Why attacking Iran is the worst idea anyone’s had for a long time

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Obviously, most people here are already well aware, but I thought I’d provide a few fun details about why attacking Iran is such a bad idea – a worse idea even than invading Iraq.

Iran’s population is around 75 million. For purposes of comparison, that’s higher than the population of Iraq and Afghanistan combined; higher than the population of all of Vietnam when we were involved in that war, or Korea, or even Germany pre-anchluss. If you expect to pacify a population that size, you’re talking about a massive undertaking, comparable to any counter-insurgency in American military history.

And those who think that bombing Iran into submission from the air will be as ‘easy’ as it was in Libya, or Iraq, or Serbia, the situation is again much different. Iran is not a pariah, not by a long shot. True, most countries have been backing up the US and EU on the topic of nuclear weapons, but Iran has staunch supporters on nearly every continent, and you’ll see them getting a great deal more international support than Saddam ever got, should we enter a war with them. Unless we’re prepared for the erasure of any progress we’ve made in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Gulf, Lebanon, and elsewhere, we oughtn’t be entertaining the idea of military action against Iran.

What does this have to do with us here in Montana? Any attack against Iran is going to be prolonged; it’s going to require money, and therefore it is going to require an obedient congress. We have to ask ourselves which congressional candidate is more likely to stand up to pressure to take military action against Iran, regardless of who is president.

Denny Rehberg may criticize Obama if he does act against Iran, but he is also part of the party that continues to attack Obama for being indecisive and that still promises yet more money for the military, so it seems very likely that he’ll vote in lockstep with other Senate Republicans if Romney is president and decides to make this huge mistake, which is exactly what he did regarding Iraq. Jon Tester, on the other hand, questioned Obama on even the relatively brief and low-risk operation in Libya. Republican or Democrat, he seems to be the man more likely to resist this sort of fatal stupidity.

And for on crucial corollary – Attacking Iran is a terrible idea, and we have to discourage Israel from doing it. But given Iran’s explicit promise of retaliation against US military bases, the US may be forced to pre-empt Iran’s offensive capabilities if an Israeli attack is imminent. (Iran must have thought about this when they promised to attack US bases, which is another indication for me that elements in Iran feel they will gain, not lose, power in the country if they are subjected to a US-Israeli strike).

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The Polish Wolf

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Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers
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Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

Yes, but, BIBI wants it baaaad! And what Bibi wants, Bibi gets! You see, Murca is the dog and AIPAC is the tail! It’s simple. ALL mideast foreign/military policy is being called by israel. The ENTIRE REST OF THE WORLD gets it. The Jewish lobby has the most efffective propaganda campaign the U.S. has even known. And in fact, Bibi bragged about that! He brags about how simple it is to make Americans believe whatever he wants. And the bad thing is that he’s RIGHT! Israel has become what they hated the most, a nazi state. They ARE not our… Read more »

lizard
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lizard

one of the reasons an overt attack on Iran is on hold (versus the covert attacks that have already occurred) is because we’re a month away from elections. also, our military, and Israel’s military is comprised of saner minds who realize how globally and nationally disastrous that would be. but US politicians? sorry, but Obama and the Democrats are just as compromised as Republicans when it comes to the AIPAC approved messaging of the imminent threat Iran poses. right now 75 million people in Iran are experiencing economic warfare in the form of sanctions because making the average Iranian’s life… Read more »

Mark Tokarski
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Mark Tokarski

Your continual straight-faced analysis of US foreign policy in the WYSIWYG mode is not useful. Further, your assumption that the president is at the helm is easily controverted by the mere removal of presidents from news coverage and events over any given period, say 2001 to present. What would be different? Your task is of an intellectualizing nature, to take these events and Insert party politics, to satisfy yourself that elections somehow matter. It’s seemingly important to your world view. It appears that Iran, like Iraq and Serbia before (among so many others in the postwar era) is merely outside… Read more »

Pogie
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What we really need is your plan of action, Mark. Surely you know more than the rest of us. Really than anyone.

Mark Tokarski
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Mark Tokarski

Oh, I’m totally down with you, P-man. Vote for them Dems.

I don’t know. We are faced with military power, media power, people wrapped up in People and celebrities, football and partisan politics. As lizard mentioned elsewhere, perhaps the only way out is through fire.

You write with edge and attitude. Why do you snipe at me for the same? You apparently have insight into Jon Tester the rest of us lack. If we all merely stop thinking our own thoughts and vote as you say, will you then be happier?

lizard
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lizard

instead of allowing the focus to remain on Iran, some gutsy US president just reelected could shine a little light on how Israel continues aggressively expanding settlements, burying the peace process with every little theft of Palestinian land.

better yet, the US could use the threat of lifting sanctions against Iran as leverage to get Israel to sign the non-proliferation treaty.

Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers
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Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

Agreed! Just WHEN is israel gonna be held accountable? I think that TWO wars on their behalf is quite enough. Sorry, Bibi, but EVERTHINGS on the table now, including your nazi regime! And for the record, many of Bibi’s harshest critics are in israel! And unfortunately, many of its most ardent know nothing supporters are in the christofascist movements here in the U.S. And that’s real bizarre! The zionists are playing them like a fiddle. Bizarro world to think that a country barely fifty years old can supplant America in the minds of a good portion of Americans! Weird, weird… Read more »

Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers
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Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers
jack ruby
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jack ruby

There won’t be an outright war with Iran. Its too risky for everyone involved. Israel will not attack and neither will the US. Its too fair of a fight for the US to get involved in we only strike where we know we can do so without facing heavy consequences. The iranians dont need nuclear weapons to deter us (although they obviously would help). This is all a lot of empty threats to huff and puff & blow the house down. The current low grade war of attrition thats been ongoing since 1980 will continue. Even if Iran gets nuclear… Read more »

Mark Tokarski
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Mark Tokarski

Don’t get that last sentence. I agree to a certain extent that any country’s government will answer to its own most powerful internal forces and will take resources from other countries to the degree it can do so without blowback. But it is interesting to watch, as countries hold together as such – the US obviously thought it could break Iraq into three smaller countries, and was surprised when even the Kurds did not want that. Libya is on the cutting table, and no doubt Syria as well. Iran – seven states? But there hasn’t been a whole lot of… Read more »

larry kurtz
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When the bell tolls three times, it will announce that I have been killed. If I am killed by common men, you and your children will rule Russia for centuries to come; if I am killed by one of your stock, you and your family will be killed by the Russian people! Pray Tsar of Russia. Pray.

The Polish Wolf
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The Polish Wolf

I generally agree, but I do not have such faith in ” Its too fair of a fight for the US to get involved in we only strike where we know we can do so without facing heavy consequences.” A great number of people believed and knew that to be true about Iraq, too, and it didn’t stop us.

Mark Tokarski
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Mark Tokarski

During Bush 41 and Clinton’s time in office the US attempted to soften Iraq in preparation for the inevitable invasion by embargoing food and medicine and keeping sewage facilities and electrical grids in disrepair, killing hundreds of thousands of kids and old people. It was quite a pathological scene of incredible inhumanity. More disgusting was that those who did it knew what they were doing. Death and depopulation was the objective. Of course, the American people, generally compassionate, could not be reached, as mainstream media kept it under wraps and marginalized anyone who spoke up. Two UN heads of the… Read more »

The Polish Wolf
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The Polish Wolf

“You come along now and tell me that because we had an election, things have gotten better. You’re kind of vague about how or why.”

You come along, claim (dubiously) that a million Iraqi civilians died under Bush’s regime, and then say things haven’t gotten better. Let me be less vague – we haven’t killed another million people, despite being equally effective in pursuing our policy goals. Clear enough for you?

Jack Ruby
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Jack Ruby

Invading Iraq would really not be comparable at all to the scale of things that could potentially go wrong for the us if we attack Iran. I take that to really be the point of your post above. Nether the us govt (or public) is prepared for the consequences. This is a debate they have been having and fight they have been studying for well over a decade. If they were reasonably sure of success it would have already happened. I think the closest we were ever going to come already happened when admiral Fallon warned off the Cheney administration… Read more »

The Polish Wolf
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The Polish Wolf

I hope you’re right, Jack. And indeed, the point of the post was that invading Iran would be a mistake on a scale unheard of in recent times. That said, a president promising to increase the size of the navy, with no military experience, still makes me nervous about it. I fear all the military’s warning would only serve to convince a bellicose president to put more force behind the effort, not dissuade him from proceeding (like Nicias of Athens).

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