THE BLOG

Wrong About Iraq, Wrong About Iran

04/06/2015 03:59 pm ET | Updated Jun 06, 2015

The framework agreement that the U.S. and its international partners reached with Iran that blocks Tehran's pathways to building a nuclear bomb is barely a week old, yet the usual suspects have already denounced it as a "bad deal."

Former George W. Bush administration official John Bolton called the agreement "a surrender of classic proportions," and for Bolton, war is the only answer.

"The inconvenient truth is that only military action ... can accomplish what is required," Bolton wrote in The New York Times last month.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opposes it too. "I think this is a bad deal," he said on Sunday, adding, "I think there is still time to reach a good deal, a better deal."

How do we get a "better deal"? Netanyahu doesn't have an answer.

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) also criticized the agreement on Sunday, but he went a bit further than Netanyahu. "I don't want a war, but...," Graham said. But what? The South Carolina Republican said that Iran would have to completely capitulate and agree to dismantle its entire nuclear program and address other issues that weren't part of the nuclear talks or face war.

What do Bolton, Netanyahu, Graham and a whole host of others in Washington opposing this deal have in common? They were passionate supporters of the Iraq war and continue to hold that view today.

Here's what Netanyahu told Congress in September 2002, five months before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq: "If you take out Saddam ... I guarantee you that it will have enormous positive reverberations on the region."

And here's what the Israeli Prime Minister told Congress just last month: "The agreement ... would all but guarantee that Iran gets nuclear weapons."

Graham said in 2003 that Saddam Hussein "is lying ... when he says he doesn't have weapons of mass destruction."

And here's Bolton in late 2002: "The Iraqi people would be unique in history if they didn't welcome the overthrow of this dictatorial regime."

Of course, we all know how this played out: no WMDs, tens of thousands of Americans killed or wounded, countless Iraqi civilians dead, nearly $4 trillion spent, and ISIS on a rampage throughout the Middle East.

Why should we listen to these people again?

The reality is that there is no better Iran deal, and those calling for one never offer a viable plan on how to get there. In fact, the real alternative is war, which will come at tremendous cost.

"After you've dropped those bombs on those hardened facilities, what happens next?" former commander of U.S. Central Command Gen. Anthony Zinni (ret.) once wondered. "[I]f you follow this all the way down, eventually I'm putting boots on the ground somewhere. And like I tell my friends, if you like Iraq and Afghanistan, you'll love Iran."