The Best Defense

'It is not in the American national interest to go to war against Iran anytime soon'

So I ran into a friend who knows a lot about U.S. policy and Iran. We sat down on a park bench and this is what he told me:

The worst possible thing to do is go to war with Iran. The key is the people -- and they are sick of the mullahs. Right now the pressure is working to separate the people from the regime. A limited strike would undercut all that.

Also, any attack would cause us to maintain a heightened, more expensive defense posture, and give them moral standing to retaliate.

So an attack is counter to all our long-term objectives. We are having more effect right now through economic pressure than ever before.

There is no doubt [that there is a huge divergence between U.S. interests and those of Israel]. We want to stop Israel from attacking so the issue is how to persuade Israel that we are serious about stopping Iran from having a weapon -- like a congressional finding that we will take all steps necessary to stop Iran. It means we will define red lines that can't be crossed.

But the bottom line is, I don't know a single person in government, civilian or in uniform, who thinks it is in our national interest to go to war with Iran now.

If we do go to war, it will not be small. Iran could reconstitute its nuclear program in  maybe five years, but if we go after its abilities to project military power, we'd open a 15-year window."

JOHANNA GERON/AFP/Getty Images

The Best Defense

Comment of the day: An Army officer credits Shadid with saving the lives of his soldiers and of Iraqi civilians as well

I just noticed this comment, posted the other day by "Hunter." I believe Anthony Shadid's ashes were scattered on Wednesday around his ancestral home in southern Lebanon:

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Every night as we prepped for mobilization and deployment I read from Night Draws Near to my CO CDRs, 1SGs, and Staff. I have the dog-eared copy in my lap as I type right now.

His moving account was in no small part responsible for making it clear to my soldiers that the Iraqis are people too, just like you and I. Caught in the middle of something they really wanted no part of.

Nearly three million truck miles in Iraq over nine months with only 9 rounds fired in 5 escalation of force incidents ... but no one was ever hurt, coalition or Iraqi. 60 IEDs for our predecessors became 2 IEDs for us. No one was hurt on our watch....thanks in part to Anthony. RIP."

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Hunter also gets off a good line in the discussion of Lt. Col. Danny Davis: "If you are going to bring the pain, you best have your ducks in a row."

JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images