Sunday, December 24, 2006

Thinking the (Little) Unthinkable

As we are confronted by the literally diabolical violence and aggression that Islamofascism inflicts upon us every day and every night--bombings, beheadings, kidnappings, hijackings, assassinations, robberies, extortions, etc.-- it's so tempting to react with a maximum response. Particularly as we witness the incredible ravings of the Iranian president, and perhaps much more troubling, the pathetic "Free World" responses to him. There is no doubt that the bulk of the European countries believe it is MUCH more important to prove that George W. Bush is a misguided, failed cowboy than it is to stop Iran from launching the 2d Holocaust against the Jews in 65 years, not to mention seizing control of the Persian Gulf.

Bush is pursuing a difficult, risky, and slow strategy: build up a free Iraq, bristling with US bases and intelligence posts, and Iran will be forced to abandon its plans. Surrounded by Afghanistan and Iraq, Iran will be indefensible to about anything the US wants to do to it. But if the US can be chased out of Iraq, then Iran's position will be enormously strengthened, rather similar to Hitler's position once he seized the Sudetenland.

What if Bush's strategy is simply, maybe unavoidably, working too slowly to be completed before Americans choose some "cut-and-runner" as President? That is what a lot of intelligent people are sensing may be in the cards. In that case, don't we need to think the "unthinkable?" Given the plans and capabilities of our enemies, isn't some kind of multi-targeted Hiroshima/Nagasaki/Dresden thermo-nuclear attack on them called for?

That would certainly be the BIG Unthinkable. But perhaps we need to consider a much smaller Unthinkable. Rather than targeting the cities of Iran, or even its military installations, why not obliterate Iran's oil production? Simply pulverize all of its petroleum infrastructure with conventional, redundant strikes?

In one stroke, the Iranian government would lose approximately 1.5 billion dollars a week--currently a huge windfall for a third world theocracy governing 70 million people. That money would no longer be available for Iran's nuclear program, or for its little-noticed but highly important conventional military upgrade. As the weeks and months tick by and Iran's military degrades, it would likely panic and lash out in a hurried and ineffective way, making it easier for us to neutralize them, and thus push the regime faster into a political death spiral.

The Euro-cowards would suddenly lose their real motivation for coddling Tehran--the fear that its oil production would be lost (once that production truly is lost, then there is nothing left to fear). The Tehran-leaning politicians in Iraq, who lean that way either sincerely or from fear of assassination, will see the Eternal Persian Next Door suddenly bloodied, impoverished, and stunned. That can only improve their calculations as to whether to continue to cooperate with the US or not.

There is no doubt such an attack would be a shock to the world's oil and financial markets, but it pales next to the shock that would come from a nuclear attack (from either the US or Israel) on Iran, or from an Iranian anschluss with southern Iraq, or from a suicidal US withdrawal from a splitting Iraq. For that matter, it pales next to the shocks the markets have suffered since Iran's lunatic President came to power last year, or those from Hurrican Katrina. Yet somehow we all survived those shocks, the stock markets and job numbers are way up and inflation is low.

This table shows the current world oil production, country-by-country:

(Source: )

As we can see, the Islamofascist Republic of Iran produces 4.4% of the total, a significant amount, but hardly an amount that is essential for the world's economies to avoid grinding to a halt. If a US President carefully prepares for such a strike, he can ensure that the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve will be topped off appropriately, and then release it so as to lessen the shock.

Perhaps most appealing about this plan is it turns on its head the Islamofascist mythology that the US/West is willing to sacrifice the lives or freedom of untold millions of Muslims on a pyre of burning petroleum. (No-one has yet detailed the measurable oil benefits we received by rescuing Afghanistan, Kosovo, Bosnia, Somalia, or other Muslim states not called Kuwait). This plan explicitly minimizes any human casualties--indeed, there would appear to be the risk of a few hundred at most-- while accepting an economic cost for ourselves.

We hear a lot of talk from certain experts on the MidEast that many Gulf potentates are terrified: events have placed Iran and its Shi'a cousins in Iraq, Lebanon (Hezbollah), and Saudia's Eastern Province in a position to surround and intimidate, if not conquer, the Sunni regimes around the Arabian heartland of Islam. If this is true, then a smashing strike of Iran's oil facilities would have both the benefit of reassuring these frightened sheikhs that America has not lost its will to counter Islamofascist (and "Shi'a enemy") Iran, and a built-in insurance policy that these regimes would increase their own oil production so as to mitigate the economic and political cost to the US President who orders the strike.

If the "frightened Gulf Sunnis" theory is unfounded, then the strike will at least have the salutory effect of demonstrating that post 9/11, we are truly in a New Era. For decades, the policy of any major country towards the Persian Gulf has always been focused on oil. Recall that Iran and Iraq fought a full-scale war from 1980-88, but judicious diplomacy and the US Navy ensured that oil shipments were barely effected, and the real price of oil plummeted during the war. After the US liberated Iraq, many critics seized upon the fact that the US had made it a priority to secure and preserve Iraq's oilfields--a self-evident objective considering the long-term plan to rebuild Iraq-- to argue that the operation's real goal was precisely to seize those oil fields, as laid out in the Bush/Texas/Cheney/ Halliburton/Big Oil World Hegemony MasterPlan. This conpiracy theory was preposterous, but it has fed into a general perception that the US has NOT changed its focus from securing oil supplies: if the War on Terror conflicts with Secure Oil Supplies, then we'll just have to eat a little terror.

After 9/11, there has been an explicit societal and political demand that our concern for the oil flow must have a limit, that smashing and choking off terror must take top priority. So far we haven't really been forced to choose between oil (short term) and security, but that day is coming, without a doubt. What would we do if/when a Bin Ladenite faction seizes Saudia and its oil facilities? Business as usual?

By destroying Iran's petroleum potential today, we will send a message that we are serious about fighting Islamofascism, to the point of absorbing economic pain in order to inflict much greater and more effectual pain upon them. And we will both stun and surprise our enemies, who have always planned under the operational assumption that, because they have oil, and the West needs oil, they will always have plenty of money to underwrite their bloody mayhem. The sight of US bombers making repeated runs as they incinerate the refineries at Bandar Abbas will go a long way towards shaking this smug assumption.


Nobody's Favorite said...

er... unthinkable? Yeah, sort of. Pardon the poor taste, but here is the illustration: google video

Jewish Odysseus said...

That song came out in 1980 right? "Gulf of Iran"--pretty funny!!

I tell ya, Juanita, I think destroying their oil facilities will give them a shock similar to when the Nazis were surrounded and destroyed outside Stalingrad..."Jeez, we sure didn't expect THAT!"

Nobody's Favorite said...

Frankly J-O, not a bad idea at all. But we need leaders with balls. and they seem to be hard to come by these days.

May the New Year be good to you and to the US and Israel, and miserable for all its enemies.

Jewish Odysseus said...

As for the New Year, Juanita, I think the best thing we could all reasonably hope for is THE END OF THA MANCHURIAN CABINET IN ISRAEL [Kadima], that will solve so many problems at one stroke.

Blogger said...

eToro is the best forex trading platform for beginner and pro traders.