Sunday, January 05, 2020

Scott Ritter Hops On The Anti-Trump and Vaguely-Pro-Iran Bandwagon

But the important part is that he does make some interesting arguments, especially:
   The U.S. had been engaged in a diplomatic tug of war with Iran to sway Iraqi politicians regarding such a vote. However, this effort was dealt a major blow when Washington conducted a bombing attack Sunday which targeted Khaitab Hezbollah along the border with Syria, killing scores of Iraqis. The justification for these attacks was retaliation for a series of rocket attacks on an American military base that had killed one civilian contractor and wounded several American soldiers. The U.S. blamed Iranian-backed Khaitab Hezbollah (no relation to the Lebanese Hezbollah group), for the attacks.
   There are several problems with this narrative, first and foremost being that the bases bombed were reportedly more than 500 kilometers removed from the military base where the civilian contractor had been killed. The Iraqi units housed at the bombed facilities, including Khaitab Hezbollah, were engaged, reportedly, in active combat operations against ISIS remnants operating in both Iraq and Syria. This calls into question whether they would be involved in an attack against an American target. In fact, given the recent resurgence of ISIS, it is entirely possible that ISIS was responsible for the attack on the U.S. base, creating a scenario where the U.S. served as the de facto air force for ISIS by striking Iraqi forces engaged in anti-ISIS combat operations.
I have no earthly clue what's going on. Well: the progressive/MSM response was predictably, stupidly partisan. Here's the pattern we see basically every single time in such foreign policy cases:

We're stuck in, basically, a no-win situation. More precisely: it's just not clear what to do. Course of action A is fraught with peril and other disadvantage, and so is not-A. Nobody knows what to do...until the president of party X does A. THEN everybody in party Y becomes an instant expert and knows EXACTLY what to do. The only even POSSIBLE, even VAGUELY SANE action was not-A! This is obvious to everyone! Even a child could see it! Course of action A leads immediately and inevitably to DOOOOOOM

And so it goes...

   None of which means that Trump's action was among the best available options. But once you learn a little bit about what's going on, it's extremely difficult to believe that it was crazy--as the entire MSM and blue end of the spectrum would have us believe. Not to mention the never-Trumpers on the right.
   Perhaps a little more knowledge reveals it to be stupid--see above.
   But more and more I realize that I don't. know. shit. about such things. All I can really do is work hard to discern some vague indication that this or that option is bad enough be pretty obviously stupid to a semi-well-informed layperson.
   Nothing I've seen yet convinces me that killing Suleimani counts as pretty obviously stupid. It seems to have been in the ballpark.
   Also, we know that the anti-Trump brigades will always descend shrieking on anything he does. So the fact that it happened in this case tells us nothing: it's background noise at this point. The same think happened with Obama.
   Incidentally: this is part of what makes it hard for someone like me to figure out what's going on. The level of anti-Trump shrieking varies a bit...but basically only between 10 and 11. Were it to drop below, say, 8, I suppose we could be sure he'd hit a home run. If we didn't have fairly objective measures of economic success, I'm sure they'd be arguing that the economy is terrible, too.
   Finally: progressives (including the MSM) are doing that thing again--acting as terrorism force multipliers. Ritter probably can't be blamed for the title on his piece...but all this Z0MG IRAN IS GOING TO DESTROY US nonsense is not only stupid, it's...well...I don't know how to say it better than: acting as a force-multiplier for the bad guys.


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