Cotton: War With Iran Would Be a Walk in the Park

Sen. Tom Cotton once again proves how utterly detached from reality he is by making idiotic statements about Iran. Pushing military action instead of the agreement that was negotiated, he says that we could just bomb Iran from the air for a few days and it would be a breeze.

“This president has a bad habit of accusing other people of making false choices, but he presented the ultimate false choice last week when he said it’s either this deal or war,” the Arkansas Republican said on Family Research Council’s Washington Watch radio program Tuesday…

Cotton said any military action against Iran would not be like the Iraq War and would instead be similar to 1999’s Operation Desert Fox, a four-day bombing campaign against Iraq ordered by President Bill Clinton.

“Even if military action were required — and we certainly should have kept the credible threat of military force on the table throughout which always improves diplomacy — the president is trying to make you think it would be 150,000 heavy mechanized troops on the ground in the Middle East again as we saw in Iraq and that’s simply not the case,” Cotton said.

“It would be something more along the lines of what President Clinton did in December 1998 during Operation Desert Fox. Several days air and naval bombing against Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction facilities for exactly the same kind of behavior. For interfering with weapons inspectors and for disobeying Security Council resolutions. All we’re asking is that the president simply be as tough as in the protection of America’s national security interest as Bill Clinton was.”

So how about we ask the military leaders themselves what they think about this idea:

But American military leaders — who worked for lawmakers of both parties — strongly disagree with Cotton’s assessment, arguing that an attack could actually prove a regional war and further push Iran towards the bomb.

“[If Iran were to be attacked] the United States would obviously be blamed and we could possibly be the target of retaliation from Iran, striking our ships, striking our military bases, and there are economic consequences to that attack….which could impact a very fragile economy in Europe and a fragile economy here in the United States,” former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta predicted in 2011. General Anthony Zinni, former CENTCOM commander, put it more clearly, “I think anybody that believes that it would be a clean strike and it would be over and there would be no reaction is foolish,” he said in 2009. And former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates explained that “such an attack would make a nuclear-armed Iran inevitable. They would just bury the program deeper and make it more covert.” “The results of an American or Israeli military strike on Iran could, in my view, prove catastrophic, haunting us for generations in that part of the world,” he said.

Call me weird, but I’m going to consider Zinni, who ran CENTCOM, the military’s command in the Middle East, a tad bit more than this weapons-grade dumbass who knows less about foreign policy than the average goldfish.

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  • blf

    If the 3-/4-day Fruitbat Dessert was such a success, what was all that nonsense about WMDs during the Cheney–Bush ][ War? </rhetorical-question>

    (And has there ever been an “air war” that was “successful” for the attacker, as in accomplishing the initial objectives, having no unpredicted side-effects, and not escalating or being prolonged?)

  • raven

    Cheney et al. said the same thing about Iraq.

    We would be greeted as liberators and the war would pay for itself in cheap gasoline. It’s been over ten years, we are still there, and Iraq is still a mess. Same thing with Vietnam. That light at the end of the tunnel never did show up.

    Santayana: Those who don’t learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.

    Cotton is an idiot. It doesn’t say anything good about Arkansas that they elected this guy.

  • lark

    Yes, but because indiscriminately bombing large population centres is the best way to gain long term stability and peace with a smaller, foreign nation filled with people who look different and speak different languages!

    Diplomats? Pff, they take forever and try to broker deals that means LESS money for the ones in charge of the USA; the American UberRich!

  • John Pieret

    Why insult goldfish, Ed?

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    All we’re asking is that the president simply be as tough as in the protection of America’s national security interest as Bill Clinton was.

    Exactly. But unlike Clinton, Obama should act preemptively, before Iran has a chance to ignore the UN resolutions that haven’t been written and inhibit the nuclear inspectors that aren’t there.

  • raven

    AFAICT, Iraq is well on its way to breaking up.

    Sunni ISIS took over the Sunni north of Iraq. Not good.

    The Shiite militias pushed them out of Sunni Tikrit. They then started looting and slaughtering…Sunnis. Not good.

    I can see why the Sunnis hate and fear the Shiites. And vice versa. Whenever they can, they just slaughter each other. Mutual opportunistic ethnic slaughter is not a recipe for a functioning nation.

    I don’t see why they don’t split up into three states. There are problems with divvying up the oil money but so what? Oil money doesn’t do you any good if you are dead in one mass massacre or another.

  • D. C. Sessions

    So how about we ask the military leaders themselves what they think about this idea:

    No way, Ed. The brass has been taken over by the commi-pinko-kenyan-fascist-etc usurper. They even salute him. To get an idea, they’re all part of the so-called “global warming” hoax and are pushing the stupid idea that sea levels are rising.

    Theyr’e not going to tell you anyting but what they’re told to by the Black House.

  • John Pieret

    I don’t see why they don’t split up into three states.

    At the very least, it should have been set up in the beginning with a federal government and local state governments for the Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites, with each area controlling the police and having their own national guards. It might have helped to keep down the animosities.

  • Chiroptera

    raven, #6: I don’t see why they don’t split up into three states.

    Nice idea in theory, but in practice, as someone once pointed out the examples of Israel/Palestine, Ireland, and India/Pakistan, partitioning doesn’t seem to lead to better outcomes.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    It would be something more along the lines of what President Clinton did in December 1998 during Operation Desert Fox. Several days air and naval bombing against Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction facilities for exactly the same kind of behavior. For interfering with weapons inspectors and for disobeying Security Council resolutions.

    And Iraq was so obedient to us after that, that we never had to attack or invade them since.

  • Larry

    #9

    You obviously don’t believe in that old adage sanity is doing the same thing twice and expecting different results, do you, Chiro?

    Wait, did I get that right?

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    I’m sure brave libertarian Rand Paul will be along any minute now, to smack down Cotton’s bullshit and offer a more sensible foreign policy of his own…oh wait, Rand Paul signed onto Cotton’s letter to the ayatollahs, right along with paleo-neocon warmonger John McCain. So much for that much-anticipated Republican foreign-policy debate…

  • dingojack

    Somehow this came to mind:

    For days beforehand the allies had poured millions of shells onto the enemy positions night and day. The bombardment ended with the mass detonation of mines under the enemy’s front lines.

    So confident were the allied commanders that the enemy was completely destroyed in the heavy bombardment, that the soldiers were advised to walk steadily toward the enemy whilst keeping in good formations.

    The final detonation of the mines was the signal the attack was imminent, the enemy emerged from their well-fortified defensive lines and manned their machine guns posts.

    The advancing troops marched forward in slow even lines, easily cut down in the killing zones where the machine-guns created a deadly cross-fire.

    Over 27,000 allied troops were killed and a further 30,000 were wounded, some terribly.

    Thus ended the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

    Lest we forget. :(

    Dingo

  • scienceavenger

    All we’re asking is that the president simply be as tough as in the protection of America’s national security interest as Bill Clinton was.

    I’m really getting sick of these douchebags acting like Bill Clinton – now that he is conveniently out of office – is the standard for proper behavior. Bill Clinton signed DOMA, Bill Clinton bombed the middle east. Fuck off, this is not the Church of Bill Clinton. And besides, I suspect when he makes official which candidate he supports for POTUS in 2016, the entire GOP is going to suffer a severe case of authoritarian whiplash.

  • dcsohl

    Quick geography check here: Iran has double the population and nearly four times the area of Iraq.

    Invading Iraq damn near broke our military. In what universe would Iran be a walk in the park?

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Cotton said any military action against Iran would not be like the Iraq War and would instead be similar to 1999’s Operation Desert Fox, a four-day bombing campaign against Iraq ordered by President Bill Clinton. “Even if military action were required — and we certainly should have kept the credible threat of military force on the table throughout which always improves diplomacy — the president is trying to make you think it would be 150,000 heavy mechanized troops on the ground in the Middle East again as we saw in Iraq and that’s simply not the case,” Cotton said.

    Cotton needs to go back and read the New Testament — even God needs a ground presence to get the job done.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Oh pshaw, dcsohl — Iran is just a tiny country of which we know nothing.

  • dingojack

    RB – But not against iron chariots, obviously.

    Dingo

  • http://ingles.homeunix.net/ Ray Ingles

    It’s not online anymore, but the April 1 2003 comic “This Modern World” by Tom Tomorrow had talking heads saying:

    “Of course the Iraqis won’t put up a fight! They’re going to lay down their weapons and welcome us as liberators! … / Of course there have been casualties! What did you expect? No one ever said this was going to be easy!… / Of course the occupational government had to impose martial law! But it’s only a temporary measure until we can restore order! … / Of course Iraq has descended into chaos and civil war – but Iran is going to be a cakewalk!”

  • Spiffy45

    dcsohl: Invading Iraq was well planned and well executed, with minimal US casualties. It would have been easier if Turkey had let us invade from their country (damn democracies!!), but the invasion went as scheduled.

    The occupation of Iraq broke the US Army. If you recall, Rumsfeld ignored the Joint Chiefs about how many troops to use for the occupation.

    The other services had to change plans, but they were still capable of other operations around the world.

  • colnago80

    Re dingojack @ #13

    Actually, military historian John Keegan in his book, The Face of Battle, showed that the the supposed intensity of the artillery bombardment was greatly overrated. The density of ordinance actually delivered to the area of the German trenches was very low. If one divides the amount of explosives delivered by the area occupied by the trenches, that number is very, very small.

  • whheydt

    So Cotton is a follower of Gen. Giulio Douhet… Yeah, the theory–formulated in the 1920s–that you could win by bombing an enemy population into submission worked so very well in WW2, didn’t it?

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    If the 3-/4-day Fruitbat Dessert was such a success, what was all that nonsense about WMDs during the Cheney–Bush ][ War?

    Yeah, the very first thing that occurred to me. Wasn’t Cotton’s caucus the one that so adamantly insisted that Operation Desert Fox didn’t work at all, and that invasion was the only means of getting rid of the WMDs? Didn’t they also accuse Clinton of conducting the operation purely to distract the public from the blowjob charges he had been brought up on?

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    So much for that much-anticipated Republican foreign-policy debate…

    What would that be like? “Who should we bomb next!?”

  • sigurd jorsalfar

    This president has a bad habit of accusing other people of making false choices, but he presented the ultimate false choice last week when he said it’s either this deal or war.

    So bombing isn’t war? That’s a relief.

  • dan4

    @25: Lame. All wars involve bombings, but not all bombings involve wars (i.e., Reagan bombing Libya in ’86).

  • dingojack

    Stay right where you are Danno, I’ll start bombing is five minutes (but don’t fret – it’s a really rather peaceful bombing as opposed to a war-like one).

    @@

    Dingo

  • StevoR

    @ ^ dingojack : What are you using seedbombs or flour or water ones? 😉

    See : http://www.gardenista.com/posts/diy-wildflower-seed-bombs

  • StevoR

    @2. raven : “It’s been over ten years, we are still there, and Iraq is still a mess. Same thing with Vietnam. “

    I’m not sure the Vietnamese would agree with that description of their country!

    Today’s Vietnam is actually pretty impressive so I gather. (Haven’t been there but still.)

    (Being serious though – yeah – the Vietnam war experience and its effects on , well, pretty much everybody were horrific. Long lasting damage continuing till today, yes.)

    In fairness, Obama did leave Iraq and end teh US war there for a time – only to then have to go back in after Daesh took over a lot of it spreading from Syria. Its complicated ..

  • StevoR

    @ Dingojack : “Lest we forget. ”

    At the going down of the Sun and in the morning, we shall remember them. Lest we forget!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WG48Ftsr3OI

    Lets remember indeed and not repeat past follies. Gallipoli, Vietnam and Iraq. Enough?

  • StevoR

    D’oh! Stuffed up the Italics there, sorry.

    From the youtube describtion onthe above song :

    The more I listened to Bogle’s words, the more I realized that this song was about more than a moment in history. It’s about how history repeats itself and the great sacrifices that are made during war and how futile it all is if we fail to learn from our mistakes.

    Making the transition from B/W to full colour to coincide with Bogle’s words “We started all over again,” I wanted to show how war is part of our past, present and (unfortunately) future.

    Great sacrifices have been made because of war. Bogle asks “What are they marching for?” I say they are marching to honour those sacrifices. If any veteran is offended by this video, I truly do apologize.

    That. Yes. One hell of a powerful song.

  • gog

    I asked Aquaman (my big fat goldfish) what he thought of an armed conflict with Iran. He didn’t have much to say on the subject and was more interested in picking up and spitting out mouthfuls of gravel.

  • Nick Gotts

    He didn’t have much to say on the subject and was more interested in picking up and spitting out mouthfuls of gravel. – gog@32

    If only Tom Cotton and colnago80 could be persuaded to follow his example!

  • Holms

    The idea that nombing Iran into submission will be easy completely undermines their other main claim – that Iran poses a serious military threat. It’s one or the other, Republican fuckheads.

    ___

    #26 dan4

    @25: Lame. All wars involve bombings, but not all bombings involve wars (i.e., Reagan bombing Libya in ’86).

    The fact that not all bombings come with a formal declaration of war is just a massive cop-out. All bombings are acts of aggression against the sovereignty of the bombed nation and involves, at minimum, the deliberate destruction of probably valuable property, but will likely also involve multiple deaths (i.e. murders).

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Company_of_the_Wolf podkayne

    We’ll be greeted as liberators!