The Left Coaster's military corespondent brings us up to date on US military moves in the direction of Iran. If the US has a strategy here, it seems about as subtle as poking a beehive with a stick.
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by Michael Froomkin
Laurie Silvers & Mitchell Rubenstein Distinguished Professor of Law
University of Miami School of Law
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a new SAT question.
Iraq is to Viet Nam as _ _ _ _ is to Cambodia.
You know that the “Viet Cong” were using Cambodia as a base of operations, right?
A real SAT question would have multiple Answers to select from, let me help you with that part:
Let me also help you with the Correct Answer: e. Jordan.
Jordan is a country with a population roughly a fifth the size of Iraq, just like Cambodia is a country with a population that’s roughly a sixth the size of Vietnam.
Iran is a country with a population that’s about two and a half times the size of Iraq’s. It also has mandatory conscription. Its pool of military-age men and women is larger than Iraq’s total population. Mandatory conscription means that a good number of them have received military training, never mind the Iran-Iraq war veterans. Also keep in mind that Iran is the country that supplies Hezbollah with military training and weapons. Hezbollah fought off Israel’s last incursion, and Israel’s military is very much like a small version of ours.
On the other side of the equation, note that our military doctrine would call for us to have instituted mandatory conscription about three years ago, because our volunteer military is supposed to be able to fight two wars at the same time, though only for sufficiently long to mobilize the civilian population into the war effort. But notice that we haven’t done that.
Doctrinally or otherwise, we are not prepared to fight a third war. We certainly could start it with a naval operation, but we’re barely maintaining our current land-based war efforts as it is, and Iran is right across the border of both of those wars.
It would likely end disastrously for us.