(To read the rest of our series, “The Case Against War with Iran”, please click here.)
Luckily, since we started this series on Iran, most of the comments have stayed positive or offered polite disagreement. If America, Israel or Iran actually do begin to drift towards war, I worry that will change. I worry people will challenge us, “Do you guys want America to lose? Do you hate America?”
This quote from a 2003 David Carr article on the aftermath of the initial invasion of Iraq captures our worries:
“This has been a tough war for commentators on the American left. To hope for defeat meant cheering for Saddam Hussein. To hope for victory meant cheering for President Bush.
"The toppling of Mr. Hussein, or at least a statue of him, has made their arguments even harder to defend. Liberal writers for ideologically driven magazines like The Nation and for less overtly political ones like The New Yorker did not predict a defeat, but the terrible consequences many warned of have not happened."
(Please read more about the toppling of Saddam’s statue in this The New Yorker article debunking it. And yes, we’re aware how ironic this quote is in retrospect.)
Both paragraphs of David Carr’s comment could apply to both Eric C and me. For the first paragraph, Eric C and I deal with an inversion of Carr’s issue. We will advocate against military action in Iran, no matter which party occupies the White House. We base our decision on whether or not to support a war on the wisdom of the decision, not the man in office. If President Obama loses and President Romney wins, it won’t change how we feel about Iran.
The second paragraph in the Carr quote really causes me to worry. I have tried to clearly lay out the options for a possible war with Iran. Since I can’t predict the future, I have to couch my analysis in probabilities. I believe a war with Iran will probably cost thousands of soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines their lives. But I could be wrong. Again, I can’t predict the future.
Carr rightfully points out that many liberal writers predicted that the Iraq war would go badly from the start. The Iraq war did go terribly, but it was a slow burn, a slow rot that took thousands of lives over many years. The Iran war could have the same slow pain. Or it could be bad immediately. Or U.S. commanders could effectively bomb Iran without any severe consequences. In virtually no cases could military action against Iran end their nuclear program.
Eric C and I have a post coming up about “blaming America first”. Americans need to stop questioning each other’s love of country. Predicting disaster, or the possibility of disaster, does not mean either of us wants the U.S. to lose a war. Or that we want U.S. troops to die in combat. Or that we want Iran to have nuclear weapons.
Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world where every decision can only work out well. I mean, that would make leadership and strategy much easier, wouldn’t it? Instead, our political leaders need as much information as possible to make wise and effective decisions. Some of that information won’t be pleasant to hear. That doesn’t make it not true.
When it comes to Iran, America needs a more realistic portrayal of Iran’s military capabilities and the consequences of fighting them. America needs a more robust debate over the perils of another war in another Middle Eastern nation. This honesty might encourage more elected officials and military leaders to stop beating the war drums about Iran.
That doesn’t mean I am rooting for Iran. We’re rooting for America. We love America, and we want us to make the right decision, which is a diplomatic and peaceful solution to this conflict.