Obama’s right when he says they’re no real threat to us. And while his policy is incoherent, I’ll say this for him. His heart is in the right place: no war. His troop surge in Afghanistan was halfhearted. He should have just withdrawn, and left these people to themselves. But we’re in the process of leaving, at last. He was foolish to draw a red line in Syria. He’s a terrible bluffer, doesn’t know how. He just doesn’t know how to play poker, period. It’s embarrassing. And he really doesn’t like Israel. To him it’s just another white colonial outpost in the third world. Kind of like Zimbabwe. Israel is much more than that. Judaism is the father of Christianity, and we are a western Christian nation. We’re simply not going to allow another holocaust.
But if Israel wants to fight a preemptive war they’re on their own. We don’t do preemptive wars. They’re un-American. We fight defensive wars. World War One was started as a preemptive war. Once one country began to mobilize, they all had to, in order to keep up. The Germans, especially, had absolutely nothing to gain, but blundered into war because they thought they had no choice. Stupidity in high places leads to tragedy.
It looks as though Iran may get the bomb, and that’s a huge problem for Israel. But not for us. We can’t go around the world getting into wars to stop people from getting the bomb. Back in the 60’s William F. Buckley advocated bombing Red China to prevent it from getting the bomb. He was crazy. His rabid anticommunism clouded his judgment. We don’t do wars of choice, only of dire necessity.
Absolutely the worst case scenario is a nuclear 9-11. It’s impossible to say that it can never happen. It could. We could wake up some sunny morning to see Manhattan in smoldering ruins. It’s a remote possibility, but it’s real. So do we engage in perpetual warfare in the Middle East to lessen this possibility? Might such warfare actually increase it? How do we know? Which side do we err on, caution or war?
I vote for caution. We’re allied with Israel and will defend it. But we should not wage war on its behalf. There’s a difference. You could make a case, geopolitically, for kicking Iraq out of Kuwait. It was a war for oil. But with fracking we don’t need that oil anymore. Our European and Asian allies need that oil. If blood needs to be shed to secure it, so be it. Just not American blood.
The West and Islam are two different worlds. I experienced that when my caravan of Mercedes’ crossed from Bulgaria into Turkey. It was almost a physical sensation. This was 1967, and Bulgaria was as backward as Turkey. Istanbul was more of a modern city than Sofia was, but it was different, strange.
I met some English guys at the Hofbrauhaus in Muncih, and they invited me to go with them to Tehran. They’d hooked up with some Iranian car smugglers. The Iranians wanted guys with western passports to put on the title of the cars they were smuggling back into Iran. You drove from Munich to Tehran in a caravan, and they’d give you $100 and a bus ticket back to Istanbul or on to Kabul. I was very short on money, and signed on with them, and off we went. It was a trip.
Iran was Islamic, like Turkey, but I felt much more comfortable in Tehran than I did in Istanbul. I even made friends with an Iranian guy I ran into. He spoke good English and he showed me around. The Shah was still in power, and he was trying to westernize his country. My friend explained to me that Islam was not the traditional religion of Iran. That was Zoroastrianism, which he described to me. It was kind of a laid back paganism. We even went out one night for a couple beers. They were playing a popular song by an Iranian singer, a woman. It was kind of a love ballad, I guess. Haunting, exotic. There was even a beautiful Iranian girl there, and we were looking at each other. My friend said that was very unusual. Iranian girls weren’t loose, to say the least.
So do we bomb Iran, on behalf of the Israelis, and drive them further back into the stone age? No, we don’t do that.
We don’t do that.