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The U.S. military is a voice of reason on Iran

Admiral Mike Mullen (Wikimedia)

Many critics of the Administration have been hyping the line that the U.S. isn't doing enough to contain Iran. They say that the U.S. needs to act militarily to act on this threat. But the U.S. military--who would carry out such an attack--seems to be cool to the idea.

From BBC News:

Gen Cartwright, the vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, acknowledged was not, adding that military action alone was unlikely to be decisive.
Senator Reed prodded further, getting the general to agree that a military strike would only delay Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon if Tehran decided to go nuclear.
The senator then went further, asking whether the only way to absolutely end any potential Iranian nuclear weapon programme "was to physically occupy their country and disestablish their nuclear facilities?"
The general answered: "Absent some other unknown calculus that would go on, that's a fair conclusion."

There you have it, one of the top officials in the U.S. military said that the U.S. would need to occupy (!) Iran to assure that it doesn't get nuclear weapons. After all, the New York Times reported last January that Iran had increasingly hidden its nuclear complex in tunnels to protect its nuclear complex from attack. Adm. Mike Mullen said on Sunday that an attack on Iran would be as destabilizing as Iran getting a nuclear weapon.

Well, others disagree. Enter Senator John McCain:

"The list goes on and on of the threats that we have made to the Iranians and so far no action" said Senator McCain.
"George Schultz, my favorite secretary of state in all the world, once said his marine drill instructor told him, never point a gun at somebody unless you're ready to pull the trigger. We keep pointing the gun. We haven't pulled a single trigger yet, and it's about time that we did."

The best case for attacking Iran from Senator McCain is by analogy, which is to say not very convincing. Bill Kristol dismissed the claims of Admiral Mullen--the top official in the military--as "silly."

I wrote yesterday that the options on Iran just aren't very good--not surprisingly, the administration hasn't found an easy way of dealing with Iran. But it's easier when you can talk in analogies, of course.


Have a better case? I'm all ears. E-mail me at I'm also tweeting these days.


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