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A Tale of Two Fallons

1. Read up on Admiral William Fallon's comments regarding attack plans (or lack thereof) against Iran.

2. Read Kevin Drum's take on the matter.

3. Then read Ed Morrissey's analysis on it.

I mentioned this over on my own blog, and I believe it's worth mentioning here. I think we need to come to terms on what diplomacy actually looks like. War talk seems to mostly come from the fringes of the political spectrum, both Left and Right. Admiral Fallon has asked everyone to calm down, and to let diplomatic channels run their course. Drum asks us to "speak softly," yet he neglects the second part of that popular and historic quote.

Ed Morrissey, however, gets it:

This news will not make some conservatives happy -- but it should. We can hardly afford to expand the shooting war outside of Iraq at the moment, nor should we do so except in the last extremity. Iran is not Iraq. It's much larger, with a terrain that negates many of our military advantages, similar to that in neighboring Pakistan and Afghanistan. Their military has not had the same degradation that Saddam Hussein's suffered in twelve years of no-fly zones and neglect.

We have to leave the military option on the table to have diplomacy taken seriously by our enemies, and make no mistake, the Iranian mullahcracy is an enemy of the US. That being said, we can't simply expect to have even the most surgical of strikes go unanswered, and a shooting war with Iran will have grave implications for Iraq, especially in the Shi'ite south. We need to solidify our gains in Iraq before looking for another adventure -- and we need to act in the best interests of our nation while ensuring that we don't make the Middle East exponentially more explosive than it already is. Admiral Fallon offers some excellent advice in this instance.

(Emphasis my own)

Both sides are certainly to blame here. Whereas the N-Pods of the world have created a mythical enemy in the caliphate-seeking "Islamofascists," the far left has concocted a neocon bogey man in order to create the good vs. evil dichotomy they need for their readers. The reality of the matter is that our government, along with our allies, is pursuing the diplomatic channels that some of these bloggers continue to clamor for. Isolating Tehran, cutting off funds and not ruling out a surgical strike are all diplomatic tools used by states for decades.

There are substantive steps being taken to curb Iranian behavior, while remaining mindful of our military's vulnerability in Iraq. The key difference between Morrissey and Drum here is the perceived threat of attack, and how important that is in dealing with an authoritarian government. Drum seems interested in calming the nerves in Tehran. It's a fallacy that you must be friends with your adversaries. Giving them some incentives to curb behavior is fine, as long as it results in Iranian capitulation on the big three concerns the international community has with them.

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