AXIS OF UPHEAVAL
Each one hopes that if he feeds the crocodile enough, the crocodile will eat him last.
Misdirection. One of the tried and true tactics of military lore, and a key ingredient in deception of every stripe. Used by magicians, generals, politicians, and con men the world over, misdirection buys crucial time to makes one's move, after which it is too late for the opposition to effectively counter. American armies have exploited this tactic against their adversaries with great success.
German intelligence was led to believe with such certainty that Patton would spearhead the invasion of Fortress Europe from the south, that even as the largest naval landing force in history crossed the dense fog of the English Channel and hit the Normandy coastline, the Nazi leadership still hesitated to act, assuming that to be the feint they assumed was coming. Operation Overlord caught them with their pants around their ankles, and they hobbled around in a panic rather than pick them back up and reinforce their positions. The Germans refused to believe that the American command would squander their most aggressive general as a mere decoy, yet that is precisely the reason it worked.
'First we're going to cut it off, then we're going to kill it.'
During Operation Desert Shield, an 18,000-man task force steamed into the Persian Gulf within a month of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, performing high-visibility exercises off the Saudi Arabian coastline to heighten enemy wariness of an impending seaborne invasion. Even as the ground war commenced, the Iraqis were convinced that the "Mother of All Battles" would be waged at the center of their defensive lines along the Saudi-Kuwait border by amphibious assault, a fatal error in judgment attributable to the deceptive tactics at the core of Operation Desert Storm. In one of the largest and swiftest battlefield troop movements in history, American and Allied forces numbering 250,000 strong moved deep into Iraqi territory from the Saudi border to deliver General Schwarzkopf's famous "left hook" to the enemy in a classic doctrinal flanking maneuver that cut off all avenues of retreat to the north and west of Kuwait.
Misdirection at its finest.
Today this tactic has many new adherents, and a disciple particularly well-versed in all it's geopolitical and media manipulating potential -- the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The Iranian regime, along with its sickophantic sidekick, the secular Ba'athist state of Syria, have purposely fanned the flames of the so-called Cartoon Intifada in recent months in a calculated move that has all but enfeebled whatever shred of European moral authority remained; most notably that of Denmark, where the infamous illustrations of the Prophet Muhammad were originally published -- last fall. Apparently, "Rent-a-Mobs 'R' Us" had been booked solid until after the new year. So many infidels to threaten to behead, so little time.
Muslim enclaves throughout the Divided States of Eurabia became suddenly incensed, goose-stepping through the streets toting signs declaring "death to those who insult Islam," and applying electric shock therapy to the underpinnings of enlightened multiculturalist sensibilities everywhere. European cartoonists and publishers have since gone into hiding, in fear for their lives, becoming all but exiles in their own country. To publish or not to publish, that was the question -- fear and a fatwa the answer. Salman Rushdie was not available for comment.
Something is indeed rotten in Denmark, and it isn't just the "Roses of the Prophet Mohammed." In early February, hundreds of rock-wielding Syrian "demonstrators" stormed and set fire to the Danish Embassy in Damascus. These anti-Talmudic Teamsters were met with surprising little resistance from a Ba'athist police state that dictates when its citizens may sneeze, much less violently assail the diplomatic immunity of even those dastardly Danes with their dirty deeds done dirt cheap. Somewhere under Giants Stadium, Jimmy Hoffa is smiling.
Methinks Thou Doth Protest Too Much
Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad may soon have to answer for any ties to last year's assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri when the issue is brought before the UN. The International Atomic Energy Agency has finally bowed to Western pressure to refer Iran's nuclear issues to the UN as well, but not until next month, when the rotation of the Presidency of the Security Council is handed off from the intense scrutiny of the U.S. and Ambassador John "New Sheriff in Town" Bolton, to those bulwarks of individual liberty Argentina, Congo, and China. The next free countries in line do not come up again until this summer, and conveniently for Islamic obfuscators everywhere, they are Denmark and France. If by that point a nuclear Iran is not already a foregone conclusion, prepare for the European cartoon caterwauling to return to a fever pitch.
But please, pay no attention to the mullahs behind the curtain.
Condoleezza Rice: "Iran and Syria have gone out of their way to inflame sentiments and to use this to their own purposes. And the world ought to call them on it. All responsible people ought to say that there is no excuse for violence."
All responsible parties have responded accordingly, blasting the Golden Dome off the Askariya mosque in Samarra in a strategic blow timed to ignite civil war between Iraq's competing religious factions and create a power vacuum that Iranian-backed Shi'ite militias will be only too happy to fill. It remains to be seen whether Iraqis will take the bait; thus far cooler heads have prevailed. Iraq's President Jalal Talabani: "The fire of sedition, when it breaks out, can burn everything in its path and spare no one."
But Iran's political and religious leaders wasted no time in accusing "defeated Zionists and occupiers" as responsible for the attack on one of Islam's most revered holy sites. Al-Qaeda's Zarqawi may or may not be on the Iranian payroll -- on this charge the jury is still out -- but his actions clearly further their mutual goals.
If you destroy it, they will leave.
An Axis Around Which Nations Could Dissemble
Another day, another demand for American withdrawal. The Mullahs would like nothing more than to stall Iraq the Model Airplane and send it careening into a mountain. Iraq must be shown as a failed experiment in democracy, lest the nasty contagion spread across its borders. See? See what "freedom" equals to the West? The freedom to insult the Prophet and desecrate our shrines!
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his government have frequently (and often bizarrely) downplayed the Holocaust and openly called for the destruction of Israel. If the UN were a serious body and not a limp and ineffectual debating society, threatening a fellow United Nations member state with annihilation should be ample reason to expel the irate Iranians from its ranks. "If," of course, being the operative word.
The Israelis are again in a panic, and for good reason. When one of your crazy neighbors fancies your people "wiped off the map," bankrolls terrorist organizations on your borders, and is frantically pursuing nuclear technology in pursuit of their own Final Solution to an age old argument, I'd say that justifies a permanent drift into crisis mode.
But West Bank foreclosure is far from the only Iranian export. Iran quietly trains jihadists to sow terror from Russian to Iraq, orchestrating attacks against British troops in Basra and putting pressure on Moscow by backing the Chechen fighters in their midst. As they did in Iraq, the Russians are again playing their dangerous game in enabling a regime that may eventually bite the hand that feeds. Take it from us, Mr. Putin. Blowback's a bitch.
What the Iranian mullahs lust after is a nuclear shield of invulnerability, freeing them to test-run their Middle Eastern Chaos Theory to its fullest extent. A land overflowing in oil and gas reserves has little compelling need for "peaceful" nuclear energy. Iran seeks the bomb for the same reason that Saddam sought it, and for the same reason that Kim Jong Il likely now has it. Deterrence. The West can do nothing to them, can take no direct action against them as long as they possess it. If the Taliban had such a weapon, they would still be entrenched from Kabul to Kandahar.
There are two types of modern nation-states that have never made war on each other: Those that possess democratic institutions, and those that possess nuclear weapons. Nuclear-armed democracies, certainly. Nuclear theocracies, however, are an untested variable. Pakistan may be a mere heartbeat away from such a reality, but at least it is still beating.
But this threat is far from a recent phenomenon. We have continually ignored it like the "check engine" lamp that reminds us that a tuneup is precariously overdue.
In early November 1979, sixty-six Americans were taken hostage on diplomatic U.S. soil as radical Islamic students encouraged by the newly established clerical regime overran and occupied the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Held captive for 444 days, the hostages were finally released twenty minutes after Ronald Reagan was sworn in as our 40th president, designed to further humiliate his already enervated predecessor. Under diplomatic law this outrage against our nation was clearly an act of war, yet Iran was never held to account.
In the two and a half decades to follow, Iran has helped supply, train, and finance radical organizations that have specialized in bombings, highjackings, assassinations, suicide missions, kidnappings, and publicly issued death warrants -- all commissioned and sanctioned by the godfathers of terrorism in Tehran.
Let Them Eat Yellowcake
While Western wishful thinkers continue to worship at the altar of Neville Chamberlain, the Iranian regime is busy enriching uranium, impoverishing its people, and imperiling its neighbors. The wolf is no longer at the door, he's at the foot of the bed. A cataclysm of epic proportions is afoot, yet our attention is elsewhere, distracted by manufactured Muslim outrage and headline-grabbing subterfuge. "Looney toons" doesn't even begin to describe it.
Once again the idiot light on the global dashboard is flashing, and it would be wise to finally heed its warning before the engine of individual liberty externally combusts. George W. Bush learned the hard way in his inaugural year that "terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength, they are invited by the perception of weakness." But for all those who opposed the Iraq intervention on the grounds that "other options" were available yet not pursued... well, here is your big chance. We're all ears. (What's the matter, scimitar got your tongue?)
Ambassador Bolton recently predicted "painful consequences" for Iran if it continues to defy the world and plod ahead with its nuclear ambitions. But unless that is his pet name for the John C. Stennis, it may be too little, too late.
Deployed soldiers certainly do not thirst for more battles to fight nor seek more enemies to vanquish, but we have borne witness to war's alternative -- we have all seen the terrible price of inaction and the unbearable cost of neglect. One that Natan Sharansky calls a "return to the pre-9/11 delusion that a tyrant's repression of his own subjects has no consequences for us." That grim national debt has been run up from the skies of New York to the peaks of Afghanistan and the streets of Baghdad. And make no mistake, it is still daily accruing interest.
Yet it has never been part of the American character to pass the buck. "If we have to fight," said Ulysses S. Grant, "[let us] do it all at once and then make friends."
War can be avoided if we do not seek to evade difficult choices -- the hard right over the easy wrong. It is not a Clash of Civilizations we face, but a defense of civilization itself against a resurgent Islamic Enfrightenment. We have weathered similar storms before, but this go-round, time is not on our side. If we ever hope to get over our Persian Wolf Syndrome, we've got to first check our dhimmitude at the door.
The Thomas Paine of the Terror War, Bill Whittle:
"We have to look our weakness and our sins full in the face, and accept them, and unlike past occupiers of this position...we must undergo, daily if necessary, the painful and humiliating airing of our worst excesses, and stare right in the face the reflection of our own flawed nature.
But unlike our hand-wringing, self-loathing, paralyzed elites, we must do this not to become immobilized with shame and doubt, but rather to have the confidence and moral clarity needed to be able to act when action is essential, to act when all others are paralyzed by the shame of unexamined atrocities, to act when only action can save this world from the relentless drag of human entropy that cannot abide creativity, freedom, tolerance and success.
Because now, at this moment, this fulcrum point in history, we need American power more desperately and urgently than at any time in memory. And we cannot allow the past errors of a fundamentally decent, generous and kind people to prevent us from acting at this critical moment where inaction and paralysis could doom the world."
Or take it from Ahmadinejad himself, and the mad mullahcracy pulling his strings:
"The wave of the Islamic revolution will soon reach the entire world," he has said. "We thank God that our enemies are idiots."
Must we insist on proving him correct?
COPYRIGHT 2006 BUCK SARGENT