Most of our readers know the story of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain at Gettysburg. Ordered to hold Little Round Top at all costs, Chamberlain’s 20th Maine fended off one attack after another. Finally, Chamberlain’s men were nearly out of ammunition and it was clear they would not be able to withstand another assault. Prudence counseled retreat, but Chamberlain’s orders forbade it. The Maine regiment could neither fall back nor stay where it was, so Chamberlain took the only course open to him: he told his men to fix bayonets and prepare to charge.
It strikes me that you, President Bush, are in a similar situation in Iraq. You know (if many liberals do not) that retreat is out of the question. Yet the status quo is untenable. Support for your administration’s policy is evaporating. Iraq is being pacified too slowly if at all, and minor tinkering around the edges–a few more men, some more training of Iraqis–won’t make much difference. You need a decisive stroke. You need to tip the table over. You need to attack. . . .
Commandeer a half hour in prime time to tell the American people, and the world, that we have clear evidence of Iran’s involvement in killing American servicemen. Show the captured munitions. Explain exactly how they have contributed to American casualties. Display aerial photos of the training camps. No doubt there is much more evidence that can be presented or described.
You should say that Iran’s supplying of weapons in order to kill Americans is an act of war. In the dramatic finale of your speech, announce that thirty minutes earlier, American airplanes stationed in the Middle East took off, their destination, one of the munitions plants or training camps of which you have shown pictures. That training camp, you say, no longer exists. You say that if Iran does not immediately cease all support for, and fomenting of, violence in Iraq, we will continue to strike military targets inside Iran.
As most people realize, our troops in Iraq are vulnerable to constant attacks in the form of artilery. Often times while they are in their bases in fairly secure areas. However, the best way to make them sitting ducks is to provoke the entire Iranian Army to attack.
Now, I’m not one to advocate pacifism, but if we have learned anything from Iraq is that we still do not have the capacity (or the domestic will) to fight a ground war. And since the Iranians know they do not have a chance against our air force, it is a sure bet they will come streaming over the border to assist their Shiite Brethern.