With the news of the Trump administration’s sudden move to send more arms (at a discount price) to Saudi Arabia over the objections of both parties in Congress, all while justifying it by saying that Iran is posing a threat to the region, my thoughts almost end up more on the justification than the actual news: If Trump and his military apparatus consider Iran enough of a threat to Middle Eastern stability that they’re willing to break protocols and buck Congress on behalf of the Saudi kingdom, what on EARTH will prevent them from going to war with Iran themselves?
Of course, that kind of passive phrasing isn’t what I should be doing here. Because it certainly wouldn’t be Donald Trump going to war with Iran. It wouldn’t be Jared Kushner or John Bolton or Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan. It would be our sons and daughters, our brothers and sisters. And in case you’re tempted to think of them in terms of the fact that we have an all-volunteer military, remember — the vast majority of people sign up for the military because they need education or health care, because they need to support their families in a lean job market, or because they feel they don’t have other options.
They are the most vulnerable, and war hurts them the most.
On top of that, the idea that Iran has been escalating anything runs contrary to every bit of military intelligence we currently have available to us — there is no threat.
That’s why it was so heartening to see an open letter to the President urging him not to go to war signed by former military officials and state department professionals. The letter, first appearing on the website War on the Rocks, is attested to by Admirals and Generals of every stripe and by Ambassadors, and emphasizes the tremendous cost that war with Iran would incur.
Even Trump himself used to call the decision to go into Iraq one of the worst foreign policy blunders in American history, and like that proverbial broken clock, he was right on that.
Now imagine the same thing, only against a country with a much better and more well-equipped military, a far more disciplined approach to conflict, and the motivation to carry on fighting America to the last soldier standing.
From the letter:
A war with Iran, either by choice or miscalculation, would produce dramatic repercussions in an already destabilized Middle East and drag the United States into another armed conflict at immense financial, human, and geopolitical cost.”
That, of course, is an understatement. But the fact that it comes from the voices of the military who have lived through war and diplomatic disasters makes it comforting nonetheless.