Could A War With Iran Ever Be Won?

Ron Rosenbaum doesn't believe so:

I thought of the term “Cuba Syndrome” when I read an otherwise unsurprising op-ed in the Times by Dennis Ross in which the veteran Mideast diplomat, among other things, declared Iran “must not have nuclear weapons.” There was something in his imperious tone that made me feel that if I were an Iranian person on the street—not some apocalyptic-minded mullah, perhaps even a participant in the Green Revolution—-hearing this, I would feel my sense of dignity denigrated. It made me think of Cuba, whose people have endured a half century of privations and immiseration because of U.S sanctions and yet have clung to an oppressive police state regime. Why? Because of emotion, the emotion of dignity. Because they didn’t want to be told who should rule them by the United States and be forced to act subserviently. 

These things are often more important to people than new American cars. The connection: Iran would likely continue its bomb program even if a raid left its current facilities in smoking ruins. If only because of the Cuba Syndrome. Even if it took another half century, they would get one nuclear weapon built, or buy one from North Korea or Pakistan. And Israel—which has been called a “one-bomb state,” in the sense that a one-megaton bomb airburst over Tel Aviv would annihilate the country—will never escape that shadow.

Attacking the prospect from an American perspective, Jason Kuznicki is saddened by the fact that many young people in America have a totally different conception of what war is:

In the old wars, there were clear-cut enemies, legal declarations, and expectations on both sides regarding surrender and the return to normalcy. It worked sort of like this: Two sides, each consisting of nation-states or groups thereof, declared war on each other. The side that got the most badly beat up eventually surrendered, and the winner dictated the terms of the peace.

In new wars, no one ever declares anything. We just beat up on a country that did not and cannot attack us. Then we stay there, playing havoc with its domestic politics, spurring nationalist resentment, and getting blown up by IEDs — until the poll numbers drop and we decide it’s time to go home.