Whatever your views of the so-called "framework agreement" that the West and Iran reached this month on the latter's nuclear ambitions, there is much confusion as to what the deal entails. This confusion is further attributed to US government and mainstream media unreliability to provide Americans with facts. One thing all Americans should gauge even more skeptically: Talk of simply throwing caution to the wind and bombing Iran.
Make no mistake: In that course lies war -- a long one.
A few points about negotiations with Iran: Reaching a framework agreement does not constitute a final deal, even after all the marathon negotiations. Both parties must still address details of any final agreement, including but not limited to International Atomic Energy Agency inspections, Iran's demand for the lifting of all economic sanctions, the setting of amounts of plutonium/uranium that Iran is allowed to maintain, and the number of machines Iran can keep to process uranium.
So, let me break this down into simple terms: When P5+1 and Iran reached a framework agreement, Americans were bombarded with good news, bad news, worried news, optimistic news, and sometimes no news at all depending on which channel one tunes in. Each media outlet is eager to boost its ratings; thus, either it inflates the story or presents a rosy account that is far from reality.
What perplexes me most, though, is the irrational statements political hawks in Washington are making. Bombing Iran? Really? With U.S. presidential elections heating up, some politicians are employing scare tactics to raise fear among the voters. That must amaze intelligent Americans with a sense of history. Have these hawks not learned from the costly mistakes the United States incurred in the last two wars, conflicts which in cost have surpassed $5 trillion by some estimates? Haven't these war hawks realized the ballooning debt the United States won in war and the degradation of our economy as a result of questionable intervention overseas? Haven't they realized that roughly 75 percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, with essentially zero savings? Haven't they realized we are fed up with the paralysis of Congress and its failure to look after concerns here at home? Haven't they realized a militarized foreign policy is not always a pragmatic approach to dealing with conflicts?
For the sake of the argument, let's assume the bombing of Iran is launched. Very likely scenario:
Day 1: The U.S. takes out Iran's air defense systems -- fighter jets, radar installations, etc.
Day 2: Iran mobilizes all proxies throughout the greater Middle East.
Day 3: The U.S. bombs known/identified nuclear facilities.
Day 4: Iran launches its missiles (including the Russian advanced system, S300, designed to detect and destroy ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and aircraft at low altitude). Missiles destroy Tel Aviv and target all U.S. military installations in the Middle East.
Day 5: Iran activates its sleeping cells in the U.S. Strong possibility: detonation of at least some explosive devices in major U.S. cities.
Day 6: The stock market crashes as it did in the aftermath of 9/11. Our economy capsizes.
Day 7: Global commerce (shipment of oil and goods) is significantly disrupted, introducing economic anxiety around the world. Prices skyrocket (including at the gas pump). Unemployment rises. Global demands for U.S. goods declines sharply. Riots and demonstrations ensue.
It goes without saying how this chaos will benefit jihadist groups like ISIS and al-Qaida. Given America's weak global leadership, I do not see how the United States can sustain a long and devastatingly bloody war against Iran; a war that would become global and could last 10 to 15 years.
What Washington hawks conveniently or ignorantly refrain from telling citizens: Iran is not Iraq in military strength, intelligence capabilities and global outreach. It's far more. Bombing Iran will unite a country of all stripes around its leadership, providing hardliners at last with justification to convince Iranians and the Muslim world -- for that matter -- why they have always been suspicious of America's intentions in the Middle East.
War hawks should stop pretending to care about our country. They're controlled by defense lobbyists.Advocating war provides the opportunity to secure re-election. It also secures the four big defense contractors (Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and SAIC) contracts that run in billions of dollars.
Bottom line: A war against Iran will quickly become global and introduce major shifts in geopolitics not to our favor. Our global standing and credibility are at all-time lows. Calling for adventure against Iran amounts to destructive and misleading rhetoric. Consider first the war hawks of previous adventures and their dubious standing today. Let's hope common sense prevails this time around.