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On Iran: Here We Go Again

The U.S. is considering sending 120,000 troops to the Middle East; we have already ordered an aircraft carrier and warplanes to the area. American personnel have been evacuated from our embassy in Iraq. All of these moves signal that the U.S. is either preparing for an attack on our forces by Iran or preparing to launch an attack of its own.

National Security Advisor, John Bolton, and Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, have both claimed that recent intelligence data, recently revealed as photographs of Iranian Revolutionary Guards loading missiles onto Iranian fishing vessels, is evidence of Iran preparing to attack either commercial or U.S. military vessels in the Persian Gulf. They also claimed to have intercepted messages urging Iranian-backed Arab militias in Iraq to attack American troops.

President Trump has demonized Iran since the beginning of his presidency. He fulfilled a campaign pledge by withdrawing the U.S. from the nuclear agreement with Iran, although other European countries, the U.K, China and Russia remain in the agreement and the EU has worked to oppose U.S. sanctions that were resumed after the Trump pulled out of the deal. John Bolton is a notorious hawk when it comes to Iran, and he appears to be instrumental in recent decisions. British, European and even Iraqi officials disagree with the U.S. on whether recent actions by Iran signal an increased threat.

Iran may or may not be increasing its preparedness for war with the U.S., but, if they are, that may well be because they are wary of U.S. intentions, which have gotten increasingly hostile toward their country under President Trump. Outside of the Trump administration and some U.S. congressmen, almost no Middle East experts believe that Iran will attack the United States, since that would be a no-win situation for Iran. The U.S. is much more powerful militarily than Iran is. 

We’ve been down this road before with Iraq. In that instance, our intelligence was flawed and misinterpreted, our military strategy brought immediate victory but long-term disaster as the problem of occupying and pacifying a hostile country led to further insurgencies, the build up of terrorist forces such as al Qaeda in Iraq and ISIS, and sectarian civil war between Sunni and Shia Muslims. The situation in Iraq is still volatile and unsettled. 

War is seldom the answer to a political disagreement. Look at Afghanistan. It is the longest-running war in U.S. history and it is far from settled. Every year the situation in Afghanistan worsens. If we finally settle the war it appears as if it will require giving the Taliban, whom we saw as the enemy, a role in the country’s government, which they were running when we first became involved. 18 years of warfare to get us back to where we started.

A war with Iran is a dead end. It may not be winnable by Iran, but it is not winnable by the United States either, since there is the always nagging question of what to do after the fighting stops (assuming it does). The Iranian government is not stupid or suicidal. If it’s stepping up its military preparedness, that’s because it feels threatened by U.S. actions and rhetoric. The Iranian people don't want war. Most of the population outside of the government are friendly to Americans, although they hate our government and its actions and the only thing that will rally them against the U.S. is if we push them into warfare.

We need to learn from our mistakes in the Middle East and follow a sane policy with regard to Iran. John Bolton and Mike Pompeo have advocated for “regime change” as our long-term goal. Who runs Iran is the business of Iranians, not of the United States. We advocated for regime change in Syria and look where that got us: a devastated country, ISIS controlled areas, millions of refugees, increased influence of Iran and Russia on the country, and its leader, Assad, still in power.

Haven’t we learned anything yet? 

Reader Comments (1)

Didn't we learn that war is very profitable...if you don't count the dead and the mangled countries.

May 16, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDariel Garner

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