Saturday, November 03, 2007

How Much Will We Tolerate From Iran?

How loud would the outrage and the call for action be against Iran had they attacked an American base in the Middle East and killed several hundred of our troops?

Would the American public tolerate Iran attacking one of our ships in the Persian Gulf, killing several hundred sailors?

What if an Iranian sponsored terrorist group made an attack in the U.S. and killed hundreds of Americans?

In reality, Iran is already responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American troops in Iraq over the course of the last year.

Explosively formed projectiles (EFPs) imported from Iran have been deadly to our troops. These copper-disked roadside bombs have been linked to Iran time and again.

Each week Multi-National Forces Iraq reports on disrupted and destroyed terrorist cells that had direct ties to Iran. These cells are often implicated in moving fighters in and out of Iraq and Iran. They receive military training in Iran and are then sent back into Iraq to kill Americans.

There are others with training and financial ties to Iran, often lumped into a group identified as “Special Groups.” These groups include everything from kidnapping cells to the EFP and terrorist trafficking cells noted above.

Several members of Iran’s Quds force have been caught in Iraq. The Quds force is that specialized branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard responsible for special operations and covert actions. Roles of the Quds force include stirring up anti-American sentiment, training insurgents and terrorists, and leading subversive attacks against our forces in Iraq.

Shiite militias with close ties to Iran have been warring with those loyal to a stable Iraq in southern parts of the country.

British SAS troops have been fighting Iranians trying to smuggle people and weapons into Iraq.

There is overwhelming evidence of Iran’s detrimental influence in Iraq and their complicity in the deaths of our troops.

However, these questions and facts about Iran’s involvement and their direct ties to the deaths of our troops are not offered as an endorsement for war with Iran. They are offered as a way to question why the piecemeal loss of our troops has not steeled Americans for action against Iran.

I dread the thought of yet another public front on the war against terrorists opening. Unfortunately that front is already opening, and Iran is, without doubt, heavily involved in terrorist activities which have killed Americans.

But America is not ready for war with Iran.

Fighting in both Iraq and Afghanistan in addition to other world-wide commitments has shown that our military is too small to take on much more without an expansion or a mentality where our troops leave to fight for years at a time. The American public is not ready for that.

There is far too much dovish sentiment in Washington D.C. and the rest of the country for an expanded conflict with Iran. That dovish sentiment has been reborn with the distance of time since 9/11. Too many have forgotten the true threat and intent of Islamofascists, even of the Iranian Shiite variety.

Nor should anyone seek war. The analogy has been made that the enemy are the “wolves,” Americans are “sheep,” and our military the “sheep dogs.” Well, war is tough on the sheep dogs. Those who have experienced war should never want it revisited on their brothers and sisters in arms if other options still exist.

Sadly, Iran is likely to push us and others to war, and sadly, America’s warrior class and their families will shoulder the burden alone, again, because all Americans are not willing to sacrifice for their defense.

Although we don’t want it, some are ready for war with Iran if pushed to it. The deaths of Americans at the hands of the Iranians have already steeled their resolve.

But America is not ready for war with Iran.

Which leads us back to the original questions: would we be thinking differently about fighting Iran had they killed the same number of Americans at one time? Would we be ready then?

Hundreds of our troops have died individually, but their deaths have not carried the same weight had they all died during one large attack, or were it civilians who had been killed.

Why the difference in value upon their lives, and the likely difference in outrage by Americans?

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