The Decision Tree, And Vanderleun May Just Be Right
A conversation with a friend about today's resulted in a conversation about Hamas, Iran and the future of the Middle East. Our friend wanted to know how come so many media reports didn't paint Hamas with a terror stripe.
We replied that this didn't surprise us. This is the same media that lionized Yasser Arafat, under whose leadership 90% of an EU 7 billion dollar foreign aid package, was stolen, just for starters.
We didn't necessarily want to get into a back and forth exchange, so we discussed with our friend a tool we use every day to help us with the decision making process. Our work is made that much more efficient utilizing a what is called a 'Decision Tree.'
There are certain rules for using a Decision Tree, but rather than go into them, we will illustrate how the DT works, using the events of the day as an example.
Do we wish to see an Iran armed with nuclear weapons? Yes or No?
If the answer is yes, we do nothing, and move on.
If the answer is no, we do not wish to see Iran with nuclear weapons, we have to ask ourselves another question.
Do we act after Iran has acquired those weapons, or do act prior to Iran acquiring those weapons?
If we decide to wait until Iran has nuclear weapons, we are under no pressure to act.
If we decise that it is better to to act before Iran has nuclear weapons, our time to act is limited. If we decide that it is indeed better to act before Iran acquires nuclear weapons, there are more questions.
How should we deal with Iran- diplomatically or militarly?
Iran- US diplomacy has failed since 1979. For the past 27 years diplomats have failed to reach a rapprochement with the Iranian mullahs. There is no reason to believe that will dramatically change. In fact, diplomacy is becoming less an option for the Europeans as well.
Given that diplomatic efforts are unlikely to produce results, we have to look at military options- and that means more questions.
Do we need to invade Iran, or will missiles intended to destroy the Iranian weapons program and facilities be enough?
We have no need to invade Iran. Indeed, there is no need to for any American soldier to set foot in that country. Between bunker buster bombs and the submarine fired missiles, we can more than make our point. Action against Iran will not resemble the Iran-Iraq war. That of course, brings up another question.
What if the Iranians retaliate?
Of course, that is a real option. In the event the Iranians retaliate, that leadership must understand that we will return with more bunker buster bombs and more missiles- this time, not necessarily targeting nuclear sites. Intelligence can identify and locate where the Iranian leadership might be at any give time. That invites another question.
What if the Iranians retaliate by attacking Israel?
Chances are, Israel will be attacked by Iran, sooner or later. Under the circumstances, sooner might be better. The Hamas election win opens up a new door of terror. Hamas and Hizbollah have close ties to Tehran and Damascus. The possibility of Hamas acquiring a WMD is very real. Given the announced threats of Iran and Hamas- each seeking the destruction of Israel- we have no reason to disbelieve their intentions. We have noted
There is no single example of a leader, anywhere, that threatened Jews or Israel, that did not go out and attempt to implement that evil when given the chance.
Further, responsible nations and leaders cannot fall back and claim 'bluster' every time they are called on uttering racist, bigoted and hateful remarks. When leaders and nations espouse views that are clearly out of the norm, when they use their own government controlled media to propagate hate and other outrages, they must be marginalized. There are consequences for inappropriate behavior, not the least of which is the forfeiture of a seat at the table of civilized nations. Just as Iran and other nations in the region would be outraged at media, school curriculum's and 'official' religious doctrine that repudiated and excoriated their own religious and ethnic identities, so too must they understand they get no free pass if they choose to exercise their hatred and bigotry.
That of course, invites more questions- lots more questions, all which bring us back to the same point: When do we act and how do we act?
Of course, you see where this is going. Vanderluen, of The American Digest is clear and sanguine- his words are a metaphor and lesson for the bigger realities, as he speaks of Hamas and Israel:
This will only be settled, and can only be settled, by war. There's just too much blood on the ground. The Arab/Israeli conflict isn't a political or geographical or economic or religious "dispute." This is a blood feud, pure and simple and brutal. It will end in simple brutality. The side that can be the most brutal the quickest will win.
If the Israelis win, the Palestinians and every Arab state that comes to their aid will have to be reduced to an utter and crushing defeat. If the Palestinians win, the Israelis will simply be slaughtered wherever they can be found. One side is crushed or the other side is annihilated. It is a simple choice, but it is clear we are dealing -- as today's election results underscore -- with a simple people.
What will happen here will not look like peace. It will look like, for one side or the other, victory.
We either deal with this or we don't. We will vanquish or we will be vanquished. If you aren't sure about that truth, use a Decision Tree of your own.
Originally published on January 26, 2006