Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Light In The Sky

....is just a flying saucer from the Zeta Reticuli system come to collect some more human specimens for its newest colony in the Delta Quadrant of the Milky Way, not Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's apocalyptic beckoning of the twelfth imam, so there's nothing to worry about for the moment. Besides, the Persian Hitler might have meant August 23rd, so all the hyperventilating media speculation might not have been in vain after all.

Actually, it's guaranteed not to be in vain, ultimately. But let's stick to today for the time being.

The Iranians did launch a fresh set of war games yesterday, "defensive in nature" and set to last upwards of five weeks. Obviously they think that war is coming their direction (and are most impatient for it to arrive). They also undertook offensive operations as well, targeted at....Romania. Specifically, a Romanian oil platform in the Persian Gulf. Not exactly the stuff of story and song.

And no, there has not, to my knowledge, been an Iranian nuclear test, either above- or below-ground. Which I take to mean that they don't want to waste any of the handful of Russian and North Korean warheads they have on hand on mere tests as opposed to mass murdering Israelis, Europeans, and Americans.

As to mullahgarchic actions directly pertaining to today's "deadline," Tehran's long-promised response to the UN Security Council's "demand" that Iran cease and desist from its nuclear weapons program was pretty much what should have been expected - more tap-dancing:

Iran on Tuesday handed over its response to a nuclear package aimed at allaying Western fears that Tehran seeks to build atomic bombs, state-run Arabic-language Al-Alam television reported. It did not give details of the reply.

Sources in the United Nations described the Iranian response as "ambiguous and evasive." The sources said the Iranians are seeking to renew negotiations but nevertheless refuse to halt enriching uranium. They also said Iran failed to respond to several aspects of the nuclear package.

Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani said Tuesday that Iran was ready to start what he called "serious negotiations" on August 23 with the six world powers about their offer to defuse a nuclear standoff, according to Iran's student news agency ISNA.

I'll stop the quote there because, come on, how much more do you need to know? It's the same old circle-jerk. We shake ourselves down and the mullahs scoop up all the concessions and wait for more. Instead of perhaps being tempted (or, alternatively, forced) to gamble by showing their nuclear hand prematurely, the mullahs can keep right on developing their own nuclear weapons manufacturing capabilities and extract as much foolish Western assistance in the effort as our boneheadedly suicidal diplomatic generosity can accommodate. By the time this "diplomacy with a hint of steel" madness is finished, Iran could have dozens or hundreds of nukes and as many ballistic missiles with which to deliver them against cities from Tel Aviv to London to New York. And, even more dangerous, a robust confidence - arrogance, really - that so weak-willed, divided, defeatist, soft, decadent, cowardly, pacifist, paralyzed (okay, you get the point) is the West that they can start torching our cities one by one and we will do no more than express "deep concern" and lodge formal protests at the United Nations.

And, Cap'n Ed's naive jingoism notwithstanding, who could blame them? Look at how Israel - Israel! - folded like a K-Mart deck chair against a mere Iranian proxie army in Lebanon, and how we not only pulled the plug on them at the UN but caved to the French appeasers and double-crossers in the process. Cripes, look at "diplomacy with a hint of steel". Put yourself in Ahmadinejad's shoes - does that not suggest unequivocally that the Bush Doctrine is deader than Dick Cheney's scalp? That you pretty much have a free hand to do pretty much whatever you want without having to give a rat's ass about what the irrelevant "international community" thinks, other than to make sure that you maximize their "diplomatic" boodle?

The degree of the mullahgarchy's rationality, as opposed to religious mania, is debatable, I suppose, but it would not be unreasonable of them to see the incentives for further provocations as outweighing the evidently evaporating risks. The same dynamic in the latter half of the 1930s is what propelled the world toward a global conflagration that need never have been fought but for the perceptions of the West in the minds of Hitler and Tojo created by its bitterly ironic desperation to avoid war at all costs. Those perceptions made war inevitable, on the enemy's terms, and therefore horrendously costly in lives and treasure.

Sure, lots of commentators and pundits are using the Nazi parallel. But it fits - burgeoning regional power, fascistic in nature, rabidly and genocidally anti-Semitic, possessing ambitions of global conquest, facing a First World debilitated by decadence, self-centeredness, solipsism, left-wing cultural neuroses, a deep-seeded collective infantility, a degree of spoiledness borne of prosperity that makes confronting threats, with all the concommitant sacrifices and nastiness, anathema, and ignoring and appeasing them mandatory.

And so, rather than, as President Bush once declared, "not letting storms gather and acting before threats become imminent," we have returned to "waiting on events." We are, as Mark Steyn laments, once again "back in the quagmire of perpetual interminable U.N.-brokered EU-led multilateral dithering":

What's the difference between September 2001 and now? It's not that anyone liked" America or that, as the Democrats like to suggest, the country had the world's "sympathy.'' Pakistani generals and the Kremlin don't cave to your demands because they "sympathize.'' They go along because you've succeeded in impressing upon them that they've no choice. Musharraf and Co. weren't scared by America's power but by the fact that America, in the rubble of 9/11, had belatedly found the will to use that power. It is notionally at least as powerful today, but in terms of will we're back to September 10: Nobody thinks America is prepared to use its power. And so Nasrallah and Ahmadinejad and wannabe "strong horses" like Baby Assad cock their snooks with impunity. [emphases added]

Mark Levin, as is his want, is even blunter:

If the U.S. was serious about winning the war on terrorism, which means destroying the Iranian regime, the time to take military action against Iran was when Israel was moving against Hezbollah. Yes, I know this is controversial, but it ought not be — unless, of course, the U.S. has no intention of stopping Iran, no intention of using military force against Iran, and is committed to a defeatist diplomatic agenda. The time to strike Iran was while it was engaged on another front (southern Lebanon) and before its acquisition of nuclear weapons.

If a military response against Iran is off the table, despite the fact that Iran has no intention of ending voluntarily its nuclear efforts, then the Bush Doctrine and the Democracy Project are dead by the hand of their architect. Iran will become a regional power and international threat. And the terrorists who seek to attack our cities will have access to devastating technology. [emphasis added]

More than any other prior conflict, this war is a battle, not of tanks and aircraft and infantry, or even WMD, but of will. When terrorists, and terror states, attack us, they aren't foolish enough to attack our strengths - we conquered Iraq in three weeks, for heaven's sake. They know that we can "turn Tehran into a glass farm." They simply do not believe that we will, no matter what they do to us. So they keep nibbling around the edges, blowing up embassies and warships and Manhattan skyscrapers, kidnapping civilians and lobbing rockets into the cities of our allies, battling our soldiers with seemingly interminable guerrilla tactics in erstwhile liberated nations, all the while eroding our collective will to resist, sapping our national stamina, and working busily toward the day when they will, they believe, blackmail us with "the world's most destructive weapons." And we continue giving them every reason to believe that their perception is right on the money.

War with Iran is inevitable because we refuse to fight it. We indulge in every fantasy we can find - "diplomacy with a hint of steel"; the equally as delusional Ledeenite pipedream of encouraging the Iranian people to rise up and overthrow the mullahs, which, if it ever was a viable option, isn't any longer; and the short cut of limiting military action to air strikes, which the IAF's campaign in Lebanon pretty much proved is a chimera - to avoid the reality that only a full-scale invasion and conquest of Iran - even despite their token off-the-shelf nuclear arsenal - can eliminate the threat of both the Islamic regime's pursuit of their own nukes and the regime itself. We simply no longer have the option of ignoring that reality.

It took the attack on Pearl Harbor to get us into World War II. It took 9/11 to get us into World War IV, for a while. I shudder to think what it's going to take to motivate us to finish it.

Probably a good thing we can't mark that on the calendar, huh?