Asked about the world’s approach to Iran’s hard-line president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Olmert replied, “I am anything but happy about it. I expect that significantly more dramatic steps be initiated.”
Olmert did not specify what steps should be taken. He said he wanted “effective measures that are accepted by the international community to stop the Iranian danger.”
Pressed on whether Israel has ruled out a military strike, Olmert said, “I rule out nothing.” — from this article
This requires no attempts to prevent by the American government. Possibly it would require assistance in the form of intelligence at the very least, and possibly certain kinds of weaponry as well, from the American government. But the attitude of Mr. Robert Gates is quite different from that of Donald Rumsfeld. He made two disturbing remarks on the subject of nuclear weapons. Both deserve note.
First, he referred to Israel’s nuclear capability. It has always been agreed that there would be no public admission by American officials of that capability, just as Israel has neither confirmed nor denied what everyone knows it has. Why? Because studied vagueness is best in order to deflect the charges by the Arabs and the usual antisemites that Israel “must give up its weapons” if the Arabs must do so also.
This argument, which amounts to a demand for the Israelis to commit suicide, has been put forth by, among others, Lt. Gen. (ret’d.) William Odom, who says — without any concern, apparently, that he will be seen for exactly what he is, or correctly labelled as such — that Iran can “only” be expected to give up its nuclear weapons if Israel is pressured or forced into doing so. There is no doubt that Lt. Gen. (ret’d.) William Odom would love to see Israel facing its enemies stripped of its nuclear weapons. That’s the kind of guy he is.
Gates” public statement on Israel’s nuclear capability was made in the course of giving what sounded like sympathetic justification for Iran’s nuclear program. Iran, he said, “feels threatened” by the nuclear weapons possessed by Pakistan to its east, by Russia to its north, by Israel to its west, and by American forces to its south in the Gulf.
Would he explain away, or justify, the nuclear program of Kim Jong-Il by nothing other than that North Korea is “threatened” by nuclear powers to its north (Russia), to its west (China), to its east and south by the American nuclear submarines and naval fleets in the Sea of Japan and in the North Pacific? Of course not.
Even the slightest hint of thinking in the same way, or providing the same arguments as, the apologists for the nuclear program of the Islamic Republic of Iran — the apologists such as Ahmadinejad — is unacceptable.
What Gates said is unacceptable. The Senators should have noted that, and read him the riot act on that.
And though all but two voted to confirm, they can still — those who voted for him — bring up this remark, and demand clarification. I suggest John McCain do the asking, but it could be anyone. It could be a Democrat.
Weak on Iran, it sounds like, is Robert Gates. Don’t let that part of his hearings go unremarked and uncriticized.
Between competing sets of idiocy, one becomes confused. One is so used to having many bad choices, but at least one semi-acceptable choice. What is currently on offer is even worse. One can see that in the solemn debates over the Iraq Study Group, in which no one in Washington dares to question the definition of “winning” when, for example, Robert Gates says “no, Senator, we are not winning.” Not a soul asks: Perhaps we won? Perhaps we have permitted, with the removal of Saddam Hussein, the setting in motion of events that will inevitably divide and demoralize the camp of Islam and Jihad? Perhaps what you, Mr. Gates, and all these others call “catastrophe” in Iraq is no catastrophe at all, but a means to preoccupy Sunni and Shi’a alike, to cause them to squander men, money, materiel, against one another rather than against us? It may even lead, perhaps, if the Shi’a win, to the Saudis begging us to protect them, as they wanted us to during the First Gulf War. And this time, we may — but only if they pay us, say, a few hundred billion (for a start), and if furthermore they agree to stop all funding of mosques, madrasas, armies of Western hirelings, including those at academic centers that are Saudi-funded, and CAIR-like groups all over the Western world.
That may be a “catastrophe” for Robert Gates and the Bush Administration, and the stolid Board-Members (just the kind of solid, dull people corporations like to have on their boards, and that’s what they are: they are Board Members) whom James Baker rounded up for his ludicrous committee with its comical and worthless suggestions.
But it will only take one or two political figures who begin to tell, even obliquely, the truth. It need not necessarily be someone currently running for President. But it has to be someone.