This is not to say the situation in Iran – with a decidedly radical head of state beholden to a radical Islam element that controls the levers of power in the country (though not with the support of a majority of its people) – is not serious. It is. Nuclear weapons in the hands of such a government would present the world with an unacceptable danger.
However, to move from the current context, in which extremely tight sanctions are being applied and are having a serious effect -- and in which discussions with the regime in Tehran may be under consideration – to a coordinated attack by Washington and Tel Aviv simply because resolution by other means is taking too long, is highly irresponsible. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is a leader of this Impatience Caucus in the Congress. He has called for action to be taken, “before [the situation] gets out of hand.” In Graham’s unusual view, taking military action against another country does not itself qualify as “getting out of hand” – waiting and trying other remedies, does.
We now have the two major-party presidential candidates on record stating that, while a nuclear-capable Tehran is not acceptable, going to war is not a currently viable or necessary option. This is good. It is responsible. It recognizes there is still much to be done in terms of pressuring Iran and working with elements in Iranian society to chart a better path, before serious attention might need to be turned to military options.
Let us hope that those beating the drums of war, and who have grown impatient with measures other than war, remain in the minority on this most serious of policy disputes. And let all of us never forget Gen. Sherman’s admonition that “war . . . is all hell.”