Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) has made no real effort to hide his support for a military confrontation with Iran. But in an interview yesterday on the Family Research Council’s radio show, the right-wing freshman went a little further, suggesting bombing Iran would be quick and simple.
Indeed, as BuzzFeed’s report noted, Cotton argued that U.S. strikes in Iran would go much smoother than the invasion of Iraq “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 [of] air and naval bombing against Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction facilities for exactly the same kind of behavior.”
For the record, the Arkansas Republican did not use the word “cakewalk” or assure listeners that we’d be “greeted as liberators.”
Look, we’ve seen this play before, and we have a pretty good idea how it turns out. When a right-wing neoconservative tells Americans that we can launch a new military offensive in the Middle East, it won’t last long, and the whole thing will greatly improve our national security interests, there’s reason for some skepticism.
Tom Cotton – the guy who told voters last year that ISIS and Mexican drug cartels might team up to attack Arkansans – wants to bomb Iran, so he’s telling the public how easy it would be.
What the senator didn’t talk about yesterday is what happens after the bombs fall – or even what transpires when Iran shoots back during the campaign. Are we to believe Tehran would just accept the attack and move on?
Similarly, Cotton neglected to talk about the broader consequences of an offensive, including the likelihood that airstrikes would end up accelerating Iran’s nuclear ambitions going forward.
There’s also the inconvenient detail that the Bush/Cheney administration weighed a military option against Iran, but it concluded that “a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities would be a bad idea – and would only make it harder to prevent Iran from going nuclear in the future.”
But don’t worry, America, Tom Cotton thinks this would all be easy and we could drop our bombs without consequence. What could possibly go wrong?