War With Iran Revisited
Sholung, an esteemed reader of my Forty Wars and Counting post left a long and thoughtful comment. He raises some interesting points and this is a subject near and dear to my heart, so I will address his post. Appropriate lines of my “Ten reasons not to attack Iran” list are reproduced below, with Sholung’s comments in italics followed by my remarks:
4. The price of oil would spike, which means the cost of gas could easily double.
re: 4. Gas price spike – who cares? The US has never REALLY tried to put together a comprehensive Public Transportation system because gas has been so cheap. When people live near where they work, they will build a community.
People who do a lot of driving would care very much if the price of gas went dramatically upwards. And an increase in the price of gas would have a ripple effect through the rest of the economy. In the long run, yes, people would adjust, economics is very reliable that way. In the sort run, economic disruption can be a very bad thing, and a major war in the Persian Gulf could easily cause same.
5. Shock and Awe doesn’t work. Bombing Iran will no more make Iranians our compliant friends than 9-11 made Americans rush out and urge surrender to Bin Laden.
re: 5. Shock and Awe does work – Don’t you remember the Bosnian crisis, where the US commander had to have press conferences every day to apologize to our ‘friends’ in the world community for knocking over some serb’s flower pots every time we bombed the bad guys across the street?
I am a little unsure of exactly how Bosnia relates to the mistaken idea that a spectacular bombing campaign in Iran will result in the Iranian government and people becoming more cooperative and compliant with the US’s demands. I should also have stated that the USA will have no way of knowing that a bombing campaign has destroyed Iran’s nuclear capability without actually invading and occupying the country. In any event I will amend my statement to say that I can’t see that bombing Iran will yield a result the USA desires. It will if anything strengthen and more radicalise Iran’s government and national attitude.
7. Our friends would think less of us, and our “friends” Russia and China would be encouraged to solve their international “problems” the same way.
re: 7. Russia and China? the USSR and China were famous for ’solving’ problems this way, and still are: Tibet, Chechnya, Afghanistan (in the 80’s), etc.
Exactly, so why does the USA want to emulate the crimes of Russia and China? Large countries making war on small countries is a big part of the problem, not the solution. It also should be noted that yes, China and Russia have invaded and occupied other nations regularly. Iran hasn’t invaded anyone in 150 years or more that I am aware of. To my way of thinking, if the USA is sincere about making the world a better place, we have to lead by example.
8. Other countries would have strong incentive to develop nuclear weapons themselves to deter US attack.
re 8. – Nuclear development as deterrent – Iran and Korea use the deterrent argument, but they really want to use nukes to bully their neighbors. Whether or not a nation has nukes will not deter the US from attacking them. The US has thousands of warheads and ICBMs to deliver them. We can sit here and pulverize any country on Earth with impunity. But we don’t because we are ‘the good guys’. The patience of the American people is likely to sublimate, however, just as soon as some madman sneaks a nuke into the US and kills a million Americans in a major city. The gloves will come off, and there will be no deterring American citizens from their revenge. People of all walks of life will get up from the dinner table, and sign up to go kill “the bastards”.
Pray that our legislature gets its act together and secures the border, because if a nuke goes off here, there will be lots of smoking craters all around the world.
And I would argue that the USA’s aggressive foreign policy is why there is a possibility of just such an occurrence. Attacking Iran is just going to inspire more madmen to try to sneak a nuke into the USA. And yes, I agree, Americans under their veneer of civilization have a lot of vengeful frontier thinking attitudes still. Another major “terrorist” attack on the USA will have terrible consequences. God helps us all should that day come.
9. People would die, lots of people, innocent people. This is important.
re: 9. Lots of innocent people die every day because of the Islamofascist approach to conflict resolution. A car bomb is not a moral method of convincing people that your idea has merit. It is a means of intimidation to force people to accept your idea, no matter how morally bankrupt it may be.
Again I am a little unclear. I agree that blowing people up is not a good way to get your message across. “If it’s wrong when they do it to us, it’s wrong when we do it to them.”
In any event I am always happy to get comments, they make me think. One such thought is that if one is of the opinion that the USA should do whatever is necessary to protect the USA and its people and interests, a case can be made for attacking Iran. I don’t subscribe to the Imperial USA view of the world, but just for fun someday I will play devil’s advocate and write about why the US should rule the world. Go team, yeah.
I will add a last reason why all wars scare the scrap out of me. Because no one knows how a war will turn out. Wars virtually always have terrible unforeseen consequences, few if any wars in history turned out anything like their instigators confidently planned. When we go to war we unleash forces that are unpredictable and unknown. War is the ultimate gamble, when a nation goes to war they are not just betting the farm, they are betting the lives and livelihood of everyone in their country. And in a nuclear and global age, they are betting everyone else’s lives and livelihoods too.
War is a terrible last resort, and the bigger the war, the worse the consequences can be. A USA attack on Iran could be the biggest gamble the USA has taken in a war ever, it’s not something to be undertaken lightly. If there is a good case for war with Iran, I have yet to hear it. Crossing the Rubicon didn’t work out very well for Julius Caesar or the Roman Republic, and George Bush is no Julius Caesar.