Iraq and Iran
First, Iran. As far as I'm concerned, we are fighting a proxy war in Southern Iraq against Iran. A friend of mine recently returned from theater and told that in his unit's sector in Baghdad, of the EFPs, 60% were imported from Iran and the rest were home-made. The imported ones were much better, as they had copper disks vice the steel ones of the home-made charges. A steel disk doesn't have as much velocity and doesn't have enough residual thermal energy to set a vehicle on fire after impact.
The Asia Times makes the case that the imams are unpopular, that the economy sucks rocks, and that they are printing money like it is going out of style. I'm no economist, but I know that uncontrolled expansion of the money supply leads to out of control inflation which is Bad All Around. There's the demographic time bomb expressed in 50% youth unemployment rates and no jobs for the cohorts coming of age in the next few years either. Spengler makes the case that the end result is foreign adventures in Lebanon and Iraq. I can see that, it's a time-honored method. He also points out that the people running Iran are True Believers in the Islamic revolution of Khomeni. Given that one cannot know for sure without telepathy, I believe this to be a reasonable reading of the statements and actions of the Iranian leadership.
But what to do about it? Invading Iran is, for a variety of reasons, right out. That would put the imams in the position of leading defense against the foreigner, which would solidify their position. It would also put us in the situation of having to occupy a nation with over three times the population of Iraq, with more rugged mountainous terrain.
Nancy Pelosi and Barak Obama seem to believe that appeasement is the right track. If we engage with Iran, then peace and love will blossom forth, at the small price of selling Iraq and Lebanon to crazy people who want to make nuclear weapons and shoot them at Israel and the United States.
The Belmont Club argues that if the estimates of the situation in Iran are really that bad, we would be selling our interests in the Middle East to a power who would be incapable of imposing order, and may be incapable of maintaining its own house in order within months or years. Pajamas Media is claiming that $35 billion dollars (that's billion with a 'b') in Iranian oil money is missing.
If this is true, then Iran's economic situation is even worse, and they may HAVE to go on foreign adventures to pacify the populace. So, what to do, what to do?
First, we must support the Lebanese people who decisively rejected foreign control over their nation, again. Second, we must support the Iraqi government against the Iranian-controlled JAM Special Groups and their Qods Force advisers.
Third, we need to keep international pressure up on Iran to be forthright on the subject of their nuclear program. Contrary to the recent NIE, there is more evidence of Iranian nuclear intentions emerging.
Basically, I'm talking containment. Back the Iranians into a corner, let them know in no uncertain terms that they have no alternatives, and then support opposition groups inside Iran. There's no shortage of them, I'm sure.
What then? Well, I see three possible positive outcomes. First, and most positive, we get regime change through internal dissent. Best of all possible worlds. Crazies go, and doesn't cost any American blood.
Second, less positive, the Iranians detonate a nuclear bomb and 30 minutes later, the Israelis make them go away. This has the disadvantage of throwing nuclear fallout around the region, but otherwise I won't miss Iran much.
Third, the Iranians try a full-scale military adventure and we get to kick their asses so hard their grandchildren will feel it. Hooray for for-real shooting wars with conventional infantry divisions and whatnot. It doesn't bother me, but it is a terribly expensive option.
On to Iraq. What to say about Iraq?
First, on Soldiers in Iraq. Badger Six is signing off on his blog.
A former Marine is being prosecuted for his role in house-to-house fighting in Falluja (after two previous investigations said there was no evidence) and was imprisoned for invoking his Fifth Amendment rights in the investigation. Funny how Leftists are all about the "Constitutional rights" of foreign nationals detained in the act of committing war crimes, but silent on a combat veteran being abused.
Second, on Media coverage in Iraq. Greyhawk has a review of press coverage of al-Anbar up. Why? It's hard to find current reporting on Iraq. The country has basically lost interest, and the media refuses to cover the good news, so there isn't much to cover. The American Journalism Review discusses that in more depth.
More ranting to follow.