Reviews | Hawks reignite deranged push for war with Iran

The crusade for war with Iran continues.

Just weeks into the new year, war hawks are again calling on the US military to prepare plans for a comprehensive strike against Iran’s nuclear infrastructure.

Foundation for Defense of Democracies CEO Mark Dubowitz and Matthew Kroenig of the Atlantic Council – longtime proponents of a pre-emptive war with Iran – argued in a Wall Street Journal op-ed last week that “the red line for military action will come when Iran’s timeline to rush to a nuclear weapon shrinks to less than the Pentagon’s response time,” which, according to them, “could happen early this year”.

“The proponents of war with Iran must promote two big lies: that diplomacy cannot solve the crisis and alternatively that war could.”

“If and when it does,” they say, “the president should order military strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities to stop Tehran from building the bomb.”

Besides casually calling for another pre-emptive war in the Middle East, these authors reach this conclusion by misrepresenting facts and ignoring sound military strategy.

To convince policymakers to consider another regional military misadventure, proponents of war with Iran must promote two big lies: that diplomacy cannot solve the crisis and alternatively that war could.

Thus, Dubowitz and Kroenig begin by asserting that the negotiations “are at a standstill”.

It is true that talks with the Iranians have been slow. Yes, they enrich uranium above the thresholds set by the Iran nuclear deal negotiated in 2015. But the United States, under President Donald Trump, violated the accord in 2018, imposed more than 1 000 new crippling sanctions on Iran and publicly assassinating the leader of Iran. military commander in 2020. While President Joe Biden entered negotiations for a mutual return to compliance with the accord, he kept all of Trump’s sanctions in place. No wonder the process has been slow and Iranians are cautious.

Yet far from stalling, talks show signs of progress this month with Western and Iranian diplomats Express cautious optimism that a deal could be finalized in the coming weeks. It is perhaps the prospect of a reinstatement of the deal that has led critics to once again dangle the illusion of a theoretical “better deal” in the media.

The JCPOA is one of the strongest non-proliferation agreements ever negotiated. He closed all avenues of Iran to a bomb for decades. Iran has agreed to rip out more than two-thirds of its centrifuges, ship all but a token amount of its huge stockpile of uranium gas, remove its plutonium reactor core, drill holes in it and to fill it with concrete. It then agreed to place its entire nuclear complex under the most intrusive inspection regime ever negotiated.

Many of these restrictions expire after 15, 20 or 25 years, but the inspections and the commitment to never obtain a nuclear weapon written into the agreement are like diamonds – they last forever. And the door is open to negotiate follow-on limitations, as is standard in most arms control agreements, including all strategic nuclear agreements between the United States and Russia.

To beat this record of success, proponents of war must argue that US military attacks would be an almost magical solution, requiring minimal effort but achieving maximum effectiveness.

Dubowitz and Kroening have held this view for years.

Kroenig, for example, wrote many articles calling for the attack and devoted a whole book to start a pre-emptive war with Iran while the deal was being negotiated. His talking points remained unchanged with their new op-ed claiming that “Washington has effective military options” and that “there is no doubt that the Pentagon can destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities (even those that are deeply buried and hardened), as several defenses said the secretaries.

While, yes, the Secretaries of Defense have said that the United States could destroying Iran’s nuclear facilities (at least temporarily), no one said that would necessarily be the smartest idea.

On the contrary, Robert Gates, the former Secretary of Defense under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, noted in 2007 “it would be a strategic calamity to attack [Iran]and that such an attack would only delay Iran’s program for at most two years. He added in 2012: “If you [thought] the war in Iraq was tough, an attack on Iran would, in my opinion, be a disaster.

Former chairman of the Joint Chiefs Adm. Mike Mullen agrees. He noted in 2015 “it should be remembered that any strike, even successful, would only delay a nuclear escape capability for one to three years at most while fully galvanizing the Iranian people against the United States and in favor of the development of ‘nuclear weapons “.

Even President Trump’s Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis is famous noted that when it came to Iran, “the United States should buy time to maintain peace and stability and allow diplomats to work diplomacy on how to keep peace for one more hour, a an extra day, an extra week, a month or a year… the military has to work to give diplomats time to do their magic.

How much time do diplomats need? Dubowitz and Kroenig say Biden needs to launch a military strike “early this year” because “Iran is headed for a bomb.” But the American intelligence community, like CIA Director Williams Burns noted again last month, “sees no evidence that Iran’s Supreme Leader [Ali Khamenei] made the decision to go into arms.

Meanwhile, a growing number of Israeli military and intelligence officers Support a return to the JCPOA as Iran does regional rivals to the Gulf Cooperation Council. In the region, Trump’s torpedoing of the JCPOA is widely seen as “a delusional move”, as former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak put it. Put the. Rather than forcing Iran to collapse or comply with US demands, he said, it “allowed the Iranians to move quickly in the direction of becoming a nuclear threshold state.”

Dubowitz and Kroenig ignore all this expert judgment, and instead push a fantasized view of low-cost military actions (similar to those who called for war against Iraq), saying that “Tehran’s response would likely be muted”.

Anthony Zinni, retired CENTCOM commander and four-star marine general, disagrees, having once detailed how bad things could get if Iran decides to respond to US military strikes:

After dropping these bombs on these hardened installations, what happens next? What if they decide, in their hardened shelters with their mobile missiles, to start launching them? What if they launch them at US bases across the gulf? What if they launch in Israel or elsewhere? In a Saudi oil field? In Ras Laffan, with all the natural gas? What if they now empty their fast patrol boats, their cruise missiles…and they sink a tanker, a tanker? And of course, the global economy is going completely crazy… Just tell me how to handle this, okay?

Zinni concludes: “Eventually, if you follow all this to the end, I will end up putting boots on the ground somewhere. And as I tell my friends, if you like Iraq and Afghanistan, you’ll like Iran.

War is never easy. And we should always be wary of those who promise that it will, especially as diplomatic talks are still active.

Kroenig and Dubowitz promise that escalation with Iran could be limited by “dropping an explicit threat that if Tehran escalates, the Pentagon will destroy more than nuclear facilities,” and we believe this contradicts the author. real motive: another vain hope for regime change.

After more than 20 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, 54% of Americans Okay with the decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan – even though they disapproved of the way the situation was being handled. Additionally, 69% of Americans believe that the United States achieved next to nothing in the two decades that American forces were there.

Indeed, despite the dysfunction in Washington, there have been bipartisan support for the repeal of the 2002 authorization for the use of military force that President Trump used to justify his targeted assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in 2020.

The Biden administration has been very clear that it will never allow Iran to possess a nuclear weapon and that, if necessary, all options are on the table.

But let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that launching another pre-emptive war in the Middle East would somehow be clean, easy, cheap or effective.

Let’s just call it what it is – nuts.

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