Gates Confirms What We All Know About Iran

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in Iran, Nuclear

Apart from bombing the hell out of them, there’s really nothing we can do to stop Iran from gaining enhanced nuclear capabilities.

Sure, sanctions help, but if China won’t play ball and stop importing their oil, we’ll never be able to control their actions.

And Robert Gates echoes this…

[...] in his memo, Mr. Gates wrote of a variety of concerns, including the absence of an effective strategy should Iran choose the course that many government and outside analysts consider likely: Iran could assemble all the major parts it needs for a nuclear weapon — fuel, designs and detonators — but stop just short of assembling a fully operational weapon.

In that case, Iran could remain a signatory of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty while becoming what strategists call a “virtual” nuclear weapons state. [...]

Several officials said the highly classified analysis, written in January to President Obama’s national security adviser, Gen. James L. Jones, came in the midst of an intensifying effort inside the Pentagon, the White House and the intelligence agencies to develop new options for Mr. Obama. They include a set of military alternatives, still under development, to be considered should diplomacy and sanctions fail to force Iran to change course.

Officials familiar with the memo’s contents would describe only portions dealing with strategy and policy, and not sections that apparently dealt with secret operations against Iran, or how to deal with Persian Gulf allies.

One senior official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the memo, described the document as “a wake-up call.” But White House officials dispute that view, insisting that for 15 months they had been conducting detailed planning for many possible outcomes regarding Iran’s nuclear program.

Still…my question to all of you who think Iran will use their nuclear program to try and destroy Israel…do you really think they would risk the lives of everybody in their country?

Because, if they decide to bomb Israel, I think we all realize that Iran, as a nation, will not exist anymore. Every nuclear nation will bomb them back to the stone age…and then some.

Still, what do you think? Is Gates pronouncement a sign of weakness or an acknowledgement of reality?


This entry was posted on Sunday, April 18th, 2010 and is filed under Iran, Nuclear. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

12 Responses to “Gates Confirms What We All Know About Iran”

  1. Tweets that mention Donklephant » Blog Archive » Gates Confirms What We All Know About Iran -- Topsy.com Says:

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Justin Gardner and Donklephant, topsy_top20k. topsy_top20k said: DONKLEPHANT: Gates Confirms What We All Know About Iran http://ow.ly/176esX [...]

  2. Michael LaRocca Says:

    I’d call it an acknowledgment of reality, definitely. Those are a nice change of pace.

  3. Below The Beltway » Blog Archive » SecDef Memo Warns Obama: We Have No Strategy For Dealing With A Nuclear Iran Says:

    [...] Gardner is among those who don’t seem to think this is such a bad thing: [M]y question to all of you who think Iran will use their nuclear program to try and destroy [...]

  4. Josh Cowan Says:

    “Because, if they decide to bomb Israel, I think we all realize that Iran, as a nation, will not exist anymore. Every nuclear nation will bomb them back to the stone age…and then some.” Really?

    I wonder if this is true. If we were exposed to the horrors of a Nuclear Bomb, especially in today’s climate of media saturation and everything on video, do you really think the world would retaliate by bombing the innocent civilians of Iran back to the Stone Age? I don’t think this is self-evident. Do I think the U.S. and it’s allies would attack Iran, yes. Do I think the result would be an all out war? Yes. But I’m not sure, once everyone saw the horrible destruction of a Nuke that the response would be a Nuke. I know it’s supposed to happen like that, I just don’t think it necessarily would.

  5. Vast Variety Says:

    I think it’s a statement of reality and not just with Iran. Only real outcome to Iran having the Nuke is that it will become far more likely that Saudi Arabia, Egypt, or Jordon will do the same.

    And I don’t think Iran would ever actually directly Nuke Israel. They would be more ap to sell the technology to a third party to do it for them. The only reason I ever see a country using nukes is if they believe that they are so far gone that they have nothing else to loose.

    As for a US response, I highly suspect we wouldn’t nuke them in return. There would surely be a conventional war however and the US has enough conventional firepower to send Iran back to the stone age without resorting to nukes.

  6. Shane Says:

    Are we concerned that Iran as a nation would bomb Israel? I’m not sure that is the worst-case scenario. If Iran sells/gives/rents its capability to an organization that believes Israel shouldn’t exist and they use the technology, what will be the response? What would be appropriate? Would we be able to track the trail back to Iran with enough certainty that the world would be convinced to take any/appropriate action? With our credibility recently diminished and our intelligence on such matters suspect in the current middle-east conflict, it might be a little like the boy who cried wolf – or the country that cried nuke.

    I think this is an acknowledgment of reality and a sign of weakness. After failing to find WMDs in Iraq, our ability to affect change in the region has been diminished.

  7. gerryf Says:

    Shane Says:

    With our credibility recently diminished and our intelligence on such matters suspect in the current middle-east conflict, it might be a little like the boy who cried wolf – or the country that cried nuke.

    I think this is an acknowledgment of reality and a sign of weakness. After failing to find WMDs in Iraq, our ability to affect change in the region has been diminished.

    That’s because they hate our freedom….

  8. Nick Benjamin Says:

    His statement is pretty much common sense.

    We can’t invade them without vastly expanding the Army, because there’s no way we could hold the country. That would take 1,000,000 troops.

    Unilaterally we can’t really embargo them any more then we already are. A blockade is feasible, but would piss off the entire UN. Which would make it much more difficult to deal with the North Koreans.

    So we’re stuck with getting sanctions through the UN. I’m hopeful that we can do it. The French and Brits were never major obstacles, the Russians are at least talking the talk on disarmament, and the Chinese have enough trouble keeping North Korea sane without an Iranian distraction.

    At the moment I’m hoping for a blockade on imports of gasoline. Iran has no refineries of it’s own, so all gas has to be brought into the country. Hopefully that would cause them enough trouble that they’d give up.

    BTW, for all it’s carping the Israelis are simply irrelevant to this. It’s virtually impossible to nuke Israel without destroying Jerusalem, which happens to be sacred to Islam. Much of the rest of the country is also sacred to Islam because Mohamed claimed to be a prophet in the line of Moses, and incorporated most of the Old Testament into Koran.

  9. kranky kritter Says:

    There’s always the strong possibility that Iran wants nukes not to use them, but just to be a member of the big boys club. If Saddam Hussein had had nuclear weapons, we wouldn’t have invaded Iraq, I believe that’s the thinking of Iran.

    I don’t know if I buy the idea that everyone else will bomb Iran back to the stone age. That seems pretty unlikely. The chances of multilateral action through say the UN just seem extraordinarily slim to me. And we’re probably not going to take another stroll down the “coalition of the willing” road.

    What does seem likely to me however, is that if Iran gets truly close, Israel will “somehow” get the locations where the work is going on and hit them with missile strikes. It’s unlikely based on Israel’s aggressive foreign policy that they would stand by and wait for the rest of the world to resolve this.

  10. Nick Benjamin Says:

    Israel blowing up the Iranian sites would be the worst-case scenario for the US. Assuming it worked it would royally piss off the Iranians, including the ones who don’t hate us (much), which would probably result in dead American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. Moreover it would complicate the Israel-Palestine mess because we’d owe Netanyahu. And Netanyahu’s apparently taken the position that the status quo of constant low-level warfare is fine, as long as it allows him to continue building settlements.

    Remember in 1981 Iraq was involved in an intense conventional war with the Iranians. They were kinda busy. This also made them much more dependent on western countries who just wanted the dispute to disappear. And they hadn’t planned for the possibility of the Israeli raid. Today the Iranians are dependent on nobody, Iranian hard-liners are looking for a fight (if they weren’t they would let those hikers go), and they have doubtless planned for the possibility.

  11. Jimmy the Dhimmi Says:

    Israel blowing up the Iranian sites would be the worst-case scenario for the US

    I would say that, 15-20 years from now, a nuclear device smuggled into lebanon affixed to one of those scud missiles that hezbollah recieves from Syria and launched into tel-aviv would be the worst case scenario for everyone.

  12. kranky kritter Says:

    Nick I presume you mean that it would be the worst way to “resolve” the issue of possible nuclear acquisition by Iran, right? You don’t think that allowing Iran to acquire nukes is preferable, do you?

    Here’s the thing. There’s good reason to think that the vast majority of nations in a position to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions either lack the sack to do enough to stop it, or really don’t give a shit or have reasons to hope they do get nukes.

    I think it is likely that we’ll see multiple ineffectual laps round the diplomatic mulberry bush,(trying to get sanctions, failing to get strong ones, passing ineffectual ones, etc, etc) while Iran gets progressively closer. Maybe I’m wrong about that, but I feel pretty certain that if Iran gets really close and no curb is in sight, then Israel will act decisively.

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