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Once More, Admiral Mullen — This Time with Feeling

The administration has been criticized on its approach to Iran for apparently taking the military option off the table. So on Meet the Press, Admiral Mike Mullen was trying, I think, to correct the impression that this was not a viable alternative should sanctions fail. However, he sure didn’t do a good job of making the military option sound credible:

What I try to do when I talk about that is, is identify the space between those two outcomes, which is pretty narrow, in which I think the diplomacy, the kind of sanctions, the kind of international pressure that, that is being applied, I am hopeful works.  I, I, I recognize that there isn’t that much space there.  But, quite frankly, I am extremely concerned about both of those outcomes.” Yeah, it’s virtually unintelligible.

He wasn’t through tripping over his tongue:

None of them are good in a sense that it’s certainly an outcome that I don’t seek, or that, that we wouldn’t seek.  At the same time, and for what I talked about before, is, is not just the consequences of the action itself, but the things that could result after the fact

Finally, grudgingly, he acknowledged that the military does have a plan if, as David Gregory put it, “it should come to that.”

Mullen and especially Obama are going to have to do a whole lot better than that to convince the mullahs that they face an attack if they don’t give up their dream of a nuclear program. One suspects that the Obami at this point — no matter how much they improve their public utterances — aren’t capable of impressing the mullahs’ with their determination to use all available means to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The administration’s failure to maintain a credible threat of force remains one of the most inexplicable and incompetent aspects of its approach to the most dire national security issue we face.


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