A $9 Trillion War? Top 10 Reasons Americans will Regret it if GOP Derails Iran Negotiations

(By Juan Cole)

40 Republican senators are making a last-minute push to bring further Iran sanctions up for a vote despite the opposition of senate majority leader Harry Reid. Some 59 senators signed on to a plan to increase sanctions during President Obama’s negotiations with Iran, which Iranian leaders have argued could derail the talks. Among the steps these Republicans favor is reversing the minor easing of sanctions implemented by Obama as a quid pro quo to Iran for steps it has taken to make its nuclear enrichment program more transparent and less amenable to weaponization (Iran says the program is purely for civilian purposes).

It is absolutely outrageous and very rare that Congress would interfere in diplomatic negotiations of the president. They let Bush go around invading countries but won’t let Obama try to forestall a war.

The GOP is acting for its own reasons, since it wants to take the senate in the fall and thinks making vulnerable Democrats explicitly vote against further Iran sanctions will hurt them with the public. But the further sanctions have been pushed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, other Israel lobbies, and the far right wing Israeli government of Binjamin Netanyahu, and some of the impetus for further pushing them likely is coming from AIPAC donors (who skew much further to the right than the mainstream of the American Jewish community– which after all contains many peace activists).

But the GOP and AIPAC are playing with fire, and it is the American people who will get the third degree burns if they succeed. Here’s why:

1. If the new sanctions derail the negotiations of new President Hasan Rouhani with the permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, Rouhani’s enemies among the hard liners will be strengthened.

2. If Rouhani loses power and looks weak, the hard liners could make pursuing further negotiations difficult.

3. If the negotiations collapse, Iran’s enrichment program may well become less transparent.

4. Hawks (i.e. war criminals) in the US have used the pretext of lack of transparency in foreign countries’ research projects to foment war (as happened most notoriously in Iraq).

5. The current US sanctions and financial blockade on Iranian oil sales are so severe that they have raised tensions with Iran to a new level of intensity, and could lead to hostilities very easily.

6. If the Iranian enrichment program cannot be made transparent through negotiations, pressure will build on US administrations to bomb the facilities at Natanz.

7. Such an attack could well spiral into all-out war.

8. Iran is three times more populous than Iraq was when the US invaded it in 2003. It is also geographically three times Iraq’s size (it is the size of continental Western Europe– i.e. Germany, France and Spain combined). Gen. Shinseki estimated that based on the Balkans experience the US would have needed 800,000 troops in Iraq to pacify it post-invasion. He was proved right (US viceroy in Iraq Paul Bremer admitted that there were never enough US troops on the ground there). This estimate suggests that the US would need 2.4 million troops on the ground in Iran (hint: it does not have them).

9. If we figure in the cost over their lifetimes of caring for the some 30,000 Iraq War veterans who were injured badly enough to go to hospital, the true cost of the Iraq War is at least $3 trillion. The US is currently $16 trillion in debt, about the amount of its annual gross domestic product, which is a very dangerous economic posture that has led to its credit rating being cut. Iran could be three times as costly as Iraq, given the demographic and territorial considerations, and therefore could cost $9 trillion. That kind of debt burden (the money would have to be borrowed) would certainly bankrupt the country, causing the cost of borrowing money for small businesses to skyrocket and leading to a Great Depression.

10. A US war on Iran would not remain contained. Shiite militias in Iraq would be mobilized against US targets in the region. The US embassy in Baghdad with thousands of US personnel is vulnerable (Iraq’s largely Shiite army is protecting it at the moment). US bases in Kuwait and Bahrain are vulnerable. US economic and other assets in Lebanon are vulnerable. The remaining contingent of US troops in Afghanistan could also be targeted by Iran clients in that country, who at the moment support NATO against the Taliban. If Benghazi roiled US politics, imagine it multiplied many times over.

Of course the hawks (i.e. war criminals waiting to happen) might profit from such a conflagration. But it will be working Americans and small businesspeople who will pay the price of a consequent economic meltdown that will make 2008 look like a cakewalk.

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related video

PBS NewsHour on effects of sanctions on Iran

59 Responses

  1. The hawks will definitely profit from war with Iran. Today, the Pentagon announce it wants $4.5 billion more for extra defense missile funding including over $1 billion for new Homeland defense radar in Alaska. The $4.5 billion also includes Raytheon’s “kill vehicle” which is used to hit and destroy enemy missiles on impact. I would assume those enemy missiles will be Iranian.

    So, if Iran launches an all out missile attack over Poland and/or Alaska, we will be safe right here in America. The billion spent on Homeland radar in Alaska will also warns us if North Korea or China shoots missiles across the Pacific.

    However, Hawaii is still vulnerable. :(

    • Currently Iran does not have any ICBMs (Russia, China, UK France and India do) so any missiles coming at the US will not be Iranian.

      Then there is the “slight” problem that anti-missiles systems are almost worthless with a over 75% failure rate.

      This is because of basic physics. the anti-missile has to get within five meters of a small object that is traveling at hyper-sonic speeds and is programmed to evade anti-missiles.

      Remember the two objects are closing at over Mach 5, so any slight change in flight path will cause a miss.

  2. Anyone who thinks landing 150,000 US troops among 75,000,000 Iranians is a good idea raise your hand. Bill Kristol put your hand down, we know where you stand!

    The only slight disagreement I have with the good professor is that the “economic meltdown” would extend far beyond the borders of the US. Blocking the Strait of Hormuz, as the Iranians have threatened to do should they be attacked, would send prices for a barrel of oil into the stratosphere, creating a world wide meltdown, or should we say, depression.

    When the misery hit it’s peak, post invasion, you can bet the Israelis would then shrug their shoulders and say, “This war was started by the Americans, not the Israelis. Don’t blame us!.”

    • Per the US military’s own manuals (FM 3-24.2 – available on the web for you to read), a quick rule of thumb for invading and holding an area with a WILLING population is one US soldier per 20 locals. This is the BEST CASE and would require a MINIMUM of 3 MILLION US soldiers to hold the entire country of Iran.

      Of course, the Iranian population would be extremely hostile to US troops, so the US can either only try to hold a small area (Similar to Fort Apache surrounded by angry hostiles) or increase the invasion force by many millions more. A ten to one ration would require 7.5 MILLION US troops

      Iran’s trained and battle hardened military is currently BIGGER than the US trained and battle weary US military and Iran has over 30 MILLION military eligible humans that are not already in the military. Iran also has more than enough AK-47s, ammo and IED material to turn every one of those people into a major problem for any US invaders.

      Then there is the US causalities. The US would have to expect a MINIMUM of 0.1% causalities per month. That is, 3,000 causalities per month for 3 million soldiers. The good news is most of those would be maimed, losing one or more limbs, instead of deaths. Of course there is the “slight” 50+ year economic burden on the US for all those maimed soldiers.

      Of course, since the real world is much worse than the theoretical world, the US would suffer much worse and lose much worse.

      Be ready to open your check book because no one else on the earth will help pay for this war.

      Not only will China not lend the US any money, but they just may join Iran in the war, then things will get really bad for the US.

      Aren’t you glad you are not as pessimistic as I am?

      • “Per the US military’s own manuals (FM 3-24.2 – available on the web for you to read), a quick rule of thumb for invading and holding an area with a WILLING population is one US soldier per 20 locals.”

        The ratio of one soldier for every 20 local inhabitants has been standard counter-insurgency doctrine since the British succeeded with just that ration in defeating the Communist insurgents in the Malayan Emergency that lasted from 1948 to 1960. It is the only successful counter-insurgency program in modern annals, and it was not just the ration of British forces to local inhabitants that led to success. Malaya at the time was a British colony, and the British were in charge of all government organs and could make decisions without reference to other elements.

        “Not only will China not lend the US any money, but they just may join Iran in the war, then things will get really bad for the US.”

        There is not a chance that China would join Iran in a war against the United States. There would be absolutely no gain for China, as China realizes that it’s interests lie in cooperating in certain primary areas with the U.S. We have differences with China, but none that China would see in its interests to go to war with the U.S.

        :

        • China has actually publicly stated that they will defend Iran and I for one take their word for it, especially knowing their 5000 year old culture. You might want to keep in mind that China is NOT one bit afraid of the US. While China prefers to use stealth and deception to achieve their objectives, they have no qualms about using raw brute force when necessary. I STRONGLY CAUTION Americans from assuming that China will sit by while the US destroys over 10% of their energy supplies.

        • “especially knowing their 5000 year old culture.”

          I, too, know china’s 5,000 year old culture. They are not about to join Iran in a war against the U.S. It would be of know value to them at all to engage in such folly.

        • By the way, your use of WORDS IN ALL CAPS in no way enhances the validity of your points.

        • Making reference to inchoate but scary-huge “national interests” at every point in the discussion does not enhance the validity of other unsupported assertions based on supposed but unstated and in any event unsupported greater and deeper and more insider knowledge and wisdom. The kind that is in part responsible for the sorry state of the world and the US imperial involvement in it.

  3. What is even more tragic is that there is not greater public awareness and a strong backlash against the attempts of a foreign government to drag the US and the world through a devastating war that will cause so much pain, suffering and destruction on charges that are now proved to have been false propaganda in order to manufacture a crisis link to lobelog.com

    • Same principle as the “markets” that dominate most of the rest of human interaction: socialize the horror and other externalities (political derangement, Agent Orange, depleted-uranium, AKs and FALs and M-4s and RPGs always and everywhere), privatize the profits. Whether it’s derivatives or cluster bombs or total penetration of the cyberspnere, it’s all the same thing. The Few float above it, untouched, languidly contracting with one another, up thre in Elysium, link to en.wikipedia.org, while the masses, the masses I said, try to make decent lives for themselves and their loved ones. Even in Homs and Fallujah and Mogadishu…

  4. According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, AIPAC is now declaring “there should not be a vote at this time” on the sanctions. They report that Menendez, too, has backed off on the vote.

  5. 11. Iran would close the Straights of Hormuz and cut off the supply of oil from the Persian Gulf. Oil prices would double at a minimum, and likely triple. Gasoline at $9 per gallon? You can imagine the damage to the economy. Try collapse. It would be worse than the financial collapse in 2008.

    Could Iran close the Straights? They’d only need to do so for a few months at most. Remember how effectively Hezbollah handled Israel in 2006? Iran trained Hezbollah. It’s the junior varsity. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards are the varsity. They’ve had years to prepare. War games by the US showed the IRG successfully closing the Straights.

    Do we really want another Great Depression? The war hawks say that would be a small price to pay for proving our manhood. Do the rest of us agree?

    Don’t think so.

      • Nitpicking, but…. “straits”.

        It is probably true that the Iranians would not be able to permanently close the straits, but a combination of missiles and mines would wreak havoc to the extent that oil tanker traffic would be severely diminished — apart from the danger of physical harm, marine insurance would be very difficult to obtain.

      • Iran doesn’t need to “close” the straits. All they need to do is whack a couple of tankers to raise the risk, and the cost of oil will go sky high. They could also use medium range missiles with conventional warheads to disrupt transfer facilities and ports, e.g., Ras Tanura. Even the threat of attack will have major impact on oil prices.

      • Not closed, perhaps, to the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps if somehow it really, really comes to matter, but the Oceanic Oil Transport Insurance Industry will see to it that the Straits are closed to commerce and thus to catastrophic claims at the first whiff of cordite. And if that risk isn’t currently insured, the owners will do it.

        If push really comes to shove I’ll be surprised if that last nuclear carrier and its high tech support group steaming around in circles in the confined waters the Gulf don’t seek blue water before a war actually begins. How do we benefit by losing them to showers of anti-ship missiles as nothing more than a demonstration of American courage?

        Oh well, I just now read Chet’s comment. I’ll post mine anyway. Sorry, Chet.

      • Actually, YES, Iran has more than enough military capability to stop all ship traffic in the Persian Gulf, including US war ships. The Persian Gulf shipping channel is narrow and full of hazards, so all ships have to navigate slowly. The ships are sitting ducks for . . .

        – Iranian super cavitation torpedo launched from small Iranian subs designed specifically to function very well in the shallow gulf (US subs are too big and bulky to operate in the Persian Gulf). No ship in the world can defend against an attack by a super cavitation torpedo. NONE.

        – Iranian shore to ship hypersonic missiles. While US war ships can defend against one or two missiles at any given time, the Iranians use a “swarm” technique and overload the US war ship defenses, such that one missiles always gets through and destroys the ship. Of course tankers have no defenses at all. Iran has thousands of these missiles on portable launchers.

        – Iran has high speed attack boats. These are low cost, “narco” type high speed boats filled with explosives. Most are remotely controlled, but suicide drivers can also be used. Four or more of these boats “swarm” a ship and at least one will explode against the side of the ship, causing major if not fatal damage.

        – Iran only has to sink one tanker to cause every insurance company in the world to VOID every ship insurance policy out there and no sane ship owner will move a ship within a thousand miles of the Persian gulf without insurance. Tankers cost BILLIONS to buy and no amount of smuggled oil can ever cover the loss of a ship without insurance. The US may try to indemnify ship owners, but I suspect that few will trust the US to actually pay if their ship gets sunk.

        So the bottom line is once Iran says the Persian Gulf is closed, very few ships will move and the ones that do move will likely get sunk.

        Iran also has MRBM missiles with High Explosive (HE) warheads which can devastate every oil terminal in the region. When there is no way to load the tankers, there will be no need for tankers. Note that oil terminals are NOT “off-the-shelf” items. There are no spare oil terminal components anywhere in the world. Every oil terminal is custom hand built on-site. Once an oil terminal is destroyed, it can take as much as several years to re-build it. Note also that oil terminals have lots of very explosive oil in them, so it does not take very many missiles to totally destroy an oil terminal. All the missiles have to do is start the chain reactions.

        If the US attacks Iran, it will lose very badly and have permanent, severe economic damage to the US.

        BTW – over the last five years there have been at least three war simulations that I know of and in all three, the US LOST very, very badly.

        Remember that Iran has spent the last 35 years observing the US military (often close up in Iraq and Afghanistan) and has carefully planned how to defend Iran from the US. Iran has built its own MIC and has the engineering expertise to defeat the US. In fact its engineering expertise is so good, many of the enhancements they have made to Russian, Korean and Chinese weapons systems have been sold back to the original designers, they are that good!

        • Iranian super cavitation torpedoes are derivative of the Russian Shkval. United States Defense and Naval analysts and operational weapons and counter-weapons officers are well-aware of them and their capabilities.

          It is not a given at all that there would be no defense against such a torpedo attack against a U.S. carrier strike group operating in the Persian Gulf. The U.S. has developed counter-measures to defeat an attack incorporating such torpedoes.

          “If the US attacks Iran, it will lose very badly and have permanent, severe economic damage to the US.”

          I do not think the U.S. will start a war with Iran, regardless of what some in Congress, as well as in Israel, may wish. Nevertheless, should there be a war, it will not involve U.S. ground troops and occupation. Moreover, it is a bit over-the-top to state that the U.S. would “lose and lose badly.” Wars are hardly ever “won” or “lost” by the U.S. anymore. The idea would be to degrade Iran’s nuclear and military capability, which certainly is within U.S. capability to do.

          I am not advocating such action. I am just saying that the U.S. would not necessarily “lose” in the conventional sense of the term, in any such encounter, given the objective of degrading Iran’s nuclear and military assets.

        • spyguy:
          Informative post.
          I would agree, up to your last suggestion that Iranian engineering prowess could defeat the US.
          That depends entirely on how far the US would be willing to go in a conflict with Iran.
          If determined, there would be no contest.

        • Bill,

          You seem to be up to snuff on the naval side of a new war in the Gulf. Can you articulate a rationale for keeping capital ships and extensive naval bases in and on those enclosed waters? They look to me to be sitting ducks of dubious military value. Is there really any reason other than to provide a modicum of anti-missile defence for Israel?

          On the other hand if we withdrew them and sought blue water it would I think have a salutary effect on the Israelis. And the latter is something we need more than anything else.

          At present I am having difficulty with the prospect of losing a single additional American life for that regime and think that the sooner they know it the better.

        • @Bill – Get real and learn some basic physics.

          Supercaviatating torpedoes travel at over 200 MPH and the Persian gulf narrows to 35 miles at the straits. Of that 35 mile width, only about a 2 mile shipping channel is usable, forcing ships into a killing box. If we assume the longest torpedo shot would be 25 miles, that means a us war ship would have to detect and destroy the incoming torpedo in LESS than 10 seconds. Look at the second hand on your watch for ten seconds, then tell me that the US war ships would be able to defend against an Iranian Hoot torpedo. The US military is no where as good as American myths say it is and can and will be defeated by Iran. As Sun Tzu points out the surest way to lose a war is to believe your own myths and ignore the reality about your opponents. All the rah-rah from delusional Americans is NOT going to keep the US from being defeated.

        • “All the rah-rah from delusional Americans is NOT going to keep the US from being defeated.”

          Speaking of “rah-rah delusional” talk. You apparently have no idea of counter-measures developed as a result of the cavitation torpedo, which is a derivative of the Russian Shkval. I assure you, the U.S. is not going to be defeated by Iran, in the Persian Gulf or anywhere else.

    • So (Gaius Baltar) are you saying that we need to go to war with Iran to assure that the price of oil will be stable?

  6. One of the immediate consequences of any actions by the congress critters (an alien, non-human life form), will be the end of most third party sanctions. That is, most countries will begin to trade with Iran and when the US tries to enforce its sanctions by threatening other countries, many will simply ignore the US and if the US takes any actions, US companies will immediately be severely punished. Other countries know all too well just how vulnerable the US is economically and will NOT be reluctant to retaliate for any US actions. In other words, a full blown trade war where the US population suffers.

    Also from a military perspective, while the US can definitely kill lots of Iranians and destroy a lot of structures, Iran also has very sophisticated defense system, so the US military will pay a very heavy price for every bomb that is dropped. And once the US withdraws in defeat, Iran will rebuild including building nuclear weapons. to protect itself from further attacks from Israel and Saudi Arabia (both of which already have nuclear weapons).

    Yes the Saudis have nuclear weapons in country. They purchased them from Pakistan and put them on some extremely old (and unreliable) missiles pointed at Israel and Iran.

    The bottom lines are:

    – the US has to get the best deal it can TODAY, before the sanctions fall apart (probably by the end of 2014).

    – The US can not put any more direct sanctions on Iran because there is no trade between the US and Iran.

    – any further third-party sanctions will be ignored and will lead to the end of existing third-party sanctions.

    – The US can NOT win in any sense of the word “win” in a war with Ira. The US can only lose badly or extremely badly.

    The worst thing the congress critters could do is derail the US negotiations and send the US down the path to war and economic ruin.

    • “Yes the Saudis have nuclear weapons in country. They purchased them from Pakistan and put them on some extremely old (and unreliable) missiles pointed at Israel and Iran.”

      There is absolutely no evidence that the Saudis have nuclear weapons in-country, obtained from Pakistan or anywhere else. The Saudis partially bankrolled the Pakistani nuclear program, and, as a result, it has always been thought that they have a claim on Pakistani nuclear weapons should they ever see a need (e.g., if Iran were to successfully develop a nuclear weapon.)

      What you may have seen are certain “intelligence reports” that the Saudis have nuclear weapons obtained from Pakistan. I put “intelligence reports” in quotes because it has long been known that they originated in Israel. Such “reports” are simply an attempt by Israel to sow fear and apprehension regarding Saudi capabilities. In spite of the fact that such “intelligence” (manufactured by Israel) has fooled some into believing the Saudis have nuclear weapons, there is no basis or evidence for believing it. To do so is to fall into the Israeli Narrative they would like everyone to believe.

    • According to the World Nuclear Association, in a December of 2013 report, Saudi Arabia has plans to spend $80 billion in the next 20 years to construct a number of nuclear reactors in Saudi Arabia.

      Saudi Arabia has signed a research and development agreement with South Korea and also has cooperation agreements with Argentina and France.

      Saudi Arabia in 2008 became a signatory to the old “Atoms for Peace” program initiated by President Eisenhower in the 1950s.

      There is no conclusive proof that Saudi Arabia has ever possessed atomic weaponry, but it is correct that they financed the Pakistani nuclear weapons program and have promoted educational opportunities for physicists to conduct such scientific research.

    • Can you confirm that the Saudis have nukes in country? Last I heard Pakistan is holding them in the event Saud needs them.

      • Saudi Arabia does not have any nuclear weapons and there is no evidence that Pakistan would let their own out of country.

  7. Number 11? All of our allies would probably walk away if they believed the right wing in the US was trying to start another war. We would end up going it alone! And it would be very easy for them to do that. After all nobody around the world really trust the U.S. anymore!

  8. “AIPAC Caves On Iran Sanctions Vote.” link to talkingpointsmemo.com

    Not exactly game-over, if you read it and track it. Wonder what the little we-don’t-have-to-register-as-a- foreign-lobby sneaks and their disloyal friends in Congress and whatever fraction of the MIC that favors taking a big chance on seeing the Fleet blown out of the water, and related idiocy, have a little further up their sleeves? “It’s a dangerous world out there.” Wonder how one reduces that danger, when there are so many well-armed and wealthy and well-connected sociopaths with death wishes roaming around out there, ready to take down the rest of the ordinary people with them? And so many on “our” side who only know how to throw gasoline on the smoldering charcoal in the community grill?

    • JT,

      Don’t you think that most Congressional people must detest AIPAC? They watch it corrupting an institution they are no doubt proud of having risen to. Even Presidents have to attend its annual Conventions to be shown off as if trophies with smiles frozen to their faces.

      My guess about the human nature factor is that they cave under threat and must be humiliated by it. It must be made worse that the people representing the threat are committing crimes under FARA every day? I should think it’s akin to helplessly submitting to a Mafia protection racket or suffering the daily humiliation of being a prostitute. To survive professionally they must violate their oaths and self-respect and support policies they know are contrary to the interests of the American people. That’s got to be an unpleasant price to pay for the campaign bribes.

      • One has to wonder how many are Mr. Smiths Gone To Washington, and how many are Liebermans and that idiot with the awful skin tones and crocodile tears… Seems to me that once under the Beltway Bubble, insulated from the awful reality the rest of us face every working and weekend day, and freed from any consequences, all those virtues and reservations you presume and reference disappear, sublimate completely, in the fog of fundraising, elbow-rubbing, log-rolling and messaging. Too many experiments in the psychology world showing how fragile the moral sense and wider loyalties and perceptions are for me, at least, to think there’s some reason to hope that some of them, enough of them, might seek redemption by acts and deeds, rather than absolution by re-election… At least until it’s time to enter a “McNamara plea” or do the Colin Powell Hamlet scene. No negative consequences, all around, except to the ordinary people, the cake-eating masses, as it were…

  9. The problem is that the US government actually wants to spend as much money in wars as possible. As the whole purpose of the government is to transfer money from ordinary tax-payers to the super rich, especially the arms manufacturers, the more money is used the better. They don’t really care about all the other costs of war, human or otherwise.
    War with Iran will be a lot more profitable than the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

  10. Americans need to understand the assumptions and objectives of Aipac and the neocons.
    Consider the failures for the US of pursuing a neocon agenda. If the goal of sanctions was to retard Iran’s nuclear program, then sanctions were clearly not effective. Ten years ago Iran had approximately 200 centrifuges, and now it has nearly 20,000.
    If the goal of America’s aggression in the Middle East was to increase its power then it was a failure. Before the Iraq invasion, the US had firm allies throughout the Middle East and Iran’s power was more tentative. Now, the US carries less influence and Iran more.
    The US’s acceptance of Iran as an enduring, independent and legitimate regional power, is not something that Aipac and the neocons can accept. However, the sooner Americans understand the agenda of Aipac, the neocons and their friends, the sooner the US will improve its world standing and the world will be a safer place.
    link to detailedpoliticalquizzes.wordpress.com

    • Hello Rudolph,

      Everything we touch over there turns to dreck, especially those things we touch with boots.

      That’s also true when we confuse what’s good for us with what Israel thinks is good for her.

      Accordingly we must be doing the wrong things, or touching them anyway, and keeping bad company. That’s inescapable, no?

      So, might the answer be to touch nothing and cease consulting the Israelis? I think we should try that. It’s an off-shore policy sort of like that being used by Iran right before our eyes. Thanks to Professor Cole we know that she is currently showing the Iranian flag in or near the Atlantic Ocean off, perhaps, Namibia. It’s a DD, not a BB, but that flag flutters proudly at the masthead and everything western will remain at peace. As a result we will have a new best friend and ally which will be a lot easier to get along with.

      So what do you think?

  11. “40 Republican senators are making a last-minute push to bring further Iran sanctions up for a vote despite the opposition of senate majority leader Harry Reid. Some 59 senators signed on to a plan to increase sanctions during President Obama’s negotiations with Iran, which Iranian leaders have argued could derail the talks.”

    Let’s not overlook the Democrats (note the uppercase “D”) who are complicit in this potential lunacy.

    We should have a national referendum on this with these questions:

    1. Do you support a war on Iran?

    2. If the answer is “yes” are you prepared to open your wallet or charge your credit card to pay for it? If the answer is “no” your “yes” vote doesn’t count.

  12. The talk of hundreds of thousands of troops or occupying Iran, while correct, is simply silly — that is not the modern way the US wages war.

    As demonstrated in Vietnam, Iraq and now in Afghanistan, the US can “lose” wars as long as it sufficiently destroys the target country.

    Money? Who cares? The US ruling class doesn’t. The military-industrial complex makes their money so they’re happy. Most of the 1% profits from gov’t debt and other expenditures, so they’re happy.

    The goal of US wars is not “occupation” — that’s so WWII. The goal is punishment and destroying countries who dare to be independent and to not do what the US gov’t tells them to do.

    That is the reason for laying waste to Vietnam, Iraq, etc. It is the reason the US still maintains an embargo on Cuba. Disobedience and true independent is punished by the US gov’t.

    And, given some time, the countries wiped out by the US will perhaps come back to the US and beg some scaps from our economic table, just as Vietnam has done, and just as Iraq is doing.

  13. We should not be surprised at the promotion of a war on Iran. There has always been a faction in American public life inclined towards aggression without regard for others: Slavery, Native American near genocide, and setting up banana republics in Central and Latin America. More recently we have had to witness: “A rare indictment of US atrocities: Since World War II, the U.S. government has routinely sidestepped blame for the slaughters that have accompanied American foreign policy. One of the few high-profile condemnations occurred when playwright Harold Pinter accepted the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005,” as Gary G. Kohls recalls. – link to consortiumnews.com

    There were periods of enlightenment when the United States played a prominent role in writing the UN Charter and the Geneva Conventions, but they were treated with the utmost contempt by the Bush II Administration and its English poodle.

  14. All good points. If only these shameless congress people had the good sense to reason out, and stop carrying the water for an alien nation, that, let’s be honest, does not care a fig for the interests of the US or Americans, but their own devious plans.
    It is incredible to think that they do the bidding of a tiny war mongering nation, and go against their own President. Iran is not Iraq, and any attack against Iran, will be deadly for not only the US but the region too. Iran will retaliate in ways that will make these senator’s heads spin. It seems they have forgotten that wars have to be averted, and it always is best to give diplomacy a chance, before dropping bombs on innocent civilians. It is time someone in the controlled media, did the American people a favor, and told them the truth…..that the fools they vote for, put the interests of a manipulative, alien nation, whose lobby writes our foreign policies, over their own interests first. The unwavering aid and support keeps being poured into Israel’s coffers, while our people have to do without so much. The writer gives very good points and reasons why we should not do Israel’s bidding and wage yet another costly war, that honestly, we simply cannot afford, unfortunately it seems loyalty to Israel makes them blinded to common sense.

    • There is nothing incredible about this. These politicians are primarily interested only in what is good for themselves despite what children are taught in civics or social studies classes about their being in Congress and the White House to represent the people who elected them. It just happens at this time that they are paid courtesans for the Israeli right wing and its lobby in the United States. If, on the other hand, Saudi Arabia, China or Fiji outbid the Israeli lobby then they would do the bidding of the Saudis, the Chinese or the Fijians. The preceding refers to foreign affairs. On the domestic side the same criterion – self-interest – applies and they do the bidding of the corporations that bribed them with campaign finance donations.

  15. Professor Cole, I really hate to sound like a broken record ( that simile really dates me ), but after having served in Vietnam I knew the war in Iraq would be another foreign policy debacle. What astounds me though is that the war hawks were as clueless as they were. Ant that includes all the Vietnam veterans serving in Congress at the time when they voted for Bush’s resolution And by the way, Professor, thanks for labeling the drum beaters in one of your sentences in parenthesis as war criminals. That’s telling it like it is. So it really doesn’t surprise me now the hawks are again beating their little tin drums for a war with Iran by sabotaging the negotiations with Iran in Geneva. They never learn. They never will. ( Why did I learn? Well, serving as a medical corpsman was a painful experience. But I digress as usual. ) They are as rigid in their ideology as the advisers, those New Frontiersmen from JFK’s administration who decided to stay on after his death and serve under LBJ, were about the Cold War and saw Vietnam as a proxy war with the old Soviet Union and what used to be called “Red”China. ( And if you surf over to the website for Foreign Affairs, it has a promotional ad that offers you a free copy of Samuel Huntington’s The Clash of Civilizations with a paid, one-year subscription. They never learned either.) Critics loved to make fun of President George W. Bush when he infamously said, “I don’t do nuisance.” But he’s really quite representative how many of our elected officials and fellow citizens view the war on terror as just another Cold War. Of course, even the average American is now so disgusted and gun-shy when it comes to another war that the hawks are all on their own inside the beltway bubble about the issues you raised in your list. And ever since the U.S. has had a volunteer armed forces there was been a dramatic cultural disconnect between the leaders who want war and those who actually have to fight in the war. And then we have all the average citizens in the middle who have given up on the democratic process and are just fighting their economic war after the 2008 meltdown. So it’s really a battle between the political and ideological elites.

    • I think the Congress was more sensitive to the concerns of soldiers and their families back when we had a draft.
      to me, there’s less of a “cultural disconnect” between the leaders who want war and those who actually have to fight,
      because the fighters no longer have a voice.
      They are dismissed with, “well, you volunteered for this, didn’t you ? You got paid to train, now get paid to fight ”
      .

    • ” Of course, even the average American is now so disgusted and gun-shy when it comes to another war that the hawks are all on their own inside the beltway bubble …”

      Given the typical average Americans who may be tired of wars, the odds are they will remain mute if the hawks do get another war going or likely to be going. A little or a lot of haranguing by the likes of Faux Newz and Windbaugh & Co. about supporting the troops will keep them quiet unless there is a draft to recruit enough people to meet the requirements suggested by spyguy.

      Talking of a draft, we should have one that requires all children and grandchildren of senators and representatives voting for wars to be shipped of to the war zones where boots are required on the ground.

  16. This war may cost 9 trillion or 9 cent, but it will produce a nuclear armed Iran instead of a nuclear capable Iran. No matter who is the leader or what it will cost.

  17. This is precisely why America needs a war tax and should reinstate the draft. We have made it too easy for these war-mongers to start a war and mask the true cost of it. If we immediately levied a 10% surtax on all income as soon as the first bomb was dropped or bullet fired, we would have a lot less wars. Further, if we reinstated a draft with no deferments (None!), the wars we did start would end a lot faster than they do now! Write your Senators and Representative and urge them to do both!

    • The war tax is a great idea. So is the draft with its own catch 22: sons and daughters and grandsons and granddaughters of Legislators who vote for a war of choice to be the first drafted. No education or parental exemptions. All draft physicals done blindly.

  18. Wars don’t cost money. Tea party people, fiscal conservatives and other Republicans are always talking about balancing the budget. They have never mentioned anything about costs of war. The idea that wars cost money is obviously more liberal poppycock.

  19. It is bizarre and evidence of moral bankruptcy in the United States that many of the same people who are pushing for or threatening war on Iran are the same people who were complicit in the immoral and illegal war on Iraq. If the US was the virtuous leader of the world it claims to be, then these warmongers would have been hauled off to a criminal court years ago. If the post-WWII war crimes trials were used as a standard these warmongers would have spent some time dangling at the end of a rope.

    The Truth about the Criminal Bloodbath in Iraq Can’t Be ‘Countered’ Indefinitely: The media cover-up has been a weapon in the crimes of western states since the first world war. But a reckoning is coming for those paid to keep the record straight by John Pilger – link to commondreams.org

  20. “Today’s conservatives[Republicans] resemble the exhumed figures of Pompeii, trapped in postures of frozen flight, clenched in the rigor mortis of a defunct ideology.”
    Stan Tanenhaus
    The Death of Conservatism

    • “Iran gave up too much in the current talks already; what more do they want?”

      The Iranians seem to have decided that irrespective of the outcome of the talks and relief from the sanctions it is in their best interests to be forthcoming on the nuclear issue. For what it’s worth I believe they are right. Coming clean with the IAEA will put an end to any legitimate criticism, vastly diminish the threat of attack and leave Netanyahu alone, digging the hole he is in deeper and deeper.

  21. It is possible that some of 40 Republican senators mentioned in the essay still believe that Iran has either built an atomic bomb or is working on one now. To these senators, the 10 reasons you listed must be balanced against the danger of Iran using their bomb on us. Reasons 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 may fall in this category.

    Neither the essay, nor the comments that followed, focused on WHY the Iranians feel they need to enrich uranium-235. For the benefit of readers who believe that Iran does not have a good reason for enriching any uranium, I suggest they look at the Iranian website http://www.NuclearEnergy.ir. In the top menu, click on “Motives”. This site gives Iran’s point of view. Needless to say, http://www.NuclearEnergy.ir will be more authentic than the opinions reported in the American news media.

    From the beginning, the use of trade and economic sanctions against Iran was mean-spirited and irrational. The sanctions sent an obvious message to all Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty nations: Foreign sources of uranium fuel are not dependable.

  22. Hello,
    This is a request for a correction, not a new comment.

    At about 12:01 PM today, I sent a three-paragraph comment. The 3rd paragraph ended with: “Foreign sources of uranium fuel are not dependable.” It should have said: “Foreign sources of uranium fuel FOR NUCLEAR POWER STATIONS are not dependable.” [The correction (addition) is in CAPS.)

    Bill Buckel

  23. In paraphrase the forty Senators from Tel Aviv have been told by AIPAC to back away from the new sanctions bill because it should be bi-partisan and the Republicans should not have to take all the heat politically for a collapse of negotiations. It looks for the time being that the White House has a victory.

    I hadn’t known the Iranian web site existed. Thank you.

    I agree for what it’s worth with you assessment of the candor displayed in it.

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