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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Gates takes military option against Iran off the table

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has joined Vice President Joe Biden in warning Israel not to strike Iran's nuclear facilities.
Amid increasing suggestions that Israel might attack Iran's nuclear facilities, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates warned this week that such a strike would have dangerous consequences, and asserted that Tehran's acquisition of a bomb can be prevented only if "Iranians themselves decide it's too costly."

Using his strongest language on the subject to date, Gates told a group of Marine Corps students that a strike would probably delay Tehran's nuclear program from one to three years. A strike, however, would unify Iran, "cement their determination to have a nuclear program, and also build into the whole country an undying hatred of whoever hits them," he said.
Gates' statement, which seems to be a fair representation of Obama administration policy, shows how the current administration in Washington just doesn't get it. The Islamic Republic of Iran will never decide itself that nuclear weapons are too costly. Taking the military option off the table and sitting around waiting for them to make that decision - as the current administration wishes to do - guarantees that Iran will be a nuclear power unless someone other than the United States stops them.

A delay in the program - and its inherent costs - are the only thing right now that will make it less likely that Iran will attain a nuclear weapons capability.

The Islamic Republic of Iran cannot possibly hate Israel more than it does already. Whether the Iranian people hate Israel - or would hate it more if it damaged or took out Iran's nuclear capability - is a doubtful proposition.

The LA Times also reports that Iran has complained to the United Nations about the threats emanating from Israel against its nuclear weapons program. Good luck with that.

The Times also repeats the assumption that Israel will clear any action it takes in Iran with the US - presumably out of a need to fly over Iraq. Three weeks ago, it was reported that Israel took out a weapons convoy in Sudan in January. It's 50 miles more from Israel to Iran than it is from Israel to Sudan - without using the 'short-cut' of flying over Iraq. Does anyone still believe Israel cannot attack Iran's facilities without flying over Iraq?

Gates continued.
Gates told students at Marine Corps University in Quantico, Va., that while President Obama "needs the full range of options," in his view "we need to look at every way we can to increase the cost of that program to them, whether it's through economic sanctions or other things."

The Defense secretary said other nations need to put more emphasis on arguments that a bomb would diminish rather than improve Iran's security, "particularly if it launches an arms race in the Middle East."

Gates' comments were delivered on Monday and first reported by the Army Times newspaper. A Defense official confirmed their accuracy.
But sanctions cannot work because there are so many countries that insist on violating them. Russia, China, the Europeans and even some American companies have been violating the sanctions to maintain their business interests in Iran.

Biden and Gates are both parroting a line of cowing before Iran that is also being pursued by Obama himself. On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that the Obama administration is considering allowing Iran to continue its nuclear development while negotiations proceed. As I noted on Wednesday night, even the French have taken a tougher position than that.

America is in good hands. Israel will do what it needs to do with or without American assistance. What could go wrong?


At 12:37 PM, Blogger Matt said...

even if obama is convinced that attacking Iran's nuclear capabilities would be bad policy, why say it publically?

what good can come from Gates telling the world that America has taken the military option off the table?

At 3:46 PM, Blogger R-MEW Editors said...

Gates, US intelligence officers, and others opposed to military action are either ostensibly clueless about when Iran will obtain nukes or consistently project it out several years. In their admonishments against military action however, they have no difficulty forecasting that it will only take a year or two for Iran to reconstitute their program following an Israeli attack.

The cognitive dissonance has become risible.

At 4:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You don't get it I think.

It is impossible to take out all the Iranian nuclear facilities completely and without collateral damage (one research program is situated in the university of Teheran) - although collateral damage should not be the reason to prevent Iran from reaching nukes.

If the IAF was able to attack why haven't they done it yet??? They could stop Irans nuclear-program the same way, they did it in Syria and Iraq. But nobody knows where in Iran the facilities are situated (30m under the ground, spread all over the country)!

Therefore serious diplomacy is the only way!

At 8:59 PM, Blogger 1Trader said...

Could be disinformation to prepare for an attack, but somehow I doubt that.

As far as Tjolp:
"Therefore serious diplomacy is the only way!"

It is you who doesn't get it, there has been a great deal of serious diplomacy.

Israel could take out Iran's nuclear program, its government, its refinery, the whole country; all in one strike.

There are many options, several of them horrific, but it is the Iranian leadership and the abhorrent Islam that is threatening to bring destruction on Iran.

At 6:07 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Robert Gates thinks wild-eyed fanatics threatening the world with extinction isn't a good enough reason to use force against them. We haven't tried hard enough to reach out to them. Yet.

What could go wrong, indeed?

At 1:45 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Robert Gates is an absolute disaster as Sec. of Defense. How was it that Bush approved him? Does anyone know the answer?


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