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June 28, 2014 12:00 PM Imagine the Iraq crisis—but with a GOP president at war with Iran

By David Atkins

As Iraq spirals deeper into a sectarian crisis between an ineffectual Shi’ite government and radical Sunni militants, the importance of a grudging working relationship between the United States and Iran has never been of greater importance. Without some Iranian help, Iraq’s central government will likely fall apart and the nation will be overrun by extremists potentially as dangerous as Al Qaeda in Afghanistan ever was.

So today would be a good time to count our blessings that we do not have this man as president:

John McCain: “You know that old Beach Boys song, Bomb Iran? Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran.”

Or this one:

Mitt Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, said he would “bring the current policy of procrastination to an end.” “Hope is not a foreign policy,” Romney said. “The only thing respected by thugs and tyrants is our resolve.”

Or this one:

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, also addressing the group by satellite, said in his administration, “we would not keep talking while the Iranians keep building.” He said the “red line” was not when Iran was ready to detonate a nuclear bomb. “The red line is now” because the Iranians are “deepening their commitment to nuclear weapons while we talk,” Gingrich said. “It is an unacceptable risk.”

Here is what the President said after Romney, Gingrich and others were getting their war talk on:

“These folks don’t have a lot of responsibilities,” the president said. He said he was struck by the “casualness” of the way his political opponents talk about war. “I’m reminded of the costs involved in war.”

No kidding. If a Republican had been elected President in either 2008 or 2012, we would likely be at hot war with Iran by now or at the very least on the edge of it. This would have further weakened the Shi’ite position in Baghdad even as Syria devolved into the nightmare that has been helping to fuel ISIS, the Sunni extremists. The entire Middle East would be in abject chaos, with potentially nuclear consequences.

A McCain or Romney presidency would have been a foreign policy disaster that would have made George W. Bush look like a skilled statesman and general, and it would have cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of lives.

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