By Dannel McCollum,
Dannel McCollum, a former Champaign mayor and a Democratic candidate for the state Senate in 2002, is a historian and a freelance writer.
Increasingly, it looks like the neo-cons who gave us the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are now at work to give us a war with Iran. Such a war would be a disaster not only for the already war-weary American people, but could set off a new conflagration that would make those two wars pale by comparison. The United Nations Security Council would certainly not authorize such military action. Thus an attack on the Iranian nuclear facilities either by Israel or the United States would mirror the Iraq debacle with the exception that there would be few, if any, countries joining the so-called “willing.”
All this is coming down in a very bad time for the Obama administration. With an election just months off, the President cannot afford to appear weak with respect to Iran and its nuclear endeavors. That was clear when the Israeli prime minister appeared before Congress and received a standing ovation with his tough stance on Iran. Under such circumstances, no American politician, members of Congress, especially an incumbent president, can afford to offend the Israel lobby. So, the administration continues to state that all options including military action remain on the table with respect to Iran and its nuclear ambitions.
An immediate threat is that Israel will unilaterally strike the Iranian nuclear facilities. It would do so enabled by aircraft and bunker buster munitions supplied by the United States. Iran, with more than reasonable justification would treat such an attack as facilitated by the United States. The Israelis are in no position to sustain any extended war with Iran and would surely expect that United States would bail them out.
Even if the U. S. did not intervene in support of Israel, an immediate Iranian response would be to close down the Gulf of Hormuz, a vital shipping corridor for oil from the Middle East. Given the narrowness of the waterway, this is well within the capability of the Iranians to accomplish. The United States would certainly move to reopen the strait and thus become involved in a ruinous war with Iran if it were not already otherwise involved.
All indications are that the Obama administration does not want a war with Iran. I am sure that the war-weary American public is not excited about the prospect either. A Security Council in support of the United States in a war against Iran almost certainly will not happen. Our allies in the Afghanistan war, war weary and faced with serious economic problems of their own, cannot be counted upon for help and strong opposition can be expected from other major world powers including China and Russia.
Of course, the Israelis would like the United States to unilaterally to undertake a take down of the Iranian nuclear facilities. The consequences would at the very least be equal and likely much worse than that of Israel acting alone. Thus the verbal militancy on the part of the Obama administration, desperately hoping to keep the lid on until after the election, after which rationality might prevail. Romney’s recent trip abroad, after he offended the Brits, moved on to Israel where he seemed to say that he would back the Israelis in whatever they decided to do–the proverbial blank check. It certainly does not help to have Republican Mitt Romney, striking a militant stance in hopes of more money from the likes of Sheldon Adelson and votes from the “Israel right or wrong” lobby.