Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh posed an important question on his show Monday relating to the current violence in the Middle East.

"What does Iran want?"

It is an important question because Iran is acknowledged by just about every thinking person in our solar system to be instigating the violence against Israel through Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Palestinian terrortories. I have addressed the issue of who is pushing Iran's buttons in previous posts so we won't go off on that tangent here.

Rush's staff and callers hit on possible scenarios that work for the leader of Iran, Green Bean Almandine. (For the uninitiated, I know his real name, and could even do a passable pronunciation of it, but to keep all the world's wack jobs straight I use word association. In his case, it's Green Bean Almandine.)

I gave that question a lot of thought over the past day, and have come up with an answer of my own. First, I don't think that even someone as crazy and unconcerned with mass death as Almandine, including his own, actually wants WWIII. I do agree with those, including Newt Gingrich, who believe we already are in WWIII, but I'm talking the kind of war that includes unrestricted exchanges of nuclear missiles.

It should be obvious even to terrorist leaders that they can't win an all out war with any major power or coalition, and heading in that direction would not only ensure their destruction, but also would put an end to their dreams and aspirations.

By that I mean the dream of world dominance for their version of Islamic extremism. If all of the terrorists are dead, regardless of how holy their final moments may seem to have been, they still are dead and there is no one to continue on with their quest.

So I don't think they really want WWIII. In fact I don't think they want war at all, with us or their neighbors.

Oh, I do think they would love it if we sent some air raids over Iran in an effort to take out their nuke program. They could use the propaganda to their benefit, especially if we weren't successful, or if they were able to shoot down some American or Israeli planes.

By the way, the oft-repeated reason why Israel can't send bombers over Tehran is that the Israeli air force lacks the range to do the job and return to Israel. Ok, maybe we can't let them land in Iraq for all the usual political reasons, but why can't we assist by refueling them with our tankers? Iran wouldn't like it?? Please.

Anyway, the chances of Iran shooting down an attacking aircraft could well be more than we think. Remember, Russia is backing Hezbollah, and long ago, Russia was the prime backer for North Vietnam. That backing included ringing Hanoi, the capital of North Vietnam, with the world's most sophisticated air defense system, which took a heavy toll on our aircraft and crews.

It is entirely possible that RasPutin has secretly delivered some high tech anti-aircraft systems to Tehran to help set up an embarrassment for the leaders of the worlds' democracies. It was only a few days ago that a radar-guided missile was fired from southern Lebanon and hit an Israeli warship, killing several sailors and inflicting heavy damage on the craft.

That type of missile wasn't supposed to be in Lebanon or in Hezbollah's hands, but yet it was, and it proved deadly. There is no reason to think that Russia or China would be opposed to helping out Tehran with some advanced air defenses.

But what would be the gain? Well, Rush thinks Iran wants to take over the region's oil fields. He believes Iran's extremist leaders are bent on dominating every Arab state in the region by force of arms, and controlling the oil flow. I agree on the end result, but not the means.

I think Almandine wants to push the issue as far as he can to get away with as much as he can, right up to fending off a limited military response from the United States. Because if he can keep tweaking us, and showing us to be impotent, or to use Communist China's phraseology from the 60s, a Paper Tiger, he can use that to his advantage to sway the fence sitters in the rest of the Muslim world.

If he can be shown to be powerful enough to defy the United States and coalition partners, if he can threaten his neighbors in the region with the use of military force if he damn well feels like it, with no certainty whatsoever that the west will come to the rescue of any country he invades, then he doesn't have to do anything, he only has to give the appearance that he will do something.

Then he controls the oil. Then he shuts if off. And then, our military power becomes a moot point unless we have a plan to completely dominate Iran and any partners that join on its side in 90 days, roughly the amount of time it would take to use up our strategic oil reserves.

There also is some discussion on whether Almandine is crazy, or crazy like a fox. It doesn't matter. It only matters if he gets his way and continues to keep his adversaries off balance.

I'll finish with a personal observation of a fight between two groups of men that I witnessed a couple of years ago in a bar in Hartford. The two sides each had their champion, big guys who circled each other, facing off, trying to assess strengths and weaknesses.

But one side had a small guy, in relatively good shape, with what can only be described as an alligator mouth. He picked a potential adversary on the other side and began taunting the guy, pretty viciously, daring him, threatening him. The other guy was quite a bit bigger, and by all appearances should have been able to kick the small guy's ass, but he held back.

Suddenly, from out of the crowd came a third guy, who walked up to Mr. Alligator Mouth and hit him dead in the face with a crasheous blow, knocking him flat on his butt. Alligator Mouth got up holding his face, which was bleeding profusely from what appeared to be a broken nose, and made his way back into the crowd where he disappeared.

The guy who smacked him turned to his friend who had been the object of the taunts and asked "Why didn't you lay him out? He was nothing."

The non-fighter replied, "The way he was acting I thought he had something, you know, karate training or something. I was waiting for him to take the first shot so I could counter punch."

I thought of this encounter when Almandine was running his mouth the other day about what he would do to anyone who attacked Syria. I think he may have something, as noted above, but not what he wants us to think.

I think he wants to cow his Middle East neighbors, isolate the U.S. from its oil sources in that region, and begin exporting nuclear terrorists. He won't do it himself of course, any more than you'll see Osama Your Mama blowing himself up in a homicide bombing. But as long as there is a methodology to 'educate' youngsters to hate Israel and the west, there will be a supply of people willing to become martyrs.

It's time that a fighter who isn't beset with constant questions on his own capabilities steps from the crowd and smacks this punk dead in the face. A broken nose, some missing teeth and a photo op of Almandine slinking to the back of the crowd and away from the fight would work wonders for peace in our time.

It may not be what Iran wants, but it sure as hell is what Iran should get.