Meaningful Distinction:

Patrick S. Lasswell Look outward for something to accomplish, not inward for something to despise.
pslblog at gmail dot com
Wednesday, June 02, 2004
The Consequences of Falling in Iran

The Islamic Republic is going to fall; the institutional arrogance of a ruling class predicated on divine infallibility is a suicidal failing in the current era. Either the outrage of a populace denied their heritage for decades or acquiring nuclear weapons is going to see the regime undone. Unlike the essentially bloodless demolition of the Ba'athist regime in Iraq, the Mullah's are likely to take a significant portion of the population with them when they go. The bloodiness of this fall will be due to a combination of size, geography, culture, and wealth.

Iran is a much larger country than Iraq, both in area and population. More than three times the area and two and a half times the population of Iraq, there is more area and a greater governance problem inherent in an overthrow. Geography compounds this because the terrain is much more rugged as well as having a more dispersed population. The relatively simple run up the rivers to Baghdad is not a reproducible phenomenon. Simply getting the right people to the right places in time to stop a massacre is much harder than in Iraq. Complicating this is a government that has systematically neglected the infrastructure in favor of terror programs. The area of the Dasht-e Kavir and Dasht-e Lut is supported by one modern road; this desert region is almost the size of Texas. Whoever overthrows the Islamic Republic will have a massive logistics task and consequentially greater logistical vulnerability. This might be mitigated somewhat by fixing the Islamic Republic's attention on militarily irrelevant goals, but depending on the idiocy of you enemy is a certain way to lose. Even with as obliging an enemy as the Mullahs of the Islamic Republic.

Cultural aspects are not something I am prepared to speak to with authority. Personally, I have never had a Persian do me wrong; but I have also never wronged a Persian. There exists a strong cultural tie to revenge that should not be ignored, though. An unknown number of revenge killings will follow any overthrow and loss of authority. I greatly respect the Persian people, but they do tend to carry a grudge. As was seen in the Spanish Civil War, this behavior causes atrocities on all sides and should always be discouraged. Lack of US intervention could exacerbate pointless vindictive behavior all the way around, bringing discredit to any subsequent government.

Compared to Afghanistan and Iraq, the Islamic Republic is relatively wealthy. The GDP per capita in Afghanistan was $700; the Islamic Republic's is $6,800 with more than twice the people. With more than twenty times the money available, the Islamic Republic has been able to hire foreign mercenaries who have shown complete willingness to murder the people of Iran. These mercenaries have no reason to expect good treatment from the Iranian people and this will also result in more and greater atrocities in an overthrow. Once again no US intervention will exacerbate this behavior; lack of an external enemy does the civilian populace no favors because it reduces the available targets.

Every so often I read or hear some idiot talking about how nations should free themselves from dictatorships and tyranny. Apparently there is a widespread delusion that the US won the Revolutionary War without any help. While I take no joy in acknowledging a debt to France, honesty compels me to admit that the US is free because of them. The kind of behavior subsequently shown by those who have liberated themselves is an almost unbroken chain of atrocity and repression. The Reign of Terror in France, the genocidal savagery of the Communists in Russia and China, and the ham-fisted butchery of the Mullah's in Iran are the rule, not the exception.

The "bloodless" fall of the Soviet empire has been cited as an example of how people can make themselves free, but that was after tens of millions had died from brutal repression. Further, today the leading exports of the former Soviet Union are oil, prostitutes, and organized crime. We are starting to see this pattern repeat in Iran with the rise of white slavery there. Exactly why are genocide, slavery, and crime advantageous to war?

With US leadership, the overthrow of the Ba'athist regime in Iraq cost less than twenty thousand lives. Due to the complexities discussed above, Iran would be lucky to only receive an order of magnitude greater suffering; two hundred thousand dead in a US assisted overthrow of the Islamic Republic. Without help, any revolution will likely cost two orders of magnitude more pain; two million lives before the Mullah's rule is ended. This is the likely consequence of the fall of the Islamic Republic and why the free peoples of the world should help the Persians be free.
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