The Coming War With Iran

It’s becoming increasingly clear what line the Administration is going to use to justify expanding the war into Iran.

This morning, I listened to an interview on NPR with Nicholas Burns, the Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, who said:

[T]here’s been increased evidence over that time that Iran has given this kind of assistance to the Shia insurgency groups in southern Iraq. They’ve attacked British soldiers near Basra, and they’ve now begun to mount those operations throughout the country, at least in the Baghdad region as well. And so we’re very concerned about it…

[T]he larger point is this: Iran is seeking a position of dominance in the Middle East. It’s very clear. Iran has a regional agenda, which is very much at odds with that of the United States…

[T]he Iranians need to understand they can’t come barging into a situation, and express what they want and seek a position of dominance, without some kind of reaction from the moderate Arab states and from the United States.

So that’s going to be the justification: the Iranians are meddling in Iraq, and providing support (either directly or indirectly) to the insurgency in hopes of becoming a regional hegemon, so we have to strike at them. Or so the argument will go.

Of course, this is ridiculous. I have no doubt that the Iranians are meddling in Iraq and supporting the insurgency. But put yourself in their shoes: a nation that has declared them to be part of an "Axis of Evil" has occupied their next door neighbor. Would you want that nation to be next door forever?  Hell, no. You’d want them gone, and you’d be happy to support any rebel groups who felt the same way. Even if you didn’t want to confront the occupier directly, the future direction of your next door neighbor would be so critical to your own security that you’d be derelict if you didn’t try to get it moving your way.

(Imagine if Iran was occupying Mexico. Do you have any doubt that we would be making belligerent noises and running arms, money and advisors to any Mexican insurgents who were fighting to kick them out? Would that necessarily mean that we had designs on seizing Mexico for ourselves?)

When I first heard that the Administration was considering an attack on Iran, I thought it was ludicrous. As more and more officials start to parrot the same line, though, I’m beginning to believe it’s more inevitable than anything else.

Which means the only question remaining is: how does the rest of America, and the Congress, respond when the Administration tries it? And is there any way to get them to reconsider before they force us to that point?



February 2, 2007
5:01 pm

It’s becoming more and more apparent that “ludicrous” and “inevitable” are not mutually-exclusive.
In terms of the question asked, Congress could actually focus on a resolution which was (a) viable and (b) relevant to deny future funding for military action in Iran NOW, when it would be unlikely to be stopped by political weak-heartedness, rather than waiting until W drives another car off a cliff and leaves us wondering how to keep it from crashing at the bottom.