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War isn’t always as much fun as you thought it would be

I’m a day late reading a strong NYTimes analysis piece on the drumbeat for a conflict with Iran over its alleged nuclear ambitions, but three quotes from three different experts jumped out as worth emphasizing.

1. “As a student of history, I’m certainly conscious that when you have heated politics and incomplete control of events, it’s possible to stumble into a war,” Mr. Allison said. Watching Iran, Israel and the United States, he said, “you can see the parties, slowly but almost inexorably, moving to a collision.”

2. Micah Zenko, who studies conflict prevention at the Council on Foreign Relations, sees an old pattern. “It’s true throughout history: there’s always the belief that the next war will go much better than the last war,” he said.

3. Peter Feaver of Duke University, who has long studied public opinion about war and worked in the administration of President George W., Bush, about the pressure a political campaign can put on candidates to make simplistic, inflammatory statements:

“This is the standard danger of talking about foreign policy crises in a campaign,” he said. “If you try to explain a complex position, you sound hopelessly vague.”

Comments (10)

  1. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 02/24/2012 - 05:00 pm.

    This latest war is already underway

    The U.S. is attacking Iran’s central banking system, which will be ruinous to Iran’s economy if successful. Isn’t this an act of war, by any usual definition of acts of war?

    The U.S. is SEEKING war in a policy of endless war.

  2. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/24/2012 - 07:05 pm.


    One often stumbles when one is led by the nose.

  3. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 02/24/2012 - 08:01 pm.

    I only thought war was fun

    when I was 12 years old. It’s obvious that many individuals in this country never got past that age. I thought we’d gotten past the idea that the US needed to go to war with Iran. if there’s any idea that sound worse than “war with Iraq”, that’s got to be it. Our BS dysfunctional political system being what it is, whomever is elected is likely to find a cause celebre in having a lovely little war like Woodrow Wilson did in 1917, after running on a platform of “he kept us out of war.” That episode should remind us that campaign promises about keeping the country are peace are not exactly bankable.

  4. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 02/24/2012 - 09:48 pm.

    Hillary’s a dud

    Secretaries of State are supposed to use diplomacy to keep you out of war. Hillary Clinton has to be the absolute worst SoS in my lifetime. The whole middle east is on fire and she’s been nothing but a casual observer who occassionally reads a two paragraph statement that someone wrote for her. She’s either totally incompetent or she’s purposely sabotaging the Obama regime’s foreign relations efforts.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/25/2012 - 10:35 am.


      Hilary Clinton does what the Obama team decides she should do.
      She does not have the authority to set foreign policy; that resides constitutionally with the President.

  5. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 02/24/2012 - 10:44 pm.

    The war already started

    We’ve been covertly supporting “opposition” groups that have been attacking and bombing various Iranian installations and assassinating Iranian officials for almost a decade now. I think something like five Iranian nuclear scientists and program officials have been killed in the last year and half, there’s little doubt that this is covert CIA or Israeli activity. Can you imagine what would happen if Iran was killing scientists in the US or Israel?

  6. Submitted by rolf westgard on 02/25/2012 - 03:56 am.

    Dennis and Dems

    Dennis never saw a Democrat who wasn’t a dud. What is your plan for the Middle East?

  7. Submitted by Ann Galloway on 02/25/2012 - 11:43 pm.

    Please everyone join your local “No War on Iran ” group

    To hear the U.S. media tell it, you’d sometimes think that there are only three Members of Congress who are relevant to U.S. policy towards Iran : Joe Lieberman, Lindsay Graham, and John McCain.

    But it ain’t necessarily so. There are more than five hundred other Members of Congress. Some of them support real diplomatic engagement with Iran .

    Will you help the Members of Congress who support real diplomacy stand up and be counted? Ask your Representative to sign the Ellison-Jones letter, calling for real diplomatic engagement with Iran to address concerns over its disputed nuclear program. [1]

    Rep. Keith Ellison and Rep. Walter Jones are circulating a letter to their colleagues urging a redoubling of U.S. diplomatic efforts to engage Iran , noting that without a strong diplomatic effort to achieve agreements on Iran ‘s nuclear program, escalating pressure on Iran could lead to war.

    As you know, the U.S. media is full of warmongering against Iran , as sane voices struggle to rise over the din of Republican presidential candidates and pro-war lobby groups demanding military action. We need to raise the profile of Members of Congress who oppose war. More than twenty Members of the House have already signed the Ellison-Jones letter. If we can increase this number, the media visibility of Members of Congress who oppose war and support diplomacy will increase.

    In addition to Just Foreign Policy, the Friends Committee on National Legislation, the National Iranian American Council, Americans for Peace Now and J Street are also urging Congress to support the Ellison-Jones letter, which closes on March 1.

  8. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 02/26/2012 - 06:42 pm.

    It’s ironic that the only country in the Middle East that actually have Nuclear Weapons is Israel.Iran will get nuclear weapons. It (probably) won’t be the end of the world, at least any time soon. Like Pakistan and China, we will just have to live with a non-democratic state with a nuclear arsenal.

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