Escalation's Riposte

As we know from the State of the Union, we have a new policy:

The new "kill or capture" program was authorized by President Bush in a meeting of his most senior advisers last fall, along with other measures meant to curtail Iranian influence from Kabul to Beirut

Advocates of the new policy -- some of whom are in the NSC, the vice president's office, the Pentagon and the State Department -- said that only direct and aggressive efforts can shatter Iran's growing influence. A less confident Iran, with fewer cards, may be more willing to cut the kind of deal the Bush administration is hoping for on its nuclear program. "The Iranians respond to the international community only when they are under pressure, not when they are feeling strong," one official said.

Capture or Kill... it sounds like fur season, doesn't it? Certainly, it is an inflammatory policy meant to escalate the cold conflict between Iran and the United States, and make diplomatic engagement all the more difficult.

The problem with picking a fight with Iran is that they are not the weak, boxed state that Iraq was. They are larger, richer, more ethnically homogeneous, and have a military that is flush with the bristle of Russian ordinance. As I have said before, unlike Iraq, Iran can hit us back. Unlike Iraq, where the war was always going to remain "over there," if Iran is attacked even those of us not in the military will feel the consequences.

So, speaking of consequences, remember the assault and kidnapping perpetrated against our troops by Iraqis pretending to be Americans? The Iraqi insurgents went through three check points manned by Iraqi Army units, and were allowed to continue unmolested. They killed five of our men, who were originally said to have been killed "defending the base from attack." Only days later did we learn that some of the American bodies were recovered miles away from the base, having been kidnapped and executed after god knows what kind of treatment.

The details about that attack:

New details also emerged about clashes on Saturday in the Shiite holy city of Karbala, which left five Americans dead. Lt. Col. Scott R. Bleichwehl, an American military spokesman, said the gunmen who stormed the provincial governor’s office during a meeting between American and local officials were wearing what appeared to be American military uniforms in an effort to impersonate United States soldiers.

The sophisticated attack hinted at what could be a new threat for American troops as they start a fresh security plan centered on small bases in Baghdad’s bloodiest neighborhoods, where troops will live and work with Iraqi forces. One of the American military’s greatest concerns, military officials have said, is that troops will be vulnerable to attack from killers who appear to be colleagues.

It is not uncommon for gunmen to impersonate Iraqi security forces, but this appears to be the first time that attackers have portrayed themselves as Americans.

Colonel Bleichwehl declined to provide further details about the Karbala attackers, emphasizing that the attack was still being investigated. But Iraqi officials said the gunmen disguised their intent with uniforms, American flak jackets, guns and a convoy of at least seven GMC sport utility vehicles, which are usually used by American officials in Iraq.

Note that there is no actual evidence tying Iran to this attack, only the "sophistication" exhibited. Clearly the Iraqis, who have screwed up our beautiful war so thoroughly, aren't capable of such sophistication themselves.

Despite the lack of evidence, I do think that this is exactly the kind of thing we can expect a lot more of if we start dropping bombs inside Iran. Prepare yourself.

No comments: