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You gotta know when to hold 'em...

With the increasingly belligerent talk out of Iran, I've been thinking more and more about a possible conflict with them. So much, I think I better break my thoughts into two parts.

Iran, it seems, is hell-bent on acquiring nuclear weapons -- and sees the possibility of a fight with the US as an acceptable admission price for joining the nuclear club. They are playing the "cheat and retreat" game that Saddam ran for a dozen years with the UN, while talking out of several sides of their mouth: they have no interest in nuclear WEAPONS, only nuclear POWER, but they have every RIGHT to develop them and we had just better TRUST them that they won't develop them or they will unleash the fires of hell. It's like the former Iraqi Information Minister hopped on a plane with Joe Isuzu, flew to Massachusetts, got married, and through the miracle of modern medicine had a child, who promptly became the spokesmen for the Islamic Republic.

The US has repeatedly and publicly stated that Will Not Happen. We've applied pressure in other ways, mostly quietly, but like the discovery of the planet Neptune, we can estimate where the US is acting by the reactions of others. (metaphor shamelessly stolen from last Friday's episode of "Numb3rs.")

Iran's strategy for preventing the confrontation seems best summed up by what I once heard described as "the polecat principle: "we're more trouble than we're worth." Their recent announcements of various and sundry fantastic superweapons are all aimed at giving the US pause (or, at least, the anti-war and anti-Bush elements, who tend to be ignorant about military matters, and more likely to take their claims at face value) in attacking. Hence the announcement that Iran now possesses The Ultra Mega Torpedo Of Death, which can "fly" through water at several hundred miles and sink any ship with one hit; the Mighty Morphin' Stealth Flying Boat, which can sneak up on anyone and blow them to tiny pieces; and the Islamic ICBM, the missile which can carry one of their non-existent nuclear warheads thousands of miles and send a couple million heretics to face Allah's judgment.

Perhaps a good metaphor for Iran might be the pufferfish; when they feel threatened, they blow themselves up to look bigger and scarier, but if's all a huge bluff and a couple sharp pokes will shred their bluff. If they lose, though, they can at least console themselves in the hopes that their innate toxins will bring about a measure of revenge on their enemy.

Anyway, that's just the pre-game show. That's just the trash talk that goes on before the actual conflict begins. In the next part, I'll look at how such a conflict might unfold.


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Comments (14)

We've basically retreated t... (Below threshold)

We've basically retreated to the barracks in Iraq and now we are prepared to nuke Iran because they may have a nuke themselves in 10 years? Got it! So, if they don't lay down afterward, we nuke their boy scout divisions by the hundreds of thousands. Then as Pakistan falls to the al-qaeda types who aquire a ready nuclear arsenal and control of the army with a 1st rate air force to deliver them, the Iranian regulars enter the contest. Now do we deliver strikes in two theaters BEFORE or AFTER we pack up our 782 gear in Iraq and the Gulf States and get the hell out of Dodge?

A salient point about creat... (Below threshold)

A salient point about creatures that use pufferfish tactics is that the tactic is usually a substitute for true defensive prowess. If the prowess were there, the creature would probably be much more aggressive. Also, pufferfish-style displays tend to increase one's chances of mating and reproducing, and so quickly spread through a species. Which has interesting implications for the Islamic world, if you think about it.

A buddy of mine had an inte... (Below threshold)

A buddy of mine had an interesting idea for dealing with this: get a B-52, load it with free-fall conventional bombs like Mk-82, and stage a little firepower demonstration somewhere near Tehran. Nothing destroyed, nobody hurt; just conspicuously blast the s**t out of some chunk of desert.

Then drop some leaflets with a message to the effect of "Abandon your nuke program and submit to US inspection, or he'll be back... with friends."

While I recognize the idea as rather impractical (and risky to the B-52 aircrew), it has some appeal...

"It's like the former Iraqi... (Below threshold)

"It's like the former Iraqi Information Minister hopped on a plane with Joe Isuzu, flew to Massachusetts, got married, and through the miracle of modern medicine had a child, who promptly became the spokesman for the Islamic Republic."

I like this.

BryanD -Have you e... (Below threshold)

BryanD -

Have you even taken your brain out of it's packaging yet, much less hooked it up and tried to use it?

Or are you just a knee-jerk contrarian, emphasis on 'jerk'?

JB71, you said "...Or are y... (Below threshold)

JB71, you said "...Or are you just a knee-jerk contrarian, emphasis on 'jerk'?"------ I SAY: Have you noticed the old-timey grenade they use as a logo (my compliments to the Brain! See? That's positive!) or the name of the blog? Have you noticed the easy-to-use comments section or did your mother drive you here? Am I a contrarian? Two words: Irish Protestant. Am I a jerk? Two more words: Lowland Scots. It's in the blood, in the blood. As for love notes: that's what Instant Messenger is for. You may (not!) remember the signal advice from The Graduate: "PLASTICS". Mine to you and the smoother-brained here I may offend: "APOLOGETICS"!

Oh, and I COULD have mentio... (Below threshold)

Oh, and I COULD have mentioned the Socratic Method, but I would have been full of shit:[email protected]

Very interesting ,and a str... (Below threshold)

Very interesting ,and a strike will happen very soon.

Jaysus on a Pony, BryanD</p... (Below threshold)

Jaysus on a Pony, BryanD

Stop tipping Bushmills into your morning coffee. It's Palm Sunday for crissakes! At least have SOME respect and not drool all over the 'net.

That is his way of s... (Below threshold)

That is his way of showing "respect."

bryanD, I agree with most o... (Below threshold)

bryanD, I agree with most of your first post except the timeline. With all the support from N Korea, Russia and China, as well as their demonstrated lack of sanctity of life in their war with Iraq, and brazenness well demonstrated both recently and in the not so recent past, I would guess they'd be able to field an untested bomb in less than two years. I am sure they would feel no qualms in field testing it on infidels rather than in a barren desert.

epador, I've HEARD their re... (Below threshold)

epador, I've HEARD their reactor is light-water only and unsuitable for weapons grade soon. Not sure. Plus my source was Mr. Ho (!!!!*IlikeHo,tho*)... Darleen, At least ed isn't with you this time; he with his meerschaum, you with your corn-cob pipe. I'm sorry: that's just the mental picture your exclamations evoke! *tar'nation!* Or is McGeeHee really ed? Hmmmmm...

Or is McGeeHee really ed... (Below threshold)

Or is McGeeHee really ed?

No, I'm special.

this issue AIN'T ABOUT Bush... (Below threshold)

this issue AIN'T ABOUT Bush. It's a hell of a lot bigger than that.

Freakin' 'A', Jay.

Just when we need preemption the most.

Unfortunately, we spent that account down.
$2 trillion for Iraq, and and about $1.98 left for
Iran. I think we need a little more, don't you?






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