The Corner

War with Iran

I know that lots of folks, not just liberals, are concerned that Bush is hellbent on bombing Iran and/or going to war with Iran. Moreover, lots of people call attention to the allegedly ominous parallels between administration rhetoric now and pre-Iraq war rhetoric.

There’s lots that can be said about all of this. But here’s one thing I want to know. Do people really think that Iran would be a replay of Iraq? It may well be bad policy to bomb Iran, that’s a serious question. But I don’t quite see how hostilities with Iran over their nuclear program (as well as their mischief in Iraq, and support for terror) would much resemble the Iraq war. For starters, we wouldn’t occupy Iran — an enormous difference in terms of politics, casualties, diplomacy and cost. Also, we wouldn’t expressly try to change the regime. And so on. An attack on Iran would be much more like the strikes launched by the Clinton administration against Saddam in the 1990s, wouldn’t it? Again, it might be bad policy — I have an open mind on all that — but the “here we go again” attitude on display from lots of opponents strikes me as disingenuous or at least ill-conceived.

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