Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Cement Bombs on Empty Tents

I was reading The Desert One Debacle – about the Carter-directed-and-aborted pretend attempt to rescue the American hostages from our one-time embassy in Tehran – and in the face of such utter and complete and total and absolute and … well, I won’t open up the thesaurus … given such incompetence, I wondered to myself what an effective course of action would have been. Understand, I am a very primitive person. I have obsolete ideas about the efficacy of necessary violence. A more evolved spirit would see no necessity for violence, let alone any efficacy in it. Ah well, I use my Cro-Magnon brain as best I can.

The mullahs had been toying with Carter at will – three times in five months pretending to be open to some secret deal, then canceling it, making Carter look more and more and more and more like the fool he was and is and always will be and don’t I sound a little bitter but it’s not bitterness it’s disgust at the rank amateur incompetence of the person but maybe I’m just rambling. Upshot is, Carter authorized a non-lethal incursion into the Iranian capital – Delta Force was to use only, um, rubber bullets. In a city of five million radicalized Moslems. As one DF captain said, “The only difference between this and the Alamo is that Davy Crockett didn’t have to fight his way in.” And, of course, being Carter, Carter backed down, turned tail and ran away. By proxy, of course.

So what should have been done? Well, negotiations, it goes without saying. These fellehs didn’t seem rational or honest, but who knows? Maybe we’d get lucky. No. And when the character of the enemy became clear? Here’s the thing. An embassy is the sovereign territory of the nation it represents. It is homeland. It is Nebraska. Our embassy in Tehran was ours, and it was invaded and occupied, and our citizens were held unlawfully by criminals – by agents of a criminal government. This was an act of war - not as bloody, not as immediately costly in terms of materiel, as Pearl Harbor. But just as serious. A clear if not immediate consequence was the loss of a matched set of buildings in New York City, twenty-two years later. So what should have been done?

The President – I do not mean Carter (our first female president), but a real President – should have let it be known through diplomatic channels that the situation was one of imminent war. Everyone who needed to know should have been told. Privately, as these things ought to be done. Every tourist and diplomat and foreign business man would be warned in the clearest of terms by their governments to leave the city. When the mullahs continued to fail to take us seriously, the President should have announced that violent consequences were about to take place, unless the hostages were immediately released. When the hostages were not released, the President should have publicly explained what an embassy is and declared that a state of war existed – either by act of Congress or by Executive Order. Then he should have caused the destruction by massive bombardment of every government building and military base, every power plant and water distribution facility, every bridge and bus depot that Tehran might happen to have possessed. And some oil wells, just to send a message. A minimum of lost life, and a maximum of lost civilization. He should have brought night, lit by fire. With the promise of worse.

Then the mullahs would either have murdered the hostages, or released them. If the first, then Tehran should have been dealt with as Tokyo and Dresden were dealt with. Firestorm. A city no more. Sure, announce what was coming. Let the people flee. For their very lives. Because life has value.

If such a thing had happened, the world would be very different now. We would have had our Gulf Wars a generation earlier. I maintain the world would be far better, far safer, and far more civilized. The Soviets may have entered Afghanistan anyway - in reality, they were encouraged by American weakness, but in this fantasy they would have been encouraged by American example. In any case, the toehold that Islamism first gained was in Iran. We cannot know for a certainty what would have happened, but we can take Osama at his word, at least in this: there is a culture that prefers the strong horse, over the weak.

Franklin Roosevelt might have done it. Theodore would have. Lincoln would have found his Grant to get it done - if he could preside over the slaughter of multiple hundreds of thousands of Americans, he wouldn't have blinked at the deaths of some thousands of Mussulmen. But Reagan ran from Beirut like Carter ran from Tehran. What’s up with that? I guess these things run in cycles. Because now we have Bush, and for all his manifest shortcomings, Bush is not afraid to change the map. I suggest the map needs some rearranging. Twenty six years ago, it would have needed less. But cancer spreads. I think it’s time to start cutting, and I don’t mean cut and run.



Lori Heine said...

"Sure, announce what was coming. Let the people flee. For their very lives. Because life has value."

I'm sure glad you included that part. No real Christian would leave it out. If only more of our "Christian" religious leaders remembered to add it, as well.

We are living in a new century, and warfare has changed. Our current enemies deliberately hide themselves amid civilian populations. Leaving "their own" people time to escape is not a part of their plans. How will we deal with that? Of course we don't know yet for sure.

One thing for certain: it is incumbent upon those of us in "Christian" societies to uphold a higher standard than do those in the "Muslim" world. I don't claim to know exactly how we'll choose to do that -- or even IF we will.

Imagine, if you can, the sorrow of Christ if He returns in His glory to find His "followers" wallowing in the same hellish muck as those who would drag us down to their Satanic level. This must be the nightmare of everyone loyal to Christ.

One thing is becoming very clear about this new war -- the war that probably will usher in the End of Days. And that is that our enemies are, very literally, the enemies of Jesus Christ. Which means they do the bidding of someone larger and more frightening than themselves. If they can make those of us who are Christians behave like less than Christians, they will have beaten us already.

To the degree that our religious leaders REALLY ARE religious leaders, they will stop trying to distract us with dog-and-pony shows about domestic "culture wars" and begin helping us to deal with these realities.

Jack H said...

Greetings, L

Well, we might leave out statements about the value of life, but only as an oversight. The danger of a single mind working alone - we miss the obvious, sometimes. I think that if a population knows distruction is coming from the skies, no police force is going to be able to hold them in the city. But the ugly fact is that many many many lives would be lost. As I wrote in "Credible Threat," 200,000 German civilians died in the bombing of Dresden. Lesson: Don't take American hostages. The "higher standard" you speak of is found in not taking hostages and not invading non-provocative neighbors. Sure, we invade - some say agressively, some say by necessity. But Saddam's taking of Kuwait is the sort of thing we do NOT do.

Re Christ, I hold to the view that he comes again, with a sword, and precides over a mighty slaughter of the armies of Satan. Rather a literal view of Rev, I admit, but there it is. It certainly is the clearest interpretation of the actual words. So it isn't the bloodshed, it's the injustice that God hates. As for who leads the enemy, I just wrote something about that, in *Faith of the Broken Cross* and that series.

There are no Christian nations. Can't be - Christianity is an individual commitment, and societies are about compromise. But we can have more or less justice, more or less rule of law, and so on. On the coninuum of human societies, there can be noble and monstrous. We strive as individuals to skew our culture to what is honorable, but that's a task more difficult than turning a battleship with an oar. Many oars, it takes.

Religious leaders must follow their conscience and understanding, and that very often settles on local rather than international issues. To each his own. Abortion and gay issues (an interest of yours, I recall) and all these sorts of social conduct matters are far more immediate, than distant wars. Of course it would be what most people focus on. They are not wrong, in this. It doesn't pay to argue with human nature.