Daft Drafts

Josh and Robert both question whether we will engage in regime change in Iran or just do the special forces equivalent of Israel’s 1981 air strike that took out the nuclear reactor at Osiraq in Iraq thereby preventing Saddam from obtaining Nukes. I’d like to believe that we could do a quiet destruction operation that would embarass Iran enough so they wouldn’t talk about it, but I don’t think such an operation is actually plausible. I think we don’t have the on the ground intelligence to know everything we need to know to make such an operation a success. The only real defense here is regime change (which is why I suspect US governemnet officials are making such strong denials of Hersh’s claims).

I suspect the operation is a combination of clandestine attacks and much more loud “tear down this wall” style rhetoric against the Iranian regime. As the regime starts to fall, I can imagine special forces disrupting its attempts to maintain order.

As for Josh’s question about the draft, it makes little sense. People in favor of these sorts of military action believe that it is better to attack now than to attack later when more forces will be required and when more civilian lives would be at risk (e.g. from WMD). The draft question can go in either direction depending on what you believe the merits of the military action to be. As an aside, people in favor or high taxes and regulations are more likely to favor the draft than free marketers who believe people should be free to decide whether to join the military.

2 Responses to Daft Drafts

  1. ooghe says:

    it is true that the biggest risk in low intensity warfare is ground intelligence- when such attacks go wrong they tend to go catastrophically wrong, like in Carter’s ill-starred Desert One fiasco. Of course, this is why they are trying to reorganize the country’s intelligence capabilities to be strategically aligned with the Pentagon (whether and how this reorganization proceeds is still unclear, but it is obvious to all that *something* needs to change), and probably the point of these recon teams *is* to gather ground
    intelligence. The potential for human error is great, which is why systems men like Rumsfeld seem to get squeamish about them.

    As for Josh’s question about the draft, this gets at what I found most dishonest about Bush’s political stance on defending America. Had Bush been the straight talking man of action his supporters felt him to be, he would have answered questions about the draft simply by saying “If it’s deemed necessary to have a draft to ensure the defense of United States, then we’ll have one. Of course, we don’t want that and don’t think it is yet necessary, but the priority is to defend the lives of Americans at home.” Then, people could have made a more informed decision about what may lie ahead (and I think Kerry should have answered identically). Instead, he vaguely indicated that though his policies were not going to change, somehow the manpower issue was passively all going to be taken care of with no further explanation.

    True to your characterization, I think that when taxes need to be high then they ought to be high, if something works better when privatized it ought to be privatized- and if there has to be a draft then there ought to be a draft or else they had better not invade in the first place- provided all of the above occur in an open, democratically decided manner. The notion that military policy and planning the civil economy ought to somehow be considered as one and the same has been the assertion of every defense secretary since McNamara. Historically, these attempts lead to social, economic, and military disaster. This was true of the condottieri mercenary armies of Italian city states, true in the French and Indian wars when the English assigned cash value to scalps, and true in Iraq when intelligence gathering at Abu Ghraib was assigned to private security outfits that were paid for intelligence breaks. The problem is that free market enterprise and military campaigns are two different things. Entrepreneurs need to make a profit, but the point of the military isn’t to create as much destruction as possible- it’s to win. Hence my exasperation with neocon economic ideology and it’s concurrent technocratic faith intruding on the military’s efforts to concentrate on the situation at hand.

  2. hey alex says:


    just a little reminder. please tell robert and me exactly how the administration was not lying through their teeth.

    also tell me why we have not had any terror alerts since the election.

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