Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Another Depressing Iran Blog: “The First Rule of Holes… … If You Are in One, Stop Digging.”

with 7 comments

Courtesy: University of Texas Libraries

I hate to dwell upon such an unpleasant subject, but there’s a few stories in the news that are of interest as this train wreck continues to unfold. And a few thoughts of my own I wanted to run up the flagpole so to speak. The first is the obvious one, don’t people realize how terrible a war with Iran could be? The region has already been badly destabilized by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, another western attack on a Muslim country could trigger terrible consequences throughout the region. This is one of the main reasons, if not the main reason, why launching a war should be done only as a last resort. Wars almost never turn out the way they were confidently predicted ,there are always unintended consequences. Or look at it this way, have Iraq and Afghanistan turned into the peaceful western style democracies that the Neocons promised us when they decided to reshape the Middle East through force of arms?

Part of the problem is that a lot of militarists and people with little understanding or concern about history view war as a “zero-sum” game. That is, they think that war is like chess or a game of risk…if you can just wipe out enough of the other guys pieces…you win. In a classic conventional war between two discreet nation states, there is a certain amount of truth to this. However, the era of classical wars between nation states ended in the 19th century. Modern warfare is far more diffuse, the concept of “total war” pretty much ended zero-sum equations during world war one. Wars now are far less constrained by borders and the distinction between combatants and non combatants than ever, it’s simply no longer possible to wipe out your enemy’s army in a big glorious battle and go home to celebrate your victory. Those days are long over, but most humans, especially in military matters, are still living in the glory days of old.

In a similar vein, people don’t seem to grasp that flying over people and dropping bombs on them doesn’t get them to “see reason.” They react in the exact same way as anyone would if someone flew over them and dropped bombs. They go ballistic. In fact it’s not clear if strategic bombing (that’s bombing an enemy’s cities, infrastructure, and factories as opposed to bombing their soldiers) has ever achieved the desired results. Even in World War Two, the golden age of strategic bombing, it’s not at all clear that the bombing of Japan and Germany achieved the desired results. The damage it did has to be balanced against the known fact that it made the governments of both countries far more popular and wildly increased their people’s will to resist. Strategic bombing is easy compared to trying to find their soldiers hiding in the woods and bomb them, which is why it is so widely practised. That does not however mean it is a good idea, the easiest answer is not always the best answer.

Oh well, I’m still hoping that cooler heads will prevail. As the late Molly Ivins said: “The First Rule of Holes… … If You Are in One, Stop Digging.” Note the map above, Iran is a much bigger hole than Iraq. I’m still hoping that Bush will order the military to attack Iran…and they will say “With what, the Coast Guard?” And as our first story of the day illustrates…it’s not as crazy as it sounds:

Generals will resign? There’s a report that some top ranking US generals have said they will resign if ordered to attack Iran. The report is certainly credible, not all American generals are politically appointed toadies. Or more accurately, not all of our competent generals have yet left the military, voluntarily or forced out. Just the fact that generals are threatening to resign should give Bush pause, but sadly Bush doesn’t appear to process input that doesn’t lead to the conclusions he wants. Still, it’s a hopeful sign.

US Funds Terrorists. There are reports that the USA is funding and encouraging violent anti-government groups in Iran. Groups that have and do use tactics that would clearly be described as terrorism. Purportedly to put pressure on the Iranian government to abandon its nuclear program. And if Mexico gave weapons to pro immigrant groups in the USA and urged them to launch attacks on the USA government, that would put pressure on the American government to relax its immigration policy? This is either incredibly stupid, or cynically designed to make the situation worse instead of better.

Iran Defiant. The BBC reports that Iran continues to be defiant over its nuclear program. Note that no mention is made that under the NPT Iran’s nuclear program is completely legal. And no mention is made of India, Pakistan, and Israel who have not only refused to sign the NPT, they have developed nuclear weapons in complete defiance of it. And of course no mention is ever made of the fact that despite having their facilities open to UN monitoring, no evidence that Iran is diverting its program to military uses has ever been discovered. Bush has never let facts interfere with his final fantasy foreign policy visions before, at least the man is consistent.

Just for fun click here. Yes, Iran was once used to promote the building of nuclear power plants in the USA. Of course the USA was all for Iran’s peaceful nuclear program when Iran was run by a brutal American installed dictator. Now that Iran is a democracy, all of a sudden it doesn’t make sense for them to develop nuclear power? And I know, some would object to calling Iran a democracy. Honestly though, compared to virtually every American ally in the Middle East, Iran is a model of democracy.

US Special Forces In Iran. Again, if this is true, try to imagine if Iranian special forces were conducting military operations inside your nation. The typical American would go ape shit for example. Sadly, such is the mind-set of many Americans…we can do unto others what we would never accept being done unto us. And we call ourselves a Christian Nation?

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
Matthew 7:12

(The above map is a public domain image and may be copied and used freely)


Written by unitedcats

February 25, 2007 at 12:23 pm

Posted in History, Iran, Iraq, Philosophy, War, WMDs

7 Responses

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  1. Thank’s a lot, Doug, for this comprehensive information! Doesn’t matter at all, that you are telling nothing new after all. The problem is, to the contrary, that obviously quite a lot of people even don’t care a sh… and don’t want to recognize even the simpliest truth and facts. Well, seems to be a lot easier to demonize Iran, unfortuantely as well done so in some exil-iranian weblogs!


    February 25, 2007 at 4:44 pm

  2. {{Wars almost never turn out the way they were confidently predicted ,there are always unintended consequences. }}

    Where did our liege lords ever get the idea that people appreciate having bombs dropped on them and seeing their governments humiliated? I wonder if the assumption that “the people” will be grateful is meant to soothe the conscience of those who need a justification for that which cannot be justified.


    February 25, 2007 at 5:48 pm

  3. Doug, India’s not nuclear program is more than tolerated. Recently India and US entered into a civilian nuclear deal. India developed nuclear weapon without much provocation. This led to nuclear arms race in the region.

    I too am at odds with the govt I am living under.


    February 26, 2007 at 1:28 am

  4. 2 nukes did end the war with Japan.

    The unintended consequences are like the mouse that roarded.. they now have the most tech. advanced country on the globe and are awash with money :)


    February 27, 2007 at 7:27 am

  5. I am afraid that I don’t see the connection between the atom bombing of Japan and Japanese post war prosperity. And the attacks did not “end” the war, the Japanese had been trying to surrender for at least a year prior to the attacks, it was only Roosevelt’s bizarre (and ultimately backfiring) insistence on “unconditional” surrender that prolonged the fighting. Japan was completely blockaded, its people were starving, its industry either destroyed or paralysed from lack of resources, its military virtually impotent. The outcome of the war was not in doubt, the A-bomb was used to get Japan to surrender now because the Red Army was advancing through Japanese occupied China at flank speed, something that even I can agree needed to be stopped. JMO —Doug


    March 2, 2007 at 9:31 pm

  6. Hi there, I thought you may be interested to take a look at neo-resistance. There you would find information about why compared to virtually every American ally in the Middle East, Iran is a model of democracy.

    If Americans let, Iran’s democracy would have been where a democracy has to be. They somehow manage to mess things up JUST when they start looking good! This time, it was branding Iran the axis of evil, and thus getting rid of the reformist movements in Iran! And now, the saber rattling is making even the most critical of us to rally behinf Ahmadinejad! This is utterly sad.


    March 3, 2007 at 1:21 pm

  7. […] Doug does a much better job of hunting and gathering the news stories than I do. Sadly, I can’t say I disagree with his analysis, even though several of my friends think that there is no way Bush can attack Iran (their main reason is that there’s no troops and no money), I’m not so sure. Head over to Doug’s and see what you think. Then get on the phone or the email and contact your representatives and tell them what you think. […]

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