Wednesday, January 25, 2006

You May Fire When You are Ready, Gridley

Our choices regarding Iran are all in the ugly range and only luck can spare us from choosing one of them:

In sum, a terrorist-sponsoring state led by an apocalyptic lunatic will soon have the ability to incinerate Tel Aviv or New York. The International Atomic Energy Agency is concerned enough to convene an emergency meeting on Feb. 2 to discuss a referral to the U.N. Security Council. This is not a prospect to make the mullahs quake. They know perfectly well that no serious sanctions are likely. Their business partners in Russia and China will see to that. Nor do the Europeans have any interest in embargoing Iran's main export — petroleum — when oil is more than $60 a barrel. The most that might happen is that some Iranian officials might have their foreign accounts frozen and their foreign travel curtailed. That seems a small price to pay for nuclear glory.

What might stop Iran at this late date? Some conservatives have pinned their hopes on another Iranian revolution. The CIA and other agencies should do everything possible to encourage such an uprising. But the chances of regime change in the near term are not high. Even less likely is a U.S. invasion; the U.S. military is overstretched as it is.

That leaves only one serious option — air strikes by Israel or the U.S., possibly accompanied by commando raids. It is doubtful that bombs could eradicate Iran's nuclear program, but they could set it back for years, possibly long enough for the regime to implode.
In Provocation, I noted that it may be that Iran must galvanize us into facing the threat that the mad mullahs present to our nation and the West in general. But I worried about what could provoke the Iranians in time to allow us to deal with them.

Well, Iran may be screwing up their courage to mess with us:

[I]f Europe does not act wisely with the Iranian nuclear portfolio and it is referred to the UN Security Council and economic or air travel restrictions are imposed unjustly, we have the power to halt oil supply to the last drop from the shores of the Persian Gulf via the Straits of Hormuz.

If the hollow UN route can provoke this, it will be worth it.

And once Iran commits an act of war, we should respond not with escorts alone as we did in 1987-1988 during the Tanker War, but with immediate offensive action that sinks the Iranian fleet and destroys their air and missile forces. No proportionality, here. Hammer them until they have nothing left that sails or flies through the air.

And as long as we're in their air space, their nuclear facilities, too.