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).