What’s Wrong with This Picture?

Both the U. S. and our enemy Shiite Iran are on the same side in Iraq — supporting Shiite al-Maliki against Sunni Al Qaeda.

To a large extent, our frenemy Maliki brought his Anbar province troubles on himself by mistreating the Sunnis there and creating an opening for Al Qaeda.  Now he’s struggling to get the Sunni tribal leaders to turn against Al Qaeda and turn back to him, hoping they hate his guts a little less.

The violence spreading out from Syria shows that the Mideast right now is just fighting the Sunni-Shiite battle that’s been going on since the seventh century.  At this moment, it’s led by Saudi Arabia and Iran fanning proxy wars, just as the U. S. and Russia had their client states during the Cold War.  The Sunni Saudis are trying to fight both the Shiites and Al Qaeda, a monster they helped create.  Good luck with that.

We have to fight Al Qaeda and its affiliates, and we have to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons, which would lead to Saudi Arabia’s getting nuclear weapons.  Resolving the Sunni-Shiite thing? Fuhgeddaboudit.

Homer Simpson Says It’s Safe

A nuclear reactor in Illinois, unit 2 at Byron Generating Station, about 100 miles from Chicago, has been shut down after it lost power.  They are venting steam to relieve pressure, and the steam contains radioactive trillium.

They say the levels of radioactive material are safe for both plant workers and the general public.  I believe that assurance came from one Homer Simpson.

Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran

There is much speculation that Israel may be close to bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities.  Israel can certainly delay or disrupt Iran’s nuclear capabilities with airstrikes, but it can’t completely destroy them.  It doesn’t have the ability to bomb deeply enough or to carry out the sustained campaign it would take.   The only country that has a chance, and even then it’s not a certainty we could get everything, is — you guessed it —  the United States.

We and the Israelis have bought some time with the Stuxnet virus and targeted assassinations of Iran’s nuclear scientists.  But the grains left in that hourglass are running out.

President Obama is pursuing options to contain Iran if it goes nuclear, much as we contained the Soviet Union.  The better analogy is not our successful containment doctrine of the 1950’s, but Britain’s failed appeasement doctrine of the 1930’s.  I know that’s the Israeli view.

Bombing Iran is a daunting task militarily and politically.  The short-term consequences won’t be pretty.  But they won’t be as ugly as the longer-term consequences of letting Iran proceed.

When India got nuclear weapons, Pakistan had to have them too.  Now we are dealing with an unstable nuclear Pakistan, which is much tougher than dealing with an unstable non-nuclear Pakistan.

If Iran goes nuclear, so will Saudi Arabia.  Another unstable regime threatened by terrorists.

If we don’t act, eventually the Israelis will do as much as they can.  But if you’re going to remove a cancer, you should do your utmost to remove it all.  The United States has the best –and only — shot at doing that.

Mr. President, ’twere well it were done quickly.  You’ve done so much to keep us safe, do this.