There’s nothing more tedious than when hawks try to use the prospect of war to undermine diplomacy:

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said on Tuesday that if the nuclear deal with Iran being negotiated by the U.S. and five other countries is approved, the result will be war.

“This deal makes war a certainty,” promised Cruz, a Republican contender for president in the 2016 election.

Unsurprisingly, Cruz’s “analysis” doesn’t hold up at all. He claims that the next administration will be faced with an Iran that is “on the verge of having nuclear weapons,” which is just a blatant lie. Iran isn’t “on the verge” of having such weapons now, and it would be even farther away from possessing those weapons once it agrees to the significant restrictions and monitoring of its nuclear program. Even once those restrictions are lifted, Iran’s nuclear program would still be under the restrictions of the NPT. At no point will Iran be “on the verge” of possessing nuclear weapons. A good way to encourage Iran to try to acquire nuclear weapons is to continue threatening it with military action after it makes a deal on the nuclear issue. If one wanted to guarantee that Iran would build nuclear weapons, attacking Iran to “prevent” that outcome is the obvious choice.

Besides being illegal, an attack on Iran would absolutely be a war of choice and one that the U.S. would in no way be forced to fight. No so-called “preventive” war is a “certainty,” because the launching of the war depends on the decision of the attacking government that necessarily has many alternatives to taking military action. Attacking governments always claim that they had no choice except to attack, but the truth is usually that they have quite a few other options that they passed over in favor of starting a war. War with Iran would be likely to happen following the conclusion of a deal only if a future administration chose to start one. Voters should take Cruz’s remarks as an indication that this is what he thinks the next president should do.

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