So, Iran was responsible for 14% of our combat deaths in Iraq. And our response is…?

November 8, 2015
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TR would have known what to do.

Back in the old days, this is what was called a casus bellia cause for war:

Nearly 200 U.S. troops have been killed and nearly 1,000 injured by Iranian-made explosives in Iraq, according to new disclosures from a partially declassified report conducted by U.S. Central Command and described by sources to the Washington Free Beacon.

The number of U.S. deaths resulting from Iranian terrorism were revealed for the first time on Wednesday by Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) during a hearing focusing on the Obama administration’s failure to prosecute terrorists directly responsible for the deaths of Americans.

At least 196 U.S. service members fighting in Iraq were killed directly as a result of Iranian-made explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs, according to Cruz and congressional sources familiar with Centcom’s mostly classified report.

The deaths took place between 2003 and 2011. The Iranian explosive devices wounded another 861 U.S. soldiers, and a total of 1,534 attacks were carried out on U.S. military members over this period, according to sources familiar with the report, which was provided to Cruz’s office.

The devices bore the signs of the Iranian “Quds Force,” their external terrorist/special operations group within the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. And, though not mentioned in the article, similar attacks took place in western Afghanistan, in regions near the Iranian border. The Iranian government was killing and maiming our soldiers.

I call that an act of war.

Note that this is a failing of both the Bush II and Obama administrations: Iran (and Syria, for their support of jihadist rebels) was never properly punished for its actions. This is a region of the world wherein strength and brutality is respected: the failure to hurt Iran for its attacks on our forces only invited further aggression.

Think I’m misreading things? A 2007 National Intelligence Estimate noted that Iran has seriously slowed or even halted its nuclear program after we invaded and liberated Iraq. The Iranians were afraid we’d do something similar to them, so they tucked their tails between their legs and laid low. This is not a brave regime. But, once they realized we weren’t going to do much to really punish them, they began and continued their attacks through 2011.

I’m not saying we should declare war on Iran and invade, though the ill-advised restraint of George W. Bush and President Obama’s incompetence have made eventual war more likely, not less. The American public isn’t ready for such an undertaking, and the military needs a lot of rebuilding.

But, at the same time, the Middle East isn’t going away, and our necessary involvement there isn’t over. Potential foes have to know they will pay a high price for attacking us: we must fight back. A response doesn’t even have to be military. In fact, it’s too late now to do anything like direct retaliation.

However, the Iranian regime is afraid to death of its own people, so why not (finally) start giving substantial political support to the opposition? Make the mullahs fear for their own necks, rather than going after ours.

If we don’t show them we’re not bin Laden’s “weak horse,” they’ll only do it again.

 


What’s “gird your loins” in Korean?

April 22, 2010

I haven’t written about the sinking last month of the South Korean naval corvette Cheonan, because, while it looked and smelled like something North Korea would do to provoke an incident and grab the world’s attention, the South Korean and US militaries were being very cautious. Besides, I just couldn’t imagine that even Kim Jong-Il, dictator of the world’s largest prison camp, could be this crazy.

I may have been wrong:

South Korean ship sunk by crack squad of ‘human torpedoes’

A South Korean warship was destroyed by an elite North Korean suicide squad of ‘human torpedoes’ on the express orders of the regime’s leader, Kim Jong-il, according to military intelligence reports.

The attack on the 1,220-ton Cheonan, which sank on March 26 with the loss of 46 of its 104 crew, was carried out in retaliation for a skirmish between warships of the two nations’ navies in November of last year, South Korea claims.

The South Korean government has refused to comment officially on the reports but Defence Minister Kim Tae Young told a parliamentary session that the military believed that the sinking was a deliberate act by North Korea.

Officials in military intelligence say they warned the government earlier this year that North Korea was preparing a suicide-squad submarine attack on a South Korean ship.

“Military intelligence made the report to the Blue House [the presidential office] and to the Defence Ministry immediately after the sinking of the Cheonan that it was clearly the work of North Korea’s military,” a military source said.

According to the article, this may have been a suicide mission launched by commandos in specially modified midget submarines, rather than from a leftover naval mine from the Korean War. The explosion clearly took place outside the vessel’s hull.

Whether it was an attack by a normal torpedo or the human kind, this puts both Seoul and Washington in a very difficult situation. Lee Myung Bak, the South Korean president, was elected on a platform that included getting tough with North Korea and ending the accomodationist policies of his predecessor. Now that it’s clear that one of his country’s naval ships was sunk and sailors killed in an act of war, he can’t do nothing for fear of appearing craven and pusillanimous, something sure to weaken him at home and encourage a psychotic predator like L’il Kim. Yet, striking back too hard risks full-scale war; South Korea’s capital, Seoul, is near the border and very exposed to the thousands of artillery pieces the North has placed there.

For President Obama, this could turn into a nightmare. Already under heavy (and deserved) criticism for a weak foreign policy of appeasement, pressuring our allies in Seoul to overlook this, or worse, equivocate in our support of Seoul, would invite a furious political assault. Yet a reopening of the Korean War would be a huge expense on top of all the debt he’s accumulated already, not to mention the strain it would put on the military both from likely heavy casualties and from being stretched thin already.

(And, don’t forget: much of the Obama debt is funded by China, North Korea’s patron. This is a good example of how massive foreign debt limits our actions and makes us vulnerable.)

So, what to do? Contra the analysts quoted in the article, President Bak almost has to retaliate, but he cannot go overboard. My guess would be some sort of forward mobilization near the DMZ as a sign of resolve toward the North and the eventual sinking of a North Korean vessel in a tit-for-tat response. Economic punishment is possible, too, but the loss of life aboard the ship makes it difficult to present that to the South Korean public as sufficient.

The other question is why would Kim do something so mad, so rife with potentially disastrous consequences? The Telegraph article speculates that this was payback for an earlier skirmish in which a North Korean boat was sunk, but there’s another possibility: there are signs of growing unrest in North Korean, and Pyongyang’s grip may be slipping. Could it be that Kim ordered this to scare his population into obedience by the threat of war with the “hated imperialist aggressors?” Or maybe he’s just ronery?

Who knows what goes on in that warped little man’s mind?

LINKS: More from Hot Air and the Times.

POSTSCRIPT: To answer the question in the subject line, Joe Biden’s warning to “gird your loins” renders in Korean as, according to Google Translate, Jolong saengsig!