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The big question on everyone's mind these days seems to be "when are we gonna go to war with Iran?"

It's kinda scary that we seem to be moving beyond the mere "will we go to war?" and breezing quickly past the "why should we go to war" to:

Who: Iran
What: Attack them
Where: In their country
Why: Islamofacism / WMD / because their former neighbor tried to kill my daddy / because historically we oppose Aryan nations / because Osama once visited Qom / because of Tehran’s scheduled opening of the Iran Oil Bourse on March 20, 2006 / because either Jesus or Frederick Kagan or my dog Barney told Dick and me to / classified, but trust me.  
How: With good ol' American gumption (translation: we don't have the resources, but don't tell the American people that)

So that leaves

More below the fold.........

Let's set aside the known unknowns (hah! And you thought Rummy was gone from the American consciousness! Hell no!).

Hey, let's also set aside all of those things we aren't even sure are unknowns. (The unknown unknowns).

And let's pretend all of the things we can discern are acknowledged (the known knowns).

Simply put: AFTER the war has started, and AFTER we've begun impeaching the relevant people, AFTER, perhaps, we've closed the purse strings in do we stop the war? How do we effectively back up and achieve a separation of forces? Will Iran let us back out after we begin wreaking havoc? Will they simply agree that it was the will of a single political creature, and not the will of the American people, who led us all down this insane path? And, even if they reach that point of agreement, will they allow for a separation of forces...will they allow us to just walk away?

Historically, Iran doesn't seem to be that kind of country:


Although Saddam Hussein's forces made several early advances, by 1982, Iranian forces managed to push the Iraqi army back into Iraq. Khomeini refused a cease-fire from Iraq, demanding huge reparation payments, an end to Saddam's rule, and that he be tried for crimes against humanity. Khomeini also sought to export his Islamic revolution westward into Iraq, especially on the majority Shi'a Arabs living in the country. The war then continued for six more years until 1988, when Khomeini, in his words, "drank the cup of poison" and accepted a truce mediated by the United Nations.

I don't think the Iranians are looking for that particular cup to runneth over. They know we are militarily at our breaking point, and may press for the advantage.

So how do you end a war that has already begun? Hell, I don't know.

How did we do it in Vietnam?

Stephen Bergman wrote a piece entitled From Vietnam to Iraq: How to stop the war back in November of 2005 where he analyzed how we ended the war:

The student resistance movement and the draft. The fact that every male student was eligible to be drafted and sent to Vietnam created great anxiety and, with time, organized resistance to the war.

The media. TV newscasts at that time showed an incontrovertible truth: Real bleeding bodies were brought into everyone's living room. Screams of the wounded were heard. Dead bodies were seen sprawled in the graceless horror of death. Both American and Vietnamese casualties were shown. There was a nightly tally of the dead and wounded.

Leaders. Both within and outside of Congress there were great leaders who spoke to the link between racism and classism and the obscene images on the TV and in the papers.

Bergman, of course, was talking about the current imbroglio in Iraq.

Stopping a war is difficult, especially given the hubris, spin, and tragic incompetence of the Bush-Cheney administration. Yet even Kissinger and Nixon were able to manage it, however clumsily and with a great cost of lives on both sides. We Americans can stop it in time to save many thousands of wounded and dead. Now.

He goes on to evaluate each of the three categories (from his quote above) as a feasible means of stopping the war:

The draft. Introduce legislation to institute the draft. At once, no exceptions, not even gender. Mothers, fathers, and their children would be in the streets. There might be a violent response. The resistance to the war would focus. Many returning soldiers and their families and loved ones would join in.

The media. Corporate controlled, it is probably beyond repair. Some of the alternative and foreign media are often more reliable truth-tellers. But there is one question for the TV commanders to which we must demand an answer: Why are you not showing the bloody bodies of the wounded and dead Americans and Iraqis?

Leaders. The only leader of national note is a dead soldier's mother, Cindy Sheehan. The Congress, with few exceptions -- Maxine Waters, Barbara Lee, Russ Feingold, and now John Murtha -- is as quiet as 500 invertebrates. In this silence is opportunity. Most Americans see Iraq as a mistake. If a leader of some stature stands up and asks, again, ''How do you ask someone to be the last person to die for a mistake?" there will be an audible sigh of national relief. A simmering movement will ignite. This requires courage, probably from someone outside of Congress -- Wes Clark or John Edwards come to mind. It may seem risky to take that stance, but that person might well be elected president in 2008.

Obviously, leaders have stepped up since the article was written a year ago. But the President seems inclined to ignore them when convenient.

And you have to factor in the other side, when you speak of ending the conflict. And you have to factor in the Rah-Rah Go-USA mentality that we can infuse ourselves with. It took several years and over two thousand dead before the tide shifted here at home against Iraq. If the evil Iranians are killing our soldiers, we want them to pay, dammit! The self-fulfilling war machine.

So again, I ask the question: how do we stop the war once the shooting starts? Go on, flame away.

"Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events."
Sir Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965)

Originally posted to Everest42 on Wed Jan 17, 2007 at 05:15 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  TJar (8+ / 0-)

    Flame me....but just don't Plame me.

  •  Rep. Gene Taylor just said on C-Span (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sxwarren, gkn, Eiron, Everest42, Nulwee, kmiddle

    that a repub was bringing a Bill before Congress that would make war on Iran illeagal unless bush came to Congress first for approval. Rep. Gene Taylor will be a co-sponser. My thoughts, They better hurry.

  •  Odds are it'll be a "surgical strike" (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gkn, bayside, curmudgiana, Everest42

    Israel bombs nuclear related facilities.

    Iran isn't stupid so they bite their tongue and do nothing overt in response.  Why bring down the wrath of the US by attacking a tanker or such.... they're not stupid.  

    Despite the neocon wet dreams, we DON'T have the means to grab their oil fields in the SW.  Read any readiness reports lately?  OUR forces are shot.

    Iran still has a decent army WITH tanks.  Ironically, we've been letting the Pentagon sell off spare parts to F-14's which the Iranians have been buying through intermediaries.  They also got a big hunk of Iraq's air force when they fled.  But don;t expect OFFENSIVE ops by Iran.  

    On the other hand they've got lots of short range missiles that could do some real damage if we tried a strike ourselves.  Remember the Falklands? Things could get alot worse in the Gulf for the US Navy.

    I don't think the US wants an image of a Supercarrier on fire and sinking on the evening news.

    I have no doubt that the US is TRYING to provoke Iran but they're not stupid.   Even if Israel strikes, they're better off getting back indirectly.

    RATIONALLY, the US lacks the resources to do what the neo-cons REALLY want - grab the oil fields.  We DO have the ability to strike at nuclear facilities but that puts us at big risk.  Israel is the more likely proxy to provide deniability.

    But if Iran holds back from a direct response......

    what do we do?   ANOTHER "pre-emptive" war?

    I can't see anything beyond air strikes even if things do let loose.  And if we do, we risk Iran letting a slew of cruise missiles loose at out naval forces and every tanker in the gulf.  NOBODY thinks that's a good idea.

  •  You raise an excellent question. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    environmentalist, sxwarren, Everest42

    It seems that GWB and his administration believe they have all the authority they need to launch the attack on Iran.  Even if the Congress passes some bills, this administration believes those bills would be an unconstitutional infringement on the Article II powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief during wartime.  GWB appears determined that only he has the courage to rise to the challenge of this historical moment and smash Iran's dangerous nuclear ambitions (like the Israelis smashed Saddam's earlier nuclear program, by thorough air strikes).

    I believe it is likely that GWB, Cheney, and the neocons are also itching to let another demon loose from Pandora's box - use of nuclear weapons.  What good is the world's biggest nuclear arsenal if no one has the cojones to ever use them?  I'll be surprised if the strike does not include "bunker-buster" tactical nukes.  BTW, GWB's minions have been busy modernizing our nuclear arsenal with better targeting systems and updated warheads (including the bunker-busters).  And changing our official nuclear posture stategy to permit tactical use of nukes.

    We are WAY into a constitutional crisis on this one, and the only feasible resolution to restore balance and sanity are too slow - impeachment, or a slew of SCOTUS decisions on specific issues relating to the constitutional responsibilities of the legislative and executive branches.

    Once the attack starts, will our leaders in Congress immediately start impeachment proceedings, as some have declared?  It would help if the groundwork had been laid before the strike by passing a resolution clarifying that no AUMF permits attacks on Iran and re-asserting Congress's power to declare wars with sovereign nations.

    Political courage will be needed, because Iran will no doubt strike back in some way that is painful to us.  I am afraid that the Bush people may actually be hoping that Iran sinks one of our carriers (which have been crowded into the Gulf, like sitting ducks in a shooting gallery).  The Iranian arsenal includes Chinese-made supersonic cruise missiles which fly faster than our current carrier defense systems can stop.  If the Iranians sink a battleship, killing hundreds of our people, will the big talking leaders in Congress meekly fall in line behind the Commander-in-Chief?  Or try to remove him from office for starting this new disaster?

    •  Unfortunately (0+ / 0-)

      they will revert to type and go all gung-ho, gotta win the war against the Evile Irainians.

      •  And that is the crux of the dilemma. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sxwarren, gkn

        I'm not so worried about how it happens or why (scratch that....I'm really fu%king worried!) as much as how do we stop it once it starts.

        Because congress will line up with the Prez against the "evildoers" (about time we trot that one back out), and the Iranians won't be inclined to let us walk away with a simple "hey, our Prez was out of his mind. Sorry."

        •  It's got to be stopped before it can start (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sxwarren, Everest42

          This is imperative.  And time is running out.

          •  My biggest fear... (0+ / 0-)

            is that it can't be stopped.

            Maybe Congress passes legislation overwhelmingly stating the AUMF does NOT authorize actions against Iran, but Bush moves ahead with it. Perhaps an over-the-border "hot pursuit" of terrorists or some such thing.

            Shining increasing light on it may help, as has been happening for the last 6 months. Hell, six months ago those folks talking about an Iran attack were conspiracy nuts. Today it's pretty mainstream, even amongst GOPers. Sadly, most of them just shake their heads and say "yup, looks like Iran will be next," kind of like saying "yup, looks like it might rain."

  •  Can't Stop it (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sxwarren, Spoc42, gkn, Everest42

    From what I've been reading, there won't be much of an opportunity to stop it.

    First of all, there isn't any intention to occupy or invade Iran that I know of. Going on the Clean Break documents, destabilizing the country is enough to remove the threat to Israel. A good try at removing the nuclear abilities should take less than a day.

    Everything points to a quick strike with tactical nukes. What happens after that is anyone's guess, but it should all be over rather quickly. Probably before Congress finishes stumbling over themselves to get in front of a TV camera and say something stupid.

    At this point the damage will be done. Oil will probably be traded in Euros and China and Japan will begin dumping bonds. The US will be embargoed and our currency may collapse. Iraq will turn into a real war and our troops could be forced back with Stinger type anti aircraft weapons and Russian antitank weapons.

    If our nose is sufficiently bloodied, Cheney and Bush may get an OK for a draft and a free pass to nuke Syria. Paul Craig Robers has some good stuff on this that you can find on google.

    Investigations into Bush's crimes will be off the table.

    People need to realize that a war with Iran will be completely different from the war with Iraq. Does anyone believe that Russia, China, India and Pakistan will sit passively by and allow us to take a good chunk of the world's oil - oil that they desperately need?

    We are about to open Pandora's box here. Discussions about how it might be closed again might just be giving us a false sense of security. Best to operate on the assumption that it can't be closed once it has been opened.

    •  Do you really think (0+ / 0-)

      that investigations into Bush's crimes would be off the table? Is that part of the "rallying around the prez - gung-ho America" thing, or is there another reason (martial law, for example)?

      I would think the use of nukes - of any stripe (tactical or otherwise) - would have some folks contemplating charges at the Hague. And I think the Chinese, Russians, EU, most countries in the M.E. would all support such charges.

      Again, and to the point of the diary, the damage would already be done.

      •  Would Bush Investigations be off the table? (0+ / 0-)

        Of course.

        If we were involved in this type of major struggle, the main stream media would go wobbly, the GOP media would go on the attack and the Democratic media ..... was deemed to be unnecessary sometime back in 1994.

        It wouldn't take the combined media two weeks to put the American people back into the frame of mind they were in back in 2003.

        If the Democrats then decided to get tough with their investigations, Bush would simply tell them to go to hell -- like he did with Gore. The Democrats would then bumble about and talk of the possiblity of taking symbolic action on the unconstitutional stand. In 18 months Bush would be out of office and the whole point would be moot.

        But the Democrats won't take tough action in these circumstances. Instead, they will do what they did last time - they will either meekly support Bush or they will remain silent. And this actually isn't  a bad tactic in the circumstances. The public will again be aligned with Bush and until the roof caves in (and it will cave in) tough talk against the war will be suicidal.

        The Bush team knows this and that is why they don't give a tinkers damn about what the Democrats think or say right now. Only effective action means anything to them.

        Bush is very weak and the Democrats are very strong at the moment. The time to move on this is now. Bush knows this and he can reverse the situation in a few days with the Iranian invasion.

        I think the real mistake the Democrats are making here is expecting the Bush team to stand still and see their President, their party and their ideology held up to the light of day and destroyed. The Bush team will not stand for this - they will fight and they will fight dirty. They are not a particularly moral or honest bunch. Winning is everyting to them and they will take advantage of every weakness.

        As I have said before, we are dealing with a pack of cornered rats here, so don't expet them to play fair.

  •  WHEN: March 20, 2007 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The deadline for Iran to comply with UN Security Council Resolution 1737 is Feb 21.

    The next subsequent "dark of the moon" is March 18-19.

    March 20 is the 4th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq.

    Random thought from left field:

    If Israel attacks and Iran responds, what does Pakistan do?

    Private life is all about managing pain. In business and government, this means externalizing and deferring costs whenever possible.

    by sxwarren on Wed Jan 17, 2007 at 08:48:49 PM PST

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