It’s Just Like Pearl Harbor! (A Fisking)
Glenn Reynolds has linked approvingly to this column. I read it, and when I was done, I had a complete and total “If it weren’t for my horse…” moment. I had to re-read to figure out what the author was trying to say, and even now I’m not really sure. I’m think that the author’s point is that we should invade Iran. Today. But it’s so badly written that it deserves a whole special fisking of its own. Let’s start with the first two sentences:
Why is America waiting to be attacked by Iran? Why do we sit on the sidelines while Tehran makes war on our ally Israel in order to provoke America to join the fighting, first against Syria and then against Tehran itself?
Okay… I’m not sure how these two sentences fit together. Is he asking why we haven’t let Iran provoke us into invading Iran and Syria yet? But if Iran is trying to provoke us in to fighting them, does that mean they won’t attack us unless they do? Or is he saying we should let Iran provoke us into attacking them now before they attack us? But if Iran wants us to fight them, shouldn’t we think twice about attacking them, since they clearly want us to attack them? Or do they not want us to attack them?
Clearly, this man has a dizzying intellect.
I’d like to say that the rest of the column elucidates this thesis, but actually it avoids it entirely. Let’s check out the next sentence:
Why do we listen to the European appeasers as they pretend the Lebanon front is a regional conflict, a national liberation contest, when it is demonstrably the prelude to the wider war — the Spain 1936 to the continental war of 1939?
Bear in mind that merely one sentence ago, the author stated that the intention of Iran, acting through Hezbollah, is to provoke the U.S. into a war with Syria and Iran. In other words, the author’s logic dictates that the U.S. should not attack Iran, because then we risk there being a much bigger war. However, this does not seem to be what he’s driving at.
(As an aside, it would be remiss of me not to take issue with the contention that Hezbollah’s current operations are being directed by Iran. At the present time, there is very little evidence that this is actually going on.)
What is the explanation for America’s willful fiction that the United Nations Security Council can engineer an accommodation in Lebanon, when it is vivid to every member state that this is a replay of September 1938, when Europe fed Hitler the Sudetenland as the U.N. now wants to feed the jihadists the sovereignty of Israel?
Umm… okay. So let me get this straight–an international force occupying a portion of Lebanon would give Hezbollah (or Iran or whoever) Israel’s sovereignty? Yeah, that’s just like allowing Germany to control the Sudetenland. Now granted, that analogy might carry greater weight if the U.N. was contemplating granting Hezbollah the right to control a portion of Israel, but let’s not quibble with fine details. There are Historical Analogies(tm) to be made, necessary to make sure that anyone who disapproves of ill-conceived, pre-emptive wars is a Nazi!
Moving on, the author marches bravely (though not exactly coherently) back to his thesis. Sort of.
The most threatening answer is that America waits to be bloodied because it has lost its will to defend itself after five years of chasing rogue-state-sponsored gangsters and after three years of occupation in failed-state Iraq against Tehran- and Damascus-backed agents. A grave possibility is that America is now drained, bowed, ready to surrender to the tyrants of Tehran.
See, now I’m confused again. Wouldn’t being “ready to surrender to the tyrants of Tehran” mean doing their will? And wouldn’t doing their will be allowing ourselves to be provoked into attacking them (which apparently they want)? If that’s not his point, then is the author claiming that the War in Iraq has stretched U.S. military resources and political will to the point where now we can’t actually deal with the growing threat of Iran? Because I agree with that, but I don’t think that’s what he intends to mean. Let’s keep going.
Then again, perhaps America has been here before, and it is part of America’s destiny as the New Jerusalem that we rarely start wars but that we are unusually good at finishing them.
Now see, if you’re going to throw around historical analogy, saying that America is the “New Jerusalem” because it’s good at “finishing” wars is not very good. Jerusalem has been conquered dozens of times and even been destroyed on occasion–hardly an inspiring track record when it comes to military conflict. If the Old Jerusalem was lousy at war, I don’t see how it’s the “destiny” of the “New Jerusalem” to be good at it.
There is a strange parallel right now to the first days of December 1941, before the Japanese sneak attack.
Yup, it’s just like 1941, except that in this case, American troops have been fighting in the relevant part of the world for almost five years. Other than that it’s pretty much the same.
America was still not in the war in Asia and Europe, but it was busy getting ready for a momentous calamity and was filled with the presentiment of doom.
The article then goes on for a couple of paragraphs describing how Americans were pretty much mentally preparing themselves for the fact that we were going to be going to war in the Pacific or in Europe sooner or later. I will spare you the detail, as I presume you know that the American people at the time weren’t morons.
After all that, he writes:
What this all means to me today is that America was expectant of the crisis that fell on December 7, 1941; and yet America remained reluctant to say out loud that war was unavoidable, inevitable, already under way — the nation holding back as if the obvious war plans in Berlin and Tokyo were going to vanish like a lightning storm. When the Japanese fleet did maul our Pacific fleet, the Roosevelt administration was rattled and the public was grim. It will be the same for us when this premonitory waiting lifts and the main action begins, both frightful and logical.
Or, in other words, Iran is going to attack America. How does he know? Because the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, that’s how! (At this point, the author completely seems to have forgotten his earlier point–namely, that Iran, through Hezbollah, kidnapped two Israeli soliders in an apparent bid to get America to invade Syria and Iraq–which would logically mean that Iran isn’t planning on attacking America. At least, not unless we attack them first).
Finally, he concludes:
The Lebanese Front, the Iraqi Front, the Afghan and Kashmir Fronts, or the Haifa blitz will no more solve themselves than did the China-Burma Front, the North African Front, the Atlantic Front, the London blitz of 65 years ago.
See, now this doesn’t make any sense at all. The North African Front and Atlantic Fronts took place after Pearl Harbor. They were, in fact, part of the war against Germany. The man can’t even get his spurious historical analogies straight! Ugh.
At this point you might be wondering why I’m wasting my time with tripe like this. Well, I’ll tell you why. First of all, because it’s getting some approving play on Technorati, which will likely only increase as a result of a link from Instapundit. That bothers me because this article is not only filled with bad history, incoherent writing, and virtually no analysis, but it is being taken seriously by people despite these qualities.
Please note that nowhere does this article make any argument, or provide any evidence, that Iran actually plans to launch an attack on the United States. The concern on the author’s part is pure speculation, based on some lousy historical analogies. And yet the comments around the blogsophere so far seem to be of the “yeah, let’s get ’em!” mentality, without any serious thought or consideration.
Look, it’s clear that Iran poses some threats to U.S. interests. But there is very little indication that Iran, either by itself or through proxies, actually has any immediate plans to directly threaten the United States. As such, immediately moving the debate to “Invade Iran!” is not only irresponsible, but enough clamor like that might make Iran an even bigger threat. At the present time, settling our issues with Iran simply does not require the use of military force, and the use of such force at this time would only be disastrous.