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.
Since then the Saudis have purchased AWACS (the overflights took place across Saudi territory); the US has detection and air combat capability in the region (so, either the Israelis are seen but nothing is done, or are seen and intercepted, hopefully not shot down); Iran has widely distributed the targets, and presumably has at the very least triple-A all over the place.
I think Cheney's words are part of the ongoing "hard cop" from the US. This is intended to push Iran along into dealing away its capability in its alleged negotiations with Europe.
But that won't work, because the negotiations are just a stalling tactic. The Moslem states learned yet another lesson in the 1973 war -- if Israel could be defeated on the ground, then the nuclear retaliation would take care of the Arabs for good. I won't say it. ;')
The lesson is, they can't fight another war against Israel unless they have nuclear strike capability, which means, nuclear warheads and a capable delivery system (or more than one). Despite their vociferous and generally violent differences, the Moslem states (other than Turkey) near Israel have in the past collaborated in a genocide campaign, and they have done so continually, and are doing so now.
Egypt used the first WMDs in the area, against the Saudis, during the Yemem civil war, and yet they fought on the same side in 1967, 1973, and during the terrorist campaigns before, during, and since then.
If Syria's next on the list for liberation and democracy, Israel's assistance will probably be needed and eagerly provided. That might be the best option, since that won't take too long, will smash Iranian influence in Lebanon, remove water shortage difficulties caused by the Syrians, and postpone or eliminate any chance of immediate war against Israel.
Removing Iran would probably result in the flight of Iranian fanatics to Syria and Lebanon, which creates a "fish in a barrel" situation. Nation-building in Iran is something the Iranians are itching to do, and getting rid of the Iranian Moslem horde will be simpler, because they fight to the death.
They have no idea how quick their fight will be over.
Iran is bound to have loads of chemical weapons, and will probably launch missiles against Israel, just as Iraq did in the Gulf War. After they're overcome, all of the WMDs should be piled up in one stack, right on top of Iran's "holiest" city, and blown up. The event should be televised. The Iranian trials in which the mullahs are condemned, and their executions certainly will be televised in Iran.
Y'know, provided the mullahs make it to trial, and aren't just torn limb from limb by the Iranian people.
Mullahs wont fight, they dont have gut to fight the US. In return they kill their own people.
Believe me... Try to shoot a bullet toward Iran and they will start hammering their own people first.
"I love to read about Israeli strikes... they never miss and they don't play around. Their Missiles for terrorist cars policy is awesome."
Me, too! Following is the address of a site through which you can send a supportive treat to the IDF:
BTW: I love your tagline.
Feint to the West, nailed them from the South?
Hold them by the nose, and ...
[singing] "kaboom, kaboom, ya-da-da-da-da-da-ya-da-da-da-da-da..."
North Korea and China have been selling the mullahs rocket technology to build ICBMs, and the rogue Pakistani nuclear physicist gave or sold them the know how they needed to finish building nuclear weapons. I believe that the mad mullah whackos in Tehran will fire off a nuke at somebody, probably Israel, as soon as they get a workable missile/bomb package ready to go.
The Iranian nuke plants are buried deep underground and Iran now has the latest model Russian AA missiles guarding it's airspace, so the Israelis may not be able to take them out with planes and conventional bombs as they did Saddam's nuke plant. I wouldn't put it past the Israelis to take out the Iranian facilities with their own nukes if they think it's necessary to Israel's survival. I just hope Bush and company won't try to stand in their way if and when it all comes down to either that or Israel's annihilation.
Israel must protect her public from the very real threat of Iran's unstable terrorist promoting dictatorship, which is now made far worse with Russian supplied technology for nuclear missiles.