It should be obvious to all, but Ted Koppel’s excellent op-ed piece lays it out clearly:
The United States is already at war with Iran; but for the time being the battle is being fought through surrogates.
The funny thing is, it even though Iran was listed in the “Axis of Evil” from the beginning, it seems as if the US has done nothing but boost Iran’s power in the region. They were never friends with the Taliban, and as Kopple points out:
Washington’s greatest gift to the Iranians lies next door in Iraq. By removing Saddam Hussein, the United States endowed the majority Shiites with real power, while simultaneously tearing down the wall that had kept Iran in check.
Moreover, as it seems increasingly unlikely that the US will be able to stay in Iraq for the long term as planned, Iran’s neighbors are increasingly more worried about staying on good terms with Iran than with the US.
Koppel concludes that the lesson to be learned from this is that the US should not withdraw from Iraq, but must stay on to demonstrate our commitment to our allies in the region. However, a must-read article about Lebanon by Adam Shatz over at The Nation shows why that isn’t such a good idea:
By conducting a raid that was likely to provoke a brutal Israeli reprisal, Nasrallah may have gambled that the fury of the Lebanese would soon turn from Hezbollah to the Jewish state, thereby providing a justification for “the national resistance” as Lebanon’s only deterrent against Israel. So far, Israel (with the full support of the Bush Administration) has played right into his hands, inflicting more than 300 casualties, nearly all of them civilians, and pounding the civilian infrastructure, eliciting sympathy for Hezbollah even among some Lebanese Christians.
By remaining in the Iraq the US will enter into a perpetual proxy war which it can never win. When you are fighting a war which requires you to define that the entire civilian population of the Middle East as terrorist sympathizers who therefore deserve to die, you’ve not only lost the war, you’ve also lost your soul.