Wednesday, July 08, 2009

A Gentle Rebuke

Vice President Biden's comments on Sunday with respect to a possible Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear sites (see my post on the issue here) have been "clarified" by President Obama. From the Los Angeles Times:

President Obama, issuing an unusual clarification of his vice president's words, said today that his administration has "absolutely not" given its blessing for an Israeli attack on Iran.

Obama said that though Israel has the right to defend itself, U.S. officials have emphasized the need to avoid "major conflict in the Middle East." ...

Biden's words set off a debate over whether the White House was hardening its line on Iran in the wake of Tehran's postelection crackdown, or whether Biden had simply committed a gaffe.

Obama said in a CNN interview today that Biden was merely stating "a categorical fact, which is that we can't dictate to other countries what their security interests are."

That the US is not giving Israel any kind of blank check for such an attack is a relief. I just wish the response had been a little quicker from Mr. Obama, but I suppose an argument could be made that too quick a public response would have unnecessarily embarrassed the Vice President (if that's possible).

Presumably someone from the White House has already sent a message to Israel's government which similarly "clarified" the Vice President's comments, but if not, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, forcefully reiterated President Obama's stance on tamping down the instability in that region of the world yesterday while speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, according to this AP article.

Mullen pointedly said "the strike option" - is one possible outcome. He suggested that a strike, meaning missile or other attacks to blow up Iran's known nuclear facilities, is a last resort. It would be "very destabilizing," Mullen said.

One way to be sure Israel and it's Prime Minister get the message would be to be a bit more selective in the weaponry we ship to Israel. Maybe if those "bunker buster" missiles that country wants stayed in the armories here in the US, Israel would begin to get the message that there are no longer any blank checks being sent by Washington.

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Anonymous larry, dfh said...

... would have...embarrassed the Vice President (if that's possible).

10:50 AM  

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