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:
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 congress....how 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:
FROM THE WIKIPEDIA ENTRY ON IRAN:
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)