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More Evidence That Obama Is Prepared to Bomb Iran

President Obama has authorized what appears to be the first use of cyber warfare (beyond passive information retrieval), in what Steve Coll has called “the first formal offensive act of pure cyber sabotage by the United States against another country, if you do not count electronic penetrations that have preceded conventional military attacks.” The target? Iran’s nuclear centrifuges.

Despite repeated statements from the White House that America will not allow the mullahs to acquire a nuclear weapon, and the attendant promise that a military strike remains a genuine option of last resort, many continue to believe Obama is merely bluffing. Now the New York Times reports that Obama aides have been conducting an informal tour of Israel, reminding the Israelis of the president’s commitment to a nuclear-free Iran:

In Israel, however, the United States is still saying plenty, with a stream of current and former officials traveling there to threaten additional sanctions on Iran and to reiterate Mr. Obama’s readiness to use military action against Iran if diplomacy fails.

“When the president said all options are on the table, let me reassure you that those options are real and viable,” said Michèle A. Flournoy, a former under secretary of defense, speaking at a security conference in Tel Aviv last week. Referring to the Pentagon’s planning for a possible military strike, she said, “Having sat in the Pentagon and spent a lot of my time on this issue, I can assure you of the quality of that work.” . . .

“There is, and has been, a consistent interest in reassuring the Israelis that we’re not going to be played,” said Dennis B. Ross, who was one of the president’s senior advisers on Iran and is now at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “That the goal is to raise pressure, not to relieve it, and that the objective remains prevention, not containment.”

Of course, for diplomacy to work, Obama has to reassure his friends in Tel Aviv that he is doing everything he can to force Iran’s hand. A unilateral Israeli attack would obliterate the coalition Obama has cobbled together to support the sanctions. Keeping the Israelis on board is crucial.

Via Meadia has long supported Obama’s preferred policy cocktail of sanctions, covert operations, and diplomacy to force Iran to voluntary abandon its nuclear ambitions. But we have also argued that preventing Iran from attaining a nuclear bomb is, sadly, worth a war. The president has repeatedly made it clear he does too. Nothing in his record suggests that either the Iranians, the Israelis, or the broader international community should refuse to take him at his word.

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  • PetraMB

    “Obama has to reassure his friends in Tel Aviv” — you’ve joined the outlets that pretend Israel’s government is in Tel Aviv?

  • thibaud

    Obama’s foreign-policy record is actually a strong point for him – there’s no advantage for Romney in going there. iow, no swing voter will turn against Obama on national security grounds.

    Won’t help him much, though, if he doesn’t get serious about reducing the unemployment rate in the next 6 months.

    On that point, nice to see that even the right-wing American Enterprise Institute’s Kevin Hassett is looking across the pond and drawing positive lessons from our European cousins’ heavy state interventions.

    The German government’s very “blue” work-sharing program – along with their refusal to burden employers with health insurance costs – is a huge reason that German unemployment is only 6% now.


    “It seems clear that neither [Republicans nor Democrats were] prepared to deal with the crisis of long-term unemployment. In spite of the severity of the downturn, there was a general expectation that the economy would bounce back, as it had after previous downturns.

    “Some countries that were more familiar with long-term unemployment, notably Germany, were much better prepared to deal with the fallout from the crisis.

    “The German government aggressively pushed work-sharing measures. This meant that instead of workers’ being laid off and receiving unemployment benefits, the German government helped companies keep employees, working fewer hours, on their payrolls by subsidizing their wages with the money saved on unemployment benefits.

    “The result of this policy is that Germany’s unemployment rate is now lower than it was at the start of the downturn, even though its growth has been no better than ours.”

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    “Nothing in his record suggests that either the Iranians, the Israelis, or the broader international community should refuse to take him at his word.”

    Perhaps you should provide evidence of Obama keeping his word, before making a statement like that. A ratio of promises kept to promises broken would be a good measure of Obama’s word. I think his word is mud, because off the top of my head I can’t think of a single promise kept, but more than a dozen broken promises.

    This looks like Obama is trying to shore up his declining Jewish support, which has come to recognize his antagonism toward Israel.

  • Corlyss

    Regrettably, nobody believes Obama. He’s known to be exceedingly malleable when he ought to hang tough, woefully ignorant when subtlety is demanded, tough on issues that matters little or not at all. One would think Biden was the author of TeamO’s foreign policy. All it spells is ambiguous, not resolute or savvy.

  • alex scipio

    Can you spell “October Surprise”?

  • Eurydice

    The president talks a lot, but I don’t think he’s really prepared the American public for another war.

  • Michael Barger

    Oh my, this is most intriguing. My eyes are on Oct 26, eleven days before the election when the 3Q GDP figures will be published. Almost inevitably they will show no or little growth. Every GDP quarterly figure has been revised downward this year.

    The optimal time for Israelis to bomb is the week before the election when we are in a frenzy. An Israelo-American Wag The Dog War is just what is needed to rally the voters behind our President.

    Obama is an Alinskyite to his fingertips. He is now given to overreach on every front.

    He has started an anti-Hispanic Catholic race war against Hispanic Catholic George Zimmerman that will ignite race riots across the country.

    He has started another anti-Hispanic Catholic war in Fast and Furious sacrificing hundred of lives on the altar of Gun Control.

    He has rolled the Catholic bishops who are liberal Democrats on all issues save abortion and contraception.

    He has knifed the public sector unions in Wisconsin in the back, and is now maneuvering to have the GOP do the rest of the dirty work so he congratulate them and claim credit for being the very model of a bi-partisan president who, yes, can work with Republicans.

    I hope to God Mitt and the GOP are crafty enough to see this. I fear not. The future of the country is at stake.

    There are three essential writers I recommend to understand the current situation: All your articles on the Blue Model; Matthew Lynn’s writing on the Long Depression of 2008-2031; and Alinsky.

    God help us all.

  • Adam

    “Nothing in his record suggests that either the Iranians, the Israelis, or the broader international community should refuse to take him at his word.”

    Well, 2 things: (1) the disavowal of the Bush understandings about vertical growth within certain settlement bloc; (2) quick abandonment of Mubarak.

    But despite those 2 things, I tend to think Obama is being serious when it comes to the military option.

  • cali

    There is no credibility about obama; every promise has an expiration date.
    The only reason he has given national security info regarding Israel – such as exposing the co-operation between Azerbajan and Israel, the permission from Saudi Arabia to fly over in an attack on Iran etc.., is simply to stall Israel from attacking before the election.
    He has given his muslim supporters reason to deliver Israel on a ‘silver platter’ after the election.
    However, a false flag, such as attempting to force the american voter to give him another 4yrs – he’ll attack Iran.
    Since he has become ‘judge, jury and executioner’ who dies on his list for drone strikes, I put nothing past him.

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