On September 11, 2007, a 240-millimeter rocket thundered like a freight train over Victory Base Complex in Baghdad, Iraq, narrowly missing the building I was in and landing with an ear-splitting explosion about 300 meters in front of the Al Faw Palace, home of Multi-National Force — Iraq.
The impact caused over a dozen casualties, including American soldiers. As for myself, other than coughing up plaster dust for a while, I was fine.
Within days, news of the attack was on national media and most importantly, the identity of the weapon supplier was a headline. Not only did Iran provide large caliber rockets, but they also provided devilish little devices called “explosively formed projectiles” which gave the standard roadside bomb a whole new potency. They, too, killed many of our soldiers and maimed others for life.
Less than five years later, our president, in the interest of “legacy,” has inked a deal with the Iranian leadership which he believes will delay their acquisition of a nuclear weapon for 15 years. Whether this is an example of naivety, poor judgment, an inability to negotiate or a combination of the three remains to be seen.
Fundamental to negotiation is good faith and trust. Looking at the events of the past decade, I find it hard to believe that there is any basis for trust, especially with the stakes so high.
For the past six years, being an American ally has not exactly been a guarantee of protection, safety, or even a seat at the table. America’s foes have been brazen during the Obama administration.
Vladimir Putin has retaken the Crimea at the expense of Ukraine. Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad put the lie to Obama’s “red line” regarding the use of chemical weapons. No wonder ISIS operates so brazenly.
The worst anyone can expect from the United States is the strategic equivalent of a rap on the knuckles these days, unless of course, the offender is an American ally. Then the penalties seem to be more consequential.
In the President’s recent speech pushing support for the Iran deal, he stated that the choice was between his deal and war. This sort of patronizing rhetoric presents a false choice. We have, and have always had, options short of war, if only we had leaders with the creativity and tenacity of purpose to execute them.
Israel, which still has a kinship and ties to the United States that no other nation in the region has, has no right to exist, according to the Iranians. Israel was born of genocide in Europe and has every reason to take such threats with grave seriousness. Iran will be ostensibly “delayed” in their acquisition of a nuclear weapon through, among other provisions, an inspection regimen that provides the Iranians 24 days’ notice before inspectors arrive at specified locations. What possible reason could we have for agreeing to such a provision except for weak-kneed rationalizations that “it will still be difficult for them to have a covert program”?
The one who has the willingness to walk away from the table has the upper hand in any negotiation.
The only possible reason is that we went into these negotiations with the end in sight — a sign-at-all-costs agreement, in the interest of legacy. And if we turn out to have miscalculated, our President’s legacy will be a nuclear Iran.
Lance Allen Wang is a retired Army Infantry Lieutenant Colonel and Iraq veteran who lives in Eagle Bridge. He’s a past commander of the American Legion Post No. 634 in Cambridge.
Yes, the wingnut is strong in this one. I'm considering a letter to the editor, but I hate writing them. OTOH, I hate reading wingnut tripe in my morning paper.