Will Obama Bomb Iran?

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Matthew Duss

Matthew Duss is a policy analyst at the Center for American Progress. Barring any unforeseen crisis, the current likelihood of President Obama ordering a military attack on Iran, while not zero, is extremely low, for a couple of reasons. First, this administration has made a priority of ending costly military commitments abroad, not creating new ones. While claims that the U.S. is "withdrawing" from the Middle East are overblown, the administration has made clear that they see a lighter U.S. military footprint in the region as more strategically sound and economically sustainable than the huge deployments of the past decade. Second, there's the likelihood that an attack on Iran wouldn't serve the stated goal of preventing an Iranian nuclear weapon, but could actually create that outcome by forcing an Iranian decision (which the U.S. intelligence community believes they have not yet made) to obtain a nuclear deterrent, while also generating a range of consequences across the region. The U.S. military understands this better than anyone. Retired Gen. Anthony Zinni put it succinctly in 2009: "If you like Iraq and Afghanistan, you'll love Iran." For both of these reasons, I see a U.S. attack as highly unlikely. (AP Photo)

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