January 26, 2007

WaPo Appalled at Concept of Killing the Enemy

You've just got to love how Allahpundit nailed the right level of near-hysteria in his headline about this Washington Post article: WaPo: U.S. declares war on Iran in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Palestine.

The actual lede seems to me as a "about damn time" directive but WaPo somehow figures this is front page news:

The Bush administration has authorized the U.S. military to kill or capture Iranian operatives inside Iraq as part of an aggressive new strategy to weaken Tehran's influence across the Middle East and compel it to give up its nuclear program, according to government and counterterrorism officials with direct knowledge of the effort.

For more than a year, U.S. forces in Iraq have secretly detained dozens of suspected Iranian agents, holding them for three to four days at a time. The "catch and release" policy was designed to avoid escalating tensions with Iran and yet intimidate its emissaries. U.S. forces collected DNA samples from some of the Iranians without their knowledge, subjected others to retina scans, and fingerprinted and photographed all of them before letting them go.

Last summer, however, senior administration officials decided that a more confrontational approach was necessary, as Iran's regional influence grew and U.S. efforts to isolate Tehran appeared to be failing. The country's nuclear work was advancing, U.S. allies were resisting robust sanctions against the Tehran government, and Iran was aggravating sectarian violence in Iraq.

"There were no costs for the Iranians," said one senior administration official. "They are hurting our mission in Iraq, and we were bending over backwards not to fight back."

Three officials said that about 150 Iranian intelligence officers, plus members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Command, are believed to be active inside Iraq at any given time. There is no evidence the Iranians have directly attacked U.S. troops in Iraq, intelligence officials said.

I guess this is an example of the difference between those of us who desire to actually succeed in Iraq, and those of us who don't.

Perhaps it is just my perception, but it seems to me that Dafna Linzer is gob-smacked at this idea that we would be targeting those training terrorists, and perhaps even filled with appropriate levels of self-righteous heartache, but my response is simply this: what took so freaking long?

Iranian foreign policy is in direct conflict with that of the United States across the Middle East, and they have provided military support, training, and presumably intelligence assets in both Iraq and Lebanon. They seek not to just destroy the tenuous democratic governments in these two nations and (no doubt) hopefully install puppet regimes of their own beholden to Tehran, but hope to destroy both the United States and Israel. Of course, we can't been sure of that last claim... Ahmadinejad has only stated it publicly about a dozen times, so we might be missing some nuance there.

I look upon this as a favorable development, but Allah has his full weltschmerz on:

The aim, obviously, is to beat back Iran influence across the region until theyíre back to this point and are ready to make a deal on nukes. Like the surge, itís a good idea thatís years too late. Unlike the surge, which will be led by Petraeus, itís being run by Bushís same old crew. I have no faith in them at this point to anticipate contingencies or react effectively when they occur, so color me reluctantly, cautiously pessimistic.

He makes a very valid point; we've been very reactive in Iraq instead of pro-active, which to my mind, means we've still got far too much of the war-fighting decision-making coming out of the White House instead of in the theater of operations, where these decisions should be made.

I have some hopes that nomination of Army Lt. Gen. David Petraeus to command American forces in Iraq will change how we fight there. Petraeus has been in Iraq twice, and has learned from the school of hard knocks what doesn't work, and also, hopefully, what might, as he helped draft the Army's new counterinsurgency manual.

In the past, the United States Army has excelled at countering insurgencies and perhaps with the right leadership, it can do so again, but it remains to be seen if a lame-duck Administration and a mewling Congress will actually allow the military the time, resources, and rules of engagement necessary to win.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at January 26, 2007 09:46 AM | TrackBack

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 01/26/2007
A short recon of whatís out there that might draw your attention.

Posted by: David M at January 26, 2007 11:18 AM


Posted by: Mike Meyer at January 26, 2007 01:07 PM

errr, Mike?

Having 100 soldiers that cannot kill the enemy is no better than having 1 soldier unallowed to kill the enemy. In that situation, all more troops provide is more targets. duh.

Posted by: iconoclast at January 27, 2007 12:59 PM