The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Why Tensions With Iran Don’t Mean Iraq 2.0

Why Tensions With Iran Aren't Iraq 2.0

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A soldier carries his gear across the flight deck of the USS Lewis B. Puller in the Arabian Gulf. (Desiree Kling / U.S. Marine Corps / Handout via Reuters)

Why Tensions With Iran Don’t Mean Iraq 2.0

Iran’s threat to U.S. troops is “serious and imminent,” according to Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. “There are legitimate threats … to American lives,” John Thune, a South Dakota Republican, said. Congressman Mac Thornberry of Texas said it’s not “business as usual.”

But what, exactly, are the Iranian threats that prompted the U.S. to move major military assets to the Middle East over the past two weeks? We still don’t know. A report from The Wall Street Journal found that Tehran and Washington might have misread each other: Iranian leaders thought the U.S. was going to strike them, so Iran prepared a possible counterstrike. According to The New York Times, U.S. officials grew concerned after seeing photos of Iranian missiles on small boats in the Persian Gulf.

In an interview with Kathy Gilsinan and Mike Giglio, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff didn’t deny that the intel is concerning, but he cautioned against responding quickly with an an ill-planned confrontation.

“The American public finds itself in a fog of something short of war, with few ways to assess what could be coming,” Gilsinan and Giglio write. This public confusion about unspecified threats feels uncomfortably similar to the lead-up to the …read more

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