's poisonous blood, noxious fumes, and regrowing heads, Heracles had it easy. Hydra did not have countless ballistic missiles and rockets aimed at Heracles' family back home, so he had the 'luxury' of cutting off a single head at a time until the beast was killed. Israel does not have this luxury. And as you've probable figured out by know, the metaphor of cutting off heads refers to 'cutting off' political/military heads such as Ahmadinejad and Khamenei.

There may be a few effective heads which will kill the beast of Iran and their troublesome 'mini-me's Hezbollah and Hamas, but the trouble is knowing which of those heads are the lethal ones, and which one just spawns two in their place. And we can't be systematic about it - their second strike capability is worrisome.

I propose (you listening Bibi?) to initiate a violent assassination operation which simultaneously kills all of Hydra's heads. The term "targeted assassinations" is too tame for what I have in mind. The only effective assassination program would be to plan for and destroy all effective terrorist and state heads, at the same time, and in one fell swoop. It will be gruesome. It will have civilian casualties. But any other option would be too costly - on our side and on theirs.To do nothing would be an invitation for the 12th Imam. But to do something too slowly would be setting a place at the table for him.

I'll leave you with a parting quote from Moshe Dayan who sums up the only effective political and military strategy for Israel that I've seen work:
“Israel must be a like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother.”






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1 comment:

marc in calgary said...

I think Moshe Dayan summed it up well.

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