President Obama warned on Sunday in his speech at the AIPAC conference of the “loose talk of war” with Iran, which he said is only serving to benefit the regime in Tehran. But of course the bellicose rhetoric hasn’t subsided. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) just yesterday in his own speech to AIPAC threatened to introduce a resolution authorizing war with Iran.
Obama picked up on this theme during a White House press conference this afternoon, specifically targeting the Republican candidates for president. “Those folks don’t have a lot of responsibilities,” he said, “And when I see the casualness with which some of these folks talk about war, I’m reminded of the costs involved in war.” Obama also noted that, outside of the militaristic rhetoric, the GOP presidential contenders aren’t offering any different Iran policy than the one he has been pursuing. He added that if they want a war with Iran, they should say so and explain the consequences:
This is not a game, and there’s nothing casual about it. And, you know, when I see some of these folks who had a lot of bluster and a lot of big talk, but when you actually ask them, specifically, what they would do, it turns out they repeat the things that we’ve been doing over the last three years. It indicates to me that that’s more about politics than actually trying to solve a difficult problem.
Now, the one thing that we have not done, is we haven’t launched a war. If some of these folks think that it’s time to launch a war, they should say so and they should explain to the american people exactly why they would do that and what the consequences would be. Everything else is just talk.
“Typically it’s not the folks who are popping off who pay the price [of war],” Obama said, adding, “it’s these incredible men and women in uniform and their families who pay the price.” Watch the clip:
“It is my belief that we have a window of opportunity where this can still be resolved diplomatically,” Obama said later. “That’s not just my view — that’s the view of our top intelligence officials, it’s the view of top Israeli intelligence officials.”
Indeed, there would be “a number of destabilizing” consequences to war with Iran, from sparking a regional war to providing incentive for the Iranian regime to weaponize its nuclear program. The IAEA and U.S. intelligence have warned that Iran may be on the path to a nuclear weapons capability but have said that the regime has not decided on whether to pursue a bomb.