Republicans have been pushing for war with Iran for years

by | Jan 8, 2020 | Foreign Policy, Policy

On Tuesday night, Iran fired a dozen ballistic missiles at U.S. forces in Iraq. Early assessments indicate no Americans were killed; it’s unclear if there were other casualties. President Trump, who ordered the killing of Iran’s top general last week, Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani, is expected to address the nation on Wednesday. 

No matter how the current crisis plays itself out, one thing is certain: Many Republicans have been on a war footing against Iran for years, opposing measures to defuse tensions between Tehran and Washington while supporting moves to escalate conflict. 

Texas’ GOP leadership has doggedly opposed the Iran Nuclear Deal before the ink was dry back in 2015. Sen. John Cornyn wrote an op-ed criticizing the deal. Sen. Ted Cruz expressed his opposition with a bad Tony Montana impression. In the House, Rep. Michael McCaul called the deal “negotiations with terrorists” while Rep. Louie Gohmert of East Texas was even more blunt, saying “it’s time to bomb Iran.”

When Trump decided to leave the Iranian nuclear deal in 2018, Texas Republicans came to his defense. President Trump is right to abandon the Obama Administration’s bad deal,” Cornyn said in a statement. “President Trump made the decision to leave the flawed JCPOA, the Iran Nuclear Deal, and now it’s time for us to support his decision,” said Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Houston, who was still a candidate at the time.

But, contrary to what the GOP may have hoped, Iran did not back down after the United States’ withdrawal from the agreement. Instead, the Iranians lashed out and have announced that they will no longer abide by the limits imposed by the deal.  

Rather than learn the lesson that more bellicosity may not necessarily lead to a solution with Iran, the Trump administration escalated tensions this month by killing the top Iranian military official, Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani, in an airstrike — a move Crenshaw, Cornyn and others roo-rahed. Iran escalated things further with its own strike Tuesday.

On the Republican side, there’s a lot of chest beating but little justification that Iran posed an “imminent threat” to the United States — the rationale given by the Administration for taking out the Iranian general. It’s murky, even chaotic. Which is why voters give Trump’s foreign policy such unfavorable reviews. 

Photo: Getty Images

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