« Sunni Allies Ambush Al-Qaeda |
Blog Home Page
| Justice for AMIA Victims? »
November 12, 2007
US Strike at Iran "Not in the Offing"
Admiral William Fallon, head of the US Central Command in the Middle East told the Financial Times that an attack on Iran's nuclear sites was not imminent:
“None of this is helped by the continuing stories that just keep going around and around and around that any day now there will be another war which is just not where we want to go,” he said. The Times is being just a bit disingenuous above when they say that Fallon's words were a "shot across the bow" of Iran hawks in the administration. When Fallon refers to "continuing stories that just keep going around and around and around that any day now there will be another war" he is talking about left wing agitprop perpetrated by writers like Seymour Hersh who have been warning of an Iran strike for years. Prominent left wing blogs and commentators like Keith Olbermann have also been sounding the alarm - and have been for years.
“Getting Iranian behaviour to change and finding ways to get them to come to their senses and do that is the real objective. Attacking them as a means to get to that spot strikes me as being not the first choice in my book.”
Adm Fallon did not rule out the possibility of a strike at some point. But his comments served as a shot across the bows of hawks who are arguing for imminent action. They also echoed the views of the senior brass that military action is currently unnecessary, and should only be considered as an absolute last resort.
But the point is well made by Fallon. And the brass at the Pentagon really doesn't want to deal with the fallout from an Iran strike - unless it's absolutely necessary. There are some like retired General John Abizaid who say that we should be prepared to live with a nuclear Iran but that seems to be a minority viewpoint. At the same time, it appears that Fallon's position is probably a consensus one from the military point of view.
To buttress that point, Defense Secretary Gates has authorized the release of 9 Iranians held on suspicion of aiding elements in Iraq attacking American troops:
In another sign that the Pentagon is trying to reduce tensions with Iran, the US military this week released nine Iranians it had been holding in Iraq. The move came after Robert Gates, defence secretary, confirmed that Tehran had told the Iraqi government it would be willing to stop sending weapons to militias in Iraq. The military will carry out the orders of the Commander in Chief regardless of their own personal point of view. Their reluctance to engage in war with Iran highlights the fact that they believe it would be a "strategic mistake" to do so.
Speaking to the FT before the release, Adm Fallon said there had “certainly been a downturn” in roadside bomb attacks on US forces, but that the “jury is still out” on whether Iran had reduced its support for militias in Iraq.