Jon Finer, Rob Malley, and Jeff Prescott have penned a truly bizarre article arguing that Iraq war dead-enders could help oppose a Trump-led war with Iran:
The stakes are high—as reckless and unsettling as Trump’s Presidency has been thus far, he has yet to make a mistake anywhere near as costly as the Iraq War. If the proponents of that war support Trump’s apparent willingness to either risk or seek war, they would be giving the Administration’s dangerous approach credibility and Congress a rationale to go along. A more consistent response, given their criticism of Trump, would be to publicly acknowledge that an attempt by this Administration to confront Iran could have dangerous consequences, or that the President can’t be trusted to manage it effectively.
The Iraq war supporters the authors refer to by name include David Frum, Max Boot, Bill Kristol, and Bret Stephens. This is the Who’s Who of consistently lousy foreign policy thinking. If they have been right about any major foreign policy issue in the last twenty years, it would be news to the entire world. Every single one of them hates the nuclear deal with Iran with a passion, and they have argued in favor of military action against Iran at one point or another. There is zero evidence that any of them would oppose attacking Iran. Unlike Ken Pollack, whom the authors refer to several times, they have never acknowledged that they were wrong about the invasion of Iraq, nor have they even considered applying the lessons of that debacle to other foreign policy questions.
The idea that these people would oppose a war with Iran is fanciful. The idea that their support for a war with Iran would lend it credibility defies description. It is not an “interesting question” to ask what these people will do. We already know their position on Iran and the nuclear deal. The authors ask:
Given all they have written about the new Administration’s incompetence and duplicity, will they jump on the bandwagon of another unnecessary conflict, this time under the authority of a President whom they have deemed unfit to serve as Commander-in-Chief?
Yes, they will. There is no doubt that they will. Jumping on the “bandwagon of another unnecessary conflict” is practically their mission in life. It’s silly to suppose that they would do anything else. I have no clue why this article was written or what purpose it could possibly serve except to give these warmongers the undeserved benefit of the doubt. Hostility to Iran is the one thing that binds these people and Trump together, and there is no chance that they would oppose Trump if he were foolish and reckless enough to start another war.
It is true that all of these hard-liners have been vocal critics of Trump, in no small part because they feared that he would not be as hawkish and meddlesome as they are. Their opposition to him was not “unexpected,” but was actually quite predictable given their assumptions about what they thought Trump’s foreign policy would be. While they have little or no confidence in Trump’s abilities, I don’t believe for a second that they would oppose aggressive policies toward Iran because they thought the president was incompetent. When Bush was president, they had no problem endorsing the policy they preferred despite ample evidence that it was being executed by an incompetent. Nothing has changed in the last decade that would make them any more skeptical of reckless interventionism. It is ludicrous to expect them to come out against an aggressive Iran policy under Trump, no matter how disastrous it proves to be.