TCS Daily

Our Rhineland Moment

By Michael Brandon McClellan - April 21, 2006 12:00 AM

In conjunction with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's announcement that the Islamic Republic has successfully enriched uranium, both Hugh Hewitt and Bill Kristol invoked the Rhineland analogy as a warning for America to act promptly to prevent the emergence of a nuclear-armed Iran. It is an apt analogy -- not necessarily because the threat of a nuclear Iran closely parallels that of Hitler's Germany, but rather, because the United States politically and diplomatically finds itself nearly as hamstrung as France was during the Rhineland crisis seventy years ago.

On Saturday, March 7, 1936, Adolf Hitler announced that German forces had reoccupied the Rhineland region of Germany. Such occupation marked a flagrant violation of the Versailles Treaty that ended World War I, and further violated the Locarno Treaty of 1925. While the territory was permissibly under German political control, it was mandated by both treaties that the Rhineland remain demilitarized. The treaties mandated this demilitarization for very good reasons.

The Rhineland was strategically essential because of its location along the French, Belgian, and Dutch border. It was from the Rhineland that the Schlieffen Plan had commenced in 1914, sending 750,000 Pickelhaube-wearing Germans through Belgium at the beginning of the First World War, and it would likewise become the launching point of the Blitzkrieg invasion of 1940. As Donald Kagan notes in his spectacular On the Origins of War and the Preservation of Peace, in addition to denying Nazi Germany the necessary staging ground for any invasion to the west, a demilitarized Rhineland meant that the vital German industrial areas of the Rhineland and the Ruhr would remain exposed to French retaliation, were Germany to breach the peace. In addition, a demilitarized Rhineland meant that Germany's western border would remain unfortified, making a French offensive strike plausible if Germany were to attack Poland or Czechoslovakia.

However, in contrast, a fortified, German-occupied Rhineland presented a strategic nightmare for the French, and eventually for all of the western democracies who later had to fight against the wrath of the fully developed Nazi war machine. A fortified Rhineland meant that the French would struggle to present any viable counter attack in the event that Hitler turned east. Hitler would then be at liberty to rapidly dispense with the comparatively weak eastern powers and then turn with Germany's full strength against the French. Such, of course, is exactly what happened.

Hitler clearly recognized that occupying the Rhineland was among the greatest of the many gambles he took in his risk-laden career. Reflecting on those days he said, "The forty-eight hours after the march into the Rhineland were the most nerve-racking in my life....If the French had then marched into the Rhineland, we would have had to withdraw with our tails between our legs, for the military resources at our disposal would have been wholly inadequate for even moderate resistance."

Britain and France had the military forces to stop Hitler in 1936, a full two years before the final stroke of appeasement at Munich. They lacked, however, the requisite political will. Having lost an entire generation of young men in the trenches of the First World War, the populations of both democratic nations sought to avoid any provocations that would lead to a new war. The numbers demand mentioning. Of a population of just over 45 million, the British Empire had suffered nearly 900,000 killed in action with an additional 2 million wounded. France, with a smaller population of less than 40 million, lost an almost incomprehensible 1.3 million dead in battle, with an additional staggering 4 million wounded. To put these horrific sums in perspective, it is worth noting that the United States lost a fraction of the lives sacrificed by our WWI allies, with 50,500 killed out of a population of almost 92 million. (To put the Iraq War in perspective, the estimated population of the United States in July of 2006 is 298 million, and less than 2,400 troops have been killed since the 2003 invasion.)

Nevertheless, during the 1920s and 30s, France, more than any other great power, sought to take measures aimed at deterring and containing Germany. Repeatedly, they sought defensive security guarantees from both Britain and the United States. A pacifist Britain and an isolationist United States, however, refused to provide such concrete commitments. During the interwar years, France felt itself increasingly isolated diplomatically, and in some cases even demonized in the English speaking nations for trying to "dominate the continent" by keeping Germany weak. In 1936, therefore, a war-weary France recognized that any military action taken against Hitler would likely have to be taken alone.

There are indeed many similarities between the sad plight of France during the Rhineland crisis and the ominous situation facing the United States in regard to preventing a nuclear Iran today. Similar to the Germans occupying the German Rhineland, the Iranians are violating international mandates, but they are doing so within their own territory. While in 1936 many did not consider the German actions to be aggression, asking "how can a nation illegally occupy its own territory", so too do many today question the right of the US to militarily invade to prevent a nuclear Iran.

Also like the Rhineland occupation, a nuclear-armed Iran would substantially alter an already precarious strategic paradigm. Nukes in the hands of Ahmadinejad and the mullahs would run the risk of undermining nearly every major American foreign policy goal in the Middle East -- be it stabilizing and democratizing Iraq, rolling back the tide of Jihadist terrorism, or securing global energy resources. Just as the mandated demilitarization of the Rhineland was strategically well founded, so too are there sound reasons why the international community has forbidden the development of Iranian nuclear weapons.

As Ilan Berman recently stated in the Claremont Review of Books, possible ramifications of a nuclear Iran include:

1) A Middle Eastern arms race, as other states seek to counter-balance the Iranian bomb,

2) Expanded proliferation as Iran exports its nuclear know-how,

3) Increased terrorism, as an emboldened Tehran, secure behind its nuclear shield, expands its use of terrorist groups to strike against the West,

4) Strategic blackmail, as Iran threatens US forces in the region as well as vital energy supplies, and

5) Greater longevity for the reigning Iranian mullahcracy.

And of course, the ultimate nightmare would be if Iran actually used its nuclear weapons against the Israelis, whom Ahmadinejad has vowed to "wipe off the map", or against our military forces in the Middle East, whom the Mullahs consider the forces of "The Great Satan."

Even considering the ramifications of a US or Israeli nuclear counterstrike, such irrationality is not improbable. As Victor Davis Hanson recently wrote of Iran's President, "This is a leader who listens to voices in a well, dreams about the missing 12th imam, claims his audiences can't blink while he talks, and may have been one of the terrorists who stormed the US embassy in 1979 -- adding messianic nihilism to the tinderbox of petrodollars, nukes, and terrorism." A nuclear Iran, as the Bush administration has stated, is indeed "unacceptable".

However, as Bill Kristol noted in the Weekly Standard, so too did the French declare Germany's Rhineland occupation "unacceptable", while taking no decisive action to stop it. Fear, of both renewed war and diplomatic isolation, intervened and made sound strategic choices impossible. It is vital that we understand the similar binds that are precluding decisive American action today.

First, America is war-weary. Although American losses in Iraq are nowhere near French or British losses in even a medium-sized battle of the First World War, a three-year-running 24 hour news cycle has taken its toll on the American psyche. A sizeable percentage of the American population has lost the stomach for the war in Iraq. Accordingly, a new, dramatically larger war against Iran, with a much larger population of 70 million, a larger and more able armed forces, and substantially tougher terrain, is politically almost unthinkable at the present juncture. Many believe that Iraq was an unnecessary war, and regardless of the strategic benefits, the American people will likely not support another preemptive war against another Middle Eastern regime to prevent the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction.

Second, America, like France during the Rhineland crisis, stands largely alone in its potential willingness to take military action against a very dangerous emerging threat. Echoing France's plight in 1936, polls reveal that many Europeans believe that America, the nation willing to deter the strengthening tyranny, poses a larger threat to global security than does the Islamist Republic itself. Indeed, a cursory navigation of the leftern-most regions of the blogosphere will reveal that more than a few Americans also believe this nonsense.

A unilateral military action runs the substantial risk of further diplomatically isolating America -- not only in the Middle East that we are risking blood and treasure to liberalize, but from essential allies as well. The idea of a large, pan-European force mobilizing to invade Iran with the United States is beyond dubious; the idea of China and Russia assisting the US with sizeable forces borders on ridiculous.

Such dire prospects, however, do not obviate the need for action. Given the political and diplomatic barriers that hinder military action, America must think creatively to effectively deter the Iranian threat. Initially, prudent US policy must focus on diplomatically isolating Iran, as opposed to isolating the US and creating perverse sympathy for the Iranian regime. Britain, France, and Germany must be pushed to eschew the pacifism of the democracies of the inter-war years, and present a united front with the United States. So too must China and Russia be wooed.

Such diplomatic feats are of course easier said than done. Europe, while showing signs of resilience during the Danish cartoon crisis, and perhaps partially emerging from its slumber after the French riots and the British terrorist attacks, is still mired in the mud of internationalist pacifism. China and Russia will be even more difficult to rope into to the coalition. Both nations have to this point used the Iranian crisis to gain advantages vis-à-vis the American hegemon. In Sino-Russian calculus, American loss is likely Russian or Chinese gain. They must be wooed nevertheless.

Implementing comprehensive economic sanctions on Iran could have substantial effects. Whereas an invasion by the United States could very likely bolster a nationalist sentiment and unify the Iranian people behind their radical Islamic government, a comprehensive punitive economic scheme could have the opposite effect, separating the people from the regime. If every day Iranians start facing serious deprivations as a result of their government's nuclear policies, the already present animosity towards the government could be strengthened. Such sanctions, however, would necessitate UN Security Council involvement.

At present, this is likely the best among bad options. In the Security Council, China, Russia, and Europe will at least be forced to show their true colors. If China or Russia chooses to veto a resolution aimed at economically cutting off Iran, then they will be openly siding with an avowed enemy of the United States, and encouraging the destabilization of the Middle East. The onus then will be placed upon them, and the United States will at least be able to say that it has taken all available diplomatic means to check the emerging Iranian threat.

War may indeed come with Iran, but for the American people to get behind it, such would necessitate a truly egregious action by the Iranians. It is one of the hallmarks of the American democracy that long and bloody wars will not be accepted in the absence of a clearly visible rallying event. Going back to the Revolution, with the Boston Massacre, the Stamp Acts, and the Intolerable Acts, Americans have necessitated a great offense against them before they will send their sons to die in large numbers. The Civil War was, of course, precipitated by myriad such acts -- be it bleeding Kansas and John Brown, the beating of Senator Charles Sumner, and of course, ultimately, Fort Sumter.

In World War I, America would not commit until the Germans declared unrestricted submarine warfare, sank the Lusitania, and sent the Zimmerman telegram to Mexico. Even after Adolf Hitler's numerous invasions, genocidal policies, and full-scale bombing of London, the United States would not enter World War II until Japan flew onto American territory and bombed the Pacific Fleet. Afghanistan, Iraq, and the implementation of the Bush administration's proactive Middle Eastern policy necessitated the catalyst of September 11th. In the absence of such flagrant provocation, America will not rally to militarily destroy the Iranian regime. The Bush administration likely knows this. The question is, do the Mullahs?

Michael Brandon McClellan is an attorney and writer living in Southern California. He runs the blog Port McClellan.


when they talk, oil prices go up
Germany and Iran are not comparable because the situations are vastly different.

Ahmediwhateverhisnameis says, 'boo' and oil prices go up. More money for Iran. Why would he not say crazy things?

Russia will never sanction Iran because higher oil prices are good for Russian. China has an off-market arrangement for Iranian oil, so, higher spot prices make no difference to them. So, no chance of UN sanctions.

Iran doesn't have the bomb today, so, there's no possibility of a significant US military strike.

Any sanctions that the US might apply would simply be used by the mullahs as propaganda.

How could one convey to the younger generation Iranian population that their leaders are spoiled emotional toddlers and thereby shame Iranians into rejecting them? Cartoons anyone?

Expect more crazy talk and higher oil prices.

Connecting more dots
For that matter, we too are run by representatives of the oil industry. And the more we rattle our sabers at Iran, the more our pump prices go up. During the post-Katrina crisis didn't our oil suppliers make record profits?

Oh, that dreadful Iran! Keep your eye on the nuclear whatsis, so you don't follow who's making money from the situation.

The left wants higher oil prices
Higher oil and gas prices are exactly what the environmentalists and global warming activists want. They have been advocating for taxes on gasoline to make it cost $3.00 to $4.00 / gal so we will stop driving SUVs. Of course now the only difference is the government is not getting all of the money.
Environmentalists have fought drilling where the US has oil and have fought the contruction of new refieneries and have instituted laws requiring multiple formulations of gasoline around the country adding to the cost.

"Adblock Public comments on the proposed Yuma-area refinery will not likely result in the Environmental Protection Agency revoking the permit, officials said.

On Monday the EPA approved state regulators’ draft permit for a proposed $2.5 billion oil refinery along Interstate 8 about 40 miles east of Tacna, a development which the project’s sponsor says should help it both secure financing and a source of crude oil.

The Arizona Clean Fuels project would be the first refinery ever built in Arizona and the first in the United States in nearly three decades. "
(Who is Adblock and why are they opposed to a refinery in AZ?)

So Al Gore and his followers will be doing all they can to encourage Chaves to blow up oil fields and talk up the Iranian danger to drive up oil prices.
Doesn't Al Gore make money from Occidental?

Adblock Public?
This new gargoyle you've found must be a shadowy group indeed. Google doesn't seem to be able to find a single reference to an "adblock public", other than your free republic page.

Could it just be something someone made up? Nahhh. No way. Free republic's not like that.

take off the tinfoil hat Roy. The Big Oil(!) Cabal can easily penetrate aluminum these days.

Always the equivalency from you. Now Bush is aggravating the Iranian nuclear crisis to make money? Did he also create Katrina to make money?

Never let reality get in the way of a good conspiracy I say.

care to prove your absurd statement
I suppose the oil companies were running the US back in the 80's, when they allowed oil prices to drop under $10/brl?

now roy is accusing other people of making things up
that's funny.

Oh my, the problems of empire.....
just keep mounting. All those pesky decisions on how to secure the borders of the world!

As for the author's comment about us losing "only" 2000 or so soldiers all I can say is that words are cheap and "only" only counts if it's not your son, brother or friend doing the dying. And, to the author, Bill Krystol and Hewitt and all the other armchair warriors I leave you with the words of an old soldier:

“I knew a simple soldier boy / Who grinned at life in empty joy, / Slept soundly through the lonesome dark, / And whistled early with the lark. / In winter trenches, cowed and glum, / With crumps and lice and lack of rum, / He put a bullet through his brain. / No one spoke of him again. / You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye / Who cheer when soldier lads march by, / Sneak home and pray you’ll never know / The hell where youth and laughter go.”

this is off the chart, even for you roy
Come on. Please re-engage your brain good fellow.

Are you denying the EPA and environmentalists…
Have been largely responsible for the lack of drilling in known american depoists? Have been largely responsible for the lack of new refineries?

Couldn't be deversion speak by roy? Nahhh. No way. He always shoots straight! LOL

Katrina came about from the wilful ignorance and denial of every administration since Eisenhower, the local and state governments of New Orleans and Louisiana, the people of the Gulf Coast and everyone who has looked the other way, thinking the Lord would protect them. Everyone is culpable in keeping the levees in a state of inadequate design and inadequate repair.

That being said, when the inevitable actually happened it was noted that this would be a neat way to disperse the Democratic voters of NO across the country-- thus giving another state over to the Reds.

As for Iran, it is obvious that the strategies being pursued by the administration will have the net effect of decreasing oil availability, and thus increasing price. It is also demonstrable that a decrease in supply results in an increase in profitability. And it is also the case that this administration has been recruited from the energy industry. Any dots you care to connect can be your own.

Each single loss is a tradegy
But in an overview we are looking at a statistic that is worthy of study. 2,500 of a population of 300 million; that is 1 in 120,000. Do you know anyone who has died over there? I do. Have you had a family member serving there? I have several and each one of them would tell you to quit smearing their efforts and their dead for your political purposes.

Different times, different situation
It was a very different situation back then for Big Oil. Times were tough, profits were way down and they had a liquidity problem. It was not like today.

Logical inferences
Okay, don't connect the dots. But each individual dot I've cited is demonstrably true. And if the administration has done these things, which have only resulted in a decrease in oil supply thus an increase in price (please follow the markets for evidence), you are left with only two possible conclusions:

(a) purposeful activities

(b) bone headed stupidity

Iran is not at all comparable to the Rhineland in the most relevent senses
Germany presented a clear and present danger to France since the two countries shared the border that Germany remilitarized. Further, remilitarization of the Rhineland threatened to completely upset the French advantage in both vulnerability and warfighting capability.

Iran is around the world from the U.S. and much closer to other potential enemies many of whom (Israel, India, Russia, Germany, France, etc) are more than capable of handling it on their own if they feel threatened whether it is a nuclear power or not. In addition, even if Iran builds nuclear weapons with singular purpose for the next fifty years the U.S. will still certainly possess far more rapidly deliverable megatons per square mile of Iranian territory than Iran will possess per square mile of U.S. territory.

We, our children and our grandshildren have time; and we have an utterly certain cure for any action that Iran may take, or credibly threaten to take, with nuclear weapons or conventional weapons for that matter. In the final analysis, should they attack us, or if we feel imminently threatened, we can simply slag the whole country, wait a while watching the glassy rubble to see what moves and then slag any insufficiently treated areas again.

not even close buddy…
To ignore this as a potential "Rhineland" moment is purposeful ignorance. I'm not convinced that is is such a moment, but to ignore the parallels defies logic.

But tinfoil so becomes Roy
Roy carefully ignores the fact that refineries were concentrated in Katrinia's path and suffered significant damage. Apparently this had nothing to do with the problem.

Roy also hears voices of Karl Marx describing erconomics to him from a men's pub in Engalnd.

Why confuse Roy with words like "Logic"?
Roy like Hampton has an agenda to press and will not be deterred ewihter by logic nor facts.

People who quote casualties
Will never be seen contributing to disabled soldiers or donating to their wifes or children. As you have pointed out such shameless quoting of casualities is part and parcel of the Left's little kabuki dance. I saw it in Vietnam and we see it now. Today no one buys their agitprop.

Ah a reasoned statement
No doubt it will comfort the survivors as they bury the millions of dead. One might recall the generation that called to appease Hitler because another war was unthinkable and that in any case all Europe could certainly destroy Hitler whose military had been fettered by Versailles.

Yes reasoned, logical and as accurate as all those voices that urged appeasement and gave us 60 million dead.

But it is fun to watch them sputter and spin!

Especially those decrying the loss of a loved one to those who have or have had relatives serving in the conflict.

To be fair RSW served in the GRU
During the Great Patriotic War his unit insured no Red Army troops would retreat. If they did it was a pistol shot to the head.

I don't remember him saying that? Wasn't he forced into service or some such?

TJ - I must have missed something in history class
Strictly speaking the Germans and Japanese together gave China, Russia, France, Great Britain, Poland and themselves 60 million dead. Both the Germans and the Japanese working together gave the us - the U.S. - 300,000 dead, and they gave us that many dead in part because we foolishly fought their war rather than our war. For instance, we invaded Europe and Okinawa after it was becoming clear we would soon have the bomb so neither was strictly necessary.

To take another case for balance, we squandered hundreds of thousands of men in World War I, the land fight of which was none of our business since the Kaiser presented no credible threat to us even had he conquered France.

I'm not advocating putting our heads in the sand, I'm merely arguing that we should be somewhat judicious in picking and choosing our wars based on demonstrable threats to us rather than to threats to others or to threats to our disposable commercial interests. It has, for instance been argued that Iran might bottle up the Persian Gulf and thus send oil prices into the stratosphere, but I note that we rely on imported oil much less than several other powerful countries in the world, so I would think we might find those countries eager to be allies rather than naysayers given development of real fear of that case.

With respect to Iran I note that they have proudly claimed a few dozen operating centrifuges and we know they will need many thousands to produce weapons grade material. And they have claimed medium range missiles; but we know it will take more time after they get weapons grade material to make workable warheads for those missiles, and yet more time after that to produce intercontinental range missiles. And for all of that time we will be developing better missile defenses, and better intelligence about their sites.

Add that to the fact that we are somewhat engaged right now with other things and I judge that this Iran situation is by no means ripe. For other nations that may not be the case, but then the other nations which are threatened are capable of looking to their own interests, or we can help provide them with the means.

and to you too...
A happy f__k you to you, and TJ too. I put two years of my life on the line in Vietnam ('65-67)--probably while you were still in diapers or enjoying the benefit of a draft defferment. Do I know someone that has died in Iraq? No, but I can tell you that I held dying men in my arms as they struggled for that last breath that escaped from a hole in the chest. What the hell have you done?

Political purposes? My a_s! Every one of the 2000 and counting young lives lost was a precious life. And yet you sit in the comfort of your cushy circumstances and cheer as they die each day. All you have to do to turn off the violence is change the channel. How easy it is for you, the neocons and the likes of TJ to send off someone else's children to die and be maimed in a far off hell hole--and, for what exactly? Your pride?. You disgust me you weak coward. Re-read the quote from a real soldier that fought in WWI and WWII that I posted, that is not a political statement it is the reality.

In the meantime you can rejoice, after all, it only 1 in 120,000.

good try...
"I saw it in Vietnam and we see it now"

You lyin' sack of sh_t. We had a similar encounter in the old TCS and you admitted that you did not serve in Vietnam. Good try to justify your trash.

this is an interesting variation
Let's see.
When big oil is making big profits, it's because big oil controls the world.
When big oil isn't making big profits, it's because times were tough for big oil.

roy, if your premise were more than a tinhat paranoid fantasy, you would realize how contradictory those two positions are.

If big oil controls the world as you are wont to think, then by definition, they have to power to ensure that times are never hard.

roy needs the industrial grade tin foil hat
Republicans deliberately decided to distribute NO voters all over the country for the sole purpose of capturing LA's electoral votes.

And the only reason we are in the gulf, is to make Bush and his friends richer.

your lack of imagination does you in
Do you honestly think your two choices are the only possible ones?

How about unafortunate side affect of a policy that is otherwise good for the country?

what's your solution
hide our heads in the sand and hope noone shoots us in the butt?

First, thanks for your service…
Second, f__k you back. Yeah, I was still in Diapers when you, and three of my uncles, were in Vietnam. almost lost one; he survived. died in 1981 due to complications from treatment he received to save his life.

I was in the Navy, no big naval engagements in the mid 80s, but several little skirmishes around us. Lost 16 people on one cruise, 8 burnt to a crips when the ship caught fire. 50 injured, and hundreds suffering from smoke inhalation problems. Never missed a flight op. Proud of everyone I served with. Then, lost an ordy friend to a later accident.

Six of my relatives are serving, or have served in the gulf; no deaths…yet. I would love to have it over tomorrow, but not if that means unilaterally pulling out. according to everyone of my relatives who have been there, they are doing good and need to see this through.

Therefore I will continue to call every a sshole who makes this a political issue on the carpet for doing this. To do otherwise would be a total betrayal of MY people who have served and are serving.

BTW, since you didn't answer my questions I will assume the answer is no. If so; please shut up or be reasonable.

Yes, every on of the 2000 lost is precious; to the pundits expousing aqbout the horrible war they are a usable statistic.

I did
I said no, I don't know anyone killed in Iraq.
And, no I have no relatives there.
I did lose over twenty people that I knew to the Vietnam war though. what? I am barred from making observations that you don't like?
I happy you were in the navy, my father was a Captain of a destroyer during WWII and Korea. He fought in many of the major naval battles in the pacific as well as spending some time in the perilous north atlantic. He always told me to join the navy because at least you had a warm, dry bed and good food.
He was right the life of a foot soldier offers neither as I discovered.

you usually offer better than....
nonsensical absurdities. I'll get back to you later this weekend if you really want to hear what I have to say about it.

Poor old RSM
Ah poor old troll, you are such a stranger to truth you'd never recognize it. You are defintely a good GRU member.

Forced into the service
You might say that, he was following his "close" friend into the People's Army and thereby became "forced" into more intimate "contact" with his pal's rear echelon.

Let me offer for your consideration
While I believe that America must never engage in warfare without a declaration of war and agree that military action is the last resort I do not advocate a policy that would abandon the use of force.

Having said that please bear with me while I set a scenario.

Agreed Iran may not domestically produce a nuclear device this year or even iun three years. It will not in ten years have enough capacity to build ten warheads.

It has no chance of winning a war militarily against the US.

The American military is spread too thin to engage in a conventional war against Iran.

But Iran remains dedicated to the spread of Iranian influence and power throughout the Gulf and Middle East through any and all means possible and will not be governed by the normal economic or political conventions that a more conventional entity might heed.

Smallpox has a 33% chance or mortality. It spreads like wildfire. Given the last vaccination probably was done in the early 1980s and the vaccination was good for ten years there are few who are now vaccinated. Several Middle Eastern governments were carrying on research programs with camel pox and other related diseases. The Russians have smallpox and developed several exotic strains which were developed specifically for use in ICBM warheads to mask other diseases.

That utilizing a hundred volunteers all who were infected with the disease could be utilized as delivery systems causing perhaps ten million casualities during the incubation and active phases during which such agents would travel as widely as possible.

How would you respond without proof of the type we have seen so desperately demanded prior to taking action?

How do you think nations in the Gulf will react to a US that is seen as unable or unwilling to act? How do you think Saddam saw the US? What type of mentality do you believe Arabs have if Saddam after seeing what the US could do in 1991 was unwilling to believe that the US would follow thru on its threats and promises prior to this war?

If a nation believes it could engage in war by surrogate, as Iran has, do you believe it would refrain from attacking the US if it could do so?

The US created the problem in Teheran because of Jimmy Carter and his refusal to deal with the evil he created. If another opportunity is presented when the Teheran regime engages in an act of war against the US then I hope we will crush Iran rather allow them to become the authors of a bill that could run to 60 million dead. The point of the article is clear by failing to act to stop Hitler at the Rhineland the West invited war. The West should not repeat that mistake again.

What was your MOS RSW?
What was your unit and where exactly was it you served?
Who was your battalion and brigade CO?

Any bets that we'll never see the answer to any of these answers which any serviceman can answer?

Consistency not an issue
"Big Oil", meaning the multinationals, seeks to control oil. They don't always succeed. With the rise of OPEC and the Crisis of 1973, the balance changed.

If you weren't so concerned with idiotic consistency maybe you could follow the action. The world is not monolithically directed by some shadow organization. It's more like an Irish bar fight, which changes by the minute.

Not sure what you're saying
The Rhineland analogy is inapplicable.

Are you then saying that the US has alienated suppliers like Venezuela and Iran purely by accident, never realizing they might then choose to sell their oil elsewhere, thus driving up the price in America? And that the inadvertent beneficiaries of such an exchange are the oil companies the prez and vice prez work for, who are now set to get even richer by the blind luck of the Irish?

Good theory. Flesh it out.

The unintended consequence theory
That would actually be a possibility, if we assume that the administration is staffed by blind ideologues who believe their own cover stories and never act intelligently in their own best interests. Yes, it could just be an unintended consequence.

Of course, Washington doesn't work that way now and never has. Those people didn't get where they are today by being dumb about the money issues. Bush and his dad may be unable to speak in complete sentences, but they are advised by some very competent tacticians. Otherwise they would not be very long in command position.

You forget
The President of Iran has promised to wipe Israel off the map.

Israel has said "Never Again!" to a holocaust.

Just because we might foolishly wait until attacked, doesn't mean everyone will. Iran has effectively declared war on Israel, so Israel would be justified in doing practically anything.

No such adblock public
So who is adblock public, then? Name us a few names.

Iran not same as '30s Germany
Iran is not the same as '30s Germany. The Germans were a highly technologically advanced nation, whereas Iran is still backward today, even compared to '30s Germany. Germany in the '30s was closer to building a bomb and delivery system than Iran is today. The only reason Germany didn't obtain a nuclear bomb is that Hitler was stupid enough to get into a war, drive out all his best scientists, before developing the weapon.

The most influence Iran could ever have is limited to the middle east. Sure, Iran can threaten the middle east oil. But the U.S. imports no more than 15% of its oil from the Persian Gulf region.

Even if that oil is completely cut off (which is unlikely in any scenario), we have a free-market system that will respond to the challenge and produce plentiful oil without relying upon Arab supplies from the Persian Gulf area.

The only possible legitimate reason that the U.S to make war upon Iran is if Salman Rushdie was assasinated in the U.S. under the "fatwa" decreed by Khomeini years ago and still in effect today by their "Revolutionary Council" the de facto ruling body of Iran.

Since Khomeini was the head of state of Iran and the Rvolutionary Council is the ruling body, the murder of Rushdie in the U.S. would amount to the extension of Iranian sovereignty over the U.S. by violation of Rushdie's rights under the 1st Amendment of the Constitution. Hence, it would be a violation of U.S. soverignty. That would justify war if the Iranians did not turn over the Revolutionary Council for trial in the U.S. on charges of conspiracy to commit murder.

That would be the only legitimate reason for going to war with Iran. It may be necessary to conduct operations to prevent them from acquiring nuclear weapoms, so that if necessary to invade Iran in the future, there would not be the nuclear risk to the U.S.

There is no other legitimate reason to invade Iran, not the oil, not Bush administration rhetoric, nothing but a potential threat to U.S. sovereignty.

Other means such as covert operations and cultural warfare should be used before resorting to war.

Those EPA scoundrels
By "EPA" I assume you mean the staffers, not the appointees.

Yes, people concerned that we take care of the planet because we only have one to give to our grandchildren, like to keep it in nice shape. The ideal, of course, was to leave it better than we found it. That, in the fullness of time, proved to be impossible. Too many spoilers working in concert have for now won the struggle.

So now we waste lands it took God a billion years to create, to put off the bottom of the barrel for at best another couple of decades. And those who make the decisions are all in position to get rich off those decisions. And the amazing part is that so few of us complain.

Not at all clear
"For instance, we invaded Europe and Okinawa after it was becoming clear we would soon have the bomb so neither was strictly necessary."

When was it clear the USA would have a nuclear weapon that would not require European or Japanese invasion?

If I recall correctly, after Nagasaki, there were no more bombs.

Also, before Hiroshima, there was only ONE test and none of them were dropped from an airplane.

The Race for the Atomic Bomb Begins
World War II started September 1, 1939, when Germany attacked Poland. By 1941, the Germans were leading the race for the atomic bomb. They had a heavy-water plant, high-grade uranium compounds, a nearly complete cyclotron, capable scientists and engineers, and the greatest chemical engineering industry in the world.
The Research Effort Struggles
Factors including internal struggles, a major scientific error, and the devastation of total war compromised any successful research toward a German atom bomb. Unlike the American program, the Germans never had a clear mission under continuously unified leadership.
The First Controlled Nuclear Reaction
At the University of Chicago reactor, Enrico Fermi oversaw the first controlled energy release from the nucleus of the atom.
U-235 Output Begins
After intense effort, the Y-12 plant in Oak Ridge, Tenn., began to produce bomb-grade U-235, which was shipped to Los Alamos, N.M. U-235 was used in the Little Boy bomb and plutonium was used in the Fat Man bomb produced at Los Alamos."

I asked first.
I asked first. Reread my post.

Small Point
How many currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan have re-enlisted in an all volunteer military?

You are misinformed. Germany had nothing to compare with the delivery systems Iran has today which are based on German technology and bear 60 years of development thanks to Russia's German scientists.

Germany had no nuclear weapon. Whether Teheran has one is solely a question of time.

Iran's technology today while lagging in many areas is far ahead of areas which make it a far greater threat than Germany was in 1939. To put matters in focus Iraq's arsenal would have made Hitler green with envy the only reason Saddam didn't employ it more frequently against Iran is that Iran never really threatened Iraq's stranglehold on the battlefield.

Given Iraq's pathetic Marx Brothers military one can guage Iran's conventional capability. This doesn't mean that Teheran's non conventional capabilities should be considered in the same light.

Re: Clarification -- not true
German scientists were many of those who developed quantum mechanics as well as rocket technology in the earlier part of the 20th century.

The Germans launched V-2 rockets that hit London in the early '40s. The Iranians hardly have that capabilty today, nonetheless a capability to hit the U.S. They are years away from developing it, and years from developing any nuclear weapons.

They don't have the brainpower. Like Germany of the '30s, they have driven their best scientists out of the country. I know some of them. They're not going back there to live under that system.

Even if Iran did have technology equivalent to German technology of the 1930', this is 2006 and that technology is antiquated and cannot compete with the technology of the the U.S. nor Israel.

Let's not catastrophize and exaggerate the threat. People often have a tendency to scare themselves to death. Let's not do that.

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