Monday, June 11, 2007
Don't we have enough problems in the region, Joe?
Senator Lieberman is getting a lot of press in the last few days by suggesting that it might be time for us to make military strikes against Iran, not primarily because of its nuclear program or because it has detained Iranians who are also citizens of other countries (e.g., the US), claiming that they are in fact spies--this move is reminiscent of Iran's recent trials of its own clearly innocent Jewish citizens as spies for Israel--but because of their support for insurgent groups and militias in Iraq.
Now, I don't think that Iran's government is one with which we can have meaningful dialogue, but I also don't think that the wisest move in this region is to take on another (and larger and more populous) country to cap off the astounding success we have made of the Iraq invasion. If Iran is supporting militias (and they undoubtedly are), they are doing so with the blessing of at least some of the Shiite players in the government. And, recall, that we praised Iraq for electing just this government.
Moreover, attacking Iran for its role in conflicts in a third country could only be legally justified if we are requested to do so by the aggrieved party. Since we are consistently claiming not to be occupying Iraq any longer, but merely supporting its government, we would need to have such a request from the Iraqi government. It seems unlikely that this will be forthcoming.
Finally, many observers seem to think that the Iranian regime is not wildly popular with the very young population--young because of the lost generations of the Iran-Iraq War. That might just mean that Iran will ultimately fall to internal pressures. God knows if they didn't have oil revenues--not that we ought to limit our reliance on oil!--they would have fallen already; huge social spending is all that keeps the largely unemployed population content. However, an attack on their land would probably be just what the mullahs need to gain more support from the people. Even anti-Nazis cried when Dresden was fire-bombed, even opponents of the miliary dictatorship mourned the loss of naval cadets in the Falklands.
Saber rattling is fine and dandy when you don't need your saber in another battle. I'm not sure that shaking ours now isn't just what Iran wants.