Friday, April 10, 2015

The Arrogance of War

So bombing Iran is the way to go?

That's what some of the more hawkish members of Congress now say, suggesting "air and naval bombing of Iran's nuclear facilities would work" and not lead to a lengthy ground war. The problem is almost every respectable military analyst says the opposite.

Two things are fairly evident from the Iranian negotiations. One, Iran was not months away from making a nuclear bomb, and two, the Iranians want a deal with the 'great satan' to counterbalance their real enemy in the region, Sunni Saudi Arabia. But look, as long as the regime in Iran continues to say the deal means something different from what the Obama administration is telling us, there's plenty of room for skepticism and Congressional oversight.

However, that's NOT what those who advocate bombing are telling us. They do not seek to improve an Iranian deal (which our other partners will ratify anyway); they seek to end negotiations to go to war (which, by all accounts, would only delay Iran's nuclear progress should they pursue it). Given the fact that the Iranians are aggressively fighting ISIS in Iraq, what would this policy do to the situation there? That's easy, it would destabilize it and that's why would need to to go back into Iraq and restore order as we--and the Shia government we installed--see it.

Listen carefully to what some of these folks are saying: increased use of drones and domestic surveillance; detaining more prisoners at Gitmo; leaving 10,000 troops in Afghanistan indefinitely, and prosecuting (under a censorious WWI relic called the Espionage Act) the press for revealing state secrets.

When Richard Nixon opened the door to China in the early '70s it wasn't because he thought Mao Zedong was a great guy; it was because he understood the geopolitical wedge he could drive with the Soviets. That may or may not be true with Iran and Sunni jihadists, but it might be advisable to explore it before we go headlong into WWIII.

Just how long the Republican base will tolerate big spending politicians covering their record at home with bellicosity abroad is anyone's guess, but it behooves everyone to remember what Gen. Dwight Eisenhower once said,"When people speak to you about a preventive war, you tell them to go and fight it. After my experience, I have come to hate war. War settles nothing."

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