An Unpopular Opinion
No-one who knows me would ever accuse me of being conservative, or right wing. On my list of favorite things, I rank George Bush just below genital herpes; I rank George Bush with genital herpes just above winning the lottery.
Am I a liberal? Sort-of. I believe in freedom of speech and the right to privacy. I believe in freedom of religion for the religious, and freedom from religion for the non-religious. I believe a woman has the right to an abortion up to but not beyond the time the little bugger in her womb has a recognizably human face (I know, terribly non-scientific. Sue me.) If she can't be arsed to get one before then, let her suffer through labor and give the little tyke up for adoption. I believe that a person's sexual orientation is their own damned business. Why the hell should governments get involved in what two consenting adults do to/with each other in the privacy of their own bedroom/shower/custom dungeon with fur-lined handcuffs? You can also insert the 'freedom from religion' opinion here.
I also believe that, sometimes, war is better than the alternative.
"Hey," I hear you shout to your significant other, "MercerMachine thinks war is better than peace!" No, smartass, that's not what I mean.
I'm talking about Iran. I'm talking about the fact that Iran is blithely pushing the world toward the brink of World War III. President Ahmadinejad is, quite frankly, a rabid dog bent on making an armed confrontation happen. Why? Because he wants the Muslim world to rise up and destroy Israel and, if possible, as much of the west as possible. He wants an Islamic fundamentalist state to spread across the globe. And he doesn't give a rat's ass how many millions die in the process.
I prefer that didn't happen.
And because Bush is a dumbfuck, he's tied down American forces in a pointless war in Iraq when they would be far more useful in dismantling Iran, which has or sooner or later will have REAL weapons of mass destruction. Good job, George.
But really, there are a couple of things to be learned from Iraq and applied to Iran: America sucks at democracy building, and it is the master of an outdated mode of combat. Sure we can beat any army in the field if they're stupid enough to go toe to toe with us. But guess what? Modern warfare isn't about brigades and artillery barrages anymore; it's not about tank divisions. You want to see the face of modern warfare? You can't, my friend, because it's covered with a cloth. Modern warfare, sad to say, is about bombs hidden in the sand by the side of the road, bombs strapped to the scrawny chests of fanatics willing to blow up women and children (I was going to say non-combatants, but there's no such thing anymore) and guys bicycling their way to work at the petrol station. If you think Iraq is bad, Iran would be a hundred times worse.
The good news is, we don't have to change Iran's political or social structure. We just have to make sure they don't build nuclear weapons. And that will take force to do. There is no way to reason with the likes of Ahmadinejad. Sanctions won't work. Political discourse won't work. Conventional warfare will work, but the cure will be at least as bad as the disease.
The question remains: What will work? Quite frankly, I think the best solution (and by no means is it good) are targeted airstrikes. Take away Iraq's ability to create nuclear weapons. Clinton set the precedent in Kosovo.
Yes, people will die, including innocent women and children and the guy on the bike on his way to his crap job at the petrol station. But far fewer than would die if there was an invasion. Far fewer civilians, and far fewer soldiers.
"But wait!" I hear some of you cry. "That will just make the terrorists even more prone to commit terrorist acts!"
Really? Do you really think so? Do you really think they need an excuse? As E@L said the other night at dinner (I think he was quoting somebody else), it's like a door opened up somewhere to the 14th Century, and all these fanatics are pouring out—but with modern weaponry. I'd rather their arsenal didn't include nuclear weapons. To be fair, I'd rather Bush's arsenal didn't either.
And I'll give you another unpopular opinion: I hate these fanatics with every fiber of my being. Why? Because I believe in freedom of speech and the right to privacy. I believe in freedom of religion for the religious, and freedom from religion for the non-religious. I believe a woman has the right to an abortion. I believe that a person's sexual orientation is their own damned business.
And they really, really don't.