Friday, June 19, 2009

What we should do about Iran

One of the cooler things about my resume is that as a major, I was assigned a functional area to work in. My functional area is FA 59--strategic plans and policy.

By its nature, strategy is more demanding of the intellect and imagination than most other military and policy competencies. Strategists must possess highly developed analytical and problem solving skills to rapidly conceptualize and develop creative feasible solutions to complex strategic challenges. Further, they must succinctly convey complicated conceptual or analytical material in a manner that is clearly understood by decision makers.

Army strategists combine excellence in military planning and policy development with broad, liberal education backgrounds. Most Army strategists embrace life–long learning and possess graduate degrees in strategy–related fields (History, International Relations, National Security, Public Affairs, Foreign Policy, and Regional Studies). Their unique skills and operational experiences enable strategists to diagnose complex issues, develop viable strategies, lead execution, and assess effectiveness. To prepare our officers for this challenge, FA59 offers a diverse and rich variety of military, civilian, and fellowship education opportunities.

For some reason, big Army thought I fit in with this bunch of characters. I've never worked in the "strategery" field, but I reckon I'm either smart or lucky, or maybe both, and that always seems to come in handy.

So I am going to apply my experience, as well as my knowledge of collapsing regimes and revolutions throughout history, and explain what I think we, as a nation should do.

1. Iraq needs stability, and often revolutions next door to a nation tend to destabilize that stability. It's hard to say whether our intervention in Iraq has led to the wellspring of popular revolution ("look at the Iraqis, they hold real elections") or whether it is a function of the people realizing the gummint can't mobilize to defend their borders and crush an internal revolt.

It is in our best interests to see Iraq stable and Iran in chaos until the people hang their current mullahocracy. To facilitate that, I think it would be best if we encouraged the Iraqi government to fully focus on internal security (rooting out terrorists) and covering their northern, southern, and western borders. We should put the majority of our forces patrolling along the Iran/Iraq border, monitoring a demilitarized zone, to ensure the Iranians don't do anything stupid--like invade to distract their people.

2. As for helping the Iranian people, we must not repeat the errors we made in Hungary in the 1950s, when we sat idly by and let the soviets crush the people who resisted their communist masters. Having the military massed along the Western Iranian border, as well as pushing a few brigades to Afghanistan to mass on their easten border, would allow us to pour in support if the people do manage to overthrow the regime, and ask us for help defending their new freedom.

3. At the point that the people have overthrown their government, and call on us for help, we go in--with an agreement that we will be there no longer than one year. We will help the new government get established, open dialogs with its neighbors, and support its recognition by the UN. Under the terms of our agreement, there will be no genocide of the opposition (with the exception of Mahmood and the clerics on the supreme council.)

4. If this revolution really takes hold, we need a coalition effort, led by us, and aided by the Brits, the Germans, the French, the Russians, and the Chinese (gee, looks like the security council) to seize any and all nuclear facilities in Iran. We will move all fissionable material out of the country for safekeeping. Any material that can't be transferred will be destroyed in place... evewn if that means destroying the entire facility. Revolution in a nuclear capable country is a scary thing, especially with a nutjob tyrant running the current government. After the seizure of material, the coalition exits the country, allowing them to continue sort shit out on their own.

5. If it comes to armed revolution, we don't send in teams of "advisors" to assist the people. Instead, we train dissidents and people who leave Iran as refugees to return and overthrow their gummint. We arm and equip them, and send them forth to raise their armies. If needed, we can assist in supplying the revolution with equipment, arms, and other materiel support.

6. This is the limit of what we should do in Iran. If the revolution succeeds, we have a new, stable Iran, a country established by people who've thrown off the bonds of repression. The new government would not be seen as an American puppet regime. We will have shown restraint and shown our willingness to help at the same time. We will have saved our treasure (or at least limited its spending) to a much smaller amount than an invasion would cost. The man in the street would not ever see us as invaders, conquerors, or oppressors, but just as people who are helping his country at the request of his new governemnt. We can look to establishing trade and open communication with that gummint. We can become trade partners with them, and also use the Iraqi neutrality as a positive means of seeing those to nations to peaceful cooperation. Opening up the Iranian oil market would also take a large burden off of us, as we wouldn't have to have our president bow down to saudi kings as much.

Just some thoughts on Iran. If this plan fails, plan "b" involves releasing me there with a full bag of meds, a bowie knife, a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle, a rifle and as much ammo as I can carry, and a radio to call in air support. The whole mess will be cleared up in a few days, but we'll need a berlin-airlift of body bags.


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