I support the idea of holding direct talks with Iran. Like everyone else, I’ve played the rhetorical game, “If I were President I’d….” Well, if I were President [what I think President Bush or President McCain or President Obama should do] I would fly Air Force One to Tehran international unannounced.
[Current photo of abandoned American Embassy in Tehran, Iran-where “talks” with Iran should be held with the Washington and entire world press corps at hand]
On the ground, I’d have a tent set up just outside the abandoned US embassy (which still bears the paint on the sides of a giant American flag with the words, “DEATH TO AMERICA” on it. We’d have tea and cookies ready, some paper, some pens, and I’d have the cynical Washington Press Corp surrounding me. Then I’d wait until someone from Iran came to talk. If it took hours, no big deal-the plane has bathrooms. If it took a day, hey, there’s food on the plane. Besides, the waiting would only harden the press corps and sharpen their attitudes.
When someone-preferably Ahmadinejad-came to talk, the cameras would roll away. We’d sit down, and then…
This is where there’s a problem with the idea of “talking” to Iran. Obviously a presentation of greivances has to be made so both sides know the goal. The President has to tell Iran that they’ve got to stop killing Americans in Iraq, stop arming, training, funding, and harboring the Iraqi insurgents and terrorists who are killing Americans in Iraq, Iran’s got to stop calling for the destruction of Israel as it’s a very destabilizing threat, and Iran’s got to prove to the world via the IAEA that their nuclear program isn’t a series of nuclear bomb factories (which it is). Iran’s President would then go on and on about US support for Israel (ignoring US support for Egypt, Saudi, Jordan, the Gulf States, and Iraq all of which dwarfs US support for Israel 10fold). Iran’s President would have to call for the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq and Afghanistan and the Gulf (something we’d love to do, but can’t because of the Iranian backed terrorist efforts and Iran’s threats to Israel etc). Iran’s President might also want other concessions.
There’s the rub. Democrats are in an uproar this past week because they felt that President Bush was calling likely President Obama and other Democrats “appeasers.” Well, appeasement is the idea of giving “stuff” to leaders and nations that are clearly tyrannical in the hope that it will appease or satisfy or coax them into complying with US will. SO, if that fateful day ever came where an American President held talks w Iran…if he offered this and that and whatever to Iran in the hopes that Iran would then
- -stop killing Americans in Iraq
- -stop supporting, training, arming, harboring, and assisting the terrorists killing Americans in Iraq
- -stop threatening to wipe Israel off the map, and
- -stop screwing around with the IAEA and prove that they’re not making nuclear bomb factories, but a peaceful nuclear program for energy (despite the lack of any new power grid being built)
…if an American President offered concessions to accomplish those goals, then that American President (Bush, Obama, me) would be appeasing the Iranians.
Now, lacking appeasment or carrots, the other way to make the mule move is to slap its ass with a stick. Pundits, retired generals, political opponents, professional politicians, and candidates all tell us the US military is broken from service in Iraq. I beg to differ-though I readily acknowledge the incredible strain on the Army and Marine Corps. The US Navy and the US Air Force are not strained. They are a very viable military option. Some say you can’t just bomb a country into compliance/submission, or that an air campaign option wouldn’t work with Iran. They might be right, but they’re more likely wrong. If the world has learned anything from American military action over the past 18 years, it’s that a US air campaign is devastating, and as time passes…it only gets more so. Doubt it? Ask the Taliban who now live in caves.
Still, there’s an even bigger threat to Iran with an even more direct effect than a US invasion or airwar.
If the Iranians “talk” with an American President (Bush, Obama, Clinton, me, you), and they’re not given appeasement carrots to stop killing Americans etc., and they still don’t believe there’s a significant threat from a military that punditry calls “broken” (yeah, telling the world our military is “broken” doesn’t exactly help use it as a deterrent btw), then there is an option.
Iran is flooded with oil, but it is not flooded with gasoline. Just as the US doesn’t have enough refineries, so too is the case with Iran. Moreover, refineries are extremely vulnerable to fire given that there’s flammable petroleum products literally everywhere.
At this point in, I’d like you all to open your copies of Tom Clancy’s book, Red Storm Rising, to page 1. Take a moment and read the first 3 pages. What? No copy of the bestseller on your bookshelf or in any of the boxes down the basement? Ok, well let’s jump to the point then. In the book, a few Islamic Holy Warriors take over a refinery in Soviet Russia, turn on/off a series of valves that release petroleum all over the ground in some areas and builds up pressure in pipelines elsewher. Soon, pipes break, and fumes find an ignition source. The refinery is destroyed in their martyrdom attack.
Iran is extremely vulnerable to a strategic air attack (or covert attack) on its refineries. Their emergency storage of fuel is very small, and they are surrounded by American forces that can prevent fresh fuel from coming into the country. Whether it’s a stealth air attack, a commando attack, a deniable attack conducted by US-sponsored anti-Iranian terrorists, or whatever…they can be economically brought to submission.
Yes, talking with Iran is a good idea though. Why? Because it puts things out there to be very clear for those who would oppose any subsequent and likely action against Iran. Let’s face it, Iran has no reason to stop killing Americans in Iraq or arming, training, harboring, assisting, and supporting the terrorists who kill Americans there. Iran’s not been held to account for it in the past, and they have no reason to believe they will be in the future. The same is true for their years of threats against Israel. Most of all, if Iran is comfortable (as it demonstrates it is) in defying the entire world regarding inspections of its nuclear program, then what can the US do via talks; appease them into compliance or threaten them?
No, there is trouble on the horizon with Iran. There has been for a long time-since 1979. When Iran refuses to comply with the request to stop killing Americans etc., then it’s clear for those who oppose military action (direct or indirect, overt or covert), that diplomacy was tried and failed.
So yes, please, go “talk” to Iran, and try to make those talks successful without appeasing them, and keep telling them our military is “broken” because that really helps-NOT. And when those talks fail there will be no other option. There will be one last resort [back to page 1 of Red Storm Rising again please].