Cody Fenwick at Alternet points us to an interview conducted by Firing Line’s Margaret Hoover with Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas:
“Could we win a war with Iran?” asked Hoover.
“Yes,” said Cotton.
“That didn’t take you a second,” she said.
“Two strikes: the first strike and a last strike,” Cotton said.
Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, on the other hand, had a much more realistic idea of what’s at stake in a possible war on Twitter: “Trump thinks our troops are toy soldiers he can just move around—but these are real men and women whose lives are at stake. Many are in my state. I’ve got a kid in the military. And I will do anything I can to stop this President from getting us into a war we should not be in.”He similarly compared the rush to war with the George W. Bush administration’s disastrous bumbling into Iraq.
Unless Cotton is presuming the nuking of Iran—which he very well might be—his assessment of two-strikes-and-we’re-done is at odds with what military analysts and planners have been saying for two decades. While there is no doubt that the United States could obliterate Iran if it chose to employ its deadliest weapons, even short of using nukes, the idea expressed by Cotton and other hawks that there would be few consequences for the United States and the other nations in the Middle East is fantasy. Those consequences would be military, economic, diplomatic. The death toll could make the invasion and occupation of Iraq look minuscule in comparison.
For years experts have noted the difficulties involved not only with an attack on Iran but also the great potential for blowback, something the late political scientist and CIA consultant Chalmers Johnson wrote about at length in his 2004 book appropriately called Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire, the first of his four volumes delving into U.S. imperialism.
If Sen. Cotton is going to continue to give the nation the same sales pitch for war with Iran that he’s been delivering since before the signing of the nuclear agreement in 2015, he could as least stop pretending that it will be a simple matter, with few casualties for America and no post-attack geopolitical consequences.
War with Iran would be no effing videogame, Senator.