April 05, 2004

Ease Up on the Hysteria

Glenn Reynolds and Andrew Sullivan and probably dozens of other bloggers are commenting on this story over at Healing Iraq. Apparently Sadr and his backers (everybody seems to think he's Iran's catspaw) are trying to make an insurrection. While in Fallujah, they seem to be trying to replay Mogadishu, in Sadr City, they seem to be trying to replay Tet.

Tet, as every serious historian now knows, was a military failure but a tremendous propaganda coup that created a level of hysteria and defeatism on the home front sufficient to cause the US to lose the Vietnam war. So what's Sullivan's thought on this assault? "We could be losing the ball-game right now, guys." That sort of shoot-from-the-hip defeatism that is not backed by facts, not backed by any sort of solid information, is exactly what Sadr and his goons are counting on.

They want us to lose heart. They want us to be afraid. And make no mistake, the attack is not aimed at the police stations and the troops, and all the rest. Sadr doesn't even have the majority of Shiites behind him, much less the majority of Iraqis. The attack is aimed at Glenn Reynolds, Andrew Sullivan, every news reporter and pundit in the free world. I'm counting Sullivan as a casualty (though hopefully he'll make a speedy recovery).

If the rumors about Sadr and Iran are true, the Iranians are in a terrible panic. If Sadr fails (and he's almost sure to fail militarily) and clear evidence is uncovered that Iran tried to install a puppet to rule Iraq, it would come out that Iran has engaged in an unacceptable assault that would activate the self-defense portions of the UN Charter and authorize Iraq to invade Iran. Since Iraq is currently under Coalition protection, this means that, in essence, Iran has handed the US carte blanche to invade at will with a UN stamp of approval. The only thing that would save them would be a deliverable nuke (ie something that can fit on a missile) and even that would be very iffy.

Sadr has been indicted for assassinating a fellow cleric which means he's down to his last card, violent revolt. This could mean that Iran isn't even in control of what's going on, Sadr's just trying to save his neck. This won't save Iran if Sadr just moved forward Iran's coup timetable up a few months. Their fingerprints would be all over this and it would be a death knell for the regime.

I can't stress it enough. Sit, wait, learn, and then calmly judge. Whatever side you end up on with regards to policy make it reasoned and deliberate. Don't be spooked into hasty judgments lest you awaken the spirit of Tet. That's one shade that needs to stay in its grave.

Update: On further thought, I remind myself that I'm not a lawyer. Somebody needs to start asking questions as to what, exactly, the legal situation is as far as current law and international precedent.

Posted by TMLutas at April 5, 2004 05:44 PM