War with Iran: The Worst Option

Via Matt Yglesias of TPM Cafe, we find this short but sweet article in The Atlantic, by James Fallows. It describes a War Game session The Atlantic held two years ago to explore the possible outcomes of an escalating conflict between Iran and the United States.

The article is worth a full read, and it is brief. The group concluded back then that a military strike on Iran was the worst option. As Fallows describes, all the factors that make this so have increased over the intervening years.

How did we get to this point? Fallows tells it like it is:

The inconvenient truth of American foreign policy is that the last five years have left us with a series of choices, and all of them are bad. The United States can’t keep troops in Iraq indefinitely, for obvious reasons. It can’t withdraw them, because of the chaos that would ensue. The United States can’t keep prisoners at Guantanamo Bay (and other overseas facilities) indefinitely, because of international and domestic challenges. But it can’t hastily release them, since many were and more have become terrorists. And it can’t even bring them to trial, because of procedural abuses that have already occurred. Similarly, the United States can’t accept Iran’s emergence as a nuclear power, but it cannot prevent this through military means, unless it is willing to commit itself to all-out war.

President Bush and the failure of both his vision and his execution have brought us to a point where we have no good options. I hope people will remember that in November.

2 Replies to “War with Iran: The Worst Option”

  1. Read the Atlantic article – Sam Gardiner, huh??….he’s been a constant critic of this administration – if he put the”war game” together, I’ll assume there’s be an inherent bias in the game results.

    but he is not w/out his credentials so let’s follow Fallows to the ‘no good options’ result. Would our options have been better under John Kerry? Al Gore?…remember ’till recently, the US had pretty much left negotiating with Iran to the European powers (including France) (OK that’s a mistake I’ll pummel the administration with).

    There’s been a lot of criticism about the Iranian situation but I’ve heard no solutions from the other side that should cause us to re-consider our options in November…

    BTW – thanks for the post – I’ve left a brief reply

  2. however as was discussed a week or so ago here, the left has absolutely no reason right now to step forward in a big way. I’m really not a big fan of the “Anyone But X” battlecry, but in this case we’ve seen that the kind of empty threat tactics the Bush administration has chosen backed up with our tired military and rapidly increasing debt really aren’t working, as we see from such pleasantries as spoken by the Iranian President today

    ‘”The Zionist regime is a rotten, dried tree that will be eliminated by one storm.”‘

    and by the way, our nukes are just for energy. uh huh. at this point we need to try something else. the course needs to change. There is every reason to re-consider our options in November, and we will be able to do that in a few months when the republicans’ begin to put out the flames of their many scandals, and the candidates begin campaigning in earnest.

Comments are closed.