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Attacking Iran Would Be Criminal and Disastrous

Steven Metz helpfully reminds [1] us that attacking Iran would be criminal and disastrous:

A pre-emptive U.S. military strike on Iran would ultimately be one of the worst strategic blunders in American history. That it is repeatedly considered by serious political leaders and security experts remains incomprehensible.

Attacking Iran would be wrong and horrible for all the reasons Metz gives, but what makes it unusually crazy is that the U.S. has no legitimate cause to go to war with Iran. Even if Iran were developing nuclear weapons, which it isn’t, that would not give the U.S. just cause to attack them. Iran’s conventional forces pose no real threat to the United States or our treaty allies, and there is no scenario in which the U.S. would need to “pre-empt” anything. An attack on Iran wouldn’t be “pre-emption” at all, since that would suggest that there is some imminent threat that needs to be eliminated. It would be a wholly unjustified war of aggression launched simply because our government can and decides that it wants to.

I submit that this is one reason why Iran hawks keep bringing up the possibility of an attack. It is an example of the kind of punitive military intervention that they think the U.S. can and should launch against “rogue” states to demonstrate that our government’s freedom of action isn’t limited by anything. Metz points out correctly that attacking Iran would violate the U.N. Charter and international law, but for the advocates of an attack the ability to violate international law with impunity is one of the things that appeals to them. It is not an accident that one of the most consistent and fanatical advocates for bombing Iran is John Bolton, whose seething contempt for international law and institutions is well-known. Advocates for attacking Iran (or any other country) don’t accept that U.S. power is limited, and they don’t want to accept any limits on U.S. action, either. If these people are still considered “serious” leaders and experts after all these years, that is a testament to how decades of ceaseless and illegal wars have horribly distorted our foreign policy debates.

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8 Comments To "Attacking Iran Would Be Criminal and Disastrous"

#1 Comment By Deacon Blue On February 25, 2019 @ 10:44 am

The fact Trump selected Bolton for his current position is a great “tell” about who is calling the real shots in our foreign policy.
… And I see that he is being “left alone” to do his thing, unlike many other Trump appointees.

#2 Comment By Sid Finster On February 25, 2019 @ 10:54 am

For those who continue in the face of all the contrary evidence to promote Trump as a peace president – if only there were a way for Trump to publicly correct and chastise his subordinates when they act in his name and undermine his policies! If only Trump had access to Twitter!

If only Trump knew how to say the words “YOU’RE FIRED!”

#3 Comment By Salt Lick On February 25, 2019 @ 12:05 pm

The coming war with Iran is Trump’s reelection strategy.
It will overwhelm not only any political opposition, but it will also excuse any recession. The only reason for a war with Iran is to reelect Trump. That’s why John Bolton was hired. Given the opportunity, Israel may even use nuclear weapons. We are headed for very dark times.

#4 Comment By Peter Kelly On February 25, 2019 @ 12:50 pm

Trump didn’t originally want Bolton in his cabinet. I think Trump was forced to take him as part of a quid pro quo. If that’s true, it would explain why Bolton is untouchable despite publicly contradicting the President on a number of occasions.

#5 Comment By Scholton On February 25, 2019 @ 5:54 pm

War with Iran would be the end of the line for Trump and for many of those associated with him, including his gutless GOP enablers. I voted for him. Never again. Never again.

#6 Comment By Uncle Billy On February 26, 2019 @ 9:30 am

The Neocons think that we have the right to attack other countries because we do not like their governments. This is insanity. Iran has not attacked the US or Israel, so why do we need to attack them?

Also, we keep hearing that if the Iranians somehow obtain a nuke, it will be the end of Israel and a mortal threat to the US. Really? Israel has hundreds of nukes and the US has thousands of nukes. Do we think that Iran is not aware of this fact? Do we think that Iran is suicidal?

#7 Comment By PAX On February 26, 2019 @ 9:52 am

I read about Bolton visiting uber-hawk Sheldon Adelson in Las Vegas. Then he returns to DC and is given his current appointment. Go figure. Has our government become a “family business?” While bellicose and entertaining Trump must take HST’s advice and realize “the buck stops here.” If he cannot stand up to family pressures, he should resign. Then the Democrats with all their love of diversity and division would be even more pliable to similar family pressures. We are in a mess. The current band of aspiring presidential candidates will kiss the wall and do homage to a foreign government. Will sanity ever return to our foreign policy? How much does it cost a uber-hawk to get a war? How much does it cost each and every citizen of the U.S.to implement their warmongering? Shame on our so-called leaders.

#8 Comment By sglover On February 28, 2019 @ 12:08 pm

Trump didn’t originally want Bolton in his cabinet. I think Trump was forced to take him as part of a quid pro quo.

Got any evidence for that assertion? Even a speck? Because it looks like Bolton fits all the criteria for Trump “cabinet status”: He’s been a gasbag on Fox. What other qualifications does he need?

The Trump cult has spent the last two years haplessly defending or deflecting blame from their messiah, from the consequences of his own actions, his own appointments. Theirs is a slave mentality.