Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Is war with Iran imminent? My ten reasons not to attack Iran revisited

with 21 comments


There’s news today about a report concerning US preparations to attack Iran. I’ve been sort of quietly hoping that the whole issue will go away. The US can’t really be seriously considering attacking Iran, can they? If the report is to be believed, preparations are well under way for a massive aerial assault on Iran that will not only destroy Iran’s known nuclear facilities, it will also largely destroy the Iranian military and government. The goal would be to prevent Iran from getting a bomb, destroy any Iranian capability for retaliation, and so weaken the Iranian regime that it might be overthrown from within, or at least weakened so badly that it is no longer a regional threat. That’s the optimistic plan at least.

I still hope we don’t attack Iran, but anything is possible. It would be consistent with history and the Bush administration to up the ante so to speak, and it wouldn’t be the first time in history that the US expanded a war that was going badly in a misguided effort to improve the situation. Bush threatening Iran and invoking the holocaust doesn’t reassure me. These threats are simply the latest in what has been obviously concerted campaign to blame our problems in Iraq on Iran. Despite an almost complete lack of proof, and tons of proof that insurgents are getting most of their foreign help from Saudi Arabia.

So frankly, my concern levels are rising again. I have decided to revisited and expand my post of almost a year ago listing ten reasons not to attack Iran. My original reasons are listed below, with today’s addendum in italics.

  1. Iran has thousands if not tens of thousands of missiles to fire back, think Hezbollah on steroids. This hasn’t changed, thousands of Iranian missiles hitting the green zone and oil facilities in the gulf states and Saudi Arabia would be a non-trivial problem.
  2. The Shiites in Iraq would almost certainly turn on us, think Iraqi insurgency getting three or four times bigger. Again, want to find out what would happen if the Iranians did everything they could to support insurgents in Iraq? Attacking Iran will do the trick. Even if one thinks they are already helping Iraqi insurgents, if we attack them they can help openly without restriction.
  3. Other key American allies such as Pakistan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia could easily be swept away by fundamentalist revolutions. Well, Turkey would have to be added to this list now.
  4. The price of oil would spike, which means the cost of gas could easily double. Again, large scale war in the Persian Gulf could do far more than double the price of gas.
  5. Shock and Awe doesn’t work. Bombing Iran will no more make Iranians our compliant friends than 9-11 made Americans rush out and urge surrender to Bin Laden. I am planning a post on the “bombing myth” in the USA, Americans tend to wildly over estimate what can be accomplished with bombing.
  6. Islamic extremists everywhere would be empowered and legitimized by further proof that Bush’s “war on terror” is just a euphemism for “war on Islam.” OK, this is just an extension of number three in a way, but the point remains valid. OBL has persuaded a few losers on the west to undertake amateur terror attacks, some with deadly result. We need more of this?
  7. Our friends would think less of us, and our “friends” Russia and China would be encouraged to solve their international “problems” the same way. If anything, this item has gotten stronger and more relevant. Want to make the Russian/Chinese alliance stronger? Attacking Iran will do the trick.
  8. Other countries would have strong incentive to develop nuclear weapons themselves to deter US attack. Not that they don’t already have such incentive, heck, since I wrote this North Korea was rewarded for developing nukes.
  9. People would die, lots of people, innocent people. This is important. Still is.
  10. Worst of all, another war would mean giving Bush more powers. And if we give Bush any more powers, he’s going to start appearing in public in tights. No one wants that. I still stand by this, though it’s getting harder to make jokes about this situation.

All of the above aside, my current thinking is that there are three main reasons not to attack Iran. The first is that the case for war with Iran is based on some very questionable premises, more about that in a subsequent blog. The second is that major wars always have unintended consequences, they never turn out the way that was confidently predicted. The third and most important reason is that thepeople who conceived of and are planning this war, are the very same people who conceived of and planned the war on Iraq. Remember that? The cheap relatively bloodless war where the Iraqis were going to welcome us with open arms as liberators and democracy would flow through the streets of the Middle East.

We already know what’s flowing through the streets of Iraq and Afghanistan, adding Iran to the list is going to help?

(The above image of the Banberry US nuclear weapons test was produced by the US government and is public domain under US copyright law. I used it because it illustrates that the world is big and bomb explosions are small, and that even carefully planned things can go wrong…this underground nuclear test was not supposed to vent fallout like this. Lastly to remind people that this could be a nuclear war, I don’t think anyone wants that either.)

Written by unitedcats

August 29, 2007 at 8:14 am

Posted in Iran, Terrorism, War, WMDs, World

21 Responses

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  1. Your totaly right about that, attacking Iran is a very stupid idea….


    August 29, 2007 at 11:49 pm

  2. The American people will not go to war with Iran.

    If George Bush invades Iran, he must be impeached immediately. He is not fit to be commander in chief.


    August 30, 2007 at 1:38 am

  3. And I tell the military they should disobey illegal orders. An invasion of Iran would be a war crime.


    August 30, 2007 at 1:43 am

  4. Doug,
    Did you have a post on why Bush should not attack Iraq. (not sure if you had been blogging then)
    I am curious to know, did the war on Iraq have public support before it started.


    August 30, 2007 at 1:59 am

  5. […] Mike Castle’s hero, Geroge Bush really creeped me out last night. He sounds dead set on bombing the shit out of Iran. Is that such a good idea? […]


    we are people, we have lives, we have future plans, we want to build a family, have a career, be happy and healthy and safe have a family here too. why the hell does this egg head president always after our lives would he go bombing that country if his daughters were there he would most defiantly take them out of there and then go to war right. I am 18 years old and i have witnessed three wars up till now isn’t that enough!!!!


    August 30, 2007 at 6:24 am

  7. No, I wasn’t blogging before the invasion of Iraq, but if I was I sure as heck would have had multiple posts about what a dumb idea it was, I spent huge amounts of time in on-line forums arguing against the idea. The Iraq war was supported by a majority of the US population though, primarily because they bought the “Saddam is trying to build WMDs to attack the USA with” argument.

    The administration is not nearly so openly promoting the idea of attacking Iran, instead they are focusing on laying the groundwork so that when they do attack, they can claim “Iran forced us to attack them by their actions in Iraq and their nuclear weapons program.” There is little public debate this time around, probably because the administration knows they would not be able to muster anything like the support they had for invading Iraq.

    Dammit though, I want a public debate, which is why I will be posting more on this potential war.


    August 30, 2007 at 7:02 am

  8. Thanks Doug. But I do recall the there was no public support for the war in UK.

    I do hope Bush does not attack Iran. One would think that Iraq would have taught him a lesson!!!


    August 30, 2007 at 9:52 am

  9. Regarding SCO,
    It would be nice if they come up with a statement against an attack on Iran — who have been trying to become full members for a while.

    A promise from SCO to defend Iran? I’m not holding my breath.


    August 30, 2007 at 12:02 pm

  10. There’s no rest for the restless.
    Why is killing so lucrative.. I feel if we could take the $ out of death maybe life would be perceived as more valuable.


    August 31, 2007 at 12:47 am

  11. Doug good post, trying to make a comeback with paying attention to the news which unfortunately is difficult when my source is CNN and BBC USA which cover bathroom sex scandal more than important news.


    September 1, 2007 at 6:41 am

  12. Throughout history, nations have gone to war to secure resources. It is unpleasant to find ourselves in just such a situation. Whether we like it or not, this war is all about corporate interests and what they stand to gain or lose. It has always been that way, especially for the United States.

    The real stupidity of our belligerent actions in the Mid-East is that, ultimately, China will walk in and take it all. There is nothing we can do to stop it. Yes, we are playing right into the greedy hands of the Chinese. After the United States is completely exhausted militarily, bankrupt from decades or more of never-ending, grueling guerrilla war, China, with Russia as her partner, will simply move in — and by sheer overwhelming force of number — take it over. It will be very much unlike the US shock and awe style invasion. Chinese interests will simply take over. The once-powerful United States will have no choice but to back down and walk away. Unlike the nations of the Middle East, war with China would result in the certain destruction of the United States homeland.

    If you doubt it, read a bit on Chinese history. After all, this is a nation that has been around for thousands of years. These are the ultimate warriors. They wrote the book on how to *win* at war. That is why they are so quiet now. They sit back and let us do the hard, dirty work of destroying the nations of the middle east.


    September 3, 2007 at 12:11 pm

  13. leftrightwingnut,
    China fought a brief war with Vietnam in response to Vietnam’s invasion of Cambodia — which toppled the Khmer Rouge. China didn’t any better than America. Both sides claimed victory but, seeing as China gained nothing and Vietnam got rid of the Chinese backed Khmer Rouge, I think Vietnam won.

    China will win in the middle east through the simple diplomacy of business deals. They’ve already won in Iran, and so have the Iranians. The question is: will they let America take that victory away by force?


    September 4, 2007 at 1:35 am

  14. […] about the possibility of war with Iran, some people made thought provoking comments on my last such post. As ever suggestions for post topics are appreciated and may even be acted upon […]

  15. {{People would die, lots of people, innocent people. This is important. Still is.}}

    Too bad that you have to emphasize that “this is important.” Shouldn’t need to be said …

    Check out this cartoon from the Columbus Dispatch depicting Iranians as roaches fleeing a sewer:


    September 5, 2007 at 7:46 pm

  16. Tell me that’s not for real, it’s from The Onion or some such? Please?


    September 5, 2007 at 8:14 pm

  17. What do you think an attack on Iran would do to the global economy?


    December 11, 2007 at 3:28 pm

  18. That’s an interesting question, I think I’ll write a post on it. Thanks!


    December 11, 2007 at 7:25 pm

  19. […] reader commenting on my “Ten Reasons not to Attack Iran” post asked: “What do you think an attack on Iran would do to the global […]

  20. […] than focus again on the dubious merits of attacking a nation that is in a de facto alliance with Russia and China, among other flies in the ointment, […]

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