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A new 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll asks Americans for what they would view as grounds for a war with Iraq Iran:


That's via Matt Duss who writes:

Itâ??s an oddly phrased question, but one which nevertheless indicates pretty strongly that Americans are not in favor of a U.S. war with Iran. I suspect that those who are in favor of a war with Iran understand this, which is why they like to talk exclusively about â??air strikes,â? â??military strikes,â? or my favorite, â??surgical strikes.â?...

As Ali Gharib astutely observed the other day, talk of â??air strikesâ? are for Iran what â??cakewalkâ? was for Iraq â?? the false idea that, through large-scale preventive military action, the U.S. can accomplish its goals with a minimum of fuss. It was a fantasy then, and itâ??s a fantasy now.

I think that's right and it's worth unpacking the implications of that a bit. Because, in fact, those predicting that the Iraq war would be a cakewalk were right - the initial invasion was swift and, by historical standards, a low casualty affair. The problem was that no one had a clear idea what to do when the dust settled on our military victory in Baghdad. War advocates - inside and outside the administration - had spent so much time pounding the table for war that they neglected to do any serious contingency planning for its aftermath.

An attack against Iran wouldn't be completely analogous, as it's highly unlikely that the U.S. would march into Tehran. But a similar dynamic exists whereby proponents of a maximalist policy of air strikes devote almost all their time demanding military action and almost none explaining what comes next. And as we learned in Iraq, military defeats are relatively easy for the U.S. military to dish out. Political wins are much harder.