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Gates: Obama Has No Policy To Stop Iran

From an outraged New York Times:

Gates Says U.S. Lacks a Policy to Thwart Iran


April 17, 2010

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has warned in a secret three-page memorandum to top White House officials that the United States does not have an effective long-range policy for dealing with Iran’s steady progress toward nuclear capability, according to government officials familiar with the document.

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…

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

[I]n 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.

According to several officials, the memorandum also calls for new thinking about how the United States might contain Iran’s power if it decided to produce a weapon, and how to deal with the possibility that fuel or weapons could be obtained by one of the terrorist groups Iran has supported, which officials said they considered to be a less-likely possibility.

Mr. Gates has never mentioned the memo in public. His spokesman, Geoff Morrell, declined to comment on specifics in the document, but issued a statement on Saturday saying, “The secretary believes the president and his national security team have spent an extraordinary amount of time and effort considering and preparing for the full range of contingencies with respect to Iran.”

Pressed on the administration’s ambiguous phrases until now about how close the United States was willing to allow Iran’s program to proceed, a senior administration official described last week in somewhat clearer terms that there was a line Iran would not be permitted to cross.

The official said that the United States would ensure that Iran would not “acquire a nuclear capability,” a step Tehran could get to well before it developed a sophisticated weapon. “That includes the ability to have a breakout,” he said, using the term nuclear specialists apply to a country that suddenly renounces the nonproliferation treaty and uses its technology to build a small arsenal…

Mr. Gates has alluded to his concern that intelligence agencies might miss signals that Iran was taking the final steps toward producing a weapon. Last Sunday on the NBC News program “Meet the Press,” he said: “If their policy is to go to the threshold but not assemble a nuclear weapon, how do you tell that they have not assembled? I don’t actually know how you would verify that.” But he cautioned that Iran had run into production difficulties, and he said, “It’s going slow — slower than they anticipated, but they are moving in that direction.” …

Some officials said his memo should be viewed in that light: as a warning to a relatively new president that the United States was not adequately prepared.

He wrote the memo after Iran had let pass a 2009 deadline set by Mr. Obama to respond to his offers of diplomatic engagement…

Mind you, this criticism isn’t coming from some uninformed inconsequential nobody, like Sarah Palin. It is from Mr. Obama’s Secretary Of Defense.

But of course Mr. Gates was immediately frog-marched to the woodshed.

From a relieved New York Times:

Gates Pushes Back on Report of Memo About Iran Policy


April 18, 2010

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates acknowledged Sunday that he had written a classified memorandum to the White House in January raising significant questions about long-term Iran policy, but said his goal had been only “to contribute to an orderly and timely decision-making process.”

Prior to publication of the article, Obama administration officials had not publicly confirmed nor denied the memo’s existence.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Mr. Gates said he wished to correct what he described as mischaracterizations about the memo’s content and purpose, and to dispel any perception among allies that the administration had failed to adequately think through how to deal with Iran.

“With the administration’s pivot to a pressure track on Iran earlier this year, the memo identified next steps in our defense planning process where further interagency discussion and policy decisions would be needed in the months and weeks ahead,” Mr. Gates said.

“The memo was not intended as a ‘wake-up call’ or received as such by the president’s national security team,” he added. “Rather, it presented a number of questions and proposals intended to contribute to an orderly and timely decision-making process.”

Senior administration officials, asked Sunday to give specific examples of what was mischaracterized in the article, declined to discuss the content of the memo, citing its classified status. In his statement, Mr. Gates offered no details on the issues he raised in his memo

But, alas, what has been said cannot be un-said.

Even by the Messiah, Mr. Obama.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, April 19th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “Gates: Obama Has No Policy To Stop Iran”

  1. Astravogel says:

    “The memo was not intended as a “wake up call” or received as such
    by the President’s national security team.” I can visualize such a team;
    six mules lined up two-by-two, facing different directions. Rather hard
    to pull a cannon that way…

    Democratica Delinda Est!

  2. Mithrandir says:

    Now we are moving on to the next distraction: Iran. (when will we learn?)

    Why am I grudgingly supporting Iran over the American government? Because Iran is about the only country not controllable through threats or pay-offs. It’s nice to know that police-state thuggery doesn’t work on them, perhaps because they invented it?

    America puts the thumb-screws to Iran, and they laugh in their face. Two scumbags staring each other down! I root for the underdog scumbag in this case. . .

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