Skip to comments.Cheney Says Israel Might 'Act First' on Iran
Posted on 01/20/2005 8:35:58 PM PST by F14 Pilot
WASHINGTON, Jan. 20 - Just hours before being sworn in for a second term, Vice President Dick Cheney publicly raised the possibility on Thursday that Israel "might well decide to act first" to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
In an interview on the MSNBC program "Imus in the Morning," a highly unusual forum for Mr. Cheney, he appeared to use the danger of Israeli military action as one more reason that the Iranians should reach a diplomatic agreement to disarm, noting dryly that any such strike would leave "a diplomatic mess afterwards" and should be avoided.
President Bush, in his inaugural speech on Thursday, appeared to have Iran, among other countries, in mind when he said he was committed to "the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world."
After defending the administration's decision to invade Iraq, Mr. Cheney, who appeared on the show with his wife, Lynne, was asked about the Iranian threat. "We believe they have a fairly robust new nuclear program," Mr. Cheney said of the Iranians, carefully not using the word "weapons," though in the American and European intelligence communities there is a widespread belief that the program is intended to build a nuclear arsenal.
He also said that Iran "is a noted sponsor of terror," particularly in its support for Hezbollah, and that the combination of nuclear technology and terrorism "is of great concern."
"You look around at potential trouble spots, Iran is right at the top of the list," he said.
Mr. Cheney focused on diplomacy, not military action, as the key to the Iranian situation.
"At some point, if the Iranians don't live up to their commitments, the next step will be to take it to the U.N. Security Council, and seek the imposition of international sanctions," he said, restating the administration's longstanding position.
Europe has opposed any such move, saying it would only drive Iran to break out of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and openly pursue an atomic weapon, the path that North Korea took two years ago.
Don Imus, who during the election campaign made no secret of his dislike of the policies of Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, then asked, "Why don't we make Israel do it?" It was a reference to a military option much discussed in Washington but rarely talked about in public by top officials.
"Well, one of the concerns people have is that Israel might do it without being asked," Mr. Cheney said. "If, in fact, the Israelis became convinced the Iranians had a significant nuclear capability, given the fact that Iran has a stated policy that their objective is the destruction of Israel, the Israelis might well decide to act first, and let the rest of the world worry about cleaning up the diplomatic mess afterwards."
"We don't want a war in the Middle East, if we can avoid it," he said. "In the case of the Iranian situation, I think everybody would be best suited or best treated and dealt with if we could deal with it diplomatically."
Mr. Cheney's remarks came at what appears to be a critical moment in the administration's internal debate over how to deal with Iran. For more than a year the C.I.A. and other intelligence agencies have been intently focused on identifying Iranian nuclear facilities. Some of that information has been shared with the International Atomic Energy Agency to guide its inspections.
Mr. Imus, unable to resist the temptation to tease Mr. Cheney about his reputation as the real decision maker in the White House, also asked him: "Do you want to be president now?"
"No," the vice president said, with no hesitation.
Mr. Imus pressed: "Are you the president now?"
"No," Mr. Cheney said. "But that was a nice try."
I think Israel may have a right to prepare to defend itself. Iran has threatened them. And they are a serious threat to America. Their government preaches "Death to America" to its people virtually every day.
Well nice try of the NYT by starting their story out with this and taking Cheney's words out of context
Good ole Isreal. The world's smallest, and biggest, a$$kickers, depending on how you look at it.
We really owe them a lot. They take out the trash when nobody else will dare.
any such strike would leave "a diplomatic mess afterwards"
Heh... sure would be funny though. Main problems would seem to be that Israel doesn't have a viable air route (thanks in large part to the United States past and present) to the multiple targets. Attrition would also be high using planes. A missile attack can't be easily guarded against, but isn't likely to destroy the desired targets.
Also, it would likely pump up the Iranians against Israel. The Iranian public needs to keep its hatred focussed on the mullahcrats.
And if you take out the word potential, Iran is still right at the top of the list. Car bombs, infiltrators and weapons into Iraq now, and open warfare in the past, Iran has always wanted to own Iraq's piece of the action.
But with Israel saying that they may act first, is it a statement about a preemptive strike, or a race between Israel and America?
I hope someone is going to act first, I suspect it may be Iran if the politicians keep discussing things...
Well, why not?/ They are one of our strongest allies. As long as they are defending themselves.
That's code for "if you even think they're gonna move, hit 'em first," isn't it?
Here is the FULL version of that.
Boom ~ Bump!
You wrote: "Main problems would seem to be that Israel doesn't have a viable air route"
That certainly did not stop them when Israel took out the Nuclear Power Plant in Iraq.
Well, every country has a right to defend itself.
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