Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Teenage Mutant Special Forces

In my musings on last night's status of US/Israeli-Iranian brinksmanship, in which I employed the popular poker game Texas Hold 'Em and the old game show Let's Make a Deal as hopeful metaphors, I glossed over a few minor details. (But first, is Monty Hall still around? If he's alive, I bet he's hosting a game show. Him and Bob Barker. Some people are just born for their times.) I mentioned that special forces have already been in Iran for a while. Just like they were in Iraq for a year before Gulf War Two. We'll get to that in a minute. Note that I greatly admire the Special Forces as fighting units, surprisingly underappreciated by the Regular Army, I just sometimes disagree with how they're deployed. As they probably do, too.

At the moment, I'm feeling conflicted because someone who knows a great deal about the Pentagon's plans for Iran is in town, and Lord Baby and I are home watching Peter Pan (the original, at least, not the gaseous sequel) while Lord Wife is out downing martinis as a warm-up for her trip to an upscale hotel spa a thousand miles away this weekend. She's going there to work on her script, the one that's been picked up by a successful producer for "packaging" into a movie. It's called "Who's Got Muffy? and was my idea. She and her actor-writer friend plan to work on it intensively and then relax with circadian meditations. (No, no. I'm not making this up, although sometimes, I wish...)

Anyhow, this someone who's in town tonight is the kind of person disgruntled generals slip operational plans to. Ever hear the phrase "loose lips sink ships?" Well, screw loose lips. It's waaay past that now. These days, people in the Pentagon are handing over copies of 500 page battle plans to journalists, professors, and spies in the hope they can get them out into the open, where someone might care enough to stop a no-win war with Iran. Things are in a pretty odd state when the only real resistance to Manifest Neo-Destiny rests in the officer class and the CIA. But that's where we are. Worse, Tom S. invited me out to meet this compelling thought-traitor, and I can't go.

So, ok. Back to the Special Forces in Iran thingie. There's this guy who knows this guy who has a friend who has run many of the Pentagon's war games, including ones for Iran and North Korea in 2004. The friend's name is Colonel Sam Gardner, and he is now retired. Colonel Gardner was on a talking head show this week, and told the interviewer in an exhausted tone that, yes, correct, there are Special Forces teams in Iran right now. Old news. News broken since March of this year, and before. Sam wrote a paper recently titled "The End of the Summer of Diplomacy: Assessing US Military Options on Iran." As these things go, it's a brilliant, beautiful, even poignant paper. It's like watching footage of British soldiers obediently, stoically, and methodically marching in forsaken line abreast into no-mans land to be mowed down by machine gun fire, already having accepted death. A professional master of strategy was asked to run up against his last nemesis, he knowingly did so, and gave his all. Only the enemies he bravely trudged toward weren't Iran or North Korea. I read his paper so you don't have to. Here are the closing lines:

When I finished the 2004 Iran war game exercise, I summarized what I had learned in the process. After all the effort, I am left with two simple sentences for policymakers. "You have no military solutions for the issues of Iran. You have to make diplomacy work." I have not changed my mind. That conclusion made sense then. It still makes sense today.

Don't count on the Bush Administration to start making sense. They're crazier than Mormons on Mescal, and they not only despise party poopers like Sam Gardner, they take vengeance upon them for fun. All I'm saying is that there's hope for a cynical oil deal that buys some time, and even if not, there's probably a little time left before Iran is hit with airstrikes. After that, the cops bust in and people start running for the doors.

How long? I am reminded that Hitler's diplomat von Ribbentrop, the Bolton of his day, and Stalin's diplomat Molotov (of cocktail fame), drank and literally danced together in the Kremlin. They were birds of a feather, it was before their coming cataclysm, and when they sat down to talk they recognized and understood each others as old friends would have. The same is true of the regime in Iran and the regime here, who understand each other as only as grifting, usurping, snake-handling tent revivalist religious extremists can. Although there probably isn't much drinking tonight between them, and dancing is a big no-go. Ribbentrop and Molotov signed a non-aggression pact. It lasted a couple of years, during which they divvied up Poland. Here's hoping we get that long for our teetotaling thugs to divvy up Iraq. May Lord Wife enjoy her martinis to the last drops.

And now, even as I write this, Peter Pan's love interest Wendy is crossing her arms with maximum petulance and saying, "Squaw no get-um firewood. Squaw go home." So maybe it's not all Fluechte nach Vorne (flights forward) and Reversions to the Mean. Maybe cultural revolutions have engineered progressive equalities. And maybe BushCo will finally, finally draw a lucky card, and someone else will fold.

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