This single question must be posed to Mitt Romney: Is a major war in our future during a Romney presidency?
Consider that Romney made a point of saying he has no "hidden agenda." That would not be his first lie.
Some of the words he uttered in Israel gave me pause. He left me wondering if he fully intends to drag us into a war whether or not it is necessary.
"We have a solemn duty and a moral imperative to deny Iran's leaders the means to follow through on their malevolent intentions," he told an audience in Jerusalem. "We must not delude ourselves into thinking that containment is an option."
Taken alone, Romney's words certainly invites the prospect for war. We must "deny" them "the means," and "containment" is not good enough.
His audience comprised not only Israelis but also a number of Jewish conservatives from the United States, the same kind of group that pressed for the invasion of Iraq, though they were not alone in this. Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson accompanied Romney.
To be clear, these clods do not reflect the views of most American Jews, like myself, 75 percent of whom usually vote for Democratic candidates. If they want a war, why don't they vote for Republicans?
As Romney's senior foreign policy aide, Dan Senor said in a briefing, "If Israel has to take action on its own, the governor would respect that decision."
A war is the most serious step that can be taken by a president. A war with Iran could create a mess far worse than Iraq.
A conflict between Israel and Iran alone could become so chaotic that other countries would be compelled to join. If not a war with Iran, it would be no surprise if Romney picked a fight with another country.
For a few days, as Romney assailed England's Olympics preparations, it appeared that we were headed for a third war with the Brits.
No question that Americans have little stomach for another war right now. Minority groups are especially concerned because their sons and daughters will be among those who risk their lives.
The fact that the last two major wars were focused on the Middle East make minority groups leery about Israel's precarious role. At one office with a large African-American workforce, a friend told me he overheard a black woman call Iraq "the Jew war." Though this remark was related to me secondhand, I have heard worse about Israel in the black community.
All the same, most African-Americans justifiably fear that they will be attending funerals because of a situation that is literally foreign to them. It is somewhat personal for me because I befriended many African-Americans through school and work since I was a teen-ager. I have no reason to believe that most minority group members voice this concern in any way but a legitimate manner.
I sure want Israel to be protected, but only with actions which are necessary. Plus, conservative Jews like Adelson embarrass me, and I do not want any Americans to fight an unnecessary war.
Any entry into war can only be based on the rationale for a war and an assessment of the risks. When Congress voted to authorize military action in Iraq, members of Congress provided no convincing rationale and never bothered to assess the risks.
Strangely enough, strong evidence for the need to engage with Iran emerged long ago. Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has repeatedly threatened Israel with destruction and is building a nuclear device.
However, the risks are excessive, far worse than the risks in Iraq. The situation could be extremely messy.
Let's remember what happened when we fought in Afghanistan and Iraq. American servicepersons and Iraqi civilians died and we spent $1.3 trillion on both wars.
Billions of dollars were spent on private firms, including Halliburton subsidiaries and other companies with close ties to the Bush administration.
It stands to reason that Romney wants a war for the sake of going to war. His campaign is bankrolled by wealthy businesspersons who could profit from a military conflict.
War could well have been George W. Bush's "hidden agenda." What is Romney's attitude about foreign wars? Television hosts, reporters and average citizens should ask him. It is our obligation.
Note - Bruce S. Ticker is author of the e-book "Amending America: To Change Policy, Change the System" which is available at TheWriteDeal.org.