Are we lurching toward war?

We’ve been at war with other countries over the last sixty years where outcomes have not been as predicted and promises unfulfilled. They have brought huge losses in military and collateral lives and devastated our treasury. Meanwhile, needs at home go unattended. Objective observers promise that a war with Iran will be quite different from those with Iraq, Libya, Somalia and Afghanistan.

The biggest difference is where a loss for us could be the outcome. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has remarked that it would “only” take 2,000 air strikes to eliminate Iran’s nuclear facilities. He sees it as “easy” to place 20,000 Marines on the northern coast of the Persian Gulf to secure the Strait of Hormuz although U.S. forces would face 1.7 million Iranian regulars and militia. Pompeo is confidant the U.S. Navy can cope with literally thousands of supersonic missiles fired at our ships. Then there are the S-300 missiles Iran now operationally owns.

Of course, the U.S. could use nuclear weapons to kill every man, woman and child in Iran. That would add up to about 80 million of them and a U.S. reputation for use of weapons of mass destruction that’d hound our nation for time immemorial. In all this, 326 million lives are in the hands of only three Americans.

Trump’s National Security Advisor is 70-year-old John Bolton. Born in the U.S., he has never been in the military, having escaped the draft vis-a-vis Vietnam. He’s become notorious by his advocacy for war with Iran for at least twenty years. Anyone who knows anything about the Muslim religion and its war with Christianity, dating back to the first Crusade in 1071, recognizes control of Islam’s devotees is as easy as a trip to Mars via a Cessna.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is a mystery wrapped in an enigma. He’s a 55-year-old who’s appreciated advantages in life many an American could envy. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy and from Harvard University law school to become a lawyer. However, this man is accused of harboring contempt for blacks, gays and Muslims. He’s a dedicated hawk. Although he received his first college degree at West Point, and learned the art of war there, he has avoided combat although he’s apparently eager to put other Americans in harm’s way by warring in Iran.

In his effort to reverse everything done by the Obama Administration, one of President Donald Trump’s first acts was to take the U.S. out of the nuclear agreement with Iran, followed by the imposition of heavy sanctions. His actions have caused considerable harm to the Iranian economy. More recently there were the oil tanker incidents in the Strait of Hormuz and the shooting down of an American a U.S. drone. These actions have led to what appeared imminent war not yet materialized. More Trump sanctions have followed. No one seems to know where Trump’s true sentiments lie. The uncertainty with him is his decision-making inclinations, generally understood as based on the last person with whom he spoke. Last week, Republicans in the U.S. Senate gave Trump and his two favorite hawks (Bolton and Pompeo) the power to order military strikes without consulting with or even notifying the U.S Congress. 

Another war anywhere in the world will lead to more lives lost in vain, further depletion of the U.S. treasury, and the return of American military personnel with physical injuries and mental problems like PTSD. Meanwhile, instead of war with Iran, our government, among others allied in the effort, should lead with a plan to implement an intervention that’d control the brutal lawlessness motivating Guatemalans, Hondurans, Nicaraguans, etc. to seek sanctuary here in the United States.

(Gene H. McIntyre shares his opinion regularly in the Keizertimes.)