How To Ensure a Big, Ugly War with Iran

Victor Davis Hanson
American Greatness

Iranian-backed militias have attacked American installations and forces in Syria, Iraq, and Jordan some 170 times.

Ostensibly, these terrorist groups claim they are hitting US forces to coerce America into dropping its support of Israel and demanding a cease-fire in the Gaza war.

In reality, these satellite terrorists are being directed in a larger effort by Iran to pry the US. out of the Middle East, in the manner of the 1983 Marine barracks bombing.

That way, Iran will be free to fulfill its old dream of becoming a nuclear shield for a new Shiite/Persian terrorist axis from Tehran to Damascus to Beirut to the West Bank and Gaza—surrounding Israel and intimidating the Gulf regimes and more moderate states like Jordan and Egypt into concessions.

These Iranian appendages have made a number of unfortunately correct assumptions about America in general and the Biden administration in particular.

One, after the recent serial humiliations of the flight from Afghanistan, the passivity of watching a Chinese spy balloon traverse with impunity the continental United States, the mixed American signals on the eve of the Ukraine war, the troubled Pentagon’s recruitment and leadership lapses, and the destruction of the US southern border, both Iran and its surrogates feel that the United States either cannot or will do much of anything in response to their aggression.

They see the U.S. military short thousands of recruits, its leadership politicized, its munition stocks depleted by arms shipments to Ukraine and Israel, and the massive abandonment of weapons in Kabul.

Two, they view Joe Biden’s serial appeasement as a force multiplier of these perceptions of American weakness. After entering office, the Biden administration begged for a renewed Iran deal from a preening theocracy. It sought to ensure calm by delisting the Houthis from global terrorist designations and sending hundreds of millions of dollars to Hamas and radical Palestinians to buy good behavior.

Biden may have agreed that Iran was the spider in the center of the Middle East Islamic terrorist web, but only thereby to win over it with bribes such as lifting embargoes and sanctions to ensure an Iranian windfall of $90 or more billion in oil sales revenue.

Biden greenlighted a bribery payment of $6 billion to Iran to return American hostages, thereby ensuring more will be taken. It loudly distanced itself from the Netanyahu government. The gulf encouraged radicals to believe they could coerce Israel into accepting radical Islamic states on the West Bank and Gaza.

Three, after hitting American stations and bases 170 times and seeing little sustained, much less disproportionate, responses, Iran and its satellites now feel they are winning proxy wars with the US.

They have all but shut down the Red Sea as an international shipping route—damaging Europe, Egypt, and Israel, which all depend on Red Sea commerce for vital imports and exports.

Iran has forced Biden to publicly alienate the Netanyahu government and push a ceasefire down Israel’s throat. And it has helped to spark international pro-Hamas protests throughout Europe and the US that timid and compliant left-wing governments fear could lose them close elections.

But most damaging are administration spokesmen who mouth the same empty script after each serial attack: 1) The US will respond at the time and place of its own choosing. 2) The US finds no direct evidence of Iranian involvement, although it clearly has supplied the attackers; 3) The US does not wish a wider war and has no plans to attack Iran itself.

Translated to our enemies, it means an 80-year-old non-compos-mentis president is in no position to prevent, much less win, a theater-wide Middle East war that his own serial appeasement has now nearly birthed.

Biden and the Democratic Party know, as National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan pointed out just prior to the October 7 attacks on Israel, that the administration inherited a deterred and quiet Middle East. And then it blew up on their appeasing watch.

Now they are terrified of a theater-wide conflict breaking out during an election year—a fact known to all of America’s Middle East enemies.

Biden and company have forgotten the ancient wisdom that preparing loudly only for peace guarantees war. To prevent war, it should return to oil sanctions on Iran, embargo its banking transactions, slap a travel ban on Iran and its allies, cut off all aid to Hamas and the West Bank, and restore a true terrorist designation for the Houthis.

US officials must stop aimlessly babbling. If the administration must speak, Washington should do so by conveying disproportionality and unpredictability. And if, and when, America were to strike, it should do so in silent and devastating fashion.

When serially attacked, loudly responding that we will only proportionally strike back and wish no wider war will only ensure a big, ugly one.

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32 thoughts on “How To Ensure a Big, Ugly War with Iran”

  1. Biden scares me more than Iran. Iran has been a threat most of my life but the biden administration is actually and intentionally killing us now

  2. 24 years ago we tried magnanimity in Aden harbor and killed 17 in USS COLE soon we will this repeated. Who wants their sons and daughters to sign up for this? Non Hic Porcus

  3. I am reminded of Teddy Roosevelt’s “Speak softly, but carry a big stick”. Biden has modified this to “Speak lengthy rhetoric, and carry no stick”.

    Biden is reminiscent of Jimmy Carter, who also carried no stick…

    1. absolutely correct, and to think…ending all the Trump policies including Remain in Mexico and ceased US leasing and drilling … as if some woke administrative staff is driving his policy.
      With airstrikes ongoing it’s funny how things change, flying B1’s from US shows the global ready the bones have. The more they proxy, the more Isreal may strike. btw- DCS Seria Campaigns are very interresting to fly…

  4. No amount of telling this Biden Administration to carry a big stick will do any good. Something is coming and this weak, woke, open border, semi Marxist government we have is going to really do some damage to us. Our government is like a runaway train and we don’t know when it’s going to careen off the tracks. Thank you VDH for all your insight.

  5. One possible deterrent is to threaten to bomb the Kharg oil terminal back to the middle ages.

    That should get somebody’s attention.

    This would effectively stop all international commerce in Iran.

    This, of course, is not an original idea. It has been tested and it works.

    Here’s a parallel in the movie world:

    [at the post office] Well, here we are.

    What are we doing here?

    Liquor raid.

    [looking at the police station across the street] Here?

    Mr. Ness, everybody knows where the booze is. The problem isn’t finding it, the problem is who wants to cross Capone.


    We know where the juice is. Do we have the guts to do anything about it?

  6. And it’s one two three what are we fighting for, don’t ask, I don’t give a damn, next stop is in Iran. Then it’s five six seven open up the pearly gates, ain’t got time to wonder why, we’re all gonna die.

    Sorry Country Joe.

  7. Biden isn’t running anything; Obama is continuing in his 3rd term as president and Biden is his mask.
    Until our appeasers in DC are removed, this country will continue to decay. Ordinary Americans have no government that protects them and no military that projects any image except one that is weak, understaffed and lacks strong leadership. Obiden (correct) is destroying this country!!’

  8. Be advised that the Iranians have sleeper cells embedded in the US, some with expertise on the US grid and if Iran is hit these saboteurs will take out our infrastructure, (pay attention to the Metcalf power station shutdown in 2012 near San Jose, Silicon Valley , power lines cut, transformers shot out using sniper rifles with silencers, professional job, no evidence retrieved,(that is a preview of coming attractions) so the hit on Iran should be devastating, coming with the warning that if any sabatogue occurs in the US. Irans oil facilities will be rubble.

  9. Fast forward 15 months…. What will Michelle do?
    Who was that that was pressing for a return to Paris for peace talks? Was that based on the fall collections debut? Good grief, good people….. Was “…history will repeat itself” ever any truer? What will we have? “Gavin Newsom in black face” Rockefeller negotiating peace with a conclave of Iranian Clergy? He can borrow Barry’s white thobe, ghutra and egal to fit in……

    Good people….. The hills have never felt so inviting….. Or necessary….
    Maybe Zuck will invite us all to Hawaii…..
    Yeah, that’s the ticket!
    We’ll just have to be penned up to spread the weight equally or we might tip it over….

  10. While I think most if not all of us subscribers would agree with VHD on his list of actions cited to prevent a war, i would propose the US do more. As retaliation for killing Americans, striking these proxies tit for tat is a game Iran will continue to sacrafice them continuously. . A strike on Iran’s oil facilities, not an elimination but a significant curtailment of them that hammers it’s revenues would move Iran to pull the lease on their puppet dogs. Accompany that airstrike( or cruise missiles aka Trump vs Russians in Syria) with the promise an obliteration of all their facilities if their behavior continued. 

  11. I do not know much about the strategies of war. I do know that when Iran has a nuclear bomb ready to go, it will be ugly!

  12. We do not win wars any more. That’s because the war lobby wants to keep the war drums beating. Hit Iran economically like Trump did in the past.

  13. Just because the current administration will deny, deny and deny that America is being punched in the face does NOT mean that we are not being punched in the face. It’s TIME for America to punch back . . . disproportionately and aggressively!! Squash the spider in the middle of the terrorist web.

  14. USA is absent any policy regarding the Middle East, and Israel and Iran in particular.

    Enter Iran, China, Russia to fashion their policies as policies for the USA.


    We need Trump more than ever. I don’t care how rude he is. He has the capacity and the willpower to get us back on track.

  16. I realize the Administration can’t saying about it, but I wonder how prepared we are for any retribution Iran visits upon us, IF we do some real damage to them.

  17. I agree with Lydia, except I think Biden’s last political decision was the laughable “no malarky” tour. He has outlived his usefulness and can’t possibly be making decisions of any consequence. Clinton operatives ran the show for Obama, and they’re back with reinforcements. VDH, I suggest it’s past time to be clear that this administration is populated with more traitors than fools. Americans will tolerate considerable disrespect if it preserves peace, but our own government is intentionally and openly working to destroy this nation. We talk about it, but we’re folding. Somebody, please come up with a plan more effective than handwringing. Is there an historical precedent we should be following?

  18. Barry Perlin, MD

    I have little doubt that Biden’s response will follow his corrupt theme so in character with his career and ATTEMPT TO GARNER THE MOST VOTES IN NOVEMBER, as opposed to what is best for America, What a bastard!

  19. It seems Iran has given the US the perfect justification to reduce the Iranian command and control facilities, major military assets, nuclear facilities, and possibly government to rubble but the Biden administration has failed to act. There is no need for a wider regional conflict. Precision airstrikes and missile strikes over a number of days to a few weeks would put an end to the war with Iran instead of prolonging the one-sided war they are waging against the US.

    A shock and awe campaign for a brief period. with the promise of more if necessary, should take care of the problem.

    1. Is there any evidence that the Bidens or others are also on the take from Iran? I’m just asking, because this administration seems to be paralyzed to do anything in our country’s best interests, even exercise common sense.

  20. When we pulled out of Afghanistan we not only left billions of equipment we left the back door open for Iran. Our presence in Iraq and Afghanistan put Iran in a vice that could have been used to put pressure on Iran militarily… it is difficult to fight a two front war.

  21. Biden wants a big ugly war. He and the rest of dc think they will get out alive and on top. Once they destroy the country and hand it over to China. Whaf they don’t know. Is that everyone hates a traitor. Makes me giggle when I think about the look on their faces. When they finally understand they will be 86ed also….

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