“We have a situation where our military is in such bad shape, it couldn’t deploy to a second front,” Murtha said. “And the Iranians know this. North Korea knows it. China knows it. We’re depleting our resources in Iraq.
John Murtha is without a doubt one of the few in Congress that has been willing to speak out and give his constituents and the American public an informed and honest appraisal of the war in Iraq.
Unfortunately, the assertion that the military is incapable of a second deployment or that the Bush Administration can not initiate a larger war in the Middle East without the support of Congress is nonsense.
While unlikely prior to the upcoming elections, there is a high probability of an eventual military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities and ballistic missile installations. The government of Israel has said as much. The IAF is entirely capable of launching such a strike with no more than an American green light to do so. Whatever logistical support would be necessary certainly would not require Congressional approval.
While Congress has prevented the development of the nuclear bunker busters that the Administration lobbied for, no such restrictions have been placed upon the Israelis. It is entirely plausible, given the high level of coordination and joint research projects that are currently underway between the U.S. and Israel, that this project has simply been outsourced.
Because the Bush Administration failed to garner public and Congressional support for these weapons does not mean they were or are not being developed.
If the Israeli’s did indeed possess nuclear bunker busters, which I admit is a possibility and not a certainty, they would be highly capable of inflicting a great deal of damage to the Iranian nuclear program.
The IAF does have conventional bunker busters, they obtained them from the USA. For what purpose? While they do not declare they have pursued research or development of a nuclear bunker buster, neither do they admit to having nuclear weapons, period.
The only plausible target for a nuclear tipped bunker buster is a nuclear site. The resulting radiation that would be expected from such a strike will provide the cover for denying the existence or use of such a weapon.
Such an attack, could reasonably be expected to prompt Iranian retaliation and a likely ballistic missile attack on the Jewish State. The U.S. would be seen as an accomplice by the Iranians and the Arab street.
Israel has deployed and would use it’s missile defenses to mitigate any Iranian missile attack. Missiles falling short of their intended targets in Israel could wreak havoc and cause mass casualties in the West Bank. This collateral damage would be regarded as the fault of the Israelis by the Palestinians for initiating the conflict.
The Palestinians might suspect that the situation was actually part of a plan to drive them from the West Bank and that the incoming ordinance are not actually coming from Iran but from Israeli submarines or surface ships in the Persian Gulf.
No matter what the actual cause or how limited the effect, an Iranian ballistic missile retaliation would precipitate a sharp increase in tensions between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
The apartheid wall or separation barrier, remains under construction and is largely incomplete with the exceptions of crucial and vulnerable areas surrounding urban centers. Logically priority was given to completion of the most critical sectors first.
This state on incompletion will have the psychological impact of leaving Israeli society feeling more exposed than they’d have been had the barrier been completed. This perceived vulnerability would foster a sense of urgency to introduce stopgap measures.
Minefields along the route and increased armed patrols, shoot on sight in closed areas, ect. This in turn would cause the Palestinians to feel a similar sense of vulnerability by virtue of the fact they are already largely separated from each other and all routes to relative safety are under Israeli control.
They would in effect be hostages and held in place as human shields. There would be no possible mitigating measures to prevent a sharp increase in already high political tensions that are almost sure to begin a cycle of increasing violence both in the immediate region and against U.S. and Israeli interests in the greater Middle East.
A limited engagement between U.S. and Iranian armed forces could be expected should the U.S. follow Iranian “terrorists” beyond the Iraqi border into Iran, which is a near certainty. Another aspect is increased destabilization in Iraq proper and sharp increase in the numbers of U.S. casualties in Iraq.
What would Congress do regarding funding a larger war in this instance?
This limited scenario disregards the possibility that the Iranians would respond immediately to an Israeli air strike with a ballistic missile attack on U.S. installations and assets throughout the region.
If the Iranians begin a full scale assault and the nuclear threshold has already been crossed, albeit to a limited degree, the Administration wouldn’t have time to poll Congress regarding how to proceed, it could be all out war in the Middle East.
All accomplished without any prerequisite Congressional approval, planning or oversight. As for Murtha’s assertion that the military is overextended and incapable at this time to take on Iran:
While I concur with Murtha’s assertion that the military is overextended regarding maintaining an occupation and trying to prevent Iraq from devolving into a full scale civil war while launching a simultaneous invasion into Iran, I differ with the assessment that our military needs to be redone and rebuilt to show the Iranians we mean business.
Our military is designed and equipped to be a fighting force, not an occupying force. Regarding it’s capabilities as an invasion force, with improved body armor, thousands of up armored Humvee’s in theatre, and experienced battle hardened troops, our military is better prepared for an invasion of Iran today than it has ever been previously or was when the order was given to invade Iraq.
Iran would fundamentally depend on it’s large numbers of lightly armed military aged populace and insurgent tactics to exact a price from the U.S. military. The conventional forces of Iran would face the same reality as Saddam’s troops did. Disperse into the civilian population and come back to fight another day or face certain death in an effort to directly confront overwhelming American power.
The lesson of Iraq has not been lost on the Iranian military leadership and I’m sure that they have laid out plans for that contingency.
As for a diplomatic solution to the “Iranian Nuclear Crisis”:
The Iranians have under international law the right to develop nuclear power and it has yet to be proved that they are developing a bomb. A diplomatic solution depends upon the rule of law or threat of economic sanctions.
The Iranians have promised to counter proposed economic sanctions with reduced oil exports, a situation the world economy simply can not afford. If a global recession is unavoidable due to rising political tensions in the Middle East, the Bush Administration may proceed on the premise that economic displacement is best managed by going out with a bang and not a whimper.
While a “cut and run” policy is not in Iraqi or American best interests, our troops should disengage from waging offensive operations against the insurgents and begin a staged withdrawal immediately.
Public discourse on this matter peaked last fall and has since subsided.
The Administration seems to regard this as consent for an open ended deployment and part of the recently approved supplemental will fund construction of semi-permanent base facilities. In addition to maintaining a presence within Iraq, these bases may be used as a support and staging area for war and eventual occupation of Iran.
President Bush is currently very weak in the polls. Though the President is not eligible for re-election, he is concerned about the effects his popularity will have on the upcoming congressional races. Once certain of the outcome of these elections, his focus will return to accomplishing the goals stated when beginning his Presidency.
Each of us, when deciding for ourselves what responsible military policy is in Iraq, need to fully consider the contingencies implementation makes possible.
The military deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan do not exist as separate entities nor are they the result of independent foreign policies. Take a hard look at a map of the region, remembering President Bush’s statements identifying the “axis of evil” and ask yourself what the Administration’s grand strategy was at that time?
Do you believe the Administration makes war plans in terms of weeks and months, or years and decades? It is quite possible that our troops are exactly on the course they’ve plotted.
It is also possible that this war and occupation of Iraq has been mismanaged to necessitate a continued military presence as a prelude to what will surely be the most difficult aspect of achieving victory over the “axis of evil”.
If you can, with a clear conscience say that you believe that our troops remain in Iraq simply for the sake of quelling the insurgency and stabilizing Iraq, then “stay the course” is an appropriate position.
If not, you deserve a more clearly delineated policy.
Unless Congress is now endorsing the policy of “pre-emptive war”, they need to take affirmative steps to prevent this increasingly likely probability.
The time is now for the Congress to assume their responsibilities and communicate their individual positions with clarity to their respective constituencies and to the White House.
“Stay the course” is not a strategy. Defining the goal and charting the course to achieve that goal is.
Trusting the Administration to decide for the entire country has proven itself the path to unnecessary loss of blood and treasure.
Hindsight, though admittedly always 20/20, illustrates that this war and occupation have been conducted in a manner contrary to the counsel of top military commanders. The war and occupation of Iraq are instead waged according to a strategy set forth by the Secretary of Defense and a few other insiders. We know where they stand today on Iran.
We must call upon Congress to issue a statement regarding what they anticipate the outcome of the policies they are endorsing to be and address the potential for war with Iran.
Experience reveals what their stand will be if President Bush does order our troops into Iran. We can reasonably anticipate it will be identical to their support for continuing conflict in Iraq and our troops will then be in Iran for the long haul as well.
Should this transpire, we would come to regard this initial phase of the greater war in the Middle East as relatively insignificant.
In closing, collectively as a nation we have been fooled once by this Administration, shame on them.
Should we be fooled again, shame on U.S.