Foreign Policy

We’ll Be Greeted as Liberators

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

While speaking to the Family Research Council yesterday, Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) told hate radio host Tony Perkins that a military operation against Iran could be completed in several days.

Easy peasy.

“Even if military action were required…the president is trying to make you think it would be 150,000 heavy mechanized troops on the ground in the Middle East again as we saw in Iraq and that’s simply not the case.”

“It would be something more along the lines of what President Clinton did in December 1998 during Operation Desert Fox,” he continued. “Several days air and naval bombing against Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction facilities for exactly the same kind of behavior. For interfering with weapons inspectors and for disobeying Security Council resolutions. All we’re asking is that the president simply be as tough as in the protection of America’s national security interest as Bill Clinton was.”

It would be nothing like Iraq, he says.

I'm old enough to remember when the Bush administration said Iraq would be nothing like Iraq.

It's impossible to know if Tom Cotton is really as clueless as he appears to be or if this is just rhetoric, but the comparison to Operation Desert Fox is telling.

At the time of Operation Desert Fox, Iraq's military had already been decimated during Operation Desert Storm. This would not be the case in Iran. It's not as if Iran is incapable of defending itself just as Iraq was incapable of mounting an effective defense. American forces suffered no casualties during Operation Desert Fox but that would not be the case in Iran.

Whether it's ignorance or political rhetoric, or both, the callousness of Tom Cotton is unmistakable. Cotton would gladly throw away the lives of American servicemembers on a whim while President Obama and other world leaders cross the Ts and dot the Is of a peace agreement.

If Republicans want to make the next election a referendum on war with Iran, I don't think they will like the outcome.

  • muselet

    Several days air and naval bombing against Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction facilities—

    First, I’ve never read that Iran has any “weapons of mass destruction facilities,” unless Tom Cotton is referring to Iran’s uranium-enrichment facilities, in which case Eunice NM, Piketon OH, Idaho Falls ID and Wilmington NC house WMD facilities, as well.

    Second, since Iran’s enrichment facilities are underground, this hypothetical bombing campaign would, as I’ve said before, require the use of “bunker busters”: tactical nuclear weapons. This would be a spectacularly bad idea.

    —for exactly the same kind of behavior. For interfering with weapons inspectors and for disobeying Security Council resolutions.

    There has been, as far as I know, no (recent) interference with weapons inspectors or refusal to follow Security Council resolutions. And not for nothing, as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran is expressly allowed to pursue peaceful nuclear technology, including uranium enrichment.

    All we’re asking is that the president simply be as tough as in the protection of America’s national security interest as Bill Clinton was.

    Assume the worst: Iran builds itself a nuclear weapon. Further assume the government of Iran goes mad and gets frisky with its new toy. Does Tom Cotton really believe the US and the other nuclear powers wouldn’t, as Charlie Pierce put it, turn Iran into a glass parking lot before the situation got too far out of hand?

    Assume something less than the worst: a diplomatic agreement that keeps Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons. Sure, from a wingnut perspective that’s less satisfying than transforming brown people who worship wrong into small, unrecognizable gobbets of flesh, but sane people prefer a less bloodthirsty path.

    Tom Cotton is a drooling idiot.

    –alopecia

  • GrafZeppelin127

    How can anyone be so glib about war, especially after Iraq?

    Which part of NO ONE* WANTS ANOTHER WAR!!!! do they not understand?

    [* – except American military contractors, Fox News, the Republican Party, and Benjamin Netanyahu.]

    • Victor the Crab

      Their song:

      All we are saAAAAAYYing,
      Is give war a chance!

    • Christopher Foxx

      Which part of NO ONE* WANTS ANOTHER WAR!!!! do they not understand?

      The part where they really, really want another war.

  • BillWestern

    Tom Cotton, new leader of the conservative Death Cult. The Iranians have “disobeyed”, they must be killed. I remember the poster in my parents basement in the 60s, something like this: