Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Iran = Iraq?

Lots of good tweets today from a variety of folks pondering the comparisons between the rush to war in 2003 and now with Iran (and Syria).  Heaps of points to be made, but I will focus on two big differences and a third while I am at it:
  • US is not governed by folks who are hot to trot to go to war.  Obama has had enough Mideast wars, having long exceed the ME war cap, plus a war with Iran would mean high oil prices.  An oil shock is perhaps the greatest threat to his re-election.
  • In 2003, the US was only committed to one war and a few skirmishes elsewhere.  The folks running the government didn't really care about that war anymore, and felt comfortable knocking down a government with little (no) thought to what came next.  Now, we have an army that is tired from multiple wars, an economy exhausted by paying for those wars with debt.  So, it is really hard to look at the shelf and see much left to use in yet another war.
  • Finally, while Obama has show he is quite willing to take an aggressive stance--such as the Bin Laden mission--he deliberates carefully.  The Afghanistan surge only happened after serious study, and that was a commitment of 30,000 more troops to an on-going war.  Starting a new war would require heaps of thought.  And if you think about this potential war long enough (or the one with Syria), the complications, the costs, and the rest easily swamp the short-term benefits (delaying an Iranian bomb by a few years).
So, I am not at all worried that the US will start a war with Iran and not even with Syria (although the French might drag the US into another war).  No, I am worried about Israel or Iran doing something stupid that will make war hard to avoid.

No comments: