Yesterday, a conservative Florida blogger interviewed Republican GOP Senate candidate Marco Rubio about “the struggle against Radical Islam and Global Terrorism.” When asked if he would support an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, Rubio suggested that he would, saying that an Israeli attack would be justified:
Q: Iran just came out and said that they’ve developed, that they’ve proliferated nuclear weapons or they have the capability of. What if Israel preempted a strike on Iran? Would you support it as a U.S. Senator?
RUBIO: Israel has to do whatever Israel needs to do for their own national security. You would hope the United States, by taking a stronger role, would prevent that from needing to happen. But ultimately, I don’t think any of us are going to blame Israel if they take it upon themselves to ensure that the security and well being of their people is safeguarded.
It’s unclear what Rubio is suggesting when he says the U.S. could address the problem by “taking a stronger role.” Is he advocating that the U.S. should bomb Iran first?
Like most neocon war hawks advocating military action in Iran, one thing Rubio perhaps hasn’t thought through is what happens next. The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol wrote yesterday that Adm. Michael Mullen “is being silly” for noting that an attack would further destabilize the region. But the Wonk Room’s Matt Duss points out the real foolishness of Kristol’s (and Rubio’s) position:
Numerous analysts have discussed the disastrous consequences that would likely result from a military attack on Iran by either Israel or the U.S. Among those likely consequences are: Attacks on U.S. troops and interests throughout the Middle East; The death of Iran’s democratic opposition movement; The strengthening of hardliners within Iran’s government; The withdrawal of Iran from the NPT and a redoubling of its efforts to obtain a nuclear capability, an effort that would now have the benefit of cover from international outrage at the U.S. and/or Israel for its attack.
As far as what happens after an attack on Iran, retired Gen. Anthony Zinni said “if you follow this all the way down, eventually I’m putting boots on the ground somewhere. … If you like Iraq and Afghanistan, you’ll love Iran.” And a senior defense official told ThinkProgress last year that an attack probably would “incentivize the Iranians to go all the way to weaponize” their nuclear material.