Wednesday, April 21, 2010

We Need a War Like We Need a Hole in the Head

With the US government weighing what to do about Iran's defiance over their growing nuclear program, a top American general appears rather pessimistic about what a military strike on Iran would accomplish.  General James Cartwright notes that the US would be unlikely to permanently stop Iran's nuclear program unless we fully occupy the country.  Simply striking them would, at best, merely delay the inevitable.  At worst, it would likely inflame an already volatile Iran even more in the long run, and galvanize support for the current regime. Thus, the US military has wisely been rather averse to any such attacks on Iran, and remains as such. 

All things considered, invading and occupying Iran would most likely be a disaster, one we simply cannot afford to risk.  The magnitude (read: number of troops required, and thus the cost in both lives and money) would necessarily be much greater than for the Iraq invasion and ongoing occupation.  Unlike Iraq, their military has not been softened by twelve years of draconian sanctions and periodic bombings.  It may even spiral into WWIII for all we know.  The occupation would need to last for at least a decade, perhaps even two.  With two other ongoing wars, a massive budget deficit, and numerous other problems in our country, the question remains:  where will we get the troops, not to mention the money, to commit to such a massive long-term endeavor?

One wildcard in the whole issue is Israel, currently led by the right-wing hardliner Binyamin "Bibi" Netanyahu.  Their government has been saber-rattling for many years now.  If they were to launch a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities (very difficult since most are underground), that would be just as bad (for the region at least) as the US doing it.  And if we are foolish enough to be dragged into it, either by tacitly (or explicitly) authorizing or joining in after the fact, that may very well be the end of America as we know it.  Did you know that Israel currently has about 200 nukes already prepared?  Let's not encourage anything of the sort, tacitly or otherwise.

What Iran will do with their nuclear technology remains a mystery. They claim it is for peaceful purposes only, but we can't be too sure about that. That said, it appears that going to war with them would do more harm than good. Thus, the TSAP does not support any sort of strike (or invasion) of Iran unless they attack us first. This is consistent with the party's general foreign policy.

Fortunately, for the near term at least, the government has ruled out any sort of military attack on Iran.  However, they are continuing to pursue more sanctions on Iran through the UN Security Council until they agree to stop uranium enrichment.