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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Prisoner's Dilemma

Related Link » RE: What Is Israel to Do?
“As Jennifer points out, Admiral Mullen’s remarks about Iran are disconcerting. I am no military expert and, like most of us in the blogosphere and the policy community, lack the actionable intelligence to make the kind of judgment that Admiral Mullen makes on whether a military strike against Iran would yield the kind of benefits desired without the kind of consequences one may reasonably fear. […] What is remarkable, and remarkably shocking, about this procession of military and intelligence personnel coming to say what politicians have now said for a while, is that they do not seem to appreciate how these comments have damaging consequences. […] But there is a world of difference between entertaining skepticism about the military option in private and ruling it out in public. Whether it is politicians or uniformed personnel, their public dismissal of the military option — perhaps the only thing Iran’s regime truly fears — undermines the effectiveness of all non-military alternatives. Besides, it is not the job of military personnel to dismiss or even fret publicly about the consequences of a military operation. Their job is to find the best way to accomplish a mission they are tasked with by their civilian leadership — and, if that mission entails negative consequences, they can certainly let it be known and factor them into their plans. It should not be their business to comment on these matters on the record. […] So, paradoxically, the more Admiral Mullen and his military peers say that an attack against Iran would be a bad thing, the more likely it is there is going to be an attack on Iran.”
— EMANUELE OTTOLENGHI - 06.29.2010 (Commentary)
Dr. Ottolenghi brings up a very interesting point, one that had occurred to me as well. Superficially, Admiral Mullen's remarks, as well as those of other high-ranking officials, are foolish for the reasons mentioned by Dr. Ottolenghi. But American Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff tend not to be foolish men, nor are they accustomed to making superficial public statements. Hence, the only alternative that makes sense is that it is part of a strategy of misdirection aimed at disarming Iran's vigilance against a preemptive strike.

On the other hand, Iran's leaders may be evil, but they are not stupid. So wouldn't they see through such deception? It may devolve into a variation on the famed prisoner's dilemma ...

Post #1,337 Prisoner's Dilemma

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