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.