We could be headed for war against Iran, but don't lose sleep over it
I've never had a moment's regret about my country firebombing Dresden or dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was war and he with the biggest stick brings madness to an end the quickest.
Civilians die but civilians bear the consequences for what their leaders do. Chickens do come home to roost. Every action has an equal reaction. Do unto others ...
...So it's sure possible that Israel, and perhaps the U.S. as an ally, might bomb the nuclear production sites in Iran, perhaps this year before we install a new president.
You're horrified, right? Why am I not? I might be if Israel or we were talking nuclear strikes. So far the talk is of conventional weapons. You're still horrified? I'm not.
I always hark back on the great Steve Martin satire "... if I had ten million dollars ..." and how he'd buy certain things but always ends up wishing for "peace in the world." Who doesn't? But we laugh at that because we know it's unlikely to happen in our lifetimes.
I hated our silly invasion of Iraq. Iraq had a bad and long-term dangerous dictator, but he'd been defeated in Kuwait and was no immediate threat to us or our oil supply in Saudi Arabia. No immediate threat.
Iran sure seems like an immediate threat. Its president has spoken of wiping out Israel. Sane country leaders do not say those kinds of things. Well, maybe they do if they only have a few old artillery pieces and some jeeps mounted with machine guns. But not if they have missiles and are working on an unsupervised nuclear program.
I even can understand a country like Iran working on nuclear weapons (in contravention of the treaty it signed) while saying it needs to rethink its defense and swears to never do a first strike. But that's not Iran.
Yes, we seem to have solved a similar problem with North Korea. But North Korea is starving, isolated and would be cinders in an eye-blink if it missiled the South or Japan. Iran's a lot tougher to obliterate and it has that "hey, we're just some Shia nation attacked by Jews and Christians" thing going for it. Hardly anybody sympathizes with North Korea. Shiadom does with Iran. Even some Sunnidom.
The Iran problem for us is sort of like the China problem. We're defenders of Israel and of Taiwan. But I don't see Taiwan going full war because China's on an economic and political roll with it and because attacking Taiwan would bring worldwide condemnation and almost certain naval defeat in the Taiwan Straits against U.S. carriers and subs. Sure, China could missile-hit Taipei, but even its best allies would be appalled at that horrid hit on civilians just to enforce unification of a non-threat island.
Iran is different. There's the religious element. Radical Shia country attacked by (or attacks) Jewish country. The religious world chooses religious sides.
But my guess is that if Iran doesn't stand down, Israel will have to launch a conventional attack before Tehran has The Bomb. If that's the case, I'd not be surprised or disappointed if the U.S. joined in the bombing.
Shocked? Only if you're of the no-war-no-way persuasion. I've been a reporter in two wars, Africa and Asia, and didn't like either of them.
But people who threaten without reasonable cause, such as Iran, have to back down when the U.N. says stop being a bully. So far, Iran's leaders have only goaded everybody more and more and almost invited attack.
I always look back at our involvement in World War II with Germany and Japan. Could we have avoided that? Yes, but the battlefield technology wasn't there. That was still a mass-of-men time.
What if we could have whacked Berlin and Tokyo early on as we did many years later?
Please don't write me off as a war-monger.
I'm smacking you in the face with realism.
Bob Jones is a MidWeek columnist and a former local newspaper and TV reporter and NBC News foreign correspondent in Africa and Asia.