22 Jul '15     home | previous

The War Alternative

Yesterday, news anchor Judy Woodruff spoke of presidential candidate Scott Walker saying that on the first day he became president he would be willing to go to war against Iran if necessary. She was interviewing another Republican running for president, Rick Santorum, and she asked him, "Do you agree with him on that?" Santorum answered:

if I — when I become president, from the day after I get — I'm elected president, I will be working with our allies.

Among many in the United States, Iran is seen as evil, a threat to the US and to Israel. Many believe it should be confronted with military force rather than appeased. Back in 2012, Mitt Romney running for president called for a pre-emptive war against Iran. This week, writing in the National Review, Dennis Prager describes President Obama as a Neville Chamberlain, appeasing Iran as Chamberlain did Hitler at Munich, and he describes the regime in power in Iran as equivalent in its evil as was the Hitler regime. Prager is for fighting the Iranian regime with intensified sanctions, but many don't see sanctions as having worked and as not working in the future, and for them military action – war – is the only way of getting rid of those now in power in Iran.

Meanwhile, war against Iran has been described as not being as easy as some imagine. Iran's population would swing in support of the regime. Iran's hardliners would acquire renewed and increased influence. More than air strikes would be required, and Iran has a population greater than Afghanistan and Iraq together. Iran has been described as commanding the eighth largest active duty military in the world, as well as having highly trained special forces and guerilla organizations in their region of the world. Shipping in the Strait of Hormuz might create a global oil crisis. Iran would not capitulate even if its air force and navy were put out of commission. Instead, it would turn to terrorism and strike at US targets around the globe. It could take many years for US ground forces to control the whole of Iran. Our European allies would probably be unwilling to join the war, and the US would have to accept tens of thousands of casualties and spending trillions of dollars.

Yesterday, President Obama described his Iran policy critics as "warmongers" and said, "We're hearing the echoes of some of the same policies and mindset that failed us in the past" His loudest critics, he added, are "the same folks who were so quick to go to war in Iraq and said it would take a few months."

In the last couple of days, Obama has dropped a couple of percentage points in the Gallop Poll favorability rating.

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