It’s a war of inches to determine whether Israel or the U.S. will attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. One day the outlook is bleak, the next day less so. Today is relatively sunny as Haaretz brings news that Admiral Mullen, chair of the Joint Chiefs, brought a strong message to Israel last week in talks with the IDF chief of staff, that it had no green light to attack Iran.
Anthony Cordesman, one of the most lucid and pragmatic of national security analysts, lectured this week in Israel and reported the following according to Haaretz:
A senior U.S. strategic analyst says the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, sent Israel an unequivocal message stating that Israel does not have a “green light” from the U.S. to attack Iranian nuclear facilities.
…Cordesman of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Strategic and International Studies foreign policy think tank…gave lecture[s] at Tel Aviv University and at Hebrew University. He talked about Mullen’s comments last week in Washington when the Admiral said such an Israeli attack would be dangerous and could destabilize the Middle East.
Mullen spoke after returning from a visit to Israel, during which he met with Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and other senior IDF officers.
Cordesman said Mullen came to Israel to deliver a message that Israel did not have a green light to attack Iran and that it would not receive U.S. support for such a move.
According to Cordesman, Mullen was expressing the official opinion of the U.S. administration, including that of President George W. Bush and the National Security Council.
Given the sobriety and realism of Cordesman’s statements, I give great credence to this story. And all I can say is thank God. Robert Gates and Pentagon realists appear to have wrenched our Iran policy from the hands of the Cheneyites. And not a moment too soon. The fact that Mullen made the trip to Israel means that there were Israeli generals and political leaders fully prepared to attack Iran. Just because Israel was ready to enter the maelstrom doesn’t mean that the clear-eyed at the Pentagon were prepared to join them in the descent into Hell which would’ve ensued after an attack on Iran.