How’d you like World War III this week? Or perhaps you missed it. Didn’t last nearly as long as the first two in the series. Thankfully what was touted by Iran as the United States committing an initial act of combat didn’t progress past some sand getting rearranged in retribution. Cooler heads prevailed and, for the moment at least, we can all breathe a sigh of relief.
Whether you condemn or laud President Trump for taking out a well-known bad guy named Qasem Soleimani, the act had to cause great consternation within the tents of Tehran as Iranian powers-that-be tried to decide what to do in response to Soleimani’s demise.
White House and Defense Department officials spent part of this week debriefing members of Congress on just what transpired on our side of the battle. Obviously, we had some pretty darn good intelligence that allowed us to know exactly where and when Soleimani would relatively be alone.
I wonder if some of that same intelligence captured some of the Iranian discussions that were held after the U.S. drone delivered its package precisely on point. Do you think the conversation might have gone something like this?:
SUPREME LEADER (SL): I am not pleased.
MILITARY GUY (MG): We aren’t either.
SL: Let’s bomb Washington.
MG: Uh, well, that’s one option. But it may not be our best.
SL: Why? We’ve got the bombs. The targets are just sitting there. We must fight force with force.
AIDE to SL: I agree with SL. The sooner the better.
MG: Yeah, I hear you. But, maybe we ought to take a quick look at the facts.
SL: What facts? They killed our guy, we kill theirs.
AIDE: Give them a taste of their own medicine. Let’s take out a destroyer in the Mediterranean too.
SL: Excellent suggestion.
MG: Again, let me just be a small voice of caution.
AIDE: What in the world are you talking about?
MG: Well, look at the numbers. We have maybe 2,000 missiles we can launch.
SL: Send them all. Now.
MG: The United States has, I don’t know, maybe 10 times that many. Could be more. And their missiles are just a little more powerful than ours.
SL: How much more powerful?
MG: Ours might wipe out Fond du Loc, Wisconsin. Theirs could turn every inch of Iran into a very large dust bowl ... in seconds.
SL: I see. That paints a slightly different picture.
AIDE: But we have to do something, for cryin’ out loud.
SL: I agree. What can we do that will allow us to save face with our people but not make the Americans so mad they flex their muscles too much?
MG: I was thinking we fire off a few rockets into Iraq.
SL: Ok. I like that so far. Where would the rockets be headed?
MG 1: Al-Asad Airbase.
AIDE: So, we kill American soldiers there, right?
MG: No, no, not really. Here’s the plan: We let the Iraqis stationed at the base know we’re coming. They, in turn, can tell the Americans. That way, everybody can get out.
SL: What about the rockets?
MG: Oh, we send them in. But they don’t really hit anything. Maybe some sand dunes nearby and an unused tool shed or two. Something like that.
AIDE: How does that help us? Can we show damage?
MG: That’s the best part. We do it at night and use old footage from when we fired off rockets before and blew up something else. I guarantee you every TV network in America will show that footage. They won’t know it isn’t real until later. And there’s more.
SL: I’m listening.
MG: YOU get on OUR TV and tell all Iranians that we’ve taken decisive action against the Great Satan and sent our rockets to blast one of their key military bases. They’ll never know any differently. We control the media.
AIDE: This makes some sense. I like where it’s going. What about you, SL?
SL: Can I say things like, “Iran will not be bullied by America. Our great people are ready to fight back at all costs?”
AIDE: So, no enemies actually gets hurt, but we get the credit?
MG: Right. And chances are, Trump will not retaliate.
SL: We sound good and look good.
SL: Let me think about it.
AIDE: Uh, SL, hold on, you’ve just gotten a short message directly from the Americans.
SL: Really? Are they ready to give in? What does it say?
AIDE: It’s just five words: “Be cool or you’re next.”
SL: Hmmm. Suddenly I like MG’s plan very much. Proceed.
Well, who knows, it COULD have happened that way.