War Is Boring
Think about it.
The enormous costs involved in engaging U.S. forces against Iran, both human and materiel, should not be bandied about lightly.
Iran hawks are playing with fire. We are close to a nuclear deal with Iran, but opponents continue to step up attacks aimed at torpedoing efforts to reach a settlement. They insist that we must walk away from the negotiating table, and that there’s a better deal to be had.
(This originally appeared at War is Boring in 2018.)
That belief is a fantasy.
The reality is that if negotiations with Iran fail, the wreckage will leave the United States without any good options. “If we undermine negotiations now, we’ll have only two choices — Accept the reality of an Iranian nuclear bomb, or use military force to attack Iran’s nuclear program,” former Sen. Carl Levin wrote in a recent op-ed for U.S. News & World Report.
There is hardly a nation in the world that wants a nuclear Iran. But the United States should only consider a war with Iran to be a last resort. “If you think the war in Iraq was hard, an attack on Iran would, in my opinion, be a catastrophe,” former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in 2012.
Furthermore, he added that such a quixotic attack would only “make a nuclear-armed Iran inevitable, [as] they would just bury the program deeper and make it more covert.”
Yet the reality of this no-win scenario has done little to deter hawks, both in and out of Congress, from continued attempts to undermine negotiations. Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton’s letter, signed by 46 of his Republican colleagues, is only the most recent example of their continued campaign of political brinkmanship.
Even more worrisome though, is the cavalier attitude toward the use of U.S. military force that underlies this approach.
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