Thursday, March 29, 2012

Drums of War

The following op/ed by MG Laich appeared in the electronic version of the Columbus Dispatch

Let there be no mistake, we are considering going to war with Iran. The use of terms such as “surgical strikes” and “military option” are convenient euphemisms for acts of war. Since this would be a war of choice, another preventive war, serious questions arise as to whether it meets the Just War standard which has informed international actions for centuries. We should recall our recent history when we were told that Iraq had WMD, the war would be short, we would be welcomed as liberators, and Iraqi oil would pay for the war. “Shock and awe” morphed in “Aw shucks” as 4,500 Americans lost their lives, 30000 were seriously wounded, and it cost the US $2 trillion borrowed dollars in ten year long war that few suggest we won. In fact, the official 2012 U.S. Army Posture Statement states that “the mission in Iraqi has ended responsibility”….hardly a chest thumping assertion of success or claim to have won.

Those who assert that Iran is unable or unwilling to retaliate if we attack are engaging in magical thinking. Iran is the 18th largest land mass of all the nations in the world with 79 million citizens (larger than Iraq and Afghanistan combined). It has 545,000 active and 350,000 reserve troops and can mobilize 11 million more. In addition, they have a domestic military industrial base and a sizable navy. They have the capability to target and close the Strait of Hormuz which would drive up oil prices thus disrupting the world economy and a U.S. economic recovery as gasoline rises to $5-$8 per gallon. They can also target U.S .troops and civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan and U.S. interests worldwide, to include the U.S. homeland through terrorist support groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. Finally, all out war in the Middle East would be distinct possibility with Russia, China, and India being unknown wild cards.

Iran has its own perspective regarding its security and national interests. Most American don’t know or conveniently forget that the American CIA overthrew the democratic government of Iran in 1953 and installed and supported the Shah of Iran in its war with Iraq in which Iran suffered between 500,000 and one million casualties. Iran is situated between two countries on its east and west that have been attacked and occupied by the U.S. Finally, Iran’s assessment of its own security is informed by Israel’s undeclared nuclear arsenal and the fact that the U.S. is the only nation to ever employ nuclear weapons…twice. Why would Iran not trust us?

If the US chooses to exercise its “military option” regarding Iran I would suggest three steps be taken. One, the President should request a Declaration of War from Congress. This would be the first such declaration since 1941. Require each member of Congress to take a share of responsibility in accordance with the Constitution. Second, impose a war tax on every American citizen to cover the cost of war thus not adding to the national debt rather than having China loan us the money. Third, implement a military draft with no deferments so the sons and daughters of all American can join the poor kids and patriots who have served these past ten years. This game affects the risk/reward analysis and final decisions.

We should be very careful going forward based on the wisdom of Winston Churchill who said “Once the dogs of war are unleashed, there is no controlling events.”


  1. "Wars are much easier to start than they are to finish". Not who said that, so I will take credit, but in any case it is a factual statement.

    1. Actually, I do remember who said it first.

      Wile E.Coyote......