The Lessons The Iranians Learned
And double sigh.
These are the real lessons the Iranians learned that GW, Maid Condoleeza, and his Merry Men didn't learn until quite recently:
The one lesson I'm sure they took from us is exactly the same lesson that India took from the First Gulf War: If you wish to be a major regional power--insulated from outside military threats--you must have nuclear weapons.
The Indians have been quite explicit about this as a conclusion and a motivation, once their weapons were a fait accompli.
I am also reasonably sure that this lesson was reinforced to the Iranians with the easy fall of the Taliban to our overwhelming conventional forces.
I am very sure that they took heed of the lesson that the United States military was prepared to fight only two major wars, and our current president chose to fight them one after the other.
I think that they were acutely sensitive to the fact that for 13 months afterward there was only one U.S. aircraft carrier operating on the entire High Seas, making close air support of any serious military operations next to impossible.
I believe they took notice when we withdrew from our bases in Saudi, which we so carefully built up to bolster the security of the region, and to function as a logistical staging area, with the obvious intention of rebuilding them in Iraq.
I think they were very attentive when our inattention and unintelligence allowed an Iraqi insurgency to develop and arm itself virtually under our noses.
And I think they are still attentive to the fact that this same insurgency has not been quelled despite the application of virtually the entire combat rotation of our available ground troops.
I finally think that they have come to the very reasonable conclusion that we are in no position to mount a serious and sustained military operation against their country as a whole, and probably will not be so until at least 2010. And this only if we finally do manage to secure those permanent Iraqi logistical bases for our troops.
I think those are some pretty intelligent lessons, don't you?
We do not have the military capacity to start and sustain yet a third war and all of the Bush inner circle know it. Condi Rice knows it, Donald Rumsfeld knows it, Dick Cheney knows it, and John Bolton knows it. So, by the way, does Jack Murtha, which is one of the reasons for his recent change of heart about Iraq.
Not to mention our other two nuclear problems, Pakistan and North Korea. North Korea is implacably hostile and Pakistan is merely one heartbeat away from changing to an adversary from an ally. Either or both of these could blow up in our face while we are tangled up in three wars instead of two.
And then there is always the problem of Taiwan to consider. One more war would force us to virtually cede the Formosa straits to the Chinese navy.
Would they resist the opportunity to seize Taiwan by force? Good question. If they don't, will George be willing to do some nuclear brinkmanship with our entire West Coast in the balance while fighting three other wars elsewhere? Also a good question. Let's sincerely hope he doesn't have to.
And all of this from the simple boneheaded action of invading Iraq without any preparation whatever to run it after the military victory. Sigh.