November 1, 2007
Empty Threats (Bob Franken)
@ 11:25 am
Who are we kidding? While a lot of Americans are understandably nervous that the recent saber-rattling at Iran is really the run-up to another attack, we probably don’t need to worry.
Not that the macho men in the White House and blustering around it don’t want to continue their warring ways. It’s just that they can’t. They don’t have many real sabers left to rattle.
Left in the dust of this Bush administration is a depleted U.S. military. It’s already stretched nearly to the breaking point. Where are the warmongers going to get their warriors? In a word, they can’t, not without a draft. If they impose that, then they’ll have another war on their hands with rioting young men and women.
It wasn’t quite a riot at the State Department; Foreign Service officers simply don’t riot. But we witnessed an extraordinary event there Wednesday. State is also running out of people, at least those who are anxious to be Iraq cannon fodder. So they are being told that since they won’t volunteer, they will be ordered to do a tour of duty in Baghdad. What they had to say was pretty damned undiplomatic. Think of it as a verbal raised middle finger. The message to the upper echelon was pretty simple: We think Iraq is a disaster, and we sure as hell don’t want to be in harm’s way there.
So don’t let all this chest-thumping fool you. It certainly doesn’t fool Iran’s leaders. Every time U.S. officials growl, they remind one and all that the U.S. is now that “Paper Tiger” the Chinese used to call us.
In fact, our big concern should be the nutcases in Tehran, calling the bluff of the nutcases in Washington. They might just decide it’s time to turn off the oil — and then what? In other words, they have us by the … wells.
So we can say “No more Mr. Nice Guy” all we want, but the fact is we had better start being the nice guy.
About the only way we can impose our national will anymore is by unleashing our nuclear arsenal before they get theirs. Our leaders aren’t that crazy. Are they?
Remember what I said about not worrying? Forget it. Worry. Really worry. The biggest danger of a World War III is that this administration will start it.