Saturday, May 20, 2006

Madmen Compared


Once upon a time, there was this crazy man, liked to say all sorts of outrageous things. Didn’t like Jews much, either. Problem is, this guy was the head of his country, and so his rants could be said to represent the national policy, and there was also the problem of a pretty big army he was getting together, although he assured everyone that he was a peace-loving guy, not a threat to anyone. Oh yes, there’s a lot of similarity between Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Adolf Hitler, though there are many people quick to say we shouldn’t make that connection. But as I am sometimes slow to take my cue from the elite, I continue in my comparison:

Both men came to power on a theory of returning their nation to power through a fascist policy regarding force and law. Both men found it convenient to blame everything on Western powers and on the Jewish minority in their country/region. Both had a real jones for getting a nuclear weapon. Both saw their own country in increasingly unrealistic terms, moving from a desire for regional respect, to a thirst for hegemony, to the notion that they counld influence the world, if not control a large chunk of it. And both men found the world in general amazingly compliant with their demands, as if timidity would bring something better than disaster.

There are also differences between the men and their countries, of course. For one thing, Hitler came to power at a time when the last great war told a warning against war without caution. And there was no one like Hitler in a long time, whose malice had been so clear as to warn against even talking to him; it must have seemed to England and France that there was no downside to simply talking with the man, and ample reason to believe in the strength of the Maginot Line and the victory from World War One. These days, we should have learned enough from the Nazis to watch out for their brood, and to judge a leader by his actions, and not just his assurances.

Further, Hitler realized too late the potential of the atom bomb, while Ahmadinejad has always considered nuclear weapons his trump card to regional hegemony. But again there is a similarity; when Hitler finally decided to pursue nuclear weapons, he had no specific idea as to how they would win the war for him; like Ahmadinejad now, he simply believed that having them would make all the difference.

Now, I have addressed the tactics of Mr. Ahmadinejad before, with a suggestion or two about what I might do if I were sitting in the Oval Office. I have also written about the character of national ambitions in the Middle East; Iran has long thought of itself as the rightful leader of the whole Middle East, whether one means Ahmadinejad today, the Ayatollah Khomeini a couple decades ago, or the Shah Rezi Pahlavi before him. So when we talk about Ahmadinejad, it’s important to understand that some of this is the usual Iranian bluster which has proceeded forth from ‘Persia’ ever since it began to regain the illusion of past glories (past, as in pre-Alexander the Great). When one considers the actual readiness of Iran’s military to fight a significant conflict against a first-world opponent, the math proves the comparison a clear mis-match, clear enough that no Iranian general would advocate such a war. The significance is that this means that Ahmadinejad is speaking from a religious and political stance. Such a position hardly makes the threat impotent, but it does mean that options in response would reasonably include interfering with choke points in Iran’s R&D development, quiet meetings with selected military officials to remind them of American capability and probable responses, and naturally the encouragement of insurrection by disenchanted Iranian youth; the same use of the “street” which helped to drive out the Shah, can be pursued to drive out the Jihad Junta in Teheran; it is not commonly understood in the West, that for a number of reasons, partly cultural but largely economic, Iran’s population is strongly pro-American, to such a degree that if a competent and charismatic leader could be found among the youth in Iran, the government would find itself ousted in short order, whether or not they agreed to a vote on the matter. More than a few people who have been to Iran during the period following the fall of Baghdad, report people in the street asking why the U.S. stopped with Iraq; the sentiment among Iranian citizens is eerily like the sentiment of many Iraqis in 1991, and so there is a unique opportunity there, though direct military conflict initiated by America represents an unreasonable risk. In 1938, it seemed a lot of Europeans were simply watching to see what Britain would do, and when Chamberlain chose appeasement, the rest of Europe lost hope. Now we see again, where the Middle East and the world wait to see, not what the U.N. or some regional country does, but what America does, and heavy stakes ride on the decision.

In conclusion, Iran is not much like Germany. Iran does not own the same military tradition as Germany, nor the same quality academies and theoreticians, nor the same quality armament developers and strategists, nor the same popualtion devoted to national pride. Make no mistake, Iranians love their country, but they are not naive about the character of their government, and there is no professional corps on which to build a first-rate Army. Iran has a navy, to the same degree that I could claims to be a personal friend of President Bush - it’s possible, but it would take a great stretch of definitions to make it true in any substantive sense. And all you need to know about Iran’s Air Force, is to understand that Iranian pilots average less than fifty hours in the air every year, and none have what we could call salient experience in ACM. This means that the most likely deployment of any WMD by Iran would be via a terorist cell, which explains the continued cultivation of contact between Iran and a number of international terrorist organizations. While the ramifications of such a possibility are chilling (as one example, all NW protocols include stringent permissive release requirements, which would have to be abrogated for a terrorist group to use them), it also suggests that the threshold conditions for a decision to give NW to a terrorist group must be high, and it is unlikely in the extreme that a single person would be allowed such authority by themselves. This means that if Intelligence can confirm the existence not only of enriched materials, but an actual weapon, then the West will have a minimum amount of time to decide on a functional response before that weapon is likely to be used. There is also the clear signal sent more than once by all ‘relevant parties’, that the use of a Nuclear Weapon on certain targets, be it Tel Aviv, Washington, London, or some other target which implies a Teheran connection, that the result would cost Iran far more than it gains. Given the locations of suspected nuclear sites, they would be difficult to attack, but ironically their position in relation to mountains, and being far from towns, would create a comparatively low risk of collateral casualties if a Western nation were to deliver a nuclear reprisal, and Iran has certainly been made aware of that fact.


MFG said...

I don't know...

I had always hoped that a 911 wouldn't happen because the people who would attempt such a thing would refrain due to the overwhelming military response to follow.

Yet 911 happened.

I think we're dealing with people who have lost their rationality and that nothing can be put beyond them.

Certainly no rational person would nuke Tel Aviv or New York, since a rational person would understand that even if the White House were occupied by weakling Democrats, that a nuclear reprisal would surely follow.

But these people are not rational.

I think within 15 years, tops, we're definitely going to see a war or a terrorist attack where nuclear weapons are used.

Please God let me be wrong...

MFG said...

I think the most likely course of events with Iran will be talk, talk, talk, etc etc etc with absolutely nothing being accomplished.

Followed by a mushroom cloud

Followed by our retaliation

Poster X said...

I have to agree with MFG.

Your analysis is spot-on ... but only if you assume rational actors are involved.

I fear that the Iranian Mullahs and the puppets they control are not quite as rational as you give them credit for being.

I'm not convinced that reprisals even enter into their considerations.

MAD worked with Russia; I'm afraid MAD might just make some of these nutballs smile - knowing their guaranteed a quick trip to thier 72 virgins.

(Side note: is it just me - or would you really not prefer virgins at all? I'm thinking the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders would be better. Then again, I don't wear a turban and ride camels. So no accounting for taste.)

By the way, Polipundit is now an arid wasteland.

See how I tied that in with the camels? Arid? Wasteland? Camels? Nice, huh?

Jeanette said...


Now take off your political hat and put on your Christian hat and tell me how you interpret Ezekiel I think chapters 33-34. It appears Iraq will be involved in a war with Israel with allies from many other countries including Russia and the usual suspects in the Mid-East, not counting Iraq (probably because Iraq will be preserving the new Babylon but not really know that's the reason, if I make any sense at all. IOW it's not going to participate because it's not in God's plan to do so yet.)

Looking at it from that perspective what do you think?

RFA said...

A few years ago I saw a documentary by Christian Amanpour about the youth of Iran. It was all about the Islamification of the country and how much they didn't like it.

They wanted western clothes and satellite TV and Rock music. They discussed the hard line of the Mullahs and the risks people were taking to live like 21st century humans and let go the ancient ideologies that were keeping their county poor, their people oppressed and afraid to speak out on the issues that were affecting their own lives.

It seems this documentary got burned or stashed in a vault somewhere but, it would sure go along way in explaining the other side of Iranian society in todays world.

Ms. Amanpour has come down on the side of the lefties in the past couple of years. I wonder if she would like to retract the documentary now.

Mark L. said...

I'd say our options in Iran now boild down to two choices:

1. Create an Iranian equivalent of the Northern Alliance, preferably, in Hormuz, or failing that on the Afghan border, and assist them in toppling the current regime.

2. Wait until they get a WMD, and pop off a nuke somewhere (preferably Paris, but more likely Tel Aviv. Glass over Iran in retaliation. Look at the rest of the world and tell them when we say we will not tolerate the use of nuclear weapons we mean it. Ask if anyone else wishes to try their luck. Smile.

I am a bad enough Christian that I kinda favor (2), but I think option (1) would be best over the long haul.

DIRTY BIRD said...

This hitler was a vegetarian and gun control freak and drug addic and a animal lover and a supporter of big goverment HITLER WAS A LIBERALwujni

owl said...

mfg said..."I don't know" and I say ditto. Not a clue and glad I do not have the responsibility for millions.

My gut reaction is hit them....but then I wonder why that nut has practically begged us to do that? Have you ever seen anything even remotely equal to the way he has begged to be attacked?

Just glad I can pass this problem. Will say a prayer for President Bush and all that work to protect us.