There are two good reasons the United States shouldn’t go to war with Iran over mounting tensions and an attack on a Saudi oil refinery: Iraq and Afghanistan.
Granted, the mire in Afghanistan started with broad support following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and nearly all Americans believed if that was where Osama Bin Laden and his followers were holed up, that’s where the military should go. Getting out has been difficult, though, and is still costing American lives and resources to this day.
Iraq is more of a parallel to the current situation with Iran, as the George W. Bush administration went in with flimsy intelligence on a premise that turned out to be entirely false. The results have been disastrous for the United States, Iraq and the surrounding region. The president declared “Mission Accomplished” on May 1, 2003. Sixteen years later, American soldiers are still there, sacrificing their lives.
Entering a military conflict with Iran would be committing to another protracted engagement that would needlessly cost lives.
And it would be a prolonged mess. Don’t forget the current president said, “I don’t need exit strategies,” when toying around with the possibility of attacking Iran in June.
Bush was a nightmare. Obama made a mess of Syria and fumbled the opportunity to end the country’s involvement in Afghanistan. But Donald Trump is simply and entirely unequipped to deal with something of this magnitude. He’s also run off two generals who were on his staff. If the U.S. is going to engage in Iran, there needs to be strict congressional oversight and authorization. Going to war because Trump thinks it’s the right thing to do is not good enough. Not by a mile.
There’s another angle to consider. In Iraq and, to a lesser extent, Afghanistan, natural resources were part of the reason for going in, though certainly not the main one. The premise for going to war with Iran (though ever-shifting) looks right now like a straight blood for oil exchange. And why should the U.S. be the Saudis’ enforcer? Does the U.S. go to war on behalf of countries that butcher American journalists? It shouldn’t. Does America go to war on behalf of another nation because, as the president said, they “pay cash?” Absolutely not. Does America go to war with other countries that pose no real threat to U.S. national security interests? Yes, and each time the country has done that, the result has been abysmal.
Now is the time for Congress to stand up, ask tough questions and carefully consider what is happening, here. America should not send its soldiers to fight and die for no reason.