War with Iran? America's Titanic Rushes the IcebergSubmitted by Liberty_Belle on Sun, 11/15/2009 - 19:42
by Alan Sabrosky (Ph.D, University of Michigan) is a ten-year US Marine Corps veteran and a graduate of the US Army War College
A very strange thing must have happened to Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), on his way to his recent talk at Washington's National Press Club. He oddly asserted that Iran was indeed an "existential threat" to Israel (nice of the Israelis to have provided that sound bite), that he was open to a US attack on Iran (which is no threat whatsoever to the US) to forestall that supposed danger to Israel, and that the attack "would also be incredibly destabilizing."
The Thesis Reviewed
In reality, only the anticipation of potentially catastrophic consequences is accurate. Regardless of what Arab governments do, the Arab street may explode. Iraq -- whose population, police and armed forces are largely Shi'a, and which now has good ties with Shi'a Iran -- could easily turn on the Americans in their midst, with gruesome consequences. Oil prices would skyrocket. And that is just for openers.
As for "existential threats," Israel certainly knows something about them, because that is precisely what Israel itself poses to Palestinians. But the idea that an Iran which might someday acquire a handful of crude nuclear weapons would somehow threaten the existence of Israel with its massive nuclear arsenal and American-designed air force surpasses lunacy. The Israelis know this. What they want is for the US to remove their only surviving competitor in the region at America's own expense.
Moreover, Iran has not gone to war against its neighbors in modern times (Iraq invaded it in 1980). But Israel and the US between them have gone to war and invaded other states on a variety of pretexts more than the rest of the world combined, since the end of the Second World War. Civil wars have been commonplace, but not international wars and cross-border interventions, which are visibly Israeli and American specialties.
The Face of Leadership?
Now, the fact that the good admiral sees nothing wrong with the US going to war in the service of another country's interests is bad enough. But that he would do so knowing that a disaster of some sort could ensue defies belief. It is the equivalent of the captain of the SS Titanic being forewarned of an iceberg dead ahead, yet ordering the helmsman to hold his course and the engine room to increase the ship's speed.
I hope Mullen was simply parroting the script given him by the Pentagon's political leadership, which would be yet another strike against perpetuating civilian "amateur hour" in the national security process, just to keep the grave-diggers at America's military cemeteries gainfully employed. It would be more than painful to think he actually believed such nonsense, or lacked the character to refute it when he heard it.