Sen. Cotton on Attacking Iran


CNN is quoting Sen. Tom Cotton as comparing a US military operation on Iran’s nuclear facilities to President Clinton’s brief 1998 Desert Fox air campaign.

I admire Cotton for the courage to write The Letter™, round up colleagues to sign it, and publish it, and I think he’s both right and wrong about the prospects of an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

He’s right, in that it won’t be anything like the invasion of Iraq, the rescue of Kuwait, or the invasion of Afghanistan. It will be conducted mostly from the air, with specialized units on the ground to support the air ops. It won’t be an invasion, and people who talk of “another war in the Middle East” are trying to conjure up the wrong images, as Cotton points out.

That said, Iran isn’t just Iran. It’s Hamas, Hezbollah, Yemen, and forces in Syria and Iraq. It’s got assets in Europe, South America, and possibly Central America. It almost certainly has sneaked assets into the US, with the ability to do a little more than kidnap the Saudi ambassador.  Expect them to wreak as much mayhem and terror as they can muster, either in immediate response, or over time afterwards.

The argument for attacking them now, is that it’s better to fight a non-nuclear Iran now, before it’s consolidated its grip on the region and further developed its missile technology, than to fight a nuclear one later, with all the resources it will have at its disposal.  That may or may not be the best or only course of action, but it’s one that may well be required.

Given the nature of the regime, any effective negotiation needs to be backed by the credible use of force, and any credible use of force needs to include the enemy’s retaliatory capability.