Montana Politics

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

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).

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.


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  • 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 friends! Anything but! There are very good reasons that they are HATED by most of the world.

  • 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 miserable, and destabilizing an entire country, is deemed necessary by both Democrats and Republicans. Because Israel says so.

    and Israel just shot down a drone a few days ago. maybe that event can be manipulated to get the response Bibi is hoping for. if not, then at some point, a big enough false flag attack will do the trick.

    and Americans will go along with it because we’ve been subjected to years of information warfare, laying the foundation for uncritical acceptance of the threat Iran allegedly poses.

  • 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 the mainstream, attempting to govern itself in it’s own best interest. Because it is under unrelenting covert attack, (threatening to be flipped live at any moment) its essential extreme vigilance is easily translated into the appearance of oppression in our news so that it appears that the US is trying to bring down yet another bad guy and advance democracy.

    So to sit here and offer analysis on whether an attack on Iran is either a good or bad idea is akin to sitting at the base of a volcano and analyzing whether is should blow or not. It’s a stimulating exercise, but of little value.

    • 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?

    • “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?”

      2005-2008 – 3356 American troops are killed
      2009-2012 – 1768 American troops are killed

      Civilian deaths are less well documented but follow a similar pattern. These aren’t ‘administrations’, these are dates. It is not my perception of who is in charge that makes those people dead or alive. So you can keep repeating your same sentences, but they aren’t getting any more true.

      • Unless you can solidify your assertion with hard evidence that the perceived change in leadership is the cause of your stats, you are grab-bagging. Take some other stat, like number of drones or civilian deaths (which are u relauable since we do not count) and make the same assertion. You have no evidence.

        On the other hand, I look at larger phenomena, like an illegal war, ongoing attack, unchanged and non-stated objectives, an apparent ongoing spread to the larger Islamic world (a stated objective while Bush was “in charge”) and a toppling of dominoes … No change.

        And now this – Greenwald reports that the economic sanctions are taking hold in Iran, food shortages, food riots. Soon, unless the US has intimidated WHO, we’ll be hearing about children and old people dying of preventable disease and malnutrition, just as under Clinton in Iraq. And understand that this is the intended outcome. Intended. They want this to happen. This power in the shadows of our government is an evil force. Those who occupy slots, like your Obama, who is nothing but a spellbinder, are less than men. He apparently has no humanity, or if he does, is deep in denial.

        The objective with the “Clinton” sanctions (he happened to be in office) appears to be in part softening in preparation for invasion, and might also be part of a general depopulation objective. Men dying in war do not affect population, as that is wholly dependent on the number of available wombs. Killing children, half of whom are female, does bend the curve downward. General population trends of Arabs versus Western Europeans has troubled people in power.

        That’s what you are defending. Ever get that not-so-fresh feeling? Ever?

  • 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.

    • 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 stuff!

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

      I agree that Israel is out of control, but the problem is we have no real way to bring them back under control. We lift sanctions against Iran, they bomb a couple nuclear facilities, Iran retaliates against US bases, and all the sudden the US is fighting a war against Iran on behalf of Israel…exactly what they wanted in the first place. Israel signing the non-proliferation treaty will be, in my estimation, about as useful as them signing the Geneva convention or the UN charter.

      I agree we can live with a nuclear Iran, just as we lived with a nuclear USSR, China, and North Korea. However, Israel attacking Iran is a real possibility, and that has the potential to be disastrous. For that reason, I think we have no real choice but to compel Iran to give up its nuclear weapons program. That is far more likely once Ahmadinejad is out of office, and it is much more likely if we have Obama in office instead of Romney. Had Obama been president at the same time as Khatami, we may not be having this problem at all.

      • there are real ways to get Israel back under control, but that would have entailed highlighting the saner voices involved, like IAEA reports that repeatedly countered Israel’s “imminent threat” propaganda, too happily forwarded by US corporate media.

        and a US president doesn’t need to push Israel to sign any treaty, but if a US president publicly acknowledged Israel possesses a nuclear stockpile, that would be a big deal.

        instead your analogy goes something like this: you’re out one night with your friend, who happens to be a violent drunk, and instead of trying to deal with your drunk violent friend, you instead enable his problem by buying him Tequila shots all night, then you preemptively beat the shit out of some hippies to keep your violent friend from provoking a fight with the whole bar.

      • They used to say the same thing about Indonesia, another client state. But when the US ordered them to back off in Timor in 1999, they did so post haste. That is what happens when you are the military benefactor, the source of weaponry, training, technology and massive subsidy. You do as your are told. Israel would back down yesterday if the US so ordered, but operates as our Doppleganger, doing those things that the US cannot openly do. Since 9/11 the US can operate more openly, but Israel, NATO and especially Britain are servant forces. The idea that we have no control over the USS Israel is convenient fiction.

      • “Israel attacking Iran is a real possibility, and that has the potential to be disastrous. For that reason, I think we have no real choice but to compel Iran to give up its nuclear weapons program.”

        How, exactly, can we compel Iran not to build nuclear weapons? It’s not as though we haven’t been trying to make that happen.

        • guess what James, sanctions are working, which means the desired effect of making life for Iranians miserable has resulted in a A HREF=””>proposed deal, which Gareth Porter reported more than two weeks ago:

          Iran has again offered to halt its enrichment of uranium to 20 percent, which the United States has identified as its highest priority in the nuclear talks, in return for easing sanctions against Iran, according to Iran’s permanent representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

          so even though US/Israel have murdered Iranian scientists, engaged in cyber attacks, and sent in spy drones, Iran is still willing to refrain from retaliating militarily, and open to negotiations.

      • Stop and think about a country like Iran having a nuclear bomb. They would not use it, as they would be instantly incinerated. They know this. Israel has hundreds, Pakistan and India, the US and NATO and the Russians. The only possible reason Iran wold want such a weapon is for deterrence. it would buy them some time if they are attacked.

        If you want to worry about insane people having nukes, look to Washington and Tel Aviv.

        Since there is no credible evidence that Iran is even building a bomb, I think it safe t say that their nukes are only the latest agitprop campaign. I’ll be damned if, even after incubator babies, WMD’s in Iraq, 700,000 to be slaughtered n Libya, a massacre of Albanians in Kosovo … Even after we know now that these were all lies … You turn right around and buy in to the next one coming down the pipe.

        Time for an agitprop timeout.

        • Sorry Mark there are religious nutcases in Our country and Iran, that want to use war as a Quickened pathway to the Their Gods Paradise or Heaven.

          Iran’s Leadership as well as Israelis are not the adults in the room right Now. In fact at this point, neither are you, nor the Tea-publican Party.

          Whatever happened to allowing UN sanctions and diplomacy to play out.

          Other countries in the middle east don’t want Iran having a Nuclear bomb either. and we do as much business with them as Israel. Does anyone on the right realize that we have bases at these muslim friendly countries, yet not one with Israel. Get a grip for good’s sake, and leave your ludacris pro christian comments at home.

          We are doing the right thing, by staying out of right wing politics in the Jewish state. What we need to focus on is getting out of Afghanistan. and letting our state department work…. instead of Arms Manufacturers and dead American soldiers with Israel and Iran.

          • Norma – I tried to get this debate on a more realistic track. The only reason we are even talking about nukes is because that is the way that it is being framed for us. Panetta, when pressed, admitted that Iran is not building nukes. Further your idea that Iran is irrational is not credible, as they are no more or less like any other country, regardless of religion. They are threatened y the US and Israel, and this does allow their more authoritarian forces to surface. But not irrational forces.

            We are having another agitprop campaign, and it is interesting to observe that when the government does agitprop, it automatically fills all the bandwidth. That’s the full parameter of allowed debate, and that’s all anyone talks about. So I cannot enter an Iran debate without talking about their nonexistent nukes. It is outside the prescribed boundaries. Very interesting indeed.

            I wish, just once, that an agitprop campaign did not succeed here in the land of the free. But they work. Every time.

            A far more likely scenario is this: The war drums are beating. The US wants to attack Iran. All of the hardware is in place. A completely different branch of the Pentagon, psyops, is in charge of bring public opinion in line. Normally, by the time the attack is set to go, 60-70% line up behind them. they know how to push our buttons. Every time.

            It is very discouraging to watch.

        • I say:

          “I agree we can live with a nuclear Iran, just as we lived with a nuclear USSR, China, and North Korea.”

          You say:

          “Stop and think about a country like Iran having a nuclear bomb.”

          I already did. I think we can live with it. I also think it is almost certain that Iran is seeking a nuclear bomb. That is really our fault – Iraq showed that it’s not safe to be without one in this world. If Iran’s intentions were not to make a weapon, they would open the Fordo site up to weapons inspectors to eliminate the momentum for sanctions. They seem to want a bomb, or the potential to make one, for their own security. Again, that is no threat to our own security, but it would substantially increase their power in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and elsewhere. The real threat is Israel.

          And you’re just being silly if you think we can pull Israel back with a stern look. There’s a big difference between Indonesia and Israel, and its the same as the difference between Pakistan when it was a loyal US client and Pakistan today – nuclear weapons. Lizard linked to an interested article a while back about the tensions between the CIA and Mossad and the fact that Israel is not the friend we commonly think it to be. It is much harder to push around a nuclear-armed country than a conventionally armed one. Israel knows that we don’t have the political will to reign them in, but more powerfully, they can now look largely after their own security. More than that, they can go to the UN and publicly declare their intention to illegally bomb another member nation and the rest of the world has little choice but to listen to try to appease them. The US does not have the capacity to reign in that sort of power, just was we can no longer dictate terms on Pakistan.

          • There are no “friends” in the world. There are only interests. Even mention of the word “friend” is an unrealistic thought process. Israel acts in its own best interests at all times, and the US is powerful enough and a big enough benefactor (for its own interests) that it can give Israel good reason to act or not act. It is you, and not me, that described this dynamic as a “stern look.” That is an absurd reduction.

          • Did our invading Iraq convince Iran it needed the bomb? Quite possibly. Still, one can’t know that for certain — and in any event, Iran, not the U.S., or anyone else, is responsible for its decisions on nuclear power and weaponry.

            Netanyahu is rattling sabers, but everything I’ve read suggests that most Israelis are leery of attacking Iran, and that Israel’s intelligence and military services think an air strike on Iran would not eliminate Iran’s nuclear weaponry program, and would be a terrible mistake. I think the best interpretation of Neyanyahu’s behavior is that he’s trying to get the U.S. to do more to stop Iran from bolting together a bomb. I don’t accept the premise that if Iran gets a bomb, Israel will attack.

            Nor do I agree with this:

            “More than that, they can go to the UN and publicly declare their intention to illegally bomb another member nation and the rest of the world has little choice but to listen to try to appease them.”

            The other choice is reminding Iran that the consequences of aggression include nuclear retaliation. There’s no reason to give in to blackmail, and no reason to suppose that anyone would.

            I don’t share your fears.

            • It appears that to you, “aggression” is an aspect for foreign affairs that only appears in the actions of designated enemies of the moment. Surrounding a country with military bases and placing threatening vessels off its coasts, killing its scientists, embargoing food and medicine, running maasive interference in its electins, running agitprop campaigns – all of this is aggression.

              Again, it is very discouraging to see the all-enveloping power of American propaganda.

              • Mark,

                It is very frustrating that you don’t actually read people’s posts. Instead, bot-like, you pick out key words and report your own talking points.

                James was saying that the response to Iranian aggression, should it occur, is a sufficient deterrent that a nuclear armed Iran is not really a threat, given that Iran is a rational actor and there’s no reason to believe they would use any weapons they got. In other words, he’s arguing against the necessity of US aggression against Iran. And yet you’re going at him as though he were arguing for the opposite.

                • My response merely highlighted his inability to see US aggression as “aggression.” He is convinced that Iran has a “nuclear weaponry program” and that Israel would strike Iran for that reason, and further even thinks that Israeli public opinion cannot be managed, just as is American opinion. He then talks about warning Iran about the “consequences of aggression” even as the US and Israel are the aggressors, as I pointed out in my response, detailing just a few aspects of that aggression, invisible to the patriotic mind.

                  In other words he, like you, is completely bought in to US agitprop. It is frustrating that you and he cannot actually see through surface veneer, and so treat all of what you see around you as WYSIWYG. You need to peel a layer of the onion now and then.

                  My response, as always, goes directly to mindset and avoids surface phenomena.

                • As an outside observer, Tyler, I remind you that Barry Goldwater, not an extremely bright man but at least consistent and principled, was perhaps the last real “conservative” in American politics. What we have seen since then are right wing reactionaries, proto and crypto fascists, religious fundamentalist extremists, along with high-level and highly intelligent psychopaths manipulating all of you to their own ends.

                  Please, use of the word “conservative” to describe your beehive is offsensive and grates on sensitive ears.

                • Tyler Evilsizer is not conservative. What he’s saying is that all of your ‘insight’ could be matched by a a simple computer program that took a random word and then spits out a passage from a Chomsky book using that same word.

                  As to the topic at hand, I want you to imagine two things- one, the US is not exceptional, and two, one act of aggression does not negate others. Just because the US wishes to replace the Iranian regime does not make that regime incapable of exercising aggression, or seeking nuclear weapons. Indeed, there is no reason to believe Iran would not be seeking nuclear weapons, since they have the capability, and they are under threat. There is no reason to believe that Iran would not use nuclear weapons to exert greater influence over Iraq, Syria, and the Gulf States. That has to be taken into account when looking at the situation with Iran.

                  And to pretend that US policy is a forgone conclusion is also fallacious. Yes, there are many unelected entities that have a great deal of influence in our foreign policy, but elected leaders nonetheless make the decisions on how that policy is executed. Sure, those are ‘surface’ decision compared to the deeper goals of the country. But those are the surface decisions that kill people or keep them alive.

                • It must be kind of fun living behind your wall of hubris. Do birds chirp, brooks babble on too?

                  I’ve been attempting, for 24 years after my education, to construct a viable world scenario on the simple premise that I have to see through the lies. It is difficult. WYSIWYG is very easy, as you always have your great leaders to back you up with their words. Your statement, that I rely on a passage from a Chomsky book, is more than the insult you intended, but rather a revealing remark. It shows how narrow your outlook is, how unstudied your world view, how received wisdom is the only kind you exhibit while accusing me of the same. Please, self-reflect. It’s painful, I can tell you, but enlightening as well.

                  Iran could indeed be capable of naked aggression, add might well use nukes for sport if they had one. A spot of evidence, even a little bird shit remnant, would be useful for your case. They haven’t attacked anyone in centuries, and are neither irrational nor suicidal. Even the US has not used nukes since others got them (Fallujah is suspicious) for fear of retaliation.

                  The US is exceptional because the It has more weaponry than the rest of the world combined, and is not content to live in its own borders. You might try a thought experiment I’ve suggested before: imagine events of, say the last 25 years with and without elections. This will create hardship for you, as you’ll be hard-pressed to substantiate your claim that our elected officials are in charge.

                  And there are real objectives, strategies, tactics. The latter two change as needed, but the goal of keeping the dollar as the oil currency (that and our military machine are all we have left) and depopulating and preventing democracy in those countries that exist atop our oil reman constants. It’s still a tripolar world, and the Great Game never ceases. Of the three powers, historically, the US appears the most ruthless and barbarous.

                • By the way, even though the words sound like me over at 4&20, it is not me. I do not post there. I did, well over a year ago, use the moniker “kptrng” and “kpkptrng” there, but after reflection in August of 2011 decided that was immoral behavior and from that day forward only post under my real name.

                  If those are my words, someone is recycling. End of story.

                • Deja vu – Lizard had linked to a 2/11 exchange you and I had, and I brought it into the present thinking it was the thread of the day. No wonder it sounded like me. It was me!

                • “Iran could indeed be capable of naked aggression, add might well use nukes for sport if they had one. A spot of evidence, even a little bird shit remnant, would be useful for your case. They haven’t attacked anyone in centuries, and are neither irrational nor suicidal.”

                  Mark –

                  I would like to quote a certain Mr. Tokarski – if you open a door, people will walk through it. Iran is already producing and selling weapons to Hezbollah, and has admitted it. They are already trying to extend their influence to Iraq, and threatening the US and even Azerbaijan for something that a third country may or may not do. Now imagine Iran, armed with nuclear weapons, pursuing the same actions. I don’t buy any of the bull about Iran selling nukes to Hezbollah or using them against the Strait of Hormuz or what have you, but it’s not difficult to imagine them covertly or forcefully trying to replace the governments of Azerbaijan and/or Iraq.

                  Iran’s recent history of relative isolation and non-aggression is highly irrelevant. With a super power ally and their own nuclear weapons, Iran will essentially have the sort of impunity enjoyed by Israel right now. Imagine if Iraq had had nukes when they invaded Kuwait; they could have gotten away with it, and much to their benefit. Azerbaijan is in a similar position to Kuwait’s vis a vis Iraq.

                  You’re basic problem, Mark, (and this has been pointed out to you before) is that you focus really is on the US. You very accurately determine that our goals and actions are always broadly Realpolitik, but you fail to imagine other countries using the same logic, though they most certainly do. The US can get away with more, but the US essentially has the same motivation as every other state, and like any other state, does everything in its power to pursue the same interests as other states.

                  And I love how you’re falling back on you faith in bi-polarity! Yes, if Iran and Israel both have nukes, that will totally prevent a war. Because, you know, Israel having nuclear weapons has been a real boon to mideast peace, we need another nuclear state in the region. And again, you’re going to argue that it’s different with Iran? Why? Because you have this stupid belief that some states are fundamentally different than others? I know you refuse to believe the facts and statistics about the bi-polar world that existed in the 20th century, but they are pretty darn clear – MORE people died in inter and intra-state conflicts during the Cold War than have since, precisely because a bi-polar, nuclear world means having two powers that are unrestrained in what they can do conventionally to third countries. Nuclear deterrence leads to a conventional carte blanche. But, you can go ahead and pretend that while the US and Israel are police states, Iran’s repression is only ‘necessary internal security measures’ or whatever your wording was. Again, you’re not being a free thinker, you’re just blindly following a different dogma than the rest of Americans.

  • 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 weapons its not going to make it anymore or less dangerous in the area. If anything it will make things more stable because the israelis (and americans) will be even further deterred. Its not like things could be any worse than the current situation of the pakistanis and israelis having them.

    As for the iranians not being ‘aggressive’ or using ‘aggression’ in their foreign policy that is ridiculous. I dont think you can define ‘aggression’ as simply the overt use of military force. They use just as much aggression as they calculate they can get away with at any given time..just as the US does. They are smart about it when comes to flexing their muscles on a regional scale and much better at doing it in a way that covers their tracks than the US. They dont need to resort to overt military force in the way the US does and to do so (at least against the US) would negate their inherent advantages and meet the US at our position of strength. Mark your views on this are almost ethnocentric…you arent giving the iranians the credit where it is due.

    • 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 military activity in the post-war era in that area that has not involved the US, Britain, Israel, and to a minor degree, France. With Iran, there are four signifiant events that come to mind – the 1979 revolution, where they overthrew a US-backed dictator; the Iran-Iraq war, where the US armed Iraq and Iran and then sat back and ate popcorn (shooting down a civilian airliner to end the conflict in Iraq’s favor); its arming of Hezbollah in response to the 1982 invasion of Lebanon by Israel, and “interfering” in Iraq while the US was busy decimating the place.

      I cannot think of a single incident that did not in some way involve the major powers. I cannot think of an incident where they were not defending either themselves or advancing their own security interests, which they are entitled to do. They have not attacked or threatened anyone – naked aggression is not their calling card. It is ours.

      So I don’t get your attempt to draw equivalencies between the hostile major powers, and Iran, minding its own business. It’s a reach.

      Regarding nukes, I do hope they get hold of one … it might prevent a major war. But remember that Iran has signed the Nuclear non-proliferation treaty, Israel has not. Iran, so far as anyone knows, is in compliance. The US signed it but has not complied with it.

    • 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.

      • 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 food program resigned in disgust and protested the use of food as a weapon. Bet you can’t name them.

        Anyway, at the same time, the UN was overseeing Iraq’s disarmament, an incredibly stupid move by Saddam Hussein, literally inviting invasion. Once assured that the population was numb with starvation and unable to defend itself, the US attacked. One British polling agency, ORB, put civilian casualties at 1.2 million around 2007. Torture was widespread, the object of which was the break down young men who they disappeared and terrorize the rest. The educated and professional classes fled, over two million, many to Syria. The US military’s main activity was house-to-house Gestapo raids, terrorizing every household, rooting out every potential resistance fighter. It was a terror regime of unimaginable barbarism unseen since the mid-twentieth century.

        Iraq’s resistance is testimony to the human spirit. The country is now a US client, but a feisty one. They are surrounded and can be invaded again at the drop of a hat, and yet still forced Obama to honor Bush’s forced commitment on withdrawal of troops. “Obama” did so only reluctantly. (I keep forgetting that “he” is a mere puppet, and referring to the US national security state by the name of the happenstance executive is convennient shorthand.)

        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 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?

      • 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 back in 2005 or so. The navy in particular is not prepared to deal with the threat of Iranian anti ship cruise missiles. The uss stark on a region wide scale. I don’t think they are going to find many service chiefs other than maybe the air force to ever think this is a good idea when a ‘good scenario’ involves the loss of two aircraft carriers and thousands of personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq. Not comparable to attacking a castrated Iraq.

        • 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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