I think the Iranians have the better case here:
But the simple truth is that, unless Iran’s regime gives up both its terrorist ideology and its weapons, we will never be safe.
And after Iran, who’s next? After all, we only have troops stationed in 141 countries around the world. The neocons don’t understand that it is aggressive American behavior that endangers the nation; we may have been the good guys on the international scene back in 1944, but that’s simply not the case any longer.
We can’t complain about Iran invading Iraq when we did it first. We can’t complain about them wanting to obtain nuclear weapons; we’ve already got them. We can, of course, argue that our form of government is better than theirs, but after 20 years of Bush-Clinton-Bush rule – and looking at another eight years of it – there’s even room for argument about that.
Starting a war with Iran would be even more disastrous than the Iraqi one has turned out to be. If the lesson of Vietnam and Iraq is that it’s a bad idea to launch a war without the full consent of the American people and a Congressional declaration of war, what on Earth are these neocon lunatics thinking?
The real danger to America isn’t from Iran, but from Mexico, China and Washington DC.
UPDATE – VDH writes an interesting column on military history that tangentially touches upon this matter:
It would be reassuring to think that the righteousness of a cause, or the bravery of an army, or the nobility of a sacrifice ensures public support for war. But military history shows that far more often the perception of winning is what matters. Citizens turn abruptly on any leaders deemed culpable for losing. “Public sentiment is everything,” wrote Abraham Lincoln. “With public sentiment nothing can fail. Without it nothing can succeed. He who molds opinion is greater than he who enacts laws.”
In these terms, the attempt to install American democracy in Iraq has already failed. It’s over. Attacking Iran will only make matters worse, much worse.