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This cynical analysis is, unfortunately, the next-best-case scenario. The best-case would involve a re-engagment of the UN mission in an attempt to restore order that will not be viewed by Iraqis as US imposed martial law. Worst cases include, but are not limited to: withdrawal with ensuing bloodbath, permanent US deployment on a massive scale to impose martial law, a popular uprising to install an Islamic council with a Dien Bien Phu-style retreat.

Not only will the UN to do its usual stellar job of restoring order, the local economy will benefit from the newly created child prostitution industry.

When the American military stayed in stayed in Europe after World War II, there was a military reason to do so: the Russian Army and the Soviet's stated desire to impose communism on the world. The United States was absolutely essential, offsetting thousands of Russian tanks and aircraft.

But what would be the mission in Iraq?Replace Europe with Iraq, replace the Soviet Union with Ahmadinejad and Al Qaeda, and replace the desire to spread communism with the desire to see everyone bowing to Mecca 5 times a day or have their heads removed from their shoulders, and you have your justification for a long-term military presence in Iraq.

Let’s see.

Iraq’s demonstrated oil reserves: 115 billion barrels.

Price of a barrel of oil around $75.

115 billion times $75 equals 8.625 trillion dollars.

Under Saddam Hussein, share that went to western oil companies: 0.

Under legislation pending in Iraq, share that will go to western oil companies: 12.5%.

12.5% of $8,625,000,000,000 equals $1,078,000,000,000.

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I pointed out that a UN mission in Iraq would be a best case scenario, not a perfect world scenario. Conrad, if I accept your argument that past UN shortcomings make it unfit for the task then present US shortcomings in dealing with Iraq indicate complete and immediate withdrawal, which by the way, I do not support.

Frank, seriously, you don't really equate Iran -- tiny, industrially backward, seriously divided -- with the Soviet Union, do you? Seriously?

Yeah Frank, you aren't seriously implying that the country that brought the world the Lada and Chernoble was industrially backward, are you? You're surely not disputing the Baltics, and Ukraine, Belorus, and Chechnia, and Georgia and all the various Wherethefuckistans comprised a harmonious nation?

It's true that the Soviets were not able to make consumer automobiles or master peaceful used of nuclear power -- or produce toilet paper or chewing gum, or successfully paint street lights, or efficiently distribute agricultural products, or...

They were, however, extremely good at manufacturing tanks and aircraft, and at outfitting and motivating lots and lots of troops. (Military service, after World War II, being a very high calling in Russia.) It is that force that we were offsetting with our presence in Europe. The force was also a "trip wire" that made tangible the U.S. commitment to enter any war between west and east.

Iran poses no such danger to the United States or its allies. The sole strategic reason why we care about that part of the world at all is oil, the need for which -- under this administration -- we steadfastly refuse to address. Iran has no vast army of tanks, no great air force, and no large legions of highly motivated troops.

The sole thing that unites Arab and Persian Shi'ites is a hatred of Americans. The likelihood of Iraqis and Iranis joining together is small, and is only increased by a continued American presence.

I would never compare the Soviets to the Islamo-fascists living in Iran, Pakistan and elsewhere. After all, the Soviets were never able to make a serious strike at the U.S.; on our own soil or elsewhere..

Meanwhile, the current bad guys have the U.S.S. Cole, several embassy bombings, 9/11, and so on and so on...


The sole thing that unites Arab and Persian Shi'ites is a hatred of Americans.

It is not solely a hatred of Americans, it is a hatred of all things infidel. They would love America if our men and women would only grow fist length beards and don the veil, respectively.

...the Soviets were never able to make a serious strike at the U.S.

They were absolutely able. They chose not to, mutually assured destruction making it much more desirable for the Soviets to work through surrogates.

It sounds to me like you think of Iran and Islamofacism as more dangerous than the Soviet Union and Communism. That's nuts, Frank. Self-dramatizing, yes. But nuts.

Iran poses no such danger to the United States or its allies.

Easy for you to say in Kentucky. I'm not sure you'd be nearly so sanguine were you one of our allies living in Tel Aviv.

The sole strategic reason why we care about that part of the world at all is oil,

Israel offers a two-fold refutation of that statement. First, not only is America's primary commitment in that region to a country with no oil whatsoever, but that alliance serious impedes the US relationship with the countries that do have the oil. If all the US cared about in the Middle East was oil, it would have dumped Israel long ago.

They are much more dangerous than the Soviets were, for precisely the reasons you state. Mutually assured destruction kept the Soviets from dropping the bomb, and the same went for us. The nut jobs in the middle east know without a doubt that we could nuke them off the face earth and they have nothing to compete with that, but they still fight. They are willing, to a man, to die for their cause, which is something the Soviets never had. That is why they are so much more of a threat than the Soviets were.

Conrad first:

You're right, except that I don't think we'd plant 150,000 troops in Iraq to protect Israel. We might put them in Jordan or Lebanon, but not Iraq. The Persian Gulf area is important because of oil.

Now Frank:

The nuts jobs in the middle east are individually dangerous on a relatively small scale, more akin to ambitious and capable street criminals than to the Red Army. Planting 150,000 man army on their border does nothing to mitigate the threat.


I don't know too many "nut job street criminals" capable of reducing the US government to sputtering impotence for 14 months (of course it was the US government under Jimmy Carter, so it's not like they were playing against the first team), blow up a tower housing US military personnel, deploy proxies to battle the Israeli army to a draw and develop nuclear weapons.

Although give Ray Negin a few more years in New Orleans and anything is possible. . . .

While Frank overstates the threat, you understate it by at least the same order of magnitude.

Haven't read the comments yet, but did read the entry.


One disagreement: leaving troops in Iraq but in remote bases, out of direct contact with the various Islamic factions trying to kill everyone who isn't them, is a good idea. That way, if someone (or some group) either poses a credible threat or attacks us or our interests, we can retaliate swiftly.

Most of the world won't like it. Forget them. I'm more concerned about American security--including the economic security that comes from reliable oil sources--than I am with the opinion of the various anti-American leftists at the UN and in the EU.

Now I've read the comments.

The Iranians do have legions of well-motivated troops: the Revolutionary Guard. President Aramalamadingdong was one once, and he appears to have been one of the hostage-takers in '79.

The main threat that Iran poses is its ability to disrupt oil tankers passing through the Strait of Hormuz. An even greater potential threat is its nuclear program.

Conrad's points are right on target. Considering that Aramalamadingdong's version of Islam says that the apocalypse is coming soon, they are more of a threat than most people think. We shouldn't allow the Iranians any way to hasten their millenialist fantasies.

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