While President Trump appears reluctant to go to war with Iran, he’s appointed long-time warmongers to offices throughout his administration. Dr. Barrett warns Iran is nothing like Iraq or Afghanistan, neither of which went well. A war on Iran will doom President Trump—and the U.S.—for a very long time to come.
By Dr. Kevin Barrett
According to numerous reports, President Donald Trump does not want to go to war with Iran. Trump has called Bush’s invasion of Iraq “the worst single mistake in U.S. history.” A war on Iran would be even more disastrous.
Yet Trump has appointed war-on-Iran cheerleaders John Bolton and Mike Pompeo as his national security advisor and secretary of state. Those two rogues are relentlessly dragging the U.S. into a war on behalf of Israeli extremist Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and Saudi terrorist dictator Mohammad bin Salman (MBS), also known as Mr. Bone Saw.
Reports suggest the U.S. may launch some sort of “limited tactical strike” on an Iranian nuclear facility. Any such attack might really be the worst single mistake in U.S. history, vastly worse than Bush’s Iraq debacle. It would certainly doom Trump’s presidency. That might be exactly what the neocons want; they may hope to take out two enemies, Trump and Iran, at once.
The same neocons who said the Iraq invasion would be a cakewalk, with Iraqis greeting U.S. soldiers with flowers and candy, are now saying similar things about Iran. They are underestimating the Iranians even more than they underestimated the Iraqis.
Iran is three times as big as Iraq and more resilient and determined. Iran has legions of first-rate scientists, many of them working on cutting-edge military technologies. It’s no accident that antigravity scientist Mehran Keshe is from Iran. They have built impressive homegrown air defense systems capable of capturing the most sophisticated $100 million U.S. drones. And they have built very large numbers of missiles capable of raining death and destruction on American bases in the region.
Iranian attitudes are formed by Shia Islam, which teaches its followers to rejoice if they get the chance to die for a just cause. And what cause could be more just than defending your country from a foreign invader?
Alongside Shia Islam is Iranian nationalism. These proud people are heirs to a 3,000-year-old civilization. Even if millions of them died under U.S. nuclear bombs, God forbid, their nation will likely be around hundreds, perhaps thousands of years from now, long after the U.S. has disappeared— possibly at the hands of angry Iranians decades or even centuries after the U.S. attack that provoked the anger.
Iranians, far more than Iraqis or even Afghans, will just keep on coming at you day after day, year after year, decade after decade. They will all fight to the last man. Tens of millions of them will be eager to sacrifice their lives in a defensive war against criminal invaders of their homeland, as happened during Saddam Hussein’s U.S.-instigated invasion of Iran during the 1980s. During that war, thousands of young Iranian soldiers cleared minefields by walking through them reciting the Qur’an and embracing martyrdom. They will always find ways to kill large numbers of invaders without any concern for their own lives.
Even U.S. nuclear weapons cannot faze a nation that believes the highest possible honor is to be martyred in a just cause. The Iranians will never back down when they know they are in the right. Winning a war against such a nation is impossible, even if you have them outnumbered and outgunned.
I know Iran fairly well. I have visited the country on an almost annual basis since 2013. I have talked to hundreds of Iranians from all walks of life, from those who strongly support the current government to those who strongly oppose it. All of them are going to unite if their country is attacked.
Trump’s advisors may be deceiving him. They may be telling him that Iran won’t respond to a major U.S. attack by sinking every U.S. ship and every oil tanker within its reach, shutting down the Gulf to oil traffic with mines, raining down missiles on U.S. bases and the Green Zone in Baghdad, and possibly attacking the Israeli nuclear facility at Dimona with an overwhelming barrage of rocket fire.
Maybe Iran would mount a more restrained response, but don’t bet on it. They know that if they wait, the U.S. will quickly and relentlessly degrade their capabilities. They’ll face a “use it or lose it” choice, and because they have no fear of martyrdom, but welcome the prospect, they will almost certainly “use it.” Get ready for thousands of dead Americans, and maybe thousands of dead Israelis, all in just a day or two.
Poking Iran is like poking an angry hornets’ nest. Invade Iran, and get ready for the equivalent of a thousand Afghanistans multiplied by a thousand Iraqs. Trillions will be squandered, the economy will collapse, and Trump will go down in flames, reviled as a madman and a butcher. Let’s hope and pray he understands this and steps away from the precipice.
Kevin Barrett, Ph.D., is an Arabist-Islamologist scholar and one of America’s best-known critics of the War on Terror. From 1991 through 2006, Dr. Barrett taught at colleges and universities in San Francisco, Paris, and Wisconsin. In 2006, however, he was attacked by Republican state legislators who called for him to be fired from his job at the University of Wisconsin-Madison due to his political opinions. Since 2007, Dr. Barrett has been informally blacklisted from teaching in American colleges and universities. He currently works as a nonprofit organizer, public speaker, author, and talk radio host. He lives in rural western Wisconsin.