How to Stop the March to War With Iran

Congress, Europe and business leaders can stand in John Bolton’s way.

Comments: 194

  1. Excellent piece. Let’s also not forget that Netanyahu has been calling openly for war with Iran while Trump and co. just hint at it. That dynamic needs to be part of this discussion too since it was also a big factor in the misguided and tragic Iraq War.

  2. @Tam Hunt What?! For years, Iran’s ‘Supreme Leaders’ have been threatening to wipe Israel off the map, meanwhile aiding and abetting Hamas and Hezbollah terrorists. And you’ve managed to interpret that as Netanyahu’s aggression?

  3. Remember Gulf of Tonkin? The untrue reports of North Vietnamese attack on US ship led to Vietnam war, hundreds of thousands casualties, and untold profits for arms manufacturers on other defense contractors. On the positive side we have now a very popular tourist destination in Vietnam (which is still communist) and a place to buy cheap goods (I have a shirt made in Vietnam. Was it worth? We could have had all the positives without the negatives.

  4. But the Gulf of Tonkin farce occurred under a Democrat President. Why are you assuming that a Republican President would do the same thing?

  5. @Roland Williams "Weapons of mass destruction", anyone?

  6. Once again, the US appears headed towards a war that will involve the rest of the world, which will have little influence on either the start nor the damage to other people. However, they will be asked to help in the clean up afterwords. It seems every US president needs his/her own war. Right now every nation in the world could declare war on climate change, name it. Just not another country.

  7. @Doug Fisher Yes, the wars we need, and those we do not. For the last few election cycles I've felt that the entire world - or at the least citizens of our allies - should have a vote in the US election, since the consequences can be so globally dire. Keep speaking up, Canada.

  8. At least every Republican president needs his/her own war. Dems just try to clean up their messes.

  9. Of course Trump is going to start a war before the 2020 election - it's almost guaranteed given his poll numbers. He's going to start a war, block any effort to stop the help he's getting from Putin (he is already doing that - blocking legislation that secures elections). Then he'll use the war and Russia "meddling" (sabotage) to justify postponing the election "until an undetermined future time". He's actively dismantling the concept of coequal branches of government - dictatorship is the GOP end game.

  10. @JT Completely agree. Moreover, a war started by him completely fits his narcissism and anti-social personality. He can pretend to be a big shot and he does not have the capacity to care about any victims of a war.

  11. @JT Don't worry: the courageous Republican Senate won't let him get away with it. Oh, wait.

  12. When will American kids and their parents learn that serving in the military is most certainly NOT a way to serve your country? There are so many things that these high-minded, courageous young people can do in the world that actually make things better for people and their country. Since Vietnam, at least, the historical record is clear that our “engagements” (no Congressional declarations of war have occurred) are based on nonsense and are cynical ploys for economic and political gain at home. Our men and women are risking and losing their lives, and killing thousands of others, for no noble cause whatsoever. Just say ‘NO!’ and then use that wonderful motivation to help others. Please.

  13. @Dagwood We will always need warriors... at least until human evolution transcends violence, fear, jealousy, ignorance, religion, etc. Don't blame those who volunteer to defend us. Blame those who throw our sons and daughters away on pointless wars as this upcoming debacle will most certainly be.

  14. @Dagwood. For many young men who are unable to find good jobs in towns small and large, jointing the military is a way out. Sixty years ago one of my best friends became a marine as a way to gain independence from her abusive family. At the age of 80 after becoming a Marriage and Child Family Counselor in California, in many ways she remains a marine! No one wants to die in a ridiculous war. WW II was last worthwhile military endeavor. Why are we still fighting?

  15. @Sci guy, I almost agree with you, but perhaps if the enlistment rate started dropping, those in the board rooms and in DC might rethink their strategies and actually stick to the Constitutional mandate of providing for the common defense. And I DO give some blame to the volunteers, of course! Each of us citizens has a responsibility to be informed and to make our choices based on truth and our values. Want to defend us? Bravo! Do something that makes this great country loved around the world instead of invading places to serve politicians and corporate entities.

  16. First unless there is a Declaration of War no troops may be committed. Also, the contemplation of a war in the Persian Gulf is against all military tactical principles. Any ship is literally surrounded to start with and within range of even an off the shelf drone. The Persian Gulf will become the graveyard of our ships.

  17. @Indy1 The United States has a history of fighting military wars with troops on the ground without any formal declaration of war. Your faith is misplaced and disconnected from historical facts.

  18. @Indy1 WW2 was the last "declared" war. The rest have been military actions with no declaration of war, from Korea to VietNam to both Iraq wars, to Kosovo, to Libya (and I'm sure I've left some out). The 1973 War Powers Act is toothless, not that Congress cares much.

  19. At the domestic level it would seem that cities and towns that adopt "community" policing fare better than the ones where the police departments use force and sticks to "control" individuals and crowds. I wonder whether, by using the approach of connecting with countries and offering helping hands and winning hearts (not showing up with people in uniforms but perhaps with students, nurses, economists, etc..), we would not go further and calm everything down. I think America, a while back, was perceived this way in many if not all places. Without being able to prove this notion I still think that this approach would be much more fruitful (and cheaper!). I think Obama would have liked to go that way but, of course, that would have been impeachable/criminal trahison on his part

  20. @BG. Well, back in the 1980's we sent a lot of help to Central America in the form of support for murderous dictators like Somoza in Nicaragua, Arbenz in Guatemala and Pinochet in Chile. When the people rose up against them, we secretly sent in military support and did our best to decimate indigenous populations and leftist movements. Remember the Contras? Oliver North? By the way, I believe John Bolton was one of the masterminds of our genocidal secret war on self-determination in the region. The US war hawks would laugh in your face over your humanitarian ideals. Just bein' real.

  21. "Congress should also use its powers to ... " With the invertebrates running Congress that's exactly what will not happen. When Trump declared a border emergency to build his wall with funds never approved for that purpose, Congress wouldn't even defend their prerogative to appropriate funds per Article 1 of the Constitution. The same applies to the power to wage war. The Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq has been used by every President since 2003 to justify military action clearly unrelated to Iraq, and Congress has done nothing about it. It's much easier to not take any responsibility, let the President do as he will. If things go well, they claim the mantle of patriotism, if not, they squawk and blame the President. Don't expect any leadership from this bunch.

  22. This threat of war makes it clear the House needs to begin impeachment. Between an Iran war and a trade war, each of which could devastate this country, the Senate GOP might finally abandon Trump. If that day comes, if the House does its job, the trial can begin the next day in the Senate.

  23. @Alex There wouldn't be a conviction, particularly of a Commander-in-Chief in wartime, which is the perspective Lindsey Graham et. al. would take. Besides, Pence aches for Armageddon.

  24. @Rocky There is no need for conviction. Impeachment hearings are the proper goal. Televised.

  25. @Alex My thoughts exactly! The sooner the better. The Democrats have to be brave and do whatever it takes to stop this lunatic.

  26. "Such a deployment, although inadequate for a full-scale war" It is perfectly adequate as the logistic and base preparation for a very large war. Attacking Iran would become such a very large war. An infrastructure behind it in the region would be necessary. Like the evacuation of the US civilians in Iraq, it is preparation for a big war.

  27. @Mark Thomason Bolton and Company seek to permanently destabilize the European Union by provoking a refugee crisis which will dwarf the one triggered by the ill fated Arab Spring in Syria. There is a rare form of immoral cynicism at play when a 'superpower' seeks the misery and death of millions of innocent civilians in far flung countries. Watch this crisis start of wave of anti-Americanism akin to what happened during the Vietnam War era.

  28. If we are going to war with Iran Don Jr., Eric, Ivanka Trump and the rest of the Trump family should be drafted and fight on the front line against Iran. Our President needs to have some skin in the game! This should not a “Wag the Dog scenario”

  29. @AE -- "Bolton and Company seek to permanently destabilize the European Union by provoking a refugee crisis" I agree it is very likely to have that effect, along with other economic effects like another "Oil Shock." However, I don't know of anything to suggest Bolton's hostility is directed at the EU. He may not care, but what he does care about is Israel/Netanyahu/Project for a New American Century, and to have power to manipulate oil prices for US oil company advantage. The EU for Bolton is collateral damage, like the 500,000 Iraqi kids killed were to Albright. That makes it all the more important, and possible, for the EU to protect itself from the US.

  30. Its difficult to see how the UK or others involved in the Iran nuclear deal can have any influences on US policy. The US withdrew from the deal without consulting the others and cares little ,if at all ,that other nations support the deal. Sceptical of US claims re increased threats from Iran ,the U.K. Is between a rock and a hard place. The objective of the deal was to delay Iran developing a nuclear deterrent. Iran complied. Good deal or bad deal ,the main objective was attained.Time for further negotiations was achieved but now we are back to square one . Was the attempted scuttling of ships a black op or a warning from Iran ? Even money bet.

  31. Drones attacked an oil pipeline, ships were sabotaged - I find it plausible that Americans were behind it. And, like the rest of the world, I find it likely that everything Trump says about Iran is a lie. Who is the aggressor here? Does Iran have any aircraft carriers headed for our coast?

  32. @Peter Actually, the "attacks" seem like something the Saudis are perfectly capable of staging. Trivial resources, minimal effect, maximum enraging of the Trump administration.

  33. @Cfiverson If anyone has a motive to attack Saudi and UAE tankers, it is the victims of their vicious attacks on Yemen, i.e., the Houthis. The Houthis have some support from Iran but they are their own bosses with their own grievances.

  34. @Cfiverson Hmmm. The Saudis. Still, I wouldn't put it past Bolton to have suggested it to them.

  35. No one in the right mind wants to see the U.S. involved in another mideast war especially one that could lead to unimaginable consequences as other players such as Russia would surely be involved. No one other than Israel who would love to see us fight yet another of it's battles while it sits on the sidelines and watches the results. Our history with Israel presents one of the most one sided alliances we've ever been involved in. In past mideast wars on Israel's doorstep America has done all the heavy lifting in terms of lives and dollars while Israel sits idly by and cheers us on. Not a single Israeli soldier fought or died in any of those conflicts nor did Israel help to pay for those conflicts. Let's not make the mistake of entering into yet another unending war with possibly vast consequences as the heavy liftng proxy of our ally. The one that welcomes our commitment while sitting on the sidelines.

  36. This is old thinking. Old as in assuming both sides play by the Marquis of Queensbury rules. Of course, as we have seen for decades, Republicans don't believe in rules, norms, or any constraints whatsoever. We will need something like a National Strike to thwart a war that would make W's war, which destabilized much of the Middle East, look like a Sunday in the Park with George by comparison.

  37. We are a warlike nation. WW2 was the last "declared" war. The rest have been military actions by the President, with no declaration of war, Korea, VietNam, both Iraq wars, Kosovo, Libya (and I'm sure I've left some out and yes, I know Korea was a UN "police action" -- but in realpolitik it was a U.S. war). The 1973 War Powers Act, intended to rein in a President, is toothless, not that Congress cares much.

  38. "But a leader-to-leader meeting can happen only if the United States rejoins the nuclear deal". Why? Why can't there be a leader-to-leader meeting without the United States rejoining the nuclear 'deal'? Because it was a one sided, give away deal that sunsets in a paltry number of years? If Obama had negotiated a Treaty, instead of making up a whole new organism called a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action we would still be in it wouldn't we? But that would have required Ratifying it and he couldn't Ratify it because? Because it was and still is a Bad Deal. So if Iran wants Leader to Leader meetings all they have to do is accept that a JCPOA is not a Treaty, something they KNEW when it was signed, and agree to sit down with our America First President.

  39. @GregP Why would anyone want to talk to a person who had already reneged on more than one deal? A waste of time.

  40. @GregP, It was a bad deal? Why did 11 other countries sign on, why did they continue with the agreement (including the Iranians) even without American participation and how disingenuous of you to bring up the non-ratification by the Republican Congress who vowed to block everything Obama did or tried to do. Do you think Merrick Garland didn't get a vote because he was a bad judge?

  41. @Rick Gage Please, If Obama had negotiated a real deal, one worthy of a Treaty, it very well could have been ratified. Why did the other 11 countries sign on? Simple, they desire the trade. They are not a target of Iranian missiles or potential nukes and care about growing their economies more than the welfare of Israel or the United States.

  42. Things are moving so fast that Congress may have to act before hearings by letting President Trump know that they are firmly opposed to any military action without hearings and Congressional authorization. Right now the "we" who "cannot just let it [a war with Iran] happen" are our representatives in Congress, particularly in the House. It's time to hear from Speaker Pelosi.

  43. Mr. Bolton should read up on Iranian history. In 1953 the U.S. and Great Britain removed Mosaddegh , the duly elected Prime Minister. How did that work for us? More American blood should not be shed to effect another regime change.

  44. Those warbirds ought to be governed by a law that says: no sending kids off to die unless one of YOUR sons or daughters are in uniform and on the front lines. No exceptions. Then, those who vote to allow the dogs of war to slip their chains should immediately enlist in one of the service branches (National Guard excepted). Might as well reinstitute the draft--that would give the kiddies blubbering about "triggering" in our colleges something to actually worry about.

  45. My guess is that when and if trump gets more cornered domestically than he is now, a war will be the ultimate distraction for him! Bolton and Natanyahu has been clamoring for a war with Iran for a long time. Everything lines up, I guess! Who cares about the damages and lives lost in both countries? No one?

  46. Contact your representatives. No war with Iran. Pulling Americans out of Iraq is a big Red Flag. War is coming. Say NO. Trump needs a distraction from all his many failures. Say NO. Ray Sipe

  47. Reinstate the draft and you would have millions marching against the illegal march towards war. Unless Americans have their own skin in the game they don't mind sacrificing the skin of others. It's all a game to them with no consequences, like cheating on their taxes.

  48. @Rick Gage Right on Rick! Mike

  49. A handy anagram to remember Ms. Sherman's points: TEDJAM Troops (bring 'em home) European voices Dollars of congress Joint chiefs (testify) and Media responsibility Also, EVIL BOLTON. That's just a fact, not an anagram.

  50. The madness of King Donald: the people who CAN stop him, WON'T. When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.

  51. "But war is not inevitable. President Trump campaigned on bringing troops home, not sending tens of thousands more to the Middle East. " Since when has Trump ever kept a campaign promise? Mexico won't pay for the wall, and Obamacare hasn't been replaced. He hasn't released his tax returns, and Hillary isn't locked up. But, back on topic: "The best way to avoid war is to talk with Iran, which President Trump has said he wants to do." Oh really? Then why did Pompeo issue an ultimatum listing 12 pre-conditions for negotiation, that were tantamount to the regime's capitulation and surrender? "The best way to avoid war" is for every concerned U.S. citizen to write to his/her senator/congressperson, to stage peaceful protests in front of the White House and, most importantly, to encourage the mass media to highlight the true motives behind the call to war. Bolton's substantial and disgraceful income from speeches to the terrorist Mujaheddin Khalgh -- a Marxist-Islamic cult -- with whom he promised to celebrate in Tehran this year, should be a major focus of the investigation, especially as he is someone who evaded Vietnam because he "refused to die in some paddy field." Some chicken-hawk! Naturally, Netanyahu and Salman are laughing their heads off in the knowledge that it is far easier to start wars than to stop them. Maybe they'll stop laughing when Saudis and Israelis get killed in addition to Americans and Iranians.

  52. Self-appointed Emperor of the World, Trumpius I, has apparently decided that it is time to Bolt-On, and for the insignificant citizen-subjects of America to experience some significant pain of; war, economic chaos, and ‘fear’ to put the “little people” in their place. DUMP EMPEROR TRUMP “We can’t be an Empire”

  53. All of this depends on rationality. With both Trump and Bolton, each of whom seems to have a deep, dark closet of personal trauma, that is a misplaced dependency. And Pompeo, with his masters eager for Armageddon, seems to offer no buffer of moderation. Buckle up.

  54. Hair Furor realized that he could only push Kim Jung Un only so far with his bully behavior and would have to back down because Kim has nukes, which Iran does not. It's much easier for this misadministration to bully a non-nuclear country than one with nukes, isn't it? This GOP war machine madness needs to stop. Enough already. Haven't we killed enough people around the world by now? Enough of our fellow countrymen and women? Wasted enough of our tax payer dollars in fruitless wars?

  55. 1) War is the president's clearest and quickest path to re-election, but only if he times it properly. And now is probably too soon. 2) The House should immediately call hearings on the so-called threats that the administration is claiming are coming from Iran. Substantiate them in open session or refute them for the lies they probably are. 3) We went to war in Vietnam and Iraq under false pretenses. We are in a forever war in Afghanistan. These executive branch military adventures have sapped our treasury, made cannon fodder of our youth, and served only to fill the pockets of the death merchants. 4) We must stop them this time around, and only the House can do it. Their continued pusillanimity and foot-dragging in the face of the horrors we are experiencing are disgraceful.

  56. @Dale Copps Oh yeah, Ms. Pelosi, drop everything and begin a new effort, to chase another of Trump’s great distractions. You gotta be kidding!

  57. @Sam Song Well, which "everything" would that be, Sam, given the fact that the Senate will ignore any and all legislation coming from the House? Our democracy is in peril (you either believe that or you don't), and only the House, if "Ms. Pelosi" would wake up and realize the extent of our peril, can preserve it peacefully.

  58. Total predictable - and predicted. Start a war before the election to gain patriotic cover for failed policies. Oh, and distract from the Mueller Report. So much winning!

  59. This is horrifying! And let's not forget John Bolton's role in the Iraq debacle. How many more Americans have to die or be scarred for life because of the insanity of the chicken hawks? Guess whose poor kids will not be going to support another rich man's war?

  60. Fox News and conservative pundits will soon start pounding home the idea that opposing war with Iran amounts to treason and that changing leaders during a time of war only helps the enemy. Remember that during the run-up to the Iraq War?

  61. @Fester I remember. It’s just another Imperialist War of Empire that must be met with determined mass resistance. M

  62. This morning I was heartened to read, on Reuter's webiste, that Spain has pulled it's warship out of the group The Con Don and Bolton sent to "protect" against Iran. It was also heartening to read the China's leader opposes a "clash of civilizations". This Con Don military build-up in Iran is nothing but a war-mongering stick poked into a hornet's nest to try to foment chaos, fear, anger, destruction. WE THE PEOPLE - average people around the world in cooperation with democracy-loving people in/with power - MUST take every step to stop The Con Don, Putin, Netanyahu, Erdogan, the Saudi prince, Kim, Duerte, Orban and all the other supposed "strong" men from pushing the world into war. NO WW3! No one wins in war. No one. Not even the demneted stolen/inherited wealth Robber Barons who are trying to foment it.

  63. @njglea I totally agree with you! We must resist this War.

  64. Perhaps France (in defiance of the US's sanctions) could sell Iran some Exocet missiles (to join the ones that they picked up from Iraq).

  65. With such an unresponsive government as Trump’s thank you for identifying Instex as a lever for pressure.

  66. "anonymous American officials in the press pointed to Iran" It is wrong for the press to allow anonymity for that. When the lede is an either/or deliberate war or reckless war, then it should not be faceless too.

  67. @Mark Thomason Unfortunately, if the press didn't keep their sources anonymous, there would be no leaks to inform the public of these heinous acts. By the way, I like your avatar, General Buford.

  68. @Wayne -- Thanks. He had the rare eye to see the ground that could be and had to be defended (coup d'œil), and the courage to stand and defend it. That was a big part of Napoleon's definition of an ideal general (to which he added "lucky"). A man who died within the year of typhoid fever wasn't so lucky, but skilled and brave none the less.

  69. This is not about securing our freedom. It is about sacrificing our freedom to a wannabe authoritarian who was illegitimately elected. Muddle into this mess and throw the dice for the institution of martial law and the trammeling of rights of war dissidents.

  70. History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce. First America staged the Gulf of Tonkin incident to justify the Vietnam war. Then George W. Bush hallucinated that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Now Bolton is salivating at the thought of dragging his stable genius of a master into a pointless, self defeating war with Iran. He will invent any excuse necessary to do so. America's so called allies in the region will be glad to stage any number of false flag operations and blow up their own assets while blaming Iran for it. A few insured oil tankers or a couple of pipelines is a cheap price to pay for getting America to attack their most hated enemy. If that doesn't work, they will then target American assets in the region. And the Americans, fools that they are, will fall for it.

  71. Ms. Sherman negotiated the deal that provided Iran with 100s of billions of dollars -- that has fueled the rise of Hizbullah, Hamas, and Palestinian Jihad, and financed wars in Syria and Yemen. One might also add that ballistic missile technology has also quite advanced. Research on Atomic bombs also continued. This is not a deal to base ones legacy on.

  72. @barry - The funds we returned to Iran were their assets of theirs that we had frozen in the wake of the 1979 revolution. Please keep up.

  73. The writer repeatedly assumes that the GOP is interested in not going to war. This President will willingly send Americans to their deaths to protect his ego and the GOP will back him up to keep their seats in Congress. We are in a dangerous mess.

  74. “Finally, it is crucial that the news media in the United States and elsewhere continue its crusade for the facts about what is going on with Iran” The news media these days is 90% controlled by six corporations. They profit from war. The corporate media has been for most every US war/coup/military intervention since Vietnam. I certainly hope this time is different, but sadly history says otherwise. Bibi and MBS control our foreign policy now, and have long pushed to take out Iran. They fear Trumps says are numbered, so they have to push for a war now with Iran by any means. False flag operations have been used to push the US into war throughout our history. The Gulf of Tonkin jumped started the Vietnam war and the WMD’s the Iraq War, are just a few in our history. I am also reminded of the USS Liberty where the Israeli Air Force bombed our well marked naval ship in 1967 off the Sinai coast to make it look like it was by Egypt and have the US thus attack Egypt. The Bush era Warhawks from the Bush era are in charge now. God help us.

  75. There's a missing "from" (probably) in the sentence "step away ... a potential conflict with the United States."

  76. Remember Iraq? Remember how Powell convinced the UN with, now considered fake, WMD evidence? John Bolton is a cunning fellow capable of repeating the same feat with the current administration. And walla, we've war with Iran. I believe war with Iran is inevitable. I expect it to start around the beginning of the 2020 election. While the U.S. will kill the Iranians - both civilians and military - as well as destroy Iran, the Iranians too have experience of war, having fought Iraq for more than a decade, and a few good arsenals of weapons, which they will throw at the Americans that will really do some serious damage. And then there will be a stalemate and the second phase of warfare will start, i.e., gorilla warfare, that will envelope the entire region and last forever. I'm looking forward the above scenario to unfold.

  77. @Uday Lama And if anyone thinks the war won't manifest itself on our turf then they are fools. We've been lucky so far. Not anymore.

  78. @Uday Lama I’m not.

  79. Trump's record of incessant, unrepentant lying provides no reason for confidence when he tells us he is "hearing little stories" about Iran. If it were 1941 and a President Trump announced the attack on Pearl Harbor, I would call Honolulu to check... .

  80. This feels like the runup for the War to Re-elect President Trump. But that war will be a complete disaster for the United States. Our armed forces may defeat those of Iran. But then we will be left occupying a country of over 80 million people who are united in hating us. And our so-called "allies" will be self-serving hypocrites like the Saudi royal family and Benjamin Netenyahu. The backlash from this war will be the end of the United States as a great nation.

  81. @Cfiverson "But then we will be left occupying a country of over 80 million people who are united in hating us." Sadly, the vast majority of these 80 million people don't hate us now.

  82. Certainly, trump thinks that by starting a war with Iran it's his surest way to get reelected.

  83. @Mr.Reeee ... Starting a war is a sure way to get re-elected. It worked for George W. Bush.

  84. "The good news is that Congress, America’s allies and others can intervene to avert a disastrous conflict." The bad news is that they won't. Especially congress. Can't risk dinging those stellar poll numbers.

  85. @Halboro. I think your phone may have misspelled "cellar"...

  86. It's deja vu all over again. But...I seem to remember hundreds of thousands of people marching against the Iraq war. That really worked, didn't it? I'll telephone my representatives, but I have no faith that anything will change. If I were a betting person, I'd bet that all the plans are in place and ready to go. But remember, we can't have universal health care because it costs too much!

  87. @democritic The hundreds of thousands who marched against Iraq War was a good thing. I was there but newspapers like the Times sold the war. We should have stayed in NY and participated in mass unrelenting resistance. That is the lesson we should learn. M

  88. @democritic " that all the plans are in place and ready to go." I'd bet that these guys still can't plan enough to put their shoes on properly. All they can do is spin the tweets.

  89. I'm old enough to remember a time when the GI Bill gave an entire swath of Americans the opportunity to go to college and buy a home. I remember the Gulf of Tonkin Incident and the life my then husband and I lived when he was stationed in combat support on an island off the coast of Asia, and I went with him. Then we had "Weapons of Mass Destruction", after our wonderful allies the Saudis gave us most of the 9/11 terrorists. I recently had a small health incident and am beginning to feel sorry that I utilized the excellent medical service provided by my Medicare. Yes, I'm depressed over a pattern I see repeating itself and wonder if any of us will even want to be alive to see it all play out. Nobody listened to Eisenhower's farewell speech. Oh yeah, I remember that too.

  90. I agree with almost all of what Ms. Sherman says in this piece. However, I do take issue with the suggestion that Congress "should agree to whoever the administration sends" if Mr. Shanahan doesn't agree to appear. We've already seen that the Administration is willing to block any Congressional oversight. If a witness is called and doesn't hear, subpoena them, and if they ignore the subpoena, send the Sergeant-of-Arms for the chamber holding the hearing to arrest the recalcitrant witness and hold them until such time as they are willing to cooperate.

  91. My brother died this past January. A battle-hardened Army vet, he told me many times that he felt his whole career had been spent fighting wars that never should have been fought, but instead negotiated diplomatically until there was NO other option left but to send troops. NO other option. He was a lifelong Democrat who never missed a vote, even when overseas. His son, also career Army, died in Afghanistan 10 years ago. Despite all he'd been through, my brother John maintained a sardonic sense of humor right to the last. His attempt at Army gallows humor: "Join the Army. Travel to faraway lands. Meet exotic and interesting people. And kill them."

  92. As an independent, I agree with some of your opinion pieces and disagree with others but this one is not only on target but is of vital importance to the future of our country in the world. War talk is never good and does require both Congress and world leaders to get involved now not later.

  93. Pompeo and Bolton and Netanyahu will deploy false flag operations again and again until they get their long-desired war. This has to stop. Three men who can destroy the world are dead set on doing it.

  94. @Andrea Whitmore Of course, threatening Israel’s annihilation while financing Hamas and Hezbollah terrorists has absolutely nothing to do with it....right?

  95. @Andrea Whitmore Agree wholeheartedly. Remember the Karine A. Also, how many of those demonstrators in Tehran with "Death to America" signs are there by the grace of CIA and/or Mossad? The Iranians aren't stupid. They know who benefits from what.

  96. @Michal Right -- it is not our business to follow Israel's government into war.

  97. It's madness. King Donald wants a crusade that spreads his deadly personal strain of Bubonic plague. Congress must stop this or face revolution.

  98. Can we be frightened now?

  99. Wrong question. The ONLY question is ‘How to stop Iran from arming, aiding, and abetting terrorists while advancing their war of annihilation against Israel?’

  100. I am glad the author has secret, inside information. I have never heard Trump say that a war with Iran was being planned.

  101. Please. The feckless Legislative Lagomorphs have washed it's hands of it's war-making responsibilities decades ago -- and there were still a few "statesmen" present then. Today's toadies are small in all the ways that matter. But spine is needed when confronting an enemy schooled by the appeasement of the previous administration, the most incompetent group on the international scene since the Carter catastrophe that gave birth to the mullah state. We are turning the screws. Tighter. They will crack and when they do the Israelis have a surprise waiting.

  102. This is what happens when politicians say all options are on the table. No one considers the feelings of the table. Eventually the table collapses and everything scatters on the floor in thousands and thousands of pieces.

  103. Ultimate solution is get off oil. No, or little demand for oil then no or little money. If the world was not dependent then no leverage over US and the rest of the world.

  104. War with Iran is likely to have an even worse outcome than the catastrphic war in Iraq. Iran is geographically four times larger than Iraq which would make a ground invasion and years of counterinsurgency an unrealistic proposition. Even a prolonged air campaign is unlikely to cause regime change so more pressure would build for a disastrous invasion. The U.S. wasted all of its capital for coalition building when we instigated the war in Iraq, and we would only have Isreal and possibly Saudi Arabia as partners. Furthermore, there is a real possibility that Russia and possibly China would be compelled to side with Iran to check U.S. hostilities in the region. This could, in turn, lead to World War III... no joke.

  105. John Bolton has never seen a country that he doesn't want to disrupt or meddle in militarily. Thus, he thrives on this stuff. Since Trump has zero analytical ability, Bolton can make Trump believe in his paranoid fantasies. Hello, Dr. Strangelove.

  106. If the president is so eager to display his machismo in the Middle East, perhaps he could attack the country that produced the perpetrators of the 911 attack - the Saudis. Oh wait, they are his friends. Well then, perhaps attack the Russians who continue to disrupt our elections? Oh wait, they are his friends. It's just too difficult to think of a despot who is not the president's friend.

  107. Gee, Wendy, do you really think business “leaders” and Members of Congress are opposed to a dust up with Iran. They’ll cheer Trump on. Gotta support Israel. War is good for business, once it starts that is. The run up kills stock prices, but it provides a great opportunity to buy assets on the cheap. The public gets to be entertained by watching the fireworks display over Teheran, and can fantasize about arresting an Ayatollah for the war crime of resisting a takeover. Don’t get your hopes up about resisting a war, if Bolton wants one. There are too many in this country who love war, and too few who will actually have to die for one.

  108. Bottom line: Trump is reckless. Trumps cabinet is full of greed and deceit. How the cuss anyone in our entire national or federal branch of gov't thinks this situation should be allowed is proof we need an entire new congress. but, if votes dont count, then i guess we're stuck with driving off a cliff.

  109. People should learn their history. Trump just takes our past misdeeds and exponentially escalates them. Check out democratically elected Mossadegh and how we teamed up with the UK to protect BP (remember the Gulf Oil Spill?) and thus fertilized the seeds that ended up with Ayatollah Khomeini's revolution (the earlier history was bad as well). "the 35th prime minister of Iran, holding office from 1951 until 1953, when his government was overthrown in the 1953 Iranian coup d'état orchestrated by the United States' Central Intelligence Agency and the United Kingdom's MI6. "An author, administrator, lawyer and prominent parliamentarian, his administration introduced a range of social and political measures such as social security, land reforms and higher taxes including the introduction of taxation of the rent on land."

  110. What we're doing is sending a carrier group into harms way. I don't think the Iranians are prepared militarily to take out one of our carriers, but just in the act of attacking a battle group, Republicans would start rattling their sabers. I'm still waiting for Republicans in Congress to reclaim the power under the Constitution that is rightfully theirs as a coequal branch of our government. For them, it's still party over country. For their own job security, and to preserve trump's so called presidency in the face of constant corruption and lies, they're ready to sacrifice the lives of American servicemen and servicewomen. Stop Trump and Bolton, if you care about this country.

  111. The only possible beneficiaries of a war against Iran are Saudi Arabia and Israel. Let those countries lead the charge.

  112. After the bogus Gulf of Tonkin attack that led to the Vietnam War and the bogus report of Iraqi soldiers removing babies from incubators in Kuwait that proceeded the US invasion of Kuwait along with many allies the American public should be extremely skeptical of reports of attacks by Iran on tankers or whatever. These are likely to be lies to stir up support for a war that should never happen. This may be all be bluster by Trump and Bolton but it should be taken seriously. Congress should start following the Constitution and assert its sole authority for declaring war. Trump has no such constitutional authority. He is the commander-in-chief which should really scare people. So far it appears that the Europeans will not support this warmongering by Trump and Bolton and Congress needs to make it clear that it will not either.

  113. While I agree with the author, this reads like a letter to Santa.

  114. Ms Sherman Unfortunately we are dealing with a mentally imbalanced individual in the guise of John Bolton who is hellbent on making up for lost time during his youth when he would have had the opportunity to participate in the Vietnam War. But callow youth had other plans. Now that he is just another suit in Washington DC, he is well assured of not being physically threatened by the looming war set to begin soon against Iran. Never have I felt so much shame and disgust for the United States, nothing but a rogue nation like any other.

  115. @AE It is the number one Rogue Nation. M

  116. There is no “march” to war with Iran. Heck, there’s not even a “casual stroll”. Trump’s approach to negotiations should be clear by now – apply maximum pressure to bring a country to the bargaining table and to have something to give away in negotiations. Unlike the U.S. foreign policy establishment, Trump has no interest in turning dictatorships into democracies. It’s too expensive and rarely works. He’s a fiscal non-interventionist. In addition, he knows that if we are at war with Iran, his 2020 chances are toast. He doesn’t even want to scrap the Iran Nuclear Deal. He wants to expand and improve it by officially limiting long range ballistic missile testing and at least unofficially limiting Iran’s military influence operations in the region. By this time next year, Trump will have personally met with the Iranian leadership and an Iran Nuclear Deal 2.0 will be “in the works”. Take it to the bank. In the meantime, everyone can relax…except for liberals. They’ll need to tune into Rachel Maddow to find out the next supposed conspiracy and scandal to fill their trembling hearts with fear.

  117. @John That presumes that the regime in Iran are rational, which they used to be, but i'm not sure they are anymore. By crippling their economy they have very little to loose in a limited military conflict with the US. The regime in Tehran fears their own people and don't care about losing a few hundred thousand people, as it might unite their people against a foreign intruder (similar to what happend in Vietnam btw) and strengthen their hold on power, which is all they care about. If this happens it will be on YOUR hands, as we had a flawed but working deal just 1 year ago.

  118. I think recent history suggests the last paragraph is the only one that matters. The administration has shown complete and utter disdain for the rule of law and is flaunting congress's power at every turn. Republicans have been itching for a conflict with Iran for a very long time. There's no way they're going to miss this opportunity. After all they're fighting with other people's children and the price of oil will likely increase. From their point of view it's all good. "It’s quite possible that none of these actions will halt John Bolton, President Trump’s national security adviser, in his long-held ambition for regime change in Iran, by force of arms if necessary. And maybe even Mr. Trump sees promise in a “wag the dog” strategy in the run-up to the 2020 election, rallying his supporters around a “wartime” president. "

  119. Send Donald Trump, Jr., Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump and Tiffany Trump and their spouses/partners to the Syrian/ Iraqi/Iranian front in an American military uniform. With Ted Cruz, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson, Dick Cheney, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul acting as reinforcements. With Fox News and the Wall Street Journal providing all of the fake news.

  120. He was proved to lie to congressional confirmation hearings under subpoena in the Bushs time. Now he’s there calling the shots. Well he won’t be there to lead the charge. He’ll let our noble troops obey that call. And private Foot Drop won’t be there. Maybe from the Golf War room in Florida. America , if you let them take us into war once we made mistakes. America, if you let them spend your money and risk our lives again there you are mad. America, this is our country and it’s our White House. And we all pay for his insane hateful stupid tweets.

  121. Trump and his sycophants have alienated America in the world, so they will be standing alone and they know it. The Spanish just yesterday wanted no part in this foray to instigate an 'event'. War is no longer winnable without friends. And even with friends few recent wars have been won outright; they just create more wars, more terrorism. The lunatics are truly running the asylum. You push anything too far and it will bite you. And that is Bolton's purpose; his life's sick dream. Congress? Are you sleeping?

  122. Ignore what the Trump administration looks like it's doing in foreign affairs, watch what they actually do. Mr. Trump has been one of the least militarily adventurous presidents in recent memory, expect that to continue. He understands, as few of his opponents do, that economics is the real battlefield of present and future; armed conflict is a loser from almost all points of view. A lot of people fail to understand that we're safer today with Mr. Trump as president than we've been for a long time because he doesn't always have his finger on the trigger. He may not look like it, but he's actually the 'commonsense president'. Don't expect Democrats of embrace that idea.

  123. The “commonsense” President? There are plurality of examples where we see very little commonsense coming from Trump. Commonsense is not a term that rings true about.

  124. It’s Bolton and others that are pushing this, that makes it more difficult.

  125. @Ronald B. Duke Sending a task force virtually to Iran may provoke them. Not militarily adventurous? Common sense? The economics Trump are concerned about are those of Trump. "Armed conflict is a loser from almost all points of view." Except maybe a wartime president. Worked for Bush. That war criminal was re-elected.

  126. I hope that all this Iran War talk is no more than Trump-style prelude to diplomacy. However. it reeks of Tonkin Gulf and WMD mendacity. Like most Presidents, Trump campaigned on bringing the troops home, but, too often, the Establishment and foreign policy elites seem to thrive on military action with dreams that someday the US will fully control the world. Those in Congress get big bucks from the military industrial complex, and generally are pretty passive about standing against military action. But they might think twice about going to war with Iran. Thankfully, the Europeans are finally developing a spine and standing up to the US warmongering. If Europe, working with other countries, creates a strong, wise coalition and takes the mantle of world leadership, chooses real, if tedious, diplomacy and disdains military force seeing it as more appropriate to a less evolved world... than the Trump Presidency would have had value. The US has been a warmongering violent nation for decades and if it can't control its violent habits it is not fit as a global leader. For what its worth, Bernie Sanders has a highly evolved foreign policy!

  127. 1) Send a naval task force into the the middle east. 2) send embassy personnel out of the middle east, declaring them to possibly be in harms way. 3) Announce the possibility of sending 120,000 troops into the region. 4) Sit tight and wait to see what happens. 5) Opportunity for some interested terrorist to inflame the tensions by some act of sabotage. 6) Off to war we go. 7) The nation is at war, no better way to distract attention from a corrupt administration, of course the man in charge knows better then anyone on how to fight a war.

  128. In order to be reelected, Trump WILL start a war with Iran, which most Americans regard as a demon state. He cares nothing about the thousands of deaths that will result so long as they don't include his own sons.

  129. These neo-cons who got us into Iraq, Libya, Syria etc, each of which has backfired, harmed our security, cost us dearly, and weakened us overall, have failed to learn from their mistakes and are intent on repeating them. Here we go again with the drumbeats of war by neo-cons who are going against what our own defense experts all consider a tertiary, low priority problem at best in Iran (not to mention Venezuela as well). Those same defense experts all agree that this middle east adventurism that neo-cons got us into is a distraction and diversion of vital resources away from the US, away from both the general population and military investment, and that we instead need to sure up prosperity and investment in the US if we want to be able to stay more powerful than China and Russia. That makes THEM, these neo-con armchair warmongers, in fact the greater peril and enemy we face from a national security perspective. They already chopped off a proverbial arm off America with their 3-4 trillion dollar failed blundering war in Iraq, possibly the biggest foreign policy blunder in US history. If we let them, they'll drive America completely off a cliff with Iran, which is bound to be 3x more costly and counterproductive.

  130. Not to mention the 4 plus trillion bucks spent on a 14 year old war. Think of all the infrastructure we could have repaired, built. The amount of eduction we could fund, the healthcare access, and more.

  131. Sorry Congress is not the way. We need determined and unrelenting mass resistance like what happened in the late 60’s . But it needs to be larger, more creative and uncompromising. We are not living in “normal times”. The Planets is facing destruction. The rights of half of Humanity are being shredded as the fundamental right of women to control their own bodies is being eliminated state by state. Fascism is advancing here and around the world. Racism, Anti Semitism, misogyny and xenophobia is being whipped up by Trump and Fox News. And the Masters of War are getting ready to unleash another crime against Humanity with an air war of annihilation against the Iranian People. This is madness. Cast away illusions - prepare for struggle. Our children, our Planet, and Humanity are depending on us to take a stand. Mike

  132. Waiting for a reason to impeach by the House that might get Republican votes in the Senate, well here it is.

  133. @Onyx M You misread our Republican friends. As Bush the Younger announced, with rosy cheeks and a Howdy Doody grin "I'm a wartime President!!" Apparently they believe this makes their man politically invincible. Trump already tried something along tho9se lines and looked pretty stupid doing it. Seems like they're more serious this time and, absent anything even smelling like and adult in the Senate, they'll get their way. Which is maybe a good thing; a little controlled middle East mayhem will give us a chance to test our condition, now that we have roasted, demeaned, mocked, and alienated every important ally. A test run. And, from the Republican perspective, how bad can it be? If we lose a hundo thou or so, and do it quickly, they'll get to design a somber monument on the mall, wipe clean the liberal gains after Nam, and repaint themselves as the mighty patriots they think we think they are . If we win, of course. Wins have been hard to come by ever since that glorious day on Granada.

  134. Most voters are smart and will are old enough to remember the Bush II scam to invade Iraq. Trump's moves are even more transparent, in part because he brags over and again about any and every move. Most in the country are sick of troops in the Middle East with no legitimate exit strategy. And there will not be a quick win, there is no such thing as a win in the Middle East. Claiming victory as did Bush II on an aircraft carrier in yet another well remembered falsehood, and will be told over and over by any and all Dem candidates for 2020.

  135. It is difficult to take seriously one of the main architects for rewarding the Islamic Republic for its villainous behavior. I do not see a discussion of Iran's Islamist plans and actions. I also do not see a discussion of the legitimate efforts to sanction and isolate Iran, so as to prevent war. She almost sounds as if she works for Iran.

  136. @prevention - I take a different view on this article, I think she's trying to point out the ultimate dangers inherent with challenging a country like Iran in war.

  137. All fine until there a ‘Gulf of Tonkin’ event, then it’s all or nothing time. 60 or 100 thousand dead Americans later we can call it all off. All or nothing yielded nothing in Vietnam and the same will be true with Iran. We’ll be lucky we don’t start by losing at least one carrier in this latest game of distractions. I doubt any of our allies will be suckered in to help us on this adventure. And why should they?

  138. Congress should refuse to approve the DoD's budget AND all the off the books budgets to fund this disaster. Most Americans don't want a stinking war - but WE are the ones who have to pay for it! Either that, or we all need to go to HR and say, my exemptions are now 25 or whatever number would stop taxes from being taken out. This is not a democracy when trillions of OUR dollars are spent on a war none of us want.

  139. Please let us learn from our history of wars in the Middle East. Yes, the comprehensive ideas in this article need to remain front page news until this reemerging insanity has healed. Please, let us give peace a real chance. Please let us cooperate with partners in peace in Europe and throughout the world.

  140. "anonymous American officials in the press pointed to Iran as the perpetrator" ah. yeah. That's never been misused with disastrous consequences before.

  141. This is an excellent first step, but I haven't read the article mentioned by the Iranian and Saudi writers. What I think really needs direct attention now is intelligent comment on the gravity of a war-like stance against a foe of the caliber of Iran. Iran has existed for almost as long as recorded history makes note. An American led invasion or all-out combat with Iran will a catastrophic endgame for the US.

  142. The only reason Trump campaigned on bringing the troops home is that he knew it would help get him elected. Trump does not care one iota about our troops, and he has no actual plan for foreign policy. Let's not forget how a few days after his inauguration he nonchalantly sent American soldiers to their deaths while he was having dinner and for the next few weeks could only talk about how good his chocolate cake was. Trumps only objects to military force if he's not the one ordering it. He has been angling for a conflict with Iran, and now that his poll numbers are in the tank and he realizes how much trouble he's in, he's trying to manufacture a conflict. The playbook being used is obvious - he's taking a page from the Bush playbook for the second gulf war. However, Trump is not as smart as Bush, and his staff has no one who commands the respect of a Colin Powell, who knowingly lied in support of his President' case for war while simultaneously trying to talk Bush out of it. Pompeyo and Bolton are simply not in that league. They just lie. And if we expect the dysfunctional Republican congress to stand up to Trump in any way, we can also expect to be sadly disappointed.

  143. No one should be editorializing about US-Iran relations who is not familiar with the story of Mohammed Mossadegh. It's a miracle the Iran government trusted us enough to enter a nuclear deal and now we are about to betray them again. I'll take the Iranian government any day over the Saudis but no one is suggesting we go to war against that ghastly regime. If John Bolton can't find diplomatic means to resolve differences with Iran he should step aside and let the professionals take over. I hope the American people have become savvy enough by now to see that we're being set up - the emperor has no clothes.

  144. @CFB I agree.

  145. Bolton is not a diplomat, he’s a hard line war monger.

  146. It seems we don't learn from our mistakes or at least refuse to. A great book on this very subject: March of Folly by Barbara Tuchman.

  147. @A P The goals haven't changed so the methods don't change, either. The main goal is to maintain the Bellum Americanum (pardon my bad Latin), often called the Pax Americana.

  148. @A P They were not “mistakes”. This is the real nature of U.S. Imperialism.

  149. @A P Trump cannot learn from mistakes because he doesn't read or listen. Sad!

  150. "The good news is that Congress, America’s allies and others can intervene to avert a disastrous conflict." The bad news is, "they won't". Particularly the Republican Congress, they're nothing much more than a rubber stamp for Trumps idiotic Administration.

  151. @cherrylog754 While the majority of Republicans in Congress are rubber-stampers, there are enough that can be persuaded that it makes sense to pressure them. 18 Republicans in the House and 7 in the Senate broke ranks to vote for the No War in Yemen resolution. A sustained public pressure campaign on the right Republicans could build an anti-war coalition, even in the Senate.

  152. The author concludes we cannot let a war with Iran happen. She therefore tells the enemy it can do what it pleases. We can and should eliminate this growing cancer in the Middle East.

  153. @No Let me get this straight. You advocate "eliminating" a country of 81 million people, because they are a "growing cancer". Have you for even a moment considered how insane that sounds?

  154. @No If that were to be the case, we would certainly find out where in the world and what US interests Iran's secret terrorist cells are located. Some may even be here in the US. Be careful what you wish for.

  155. @No If that were to be the case we would certainly find out where in the world Iran's secret terrorist cells are and what US interests (targets) they hit. Some may even be here in the US. Be careful what you wish for.

  156. The right wing has been spoiling for a fight with Iran for 40 years. It's a permanent entry on their Christmas list. It would be a disaster. The other Middle East countries would back Iran, with the possible exception of Saudi Arabia. It would quickly become a Middle East war and every active and dormant terrorist group would go nuts. There is enough experience with Iraq and Syria to realise how destabilising a war in the Middle East can and will be. Americans are a big reason for that instability. It's about Israel and related domestic politics, and oil. The US still isn't out of the region and people are still dying. How many more, and for what result? Everyone there is everyone's friend and everyone's enemy depending on who they're fighting. The US can't manage that with a war every ten years. They can only make it worse.

  157. Nobody has even mentioned the many thousands of American and Iraqi lives destroyed by PTSD because too many soldiers and their victims really are good people who quail and are repulsed by the slaughter of civilians- men, women and children- and soldiers on both sides. Bolton and Trump are the worst kind of warrior- self righteous cowards who never leave the comfort and safety of their own armchair.

  158. Stop the War Mongers and give peace a chance. There is no reason to go to war against Iran on trumped up charges. We have seen this movie before and know the disasterous consequences for US and the Middle East.

  159. Our country is posed to go over the abyss nationally and internationally it's in a free fall. Pompeo, Bolton and Kushner are dancing to whatever tunes Israel, UAE and Saudi Arabia choose to play while Trump watches TV. Is it possible this topic arose in the extensive Putin/Trump phone call along with lifting sanctions on Russia to replace a possible Iranian oil shortage? Every nefarious act Trump commits is out in the open, in your face. I seriously hope this one is foiled for we are doomed should it come to fruition.

  160. It is appalling that Congress has silently allowed the Authorization for the Use of Military Force, which expressly applied to military action against the 9/11 terrorists and those who aided and harbored them, to be applied to other military involvements not colorably within its ambit. It is beyond time for Congress to take back its constitutional war power. It needs to do so immediately, BEFORE Bolton/trump make it too late.

  161. And the funny thing is, congress used to have the final say in military actions, they abdicated that power too. Along with the purse strings....

  162. As someone who unwillingly participated in the Iraq war, as a member of the US Navy, it is utterly disconcerting to see this administration pull the same nonsense with Iran. It was clear to many people in the military in 2002 that the Bush admin had decided a war was happening. You don't mobilize half a million troops and sailors for nothing. The Bushies had their minds made up and twisted the facts until public was on their side, by 1% (51/49). Once those numbers were in stone, the court of public opinion was on their side and off to battle we went. Later they could claim faulty Intel, but by then there was no going back. I went AWOL to protest this conflict and got court-martialed, spent time in the brig and am PROUD that history has proven me right. The Iraq War was a huge mistake, and WE MUST NOT ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN AGAIN WITH IRAN.

  163. Trump and his cronies should only be allowed to go to war if his sons go FIRST. Bone spurs and all..

  164. It might sound cynical, but the only way to stop them would be to implement a War Tax, under which all wars need to be paid for in full, by a new tax specific to that new war, and which would be shown as a line item (for each war) on Americans' tax returns, until the war is fully paid for. To understand what they're doing, search for a recent discussion with Brian Hook, U.S. special representative for Iran, at the Center for Strategic & International Studies. It might sound strange but the scariest thing is his tone of voice, which conveys a sense of personal humiliation, hurt feelings, and wilful obstinacy - directed not at Iran, but at his fellow Americans, like "the media" and professional diplomats. The thing about it is that a level-headed pro diplomat simply does not take things personally and throw this kind of extended self-centered tantrum. Note near the end how he tries to humiliate one of the journalists; it's not just that he's being mean, it's that he clearly believes he is only treating "the media" the way they treat him - as though his personal feelings of humiliation are somehow what's at stake in discussions of US foreign policy. More concretely though: he says repeatedly (not an exact quote, but something to this effect): "We're one missile launch away from war." Everyone should take that seriously, not only because if a missile is launched, they will want to back up those words - but also because that's precisely why he said them.

  165. Trump wants to have a very elaborate Fourth of July. Has he forgotten that “Fourth of July” was a day of declaring independence from a foreign power. Trump is not the only forgetful president, just one in a long line that thinks other nations should do the will of the United States. Worse, they have been aided and abetted by a Senate that supposedly honors George Washingtons’s warning in his Farewell Address by staying away. Washington warned about “foreign entanglements. You can easily find copies of the Farewell Address on the web, including Ask your Senators if they attended the latest reading.

  166. This column is on the right side but (as I normally expect from a former government official) is a bit weak. Is the author afraid to say the whole process of scarifying Iran is a setup? I read, "If the administration won’t provide Patrick M. Shanahan, the acting secretary of defense, as a witness" -- the right response is a subpoena and denial of funds until the subpoena is honored. The Executive answers to Congress. The many things the author says Congress should do are right, but the unanswered question is how to get Congress to do any of it.

  167. @Thomas Zaslavsky "The Executive answers to Congress." Uh, not anymore, Tom, or haven't you been paying attention? As in all other matters currently before us, the president can do literally anything he wants, regardless of any Congress, court, or law. The Constitution might SAY he can't, but the Constitution gives no recourse other than impeachment, conviction, and removal. There is no power whatsoever (other than impeachment) to ENFORCE that the Executive must answer to Congress.

  168. " Is the author afraid to say the whole process of scarifying Iran is a setup? " YES

  169. @ImagineMoments I am aware of all that. Unfortunately, the Constitution does not explicitly empower Congress to supervise the Executive, although I'm sure the Founders would be shocked to see an Executive out of control like this. Impeachment, the one explicit supervisory power it has, is a bit too much for some stomachs. Beyond that, Congress has abandoned its Constitutional powers of war-making and tariffs to the President by ill-advised resolutions (prompted by the Executive) and laws. There is a lot to be undone and redone, if it can ever be possible.

  170. It isn't " either or..." Clearly we are goading Iran, so if war comes about, it won't be an accident. Reckless policy is to be expected at this point. The question is who put Trump up to this, and why. Don't blame Bolton, he's is an over-rated cheerleader, all opinion and no facts, Trump's motivation, I suspect, has to do with distracting people from his tax returns, obstruction of justice, and unbuilt wall, but somebody must actually want this.

  171. President Bush got permission from Congress to go to Iraq. President Trump who holds noting but contempt for both the House and Senate (unless they agree with him) would not even consider asking for their support about starting a conflict with Iran

  172. The Iranian military budget is somewhere between that of Slovenia and Norway, and it will probably blunt and disable a $100B American war machine. Let that be another lesson in the Vietnam-Iraq category.

  173. And in the process firmly establishing it's and His role in the minds of many- including in the most liberal society other than Israel in the mideast- Iran- as the Great Deceiver. Ain't life Grand.

  174. But is Donald Trump anything but a resident at the White House? Spending hours on Twitter, taking in every news program, leaving immigration to Stephen Miller, and the rest to Jared Kushner. Flying off to rallies, or to golf. Clearly John Bolton holds sway, as the beat of drums for war grows louder. Where are the generals? The Defense Secretary was in sales!! This computes how? Easy to say war is not inevitable. Congress should step in, but it won't. Our legislative branch is treated like last night's meatloaf. With disdain. Truly the separation of powers is long past eviscerated as this president ignores every norm. Of course he will distract from the Mueller Report & investigative committees by drumming up a war.

  175. Of course, Trump wants war with Iran. It will fuel his re-election as a "war President" whom you don't vote against because we are at war. Like all our wars since Korea (in which I served), its very fact served to elect or maintain hawks whose policies were contraventional to our national interest.

  176. On election night of 2016, upon hearing the final results, I turned to my friend and said "If we get through the next 4 years without a nuclear war, we should consider ourselves lucky." It is understandable that professional, experienced diplomats such as Ms. Sherman will discuss the various nuances of this conflict, and it's only right that responsible newspapers such as this will publish the diplomats' thoughts. But in the end, all the facts, and figures, and strategies are irrelevant. If Donald Trump feels like blowing up some countries, he can, and will, do it.

  177. On election night of 2016, upon hearing the final results, I turned to my friend and said "If we get through the next 4 years without a nuclear war, we should consider ourselves lucky." It is understandable that professional, experienced diplomats such as Ms. Sherman will discuss the various nuances of this conflict, and it's only right that responsible newspapers such as this will publish the diplomats' thoughts. But in the end, all the facts, and figures, and strategies are irrelevant. If Donald Trump feels like blowing up some countries, he can, and will, do it.

  178. Bolton may want war, but there will be no war. The current developing scene has a singular purpose: to focus attention on Iran and to demonize Iran to the maximum. Why? Because Iran represents the most powerful source of resistance to the Kushner-Netanyahu "Deal of the Century" to be announced just a few weeks from now. Resistance must be crushed beforehand. Iran must be discredited. Sympathy for Israel's plight must be maximized.

  179. Bolton strikes me as a hawk. Whenever he appeared on one of the FOX shows, he struck me that way. Now that I have that out of the way; with the billions of dollars of military hardware we have sold the Saudis and others over the years/decades, why on earth does the USA/Trump feel the need to get involved? It would be one thing if our allies in the region came under attack and our allies found themselves seriously lacking in their ability to use what we have sold them to any measurable degree of success. Of course we should and would respond. But it has not reached that point yet. And for all the successes Trump has had, real or imaginary, this would be rough on America if he suffered his first loss in an armed conflict. Winning streaks do not last forever.

  180. It is clear the West, Israel and Saudi Arabia are on the same page on Iran. The US should give centrifuges and nuclear weapons to all the Sunni states in the middle east. They will take care of the hated Shia state of Iran without any blood on US hands.

  181. I doubt Trump's actions constitute a "march to war". What Trump has done is destroy the Iranian economy and with it, Iran's ability to support terror organizations, destabilize governments, and develop ballistic missiles. He advanced our foreign policy principles and our national interests. His decision to withdraw from the Iran Nuclear deal was the greatest foreign policy decision of my lifetime. Ms. Sherman's nuclear deal was predicated on the principle that preventing Iran from enriching nuclear fuel for 10 years matters by itself. It presumes that murdering innocent people with ballistic missiles, upon which Iran wrote in Hebrew "we will destroy Israel"-so its intentions were clear, was preferable than murdering people with nuclear weapons-but only for 10 years. After 10 years Iran could enrich all the uranium they desired. Meanwhile, we will give Iran pallets of cash in the middle of the night and unlimited trade to enable their pursuit of terror. The deal ignored terror groups Iran supports in Lebanon, Gaza, and Yemen. It ignored the horrific human rights violations in Iran and Syria. It ignored drug trafficking, aid to the thugs in Venezuela, and alliances with North Korea. It did nothing except let Iran up when we nearly had them pinned. Now Kerry is running a parallel foreign policy without an elected mandate, lock him up too. Taking what this woman says seriously after the complete failure of everything she stood for is a waste of time. Godspeed Donald!

  182. It's almost as if, for John Bolton, the use or imposition of US military force is an end in itself. Bolton is a greater threat to world peace than Iran. Find me a bad guy. Force Iran into a corner etc. It's all been done before - off the coast of North Vietnam and in Iraq. Will you (America) ever learn?

  183. Wendie Sherman has a vested interest in preserving Pres. Obama’s “Iran Deal” that delays but does not prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power. For a country that repeatedly over many years promises publicly to “annihilate” Israel the eventual acquisition of nuclear weapons is deeply troubling. As was the US deliverance of $150 billion in cash to Iran that is widely believed was used to finance its surrogate terror groups. Iran has no “natural” enemies on its borders nor even “traditional enemies” further afield. The only use it has for nuclear weapons is to exert regional power and destroy its declared adversary - Israel. We’d be far better off with an “Iran Deal” that precludes any acquisition of Iran of nuclear weapons. Given its past behaviors and threats to annihilate another mid-east nation. Pres. Trump understands what Pres. Obama did not. Namely the world’s security and well being requires preventing unstable and ruthless regimes from acquiring nuclear weapons. Just imagine the consequences if and when Iran launches nuclear weapons against Israel and other enemies. What happens then ? Additionally, those with a solid understanding of strategic deterrence understand there’s no possible value in a land War with Iran. It’s essential strategic assets, especially its oil export platform, are highly vulnerable to destruction by air. As are its major cities. A War with Iran is over before it begins. Iran understands that reality. And so should others.

  184. Delays for years and years, which is an eternity when an issue like this is on the table. BTW, hows that preventing NK from becoming a nuclear power thing going?

  185. Gulf of Tonkin, anyone? Iran and Saudi Arabia can fight their own war if they wish.

  186. Everyone commenting here is positing ideas about what the don wants with this war. Yes, Bolton and Pompeo are barking their brains out, but djt is a very small tail wagging a great big dog. Evidence: there is barely a mention of Mueller's report or impeachment.

  187. "War in the Middle East, as we should have learned by now, is neither swift to end nor sure to achieve its purpose." Uhhh, except for ones like the six day war. That was a pretty fast and big successful one for Israel as I recall. Also Desert Storm /Gulf war I was not exactly slow going quickly liberating Kuwait with stunning success.

  188. You are wrong. Congress has proven it has no power. The Supreme Court has been stacked to favor Trump. If Bolton declares war, it's going to happen. President Bolton will be responsible for the deaths of many Americans.

  189. We will go the way Imperial Rome went. We simply will run out of money pursuing our vanity wars, wars of conquest, protecting our global hegemony while our democracy fails and we get more and more corrupt and greedy. I give us 20, 30 years tops till we fall apart at the seems. Much sooner if we attack Iran.

  190. War with Iran will be catastrophic. It’s astonishing that anyone has to say that after Iraq. It will merely take us back to our overthrow of Mosaddegh in 1953, and set up a repeat of the Iranian Revolution. If you thought it was hard to create stability in post-war Iraq, multiply that exponentially in the case of Iran. Most Iraqis hated Saddam. This is not the case in Iran. Moreover, most Iraqis do not hate the U.S. They think the U.S. is great. These people have forced the horrible regime in Iran to bend. If we attack their country, this underground support for the U.S. will be destroyed. We will be back to 1979. Overthrowing the Iranian government cost us trillions. It will force a bloody dictatorship, in which all opposition will be dealt with by death squads. We have seen this over and over. Why will we never learn? Why do impatient, petulant, shortsighted men like John Bolton always return to power in our country? Regime change in Iran will give birth to a thousand groups like ISIS. The nuclear argument is not convincing. Even if Iran was not totally abiding by the treaty, the country would not have arrived at nuclear weapons capability anytime soon. Maybe never. But even if they did, it is not clear that fighting a war would be worth it to prevent that outcome. Why kill so many people, on a mere possibility that Iran will get nuclear weapons? It is insane. Leave Iran alone. Fix OUR problems. America first.

  191. Iran doesn't like us and it likes to provoke us... However, a war with Iran will be a worse mistake than the war with Iraq.

  192. The Iraq invasion was unjustified and tragic. Hundreds of thousands of people died for no reason. Millions of us knew it was a mistake, but Bush's neocons fabricated the consent they needed. This time, the people trying to convince Americans of a non-existant threat are Bolton, Pompeo, and Trump, men who have absolutely no credibility at home or abroad. The authors of 10,000 lies and counting. They are risible, self-interested, corrupt, buffoons who have been shown to be acting in more than one policy sphere in ways more that benefit foreign powers like Putin, Netanyahu, and MBS, more than the nation or the public they purport to serve. If Trump starts a war with Iran under false pretenses, he will be committing a colossal crime. Why? To distract us from his other crimes? We have no national strategic goals in attacking Iran. They have nothing to gain by provoking us. They are a civilized nation with elected leaders. Unlike Iraq, there's no oppressive unpopular dictator, and no WMD. Contrary to Israeli propaganda, their foreign policy has not been irrational. The American populace and our European allies are unsupportive of Trump's aggression. If Trump attacks Iran, he deserves to be arrested and sent to the Hague to be tried as a war criminal. If slowing our economy is the surest way to oust Trump, I implore Europe and China to do whatever is possible to make it happen. Help us bring democracy back to the USA before it is too late.

  193. I believe that our government will attack Iran and that war was planned a long time ago. Bibi, Cheney, Bolton, Pompeo, and many others in power are drooling at the thought of US destroying Iran. But it will not be so easy as fighting Afghanistan or Iraq, and the American people will be very angry to pay several dollars more for a gallon of gasoline. Or will bankrupt Trump subsidized our gasoline and heating oil to keep us happy?

  194. Why don't those people who talked about how Trump will "get us out of Middle East wars" back in 2016 tell us again about how Glorious Leader is the harbinger of peace and prosperity. P.S. that "30 day" troop withdraw from Syria seems to be taking an awful long time.