November 15, 2011
Is a vote for the Republican Party in 2012 a vote for war?
Is a vote for Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich a vote for yet another unfunded war of choice, this time with a nation, Iran, three times as large and populous as Iraq?
Mitt says that if elected he will move carriers into the Persian Gulf and “prepare for war.” Newt is even more hawkish. America should continue “taking out” Iran’s nuclear scientists—i.e., assassinating them—but military action will probably be needed.
Newt is talking up uber-hawk John Bolton for secretary of state.
Rick Santorum has already called for U.S.-Israeli strikes: “Either we’re going to stop them … or take the long term consequences of having a nuclear Iran trying to wipe out the state of Israel.”
But if Iran represents, as Bibi Netanyahu is forever reminding us, an “existential threat,” why does not Israel itself, with hundreds of nuclear weapons, deal with it?
Bibi’s inaction speaks louder than Bibi’s words.
He wants the Americans to do it.
For the retired head of Mossad, Meir Dagan, calls attacking Iran “the stupidest thing I have ever heard of.” He means stupid for Israel.
Why? Because an Israeli attack would be costly in planes and pilots, and only set back Iran’s nuclear program. And such a pre-emptive strike would unify Iranians behind the regime.
Moreover, Israel would be inviting Tehran’s ally Hezbollah to rain down rockets on Israel, igniting another of the bloody Lebanon wars that Israel was desperate to end the last time.
As for the United States, the only way we could eliminate Iran’s nuclear program would be days of air and missile strikes.
Iran could retaliate by cutting off oil exports and mining the Strait of Hormuz, tripling the world price of oil, and hurling the European Union and United States into recession.
Iran could also turn Hezbollah loose on Americans in Lebanon and urge Shias to attack U.S. troops, diplomats and civilians in Bahrain, Iraq and Afghanistan, and here in the United States.
No one knows how this would end. A U.S.-Iran war could force us to march to Tehran to remove the Islamic regime and scour that huge country to ensure that it was shorn of weapons of mass destruction—for an Islamic regime that survived a U.S. war would be hellbent on acquiring the bomb to pay us back. Yet, we lack a large enough army to occupy Iran.