US Troops in Iraq Are a Tripwire for War With Iran

The New York Times Monday noted the increasing likelihood that U.S. troops will be killed by mortars or rocket fire from Shi’ite militias in Iraq or Syria as they have been attacked and wounded repeatedly in the past three months as locals take revenge for Israel’s violence in Gaza. (AQI/ISIS sure have motive to attack and frame the Shi’ites too, btw.)

As Gen. Mattis said years ago:

“I paid a military security price every day as the commander of CentCom because the Americans were seen as biased in support of Israel, and that all the moderate Arabs who want to be with us, they can’t come out publicly in support of people who don’t show respect for the Arab Palestinians.”

The point is that as Israel escalates against Hezbollah and Syria, and the U.S. escalates in Syria and Iraq (they assassinated a Shi’ite militia leader with a drone strike in Baghdad two weeks ago, leading the government to demand US withdrawal) and against the Houthis in Yemen, the danger of a real regional war against all the Shi’ite countries and substate militias and terrorist groups is quite high.

The Times says the Biden regime says that if Americans are killed in Iraq, they will feel the political necessity to expand the war to Iran with at least what they consider limited strikes.

At that point it seems very likely it would be all bets off and the Ayatollah would go to war and urge the rest of the so-called Axis of Resistance, or Shi’ite Crescent, to join them.

Even if Russia and China do nothing but watch, the costs to the United States would be enormous. U.S. troops, airmen, sailors, etc. would be at risk in Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE and Saudi, along with an empire worth of equipment based in Qatar and Bahrain, home of CENTCOM and the center of American air power there, as well as the home of the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.

Iran has thousands of missiles that can reach these targets, as well as air defenses which would be capable of destroying many air force and navy planes before air dominance over Iran could be achieved if it ever could at all, which may be a big assumption.

The Iraqi government and army would also virtually certainly take Iran’s side and join up with the militias to march on Iraqi Kurdistan and force U.S. troops out; same for Syria.

(Nevermind the danger of Hezbollah type groups wreaking havoc across the EU and hopefully not the U.S. too, nor the threat that U.S. Sunni client monarchies and dictatorships in the region could fall and be replace by who-knows-what.)

So then what is Biden supposed to do? Unleash our entire navy and air force (possibly even army, marines, SOCOM) against Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran at the same time — and all to continue to abet Israel’s ethnic cleansing campaign in Gaza?

In 2007, the Chiefs told W. Bush, No way. They don’t want to fight unless they know they will have “escalation dominance” over every stage of the conflict, and here they know they would not have it.

I move for a vote of no confidence in President Biden’s leadership.

Author: Scott Horton

Scott Horton is editorial director of, director of the Libertarian Institute, host of Antiwar Radio on Pacifica, 90.7 FM KPFK in Los Angeles, California and podcasts the Scott Horton Show from He’s the author of the 2021 book Enough Already: Time to End the War on Terrorism, the 2017 book, Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan, and the editor of the 2019 book, The Great Ron Paul: The Scott Horton Show Interviews 2004–2019. He’s conducted more than 5,500 interviews since 2003. Scott’s articles have appeared at, The American Conservative magazine, the History News Network, The Future of Freedom, The National Interest and the Christian Science Monitor. He also contributed a chapter to the 2019 book, The Impact of War. Scott lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, investigative reporter Larisa Alexandrovna Horton. He is a fan of, but no relation to the lawyer from Harper’s. Scott’s Twitter, YouTube, Patreon.