WILL WE ATTACK IRAN? – AT 8:36 A.M. ET: There's been an increasing level of buzz over the possibility that we will attack Iran, even though it seems out of character for Barack "let's reach out and hug" Obama. Michael Barone writes this morning:
In my July 21 Examiner column I wrote that recent articles by Time’s Joe Klein and the American Interest’s Walter Russell Mead suggested to me that the Obama administration was seriously considering a military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. I paid particular attention to these articles because Klein has been an outspoken opponent of such an attack and Mead is by no means an advocate for it. Now comes further evidence, in an opinion article in the Washington Post by Steven Simon and Ray Takeyh. They are by no means right-wingers; Simon worked in Bill Clinton’s National Security Council and Takeyh is described as a former adviser to the Obama administration. Their article takes quite seriously the possibility that the president will order such an attack.
And the very well-connected Benny Avni writes in the New York Post:
Here's welcome news: Key voices in Washington and elsewhere, including even some doves, now acknowledge that an attack on Iran's nuclear installations may be necessary, feasible -- and more likely.
That's encouraging, not only because it suggests that the nightmare of a nuclear Iran is by no means inevitable -- but also because a more credible threat to the mullahs might help convince them to abandon their nuclear chase, ironically making a confrontation unnecessary.
The heightened buzz of an attack is coming from columnists of all political persuasions, Gulf sheiks urging anyone who can stop Iran to do so and Tehran itself vowing fire and brimstone on anyone who dares to try. And America has plans, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen, who told NBC yesterday that a military attack on Iran was "one of the options the president has."
Also last week, the remains of six Israeli airmen -- killed last Monday in a helicopter accident during search-and-rescue drills in Romania -- were buried back home. Although it was a top news story in Israel, only scant information emerged about the previously undisclosed drills in Romania or what the helicopter crews were preparing for. Romania's Carpathian Mountains' terrain resembles the ridges where Iran's nuclear facilities are secreted.
COMMENT: I have no independent information on this, except for the off-the-record comment I heard recently from a very high-ranking American military officer who said that we "might have some work to do in Iran" if negotiations and sanctions don't stop the Iranian nuclear program. The other listeners were startled because this chap is known for his discretion. We'll watch this closely.
August 2, 2010