Drones and Droning

So Trump stupidly put a drone at risk and then chickened out of blowing some radar and missile sites up as retaliation. Is that the story? Yeah, well, tell it to the Marines.

Yep, we lost a drone, a big expensive one (it’s bigger than a 737), but what was it doing there. You don’t need that sort of capability to take some pretty pictures. If I had to guess, I’d guess (and I have no knowledge) it’s an elint bird, probing the Mullah’s defenses and getting them to emit. And they did. Some Iranian colonel isn’t going to take it on his responsibility to shoot down an American aircraft, unmanned or not. That just ain’t how you become an Iranian colonel. Wonder what we learned! I heard yesterday that we carried out a cyber attack on Iran last weekend. I doubt they are unconnected.

As for the rest, I fit somewhere in here with Steven Hayward of PowerLine who says:

Iran likely believes that the United States lacks the political will, and maybe even the means (aside from unusable nuclear weapons), to conquer the regime. A singular retaliatory attack of limited effect, however, serves Iran’s purposes, which include destabilizing the global oil market, raising the price of oil, roiling its neighbors in the Middle East, and causing domestic political trouble for Trump. Maybe there is even a plan that involves unleashing Hezbollah to attack Israel. Throw in some assassinations and terror in other Sunni Arab nations and Iran can accomplish a lot.

Everyone today is saying that Trump looks weak, foolish, or vacillating for calling off a retaliatory strike and then talking so candidly and publicly about it. I think the opposite: Trump has laid out a clear red line that was not clear prior to the tanker attacks and drone shootdown: You kill Americans, you will be hit back. If Iran now makes a public attack in the Gulf that kills Americans, Trump will have the upper hand politically. Neither Iran nor our vacillating allies (and our Democratic Party) can say they weren’t explicitly warned.

Along that same line but taking it further is Bookworm over at Watchers of Weasels.

Trump cultivates a different, albeit equally unpredictable and dangerous, image: He’s the attack dog, constantly barking ferociously, anxious to charge his enemies and rip out their jugulars. The only thing holding him back is the leash that his more mature advisers are able to tug on, just barely, in order to restrain his killer, otherwise-unmanageable instincts.

This seems to be a successful pose. After all, it was his insouciant, killer dog bomb-dropping during a dinner with Chairman Xi that probably brought Kim Jong-un to the negotiating table. On the one hand, Kim is the premier of a despicable, deadly totalitarian system, and has apparently participated fully in that system, whether because he believes in it or because it’s the only way to stay alive in a tank full of fanatical communist alligators. On the other hand, Kim is also a guy who was raised in the West, who likes his creature comforts, and who doesn’t want to die. He worries that Trump might kill him and that’s an incentive to negotiate. […]

Anyway, in theory, if the Mullahs genuinely believe in their own shtick, they’re chomping at the bit for war. Trump, though, at least in my estimation, is gambling that they do not believe in their own shtick. Like so many leaders of fanatical cults, they’re good with sending others off to die for the cult’s benefit, but less interested in doing the dying themselves.

With the events of the past 24 hours, Trump just sent a clear message to the Mullahs: “If it were entirely up to me, the mad dog, any time you cross me in any way, you will die. This time, you got lucky because my advisers were just barely able to hold on to my leash; next time, I guarantee you, you won’t be so lucky.” If that is indeed the message Trump sent and the Mullahs received, it’s a good disincentive for calculating killers who, like so many of the men on death row, are happy meting out death to others but are incredible cowards when they are called to face the Grim Reaper.

Meanwhile, Scott Adams saw an even more brilliant spin to Trump’s conduct over the last 24 hours. (You can hear what he has to say here.) My potted summary is that (a) the U.S. was probing Iran’s defenses and a single drone, no matter how expensive, was a small price to pay for that information; (b) Trump forced the Mullahs to imagine their own deaths (which is kind of the same point I was making); and (c) by saying that the deaths of 150 civilians was what dissuaded Trump from acting this time, Trump sent the message to ordinary Iranians that he cares more about their lives than their own rulers do. Combine that with the crushing economic pressure Trump has placed on Iran since he jettisoned Obama’s awful agreement, and you’ve got the Mullahs thinking very carefully about what to do next.

The emphasis is mine, and it may be important. Think about how that would feel to the average Iranian, who has managed to live through decades of the Mullah’s nonsense, who now finds out that he lived through last week, not because of his leader;s brilliance, but because the American president himself, personally, decided killing him was too high a price to pay to take out a couple of missile batteries. Used properly, it might just be a powerful message.

And that brings me back to Steven Hayward:

Trump also said today that if there is a war with Iran, it would be “obliteration like you’ve never seen before.” If Trump means it (and I hope he does), it means that if Iran is determined to have a real, open war with us, we mean to win it. Or course we are not going to invade and occupy Iran like we did with Iraq. But it is a good thing for Iran to wonder whether the crazy man Trump might inflict serious damage beyond a mere pinprick retaliatory strike over a drone.

It reminds me of the simple clarity of my late professor of strategic studies, Harold Rood:

All those ponderous words and phrases like “sufficiency,” “deterrence,” “qualitative superiority,” “essential equivalence,” and the rest are obscure in meaning and even when explained, leave the ordinary sensible mind with the impression of flim-flam. To be tempted into asking some simple question like, “who’s going to win if there’s a war” is to brand yourself pitifully naive at best, or at worst, a throwback to some earlier days when wars were won or lost by the side that was strongest and best prepared to wage war.

As a “throwback to some earlier days,” I suspect Trump is giving the Iranians some reason to worry about their next step. This is one of those moments when Trump’s brash, crude, and indiscreet style of governing-by-tweet actually serves the interests of the country very well.

My Professor of Aerospace Studies said much the same. And yes, I slept quite well last night, I think the President has the whole thing under control.

About NEO
Lineman, Electrician, Industrial Control technician, Staking Engineer, Inspector, Quality Assurance Manager, Chief Operations Officer

17 Responses to Drones and Droning

  1. Nicholas says:

    Some shrewd observations there. I doubt very much that a lot of the senior clerics are real Muslims. They use Islam as a means of controlling the country because it is easier than doing so with other ideologies – but, as you say, they are cowards and using their positions of privilege to enjoy comfortable lives at the expense of ordinary, hardworking Iranians.

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      Yep, my thinking was along that line as well, Steven and Book sharpened the point considerably. Could we be all wet? Sure. But Trump is nobody’s fool, and neither is the US military. Might get interesting.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Nicholas says:

        I suspect that Iran will heed the warning, but will not reform. They will do things that pick at the edges, without directly touching America. They are likely to make big gestures only if they think America is incapable of retaliating in a big way or because they are backed into a corner.

        Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          Yep, and I’m pretty much OK with that. Sooner or later their people will have had enough, and things will change. 6 years is forever, and events will effect them. I’m not enthused about fighting them, even though I’m pretty sure that with Trump, we’d simply blow the place up and tell them to have a nice day, but too many people have already died, especially by our hand.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Nicholas says:

          Indeed – no one should gleefully go to war. By the way, if you haven’t already, you should read Cranmer’s piece today: a Justice in the UK Court of Protection has ordered a Catholic woman to have an abortion on the grounds that she is mentally incapable of understanding the full reality of having a child. She is 22 (I think) apparently with a mental age of 9.

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          Haven’t seen Cranmer’s piece butI saw that story yesterday. A horrible, shocking story, especially since her mother is willing to take the baby on. It does leave the question of how she became pregnant, but having an abortion is surely not the answer here. My impression was that the functionaries are assuming that they will take the baby for adoption, and I don’t see the point of that either, of course there is much I don’t know about the case. But killing kids is rarely, if ever, the best answer.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Nicholas says:

          I is shameful, utterly shameful.

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          Indeed so.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. audremyers says:

    Me, t…ummm, me also!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nicholas says:

    NEO, you may wish to steer clear, as you appear to have done, of the disputes at AATW – it seems to have become an apologetics forum of late rather than a conversation between Christians only.

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      Yeah Nicholas, my absence is intentional, although I’m reading (well skimming) along. I’ve been in those things, no good can come of it, because nobody at all is willing to listen. If we had an admin, something could be done, but as it is, I’d recommend you guys just leave them talking to themselves, and move on.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nicholas says:

        yes, that seems wise.

        Liked by 1 person

      • the unit says:

        I go over and read there sometimes (through the years). Never commented as I don’t have the disciplines background of study you guys do. But I noticed recently new commenters and they just seemed only to mock and not discuss and contribute.
        Even Bozo seems to be missing in action. 🙂
        I think they’d be called “unauthorized actors”. New term for me. Just got a letter today from a hospital addressed to my deceased mom using that term explaining that their files had been hacked by someone they called that, unauthorized actor, hacking into her/others information.
        Well, mom’s been gone since ’06 @ age 91 then.
        Anyway good reminder not to click on any internet poll about anything you believe or support, including ED meds and bunions. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          Bosco was in for a bit, and showed why we tolerate him/ He tends to drive us all nuts, but he sometimes has a point, and can be funny once every second blue moon or so. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  4. the unit says:

    Don’t know how I pulled this up. Just wondering where democrats came from I guess.
    It Came From Outer Space.
    Saw this about Ray…”The Arizona setting and the alien abduction of telephone lineman and two other characters are fictionalized story elements taken from Bradbury’s younger life when his father moved the family to Tucson, where he worked as a telephone lineman.[3]”
    🙂

    Like

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