Senior Pentagon Official Says We’re Not Attacking Iran
Haaretz reports on comments the undersecretary of defense for policy, Michele Flournoy, made in Singapore about Iran:
The U.S. has ruled out a military strike against Iran’s nuclear program any time soon, hoping instead negotiations and United Nations sanctions will prevent the Middle East nation from developing nuclear weapons, a top U.S. defense department official said Wednesday.
“Military force is an option of last resort,” Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy said during a press briefing in Singapore. “It’s off the table in the near term.”
And just wait for segments of the conservative movement and the Republican Party to freak out, as Bill Kristol did over Adm. Michael Mullen’s similar disinclination for an Iran attack over the weekend. Yet if the lesson of the Bush administration’s experience at the United Nations ahead of the Iraq war is any experience, the only way the Security Council will unite around a sanctions package is if the international community doesn’t believe it’s setting the stage for an American attack. The same goes for a post-Security Council resolution coalition of Iran’s major trading partners that the Obama administration is waiting to assemble. There’s a surprising amount of international willpower for sanctions aimed at stopping Iran’s illicit uranium enrichment activities. There’s absolutely none for seeding the bed for an attack, and the prospect of one will drain away the willpower for sanctions. Hence Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ aggressive pushback on The New York Times’ leak of his January Iran memo, and hence Flournoy’s comments in Singapore.