A recent article by Nicolas Davies points out to the similarities between Iraq and Iran in terms of oil. Just as Iraq, Iran too is suspected of building nuclear weapons. However, proof of such activities is once again blurry.
Iraq is a stain on the reputation of the US diplomacy. Davies cites the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director ElBaradei (2007):
Most Americans now understand that the U.S. war against Iraq was based on lies cleverly disguised as secrets. Instead of consulting its intelligence agencies and making a decision on war and peace based on objective analysis, the U.S. government made a political decision to go to war and then manufactured false “intelligence” to support that decision.
Many still recall the findings that no WMDs were found in Iraq as the allied forces took over the country. National Intelligence Estimate has been found to be flawed in many aspects. The cause of such flawed action, according to Davies, is action based on “political reality,” detached from military or other types of objective aspects. Result were deaths of over 400,000 children, who had no say in Iraqi politics and stained US reputation.
Thus, it is important to learn from the past. So far, IAEA has found no concrete evidence of WMD in Iran. However, the US sanctions on Iran might become futile if Iran manages to strengthen its ties to the nonaligned countries, which could help it recover its economy. In turn, as Davies argues, the US would feel obliged to attack Iran in order to save face. However, if no WMDs are found, Iran would be an additional stain on the US diplomacy.
In short, an attack on Iran over WMDs is a two – edged sword. Without confirmed discovery of WMDs in Iran, the US will again lose face. Moreover, as Schwartz argues, Iranians might rally around the flag, and fight against the US, making the victory harder and costlier. Yet, without an attack the US might not succeed in forcing Iran into submission through diplomacy.