Veterans participated in a roundtable with President Obama today on the Iran deal where the President stressed the real costs of war and the reality of what the Republican opposition to diplomacy means for the country.
During his remarks at a veterans roundtable on the Iran nuclear agreement, the President said:
And I just had a chance to thank them for their efforts because I’m absolutely convinced that their willingness and ability to tell their stories to members of Congress, to describe the losses they’ve experienced of army buddies or families members, to be able to describe what they’ve seen as the cost of war has allowed I think a lot of members who may be feeling political pressure from different directions to remember what a sober and important decision this has been, and it’s created the space for us to be able to make an argument on the merits as to why this deal is right for the American people and our allies, and the safety and security of the world.
There are times where, in a debate like this, we hear a lot of loose talk, casual threats of military force, false promises that military actions will be easy or simple or relatively costless. These veterans and their families remind us that that is not the case. They know the consequences when we rush into war. They understand what it means when we act without broad international support and when we fail to consider unintended consequences.
And I want to repeat, none of them are under any illusions. They understand that this is a dangerous world. And it is precisely for that reason that they want to make sure Iran doesn’t get a nuclear weapon. And what I indicated to them is that even as this debate winds down, I am hopeful that their voices continue to be heard on a wide range of foreign policy debates. Because we live in a complicated world and we live in a world where terrible things happen, and American leadership is going to be vital in addressing those issues.
But the one principle that I want us to remember every time we make a decision is that American power is not restricted just to our military actions, that we have a lot of tools in the toolkit, and that we have to try to solve problems without resort to military force, understanding that at the end of the day, there may be times where we have to act militarily, but we don’t do so as a first resort and we certainly don’t do so on the basis of political considerations. Because the sacrifices are too significant, and the stakes are too high. And I think these veterans and Gold Star family members, they can remind us of that each and every day.
Unlike the vast majority of the Republicans who oppose this agreement, veterans know the costs of war in the Middle East. They have lived it, seen it, and many have lost their lives for a war in the Middle East.
Republicans talk about the theoretical better deal with Iran, and not ruling out the military option, but in realistic terms “better deal” doesn’t exist, and the “military option” involves sending more Americans to die in the Middle East.
The Republicans who are opposing this agreement are the same people who assured the American people that the war in Iraq would be easy and that our troops would be greeted as liberators. The failed strategy is the same. Only the target has changed.
President Obama’s roundtable today demonstrated that outside of their own party, Republicans have no natural constituency supporting their new march to war.
Those who have experienced war in the Middle East first hand, overwhelmingly don’t want their country to go back.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association