« The Tennessee Chill | Main | We Need a Free Market Health Care System »

A time for war, a time for peace

In a democracy, there are two criteria for deciding whether a nation goes to war. The first is whether or not the war is justified; the second is if the war is wise.

The first issue revolves around the conduct of the other state. Have they committed clear, undisputable acts of war against the nation? There are very strict criteria for this.

The second is tougher and far more subjective. The offended nation must weigh the offense given against the costs of the war. The first question is, can the war be won? The second question is, will waging the war achieve the goals intended? The third question is, will the costs (financial and other) outweigh the benefits?

When these questions are applied vis-a-vis the United States and Iran, the first question is simple. Yes, Iran has committed many, many, many acts of war against us. It started with the Hostage Crisis back in 1979, when they invaded and occupied the United States Embassy (by international law, the embassy was sovereign United States territory), and continued through the 1980s and 1990s, when they backed numerous terrorist attacks in America, Americans, and American interests. They mined the Persian Gulf repeatedly. They attacked United States warships. And now, they are supplying Iraqi terrorists with weapons specifically designed to kill American troops -- and have, at last count, killed 170 and wounded over 600.

Do Iran's actions in Iraq constitute an act of war against the United States? It's certainly debatable. Similar comparisons can be made to the United States' actions in the past. During the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, we freely and openly supplied aid to the insurgents fighting the Communist invaders -- aid that was, in the end, essential to bloodying the Bear's nose.

Also, prior to Pearl Harbor, the United States supplied Great Britain and the Soviet Union with literally millions of tons of weapons and other war materiel. We also attacked German submarines who ventured too close to our shores, or menaced our shipping. We were at war with Germany, in essence, long before Hitler foolishly chose to go beyond his obligations to Japan and declare war on us after Japan attacked us.

In both cases, our "enemies" -- the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany -- could have made a very credible case for saying we had committed acts of war against them, and declared war against us. But in both cases, such action would not have served their national interests. They were not ready for an open confrontation, so they "overlooked" the actions.

So, do Iran's actions against the United States -- specifically, their supplying Iraqi insurgents with weapons specifically designed to kill and injure American troops, and disabling or destroying American military equipment, along with training and other assistance -- constitute a clear act of war against the United States?

I think they do.

But as seen above, that does not necessarily mean that we have to declare war over it -- or even react at all. That is another debate entirely.


TrackBack

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference A time for war, a time for peace:

» The Thunder Run linked with Web Reconnaissance for 02/13/2007

» The Thunder Run linked with Web Reconnaissance for 02/15/2007

Comments (30)

Germany at least used to si... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Germany at least used to sink our supply ships.

We didn't nip this in the bud when we had the chance. I suspect for two highly political oriented reasons.

1) The initial realization occurred during the run up to the '04 election. Taking action, even a small one, would have been portrayed as Bush trying to get us into another war on another front. So for his 're-electability' he ignored it.

2) "You can't secure your borders" It seems to me that I see little or no effort reported to prevent foreign 'insurgents' and foreign supplies from actually entering. It's a desert, we have satellites, helicopters, infrared, and the quantities of explosives aren't coming in by camel or backpack. Making and effort to track & stop vehicles entering and leaving Iraq's borders would raise questions as to why it isn't being done with our borders.

#1 is a political situation thrust upon Bush. Does he allow a loss to Kerry who will do even less for the WoT or commit political suicide and begin taking action?

#2 is a philosophy that I believe Bush does hold for our borders. I don't know if he actually believes it or just uses it to shoot down efforts to secure our borders. I can't believe he doesn't take that philosophy with him to some degree in the effort in Iraq.

This is interesting...... (Below threshold)
dsc:

This is interesting...

In an interview with Voice of America, Marine General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said he did not agree with military leaders in Baghdad, who told reporters on Sunday that the government of Iran is providing roadside bombs to Iraqi insurgents. Read it here:

http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/2007/02/PaceVOA070212/

from the piece dsc linked<b... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

from the piece dsc linked


"We know that the explosively formed projectiles are manufactured in Iran. What I would not say is that the Iranian government, per se [specifically], knows about this," he told VOA. "It is clear that Iranians are involved, and it's clear that materials from Iran are involved, but I would not say by what I know that the Iranian government clearly knows or is complicit," he said.

I might clarify that General Pace does believes that the source is Iran but questions whether or not it the Iranian government is 'officially' involved. In other words, we have evidence that EFPs coming from Iran, but no evidence as to whether the Iranian government is sanctioning that supply.

The Bush Doctrine does not ... (Below threshold)
kindlingman:

The Bush Doctrine does not permit Iran to have nuclear weapons or to fund terrorist organizations.
Will the President support his own doctrine?

Iran is an enemy of the United States by their own actions.The issue is whether we have hot or cold conflict with Iran.
It is currently cold.
Khobar Towers and Lebanon are proof enough they are an enemy and that this should be a hot conflict.

"You can't secure your bord... (Below threshold)
-S-:

"You can't secure your borders"

jpm100, you so well identify just what has cost President Bush the ongoing support of so many of us who voted for him. He defies credibility with that side-stepping indulgence of his (and the RINOs among the GOP) as to our borders and refusal to secure them.

Several Presidents and a U.S. general in times past have proven effectively and decidedly that we can, in fact, secure our borders. Bush's ongoing deflections in that regard define his refusal to secure our borders, not his inability to do so.

And, thus, I don't regard h... (Below threshold)
-S-:

And, thus, I don't regard his statements as reliable in areas of national security and defense.

Which does NOT mean I'm willing or able to support any Democrat. Just that I reject this "we can't secure (name your compromise here)" nonsense. It's particularly offensive AND problematic when it comes from the Executive (while I actually expect that sort of nonsense from the Senate, unfortunately).

The decisive battle of WWII... (Below threshold)
robert the original:

The decisive battle of WWII was not D-Day, it was not the battle of Britain or the atom bomb - it was the battle of Moscow in Nov-Dec of 1941. It was almost over prior to our formal declaration.

Germany would have probably won the war if this focused attack had been successful. It was Stalin's finest hour, and it would not have been possible without our massive convoys of arms and supplies to Murmansk, and the weather.

Germany did declare war on us - in all but name - prior to 12/7/41, in sinking about 100 American ships.

Without a doubt Iran has been, is, and will be our enemy for quite some time. I agree that we should consider ourselves on a war footing with them already.

But it will be the bomb, not the IED's that will push this to the next level, if it goes there.

Jay,Every decision... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Jay,

Every decision has a cost or consequence that must be contemplated in deciding issues of war and peace. The one you missed is the consequence of not going to war. For example, what would have been the consequence of not invading Iraq? Obviously, no human knows that answer, but we do have some facts that we can draw some conclusions from. Here's my list of facts:

1. Saddam was very calculating in visiting vengeance upon his enemies.
2. Saddam suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of the United States in Gulf War 1 (GW1).
3. Saddam made peace with Iran at the start of GW1.
4. Both Saddam and Iran view Israel as an enemy of Islam with the U.S. running a close second.
5. Saddam was seeking an end to the U.N. sanctions and he had been quite successful in bribing officials in the U.N., France, and Russia in that regard.
6. Saddam was sitting on the second largest proven reserves of oil in the world.
7. Saddam didn't have any WMD's that we know of, but he did retain the capability to produce them.
8. Saddam had used WMD's on both foreign and domestic enemies.
9. Russia and France are more than willing to sell nuclear and missile technology to any nation that has the money to pay for it.
10. Saddam offered rewards to the families of suicide bombers who attacked Israel.
11. Saddam had the ability to offer safe haven, weapons and money to terrorists.

One can only speculate the cost of leaving this monster in power, but those who say invading Iraq was a mistake really need to consider what that cost might have been.

robert the original said,"B... (Below threshold)

robert the original said,"But it will be the bomb, not the IED's that will push this to the next level, if it goes there.". I think Iran's formal declaration of war on the US will be a mushroom cloud above an American city, if we allow it to go there.


We are certainly at war wit... (Below threshold)
George:

We are certainly at war with Iran. However, Democrats will never declare war until somebody detonates a nuclear weapon in NYC or LA (Dallas, Pittsburgh, Chicago or any other city would not be sufficient for them). Democrats don't have the conviction to wage war. They can only vote for it when they think it won't matter and then they immediately start backpedaling. As soon as any war starts, they'll be looking for their three Purple Hearts to get out.


If America wasn't in a fore... (Below threshold)
civilbehavior:

If America wasn't in a foreign country called Iraq we wouldn't be having this discussion about Iran now would we?

Foolish Americans........

Let the spin begin.

robert the original,<... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

robert the original,

The battle of Britain was the first major defeat for Germany. Had Britain been defeated in the fall of 1940, far more resources would have been available to Germany and far less for Russia in the battle of Moscow. Germany didn't have a long range bomber and that allowed Russia to move their factories east out of the range of German bombers. However, the fall of Britain would have likely given Germany the plans for long range bombers if not the actual aircraft. With long range bombers Russia's factories would have been under attack and produced far fewer planes, tanks and artillery pieces.

Without Britain the German codes may never have been broken nor the discovery of the magnetron, which lead to short wavelength radar. Without Britain there would have been no massive bombing of Germany nor a staging area for invasion. Had Britain fallen I believe Russia would have also fallen. Maybe not in 1941, but eventually.

If America wasn't ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
If America wasn't in a foreign country called Iraq we wouldn't be having this discussion about Iran now would we?

You can't know that foolish unAmerican......

Where was all of this sober... (Below threshold)
Rob:

Where was all of this sober debate and nuance 4 years ago? Why hysteria and urgency then, but reflective disussion now, and with a country that actually has American blood on its hands? Anyone?

The enemy in Vietnam was ar... (Below threshold)
groucho:

The enemy in Vietnam was armed largely with Russian and Chinese weapons. Did we declare them our enemies as well, rattle our sabres and threaten war against them? Fortunately the foreign policy makers in the Nixon administration realized that that would be foolish, serving only to provoke a larger conflict. In the last five years BushCo has neither said nor done anything that demonstrates anything approaching a reasoned and thoughtful foreign policy. It's one swaggering blunder after another. More "bring 'em on" bluster from our cowboy pres who's really all hat and no cattle. I can only hope that somehow wiser heads will prevail.

Don't forget that the U.S. ... (Below threshold)
Matt:

Don't forget that the U.S. invasion of North Africa also contributed to the failure or Operation Barbarossa. Althought there were a lot of tactical issues for the U.S. they caused the Germans to have to send reinforcements that were desparately needed on the Russian Front. Fortunately, the Germans decided to late to abandon North Africa and reinforce the Russian Front.

As for Iraq here and now, they have committed a lot of the traditional "acts of war." I'd argue that those truly don't exist any more and are more about how much the aggreived is willing to put up with. Whether or not some of their actions are truly "acts of war." is truly debatable. To me pursuit of nuclear weapons are not an act of war. It is an issue of soveriegnity. We havent attacked France, Israel, India, Pakistan, North Korea etc for acquiring nuclear weapons.

Even though they have arguable committed acts of war against the U.S. is it in our best interest to go to war with Iran? Things that have to be considered is who their allies are, the actions those allies are willing to take. What is winning and can we do it? Can we get a formal declaration of war from Congress?

We still have lots of options short of all out warfare to deal with Iran. Diplomacy, sanctions and limited military action might work.

Add groucho to the list of ... (Below threshold)

Add groucho to the list of confused Leftists who thinks Vietnam was 'Nixon's War'. There sure are a lot of confused Liberals out there. Facts don't work so you just gotta make shit up to be a Liberal.

For years China has been se... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

For years China has been seeking to extend it's authority over Taiwan, which historically is a province of China. Using the wealth gotten from trade with the U.S., China has been greatly strengthening it's military. It seems clear that China is making plans to retake Taiwan and they are only looking for an opportune time to make the move. Given President Bush's willingness to use the military, I suspect Taiwan is safe through the end of 2008. After that it depends on who's elected president. If it's a peace candidate, then expect China to issue an ultimatum and move on Taiwan.

I don't think it's in anyone's interest to go to war with China over Taiwan. Certainly Taiwan would lose no matter who wins the war. The new President would be wise to privately tell the leaders of Taiwan that the U.S. won't intercede if China invades and that it's in their best interest to negotiate with China for terms in reunification of Taiwan with China. China has an interest in preserving the economic engine of Taiwan and in return they are likely to offer some level of autonomy to the local government of Taiwan.

Actually, Bullwinkl... (Below threshold)
aRepukelican:


Actually, Bullwinkle, you are the confused wingnut w/o all the facts. Nixon was one of the first advocates for US troops in VN in Ike's admin. for the U.S. pivking up the failed French effort after Dien Bien Phu.

So, in a sense, it was Nixon's war.

Nope - it all started with ... (Below threshold)
Dan Irving:

Nope - it all started with the Great Demo Hope FDR himself. During WWII FDR vhemently opposed a revival of Euro colonialism after the war. Ho Chi Mihn actually cited the US Declaration of Independance and played the Star Spangled Banner after declaring independance from France in '45. He hoped that the US would back their bid. Unfortunately FDR had backed down his rhetoric since Britan objected. Both the Truman (D) and Eisenhower (R) administrations backed France in their bid to revive their colonial interests in French-Indochina. Kennedy (D) maintained US presence and LBJ (D) actually increased our presence. Nixon (R) is responsible to getting us out and left a pretty stable South Vietnam to fend off NVN incussions for two more years.

Most Americans are ignorant of their own history. It's a shame really.

Nixon was one of the fir... (Below threshold)
Dan Irving:

Nixon was one of the first advocates for US troops in VN in Ike's admin

Sure he was an advocate when on Ike's staff - but as you can see from my earlier post, of the five POTUSs in power during the Vietnam War, 3 were Democrat. It wasn't until '72 that the Dems ran an anti-war candidate (McGovern) but he lost to Nixon (historically the US has never voted against the incumbent during a war).

So, in a sense, i... (Below threshold)
Dan Irving:


So, in a sense, it was Nixon's war.

... of the five POTUSs in power during the Vietnam War, 3 were Democrat. ...

So, in a sense, it was the Democrats war.

(EDIT: I really wish I could edit my posts)

Civil Behavior:<block... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

Civil Behavior:

If America wasn't in a foreign country called Iraq we wouldn't be having this discussion about Iran now would we?

Of course not, because Iran has never attacked U.S. interests before we went to Iraq...oh wait, nevermind.

Stop with the bufoonery civil.

Puke, nice spin on Nixon an... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Puke, nice spin on Nixon and VN. Of course sending consultants over to train the SVN is the same to you as sending armed military to fight. How pathetic. I have a copy of the lefties foreign policy stategy: Stay home and hide. ww

Jay Tea, Why WAS the US emb... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

Jay Tea, Why WAS the US embassy attacked in 1979? The "students" said why: Operation Ajax in 1953. A meer blink of the eye in the middle east. You can object, but that's their stated reason (besides the continued cia involvement with the savak and the shah's land-grabs of private property.) Don't you brush-up on your knowledge before posting to the great data bank in the sky?

Let's see Iran is concerned... (Below threshold)
civilbehavior:

Let's see Iran is concerned that the conflagration that the US incited by invading Iraq which happens to be the next country over from Iran might possibly affect their own sovereignity.

Of course that would be like Mexico or Canada having had China invade their borders with a militia and the US being concerned that China might have a further notion of expanding the spread of their idea of free government.

Dang, that wouldn't ever give us rise to be concerned about the might of a giant like China on our border now would it?

Wow, the stupidity on here is just unbelievable.

It might be a good idea to ... (Below threshold)
Rance:

It might be a good idea to use those two criteria for deciding whether a nation stays in a war that it's already in, as well.

So, is our continued presence in Iraq justified?
Is it wise?

Let's see Iran is concer... (Below threshold)
Dan Irving:

Let's see Iran is concerned that the conflagration that the US incited by invading Iraq which happens to be the next country over from Iran might possibly affect their own sovereignity.

That's assuming Iran is a benevolent society striving to uphold and protect what is best for it's citizens. Freedom House doesn't seem to think so.


Of course that would be like Mexico or Canada having had China invade their borders with a militia and the US being concerned that China might have a further notion of expanding the spread of their idea of free government.

Dang, that wouldn't ever give us rise to be concerned about the might of a giant like China on our border now would it?

Nice strawman.

Wow, the stupidity on here is just unbelievable.

Nice ad hominem attack

It might be a good idea ... (Below threshold)
Dan Irving:

It might be a good idea to use those two criteria for deciding whether a nation stays in a war that it's already in, as well.

So, is our continued presence in Iraq justified?

Yes

Is it wise?

Yes

So the justification for th... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

So the justification for the bloody coup and kidnapping of foreigners was a prevoius bloodless coup which overturned another bloodless coup...

Actually, BryanD, Operation Ajax was a justification that came afterwards. President Carter's refusal to hand over the Shah (then in the US for treatment of cancer. This lead to the Ayatolla calling on Iranians to 'demonstrate' against the US and Israel (and their interests) and denounced the US as the Great Satan and Enemy of Islam.

When they needed justification for holding the hostages longer than planned (the embassy ocupation was suppossed to last hours, not months), then they trotted out Ajax and any other real or imagined grievances they had with the west and the US.




Advertisements









rightads.gif

beltwaybloggers.gif

insiderslogo.jpg

mba_blue.gif

Follow Wizbang

Follow Wizbang on FacebookFollow Wizbang on TwitterSubscribe to Wizbang feedWizbang Mobile

Contact

Send e-mail tips to us:

[email protected]

Fresh Links

Credits

Section Editor: Maggie Whitton

Editors: Jay Tea, Lorie Byrd, Kim Priestap, DJ Drummond, Michael Laprarie, Baron Von Ottomatic, Shawn Mallow, Rick, Dan Karipides, Michael Avitablile, Charlie Quidnunc, Steve Schippert

Emeritus: Paul, Mary Katherine Ham, Jim Addison, Alexander K. McClure, Cassy Fiano, Bill Jempty, John Stansbury, Rob Port

In Memorium: HughS

All original content copyright © 2003-2010 by Wizbang®, LLC. All rights reserved. Wizbang® is a registered service mark.

Powered by Movable Type Pro 4.361

Hosting by ServInt

Ratings on this site are powered by the Ajax Ratings Pro plugin for Movable Type.

Search on this site is powered by the FastSearch plugin for Movable Type.

Blogrolls on this site are powered by the MT-Blogroll.

Temporary site design is based on Cutline and Cutline for MT. Graphics by Apothegm Designs.

Author Login



Terms Of Service

DCMA Compliance Notice

Privacy Policy