Let there be no doubt that Sarah Palin is an unabashed, gleeful and unnervingly cheery war monger.
During her interview with Chris Wallace on FOX News Sunday, the following interchange occurred. In the interest of being fair and balanced, I have pasted the transcript from Fox News so you can read the full context of her statement.
WALLACE: I know that three years is an eternity in politics. But how hard do you think President Obama will be to defeat in 2012?
PALIN: It depends on a few things. Say he played — and I got this from (Pat) Buchanan, reading one of his columns the other day. Say he played the war card. Say he decided to declare war on Iran or decided really come out and do whatever he could to support Israel, which I would like him to do. (Italics added).
But that changes the dynamics in what we can assume is going to happen between now and three years, because I think if the election were today I do not think Obama would be re-elected. But three years from now, things could change if — on the national security front.
WALLACE: Are you — but you’re not suggesting that he would cynically play the war card…
PALIN: I’m not suggesting that. I’m saying if he did, things would dramatically change. If he decided to toughen up and do all that he can to secure our nation and our allies, I think people would perhaps shift their thinking a little bit and decide, “Well, maybe he’s tougher than we think he’s — than he is today,” and there wouldn’t be as much passion to make sure that he doesn’t serve another four years.
Just in case you missed it, Sarah Palin—former governor, vice-presidential candidate and possible future presidential candidate–thinks it would be politically advantageous for President Obama (and presumably any president) to invade Iran. Not to repel a direct threat but simply to convince people that he is “tough”. Basically advocating that Obama use the power of the American military to play bully to the rest of the world so that he can improve the “toughness” of his image.
Ms. Palin thinks it would be beneficial for an already stretched-too-thin military to be extended further for the purposes of global street-cred against a country with no proven logistical ties to any terrorist organization that threatens or has attacked the United States in any way (excluding the 1979 hostage crisis).
Iran, a country with no immediate conventional means to attack the United States.
Iran, a country with the second largest natural gas and oil reserves in the world.
Make no mistake that I hold any rosy views of Iran’s current political regime. They are a theo-fascist regime that will soon be utilizing enriched nuclear material and will no doubt then pursue the means to weaponize the technology to threaten its neighbors in the Gulf region.
It can also be reasonably assumed that the real threat incurred from Iran’s proximity to successfully implementing weaponized nuclear capability would be the transfer of that capability to Al-Qaeda operatives or any other number of connected or isolated terrorist cells. Such individuals or groups could then utilize the nuclear material in the detonation of a suitcase-sized dirty bomb in any number of Western metropolitan cities.
I have no allusions about the danger posed by the Iranian regime.
But I also have no lack of allusions regarding the regime’s dwindling legitimacy with its own people as its true totalitarian intent and will is being flexed by an ever-tightening grip in response to the burgeoning democratic opposition. An opposition that would be sure to rally around the regime in a concerted nationalistic effort to drive out the United States as every historical utterance of “The Great Satan” comes to fruition with each consecutive bombing campaign.
I cannot believe the United States–a country that successfully contained and thwarted the imperial and nuclear ambitions of the Soviet Union for 50+ years–is best served by marching throughout the globe in a state of constant war against any and all perceived threats as if each could simply be resolved with one more bullet (and even more bodies).
Nor can I make any sense of Ms. Palin’s foreign policy support from conservative champions– those who rail against the ballooning budget deficits and projected costs of current health reform proposals–considering the financial commitment necessary to carry out war and regime change in Iran.
And thanks to the most recent examples of Republican military adventurism, we now have examples–in Iraq and Afghanistan–of the real costs of sustained military commitment. Via costofwar.com, the estimated total cost of the two theaters is $936.8 billion dollars. Additionally, the Federation of American Scientists released a Sept. 2009 estimate that placed the cost closer to $1.4 trillion.
On a related note, I am convinced nothing good will ever happen in September ever again.
Certain to add to the astronomical ‘down payment’ of a military invasion of Iran, is the presumed economic severity of elevated oil prices. Consider this: After the United States’ 2003 invasion of Iraq the price of a barrel of crude oil rose from around $30 to an all-time high nearing $140. Now consider that Iraq was only the world’s 14th largest crude oil producer.
Now consider that Iran is the world’s 4th largest.
Not to mention a member of OPEC, sure to receive support in the form of an oil embargo against the U.S..
Let me reiterate, I do not mean to suggest Iran does not pose a threat to the U.S. and its interests. But I cannot see any value in a leader who approaches entering a foreign military encounter– at a cost of unknown trillions of dollars (and possibly causing 2/3 of the world’s oil supply to be used as history’s largest ransom note)–with the glib arrogance Ms. Palin approaches it. As if it could be as simple as delivering a knockout punch to a drunken oaf in a bar room brawl.
During the 2008 presidential election Ms. Palin famously (or perhaps infamously) told ABC’s Charlie Gibson she possessed relevant foreign policy expertise on Russia because she could “see it from her house”.
I worry about what Ms. Palin is convinced she is certain of now that she sees the fire of yet another pre-emptive war glowing in her star-spangled eyes.