Skip to comments.Abizaid: World Could Abide Nuclear Iran
Posted on 09/17/2007 10:29:06 PM PDT by freedomdefender
Every effort should be made to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, but failing that, the world could live with a nuclear-armed regime in Tehran, a recently retired commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East said Monday.
John Abizaid, the retired Army general who headed Central Command for nearly four years, said he was confident that if Iran gained nuclear arms, the United States could deter it from using them.
"Iran is not a suicide nation," he said. "I mean, they may have some people in charge that don't appear to be rational, but I doubt that the Iranians intend to attack us with a nuclear weapon."
The Iranians are aware, he said, that the United States has a far superior military capability.
"I believe that we have the power to deter Iran, should it become nuclear," he said, referring to the theory that Iran would not risk a catastrophic retaliatory strike by using a nuclear weapon against the United States.
"There are ways to live with a nuclear Iran," Abizaid said in remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank. "Let's face it, we lived with a nuclear Soviet Union, we've lived with a nuclear China, and we're living with (other) nuclear powers as well."
He stressed that he was expressing his personal opinion and that none of his remarks were based on his previous experience with U.S. contingency plans for potential military action against Iran.
Abizaid stressed the dangers of allowing more and more nations to build a nuclear arsenal. And while he said it is likely that Iran will make a technological breakthrough to obtain a nuclear bomb, "it's not inevitable."
Iran says its nuclear program is strictly for energy resources, not to build weapons.
Abizaid suggested military action to pre-empt Iran's nuclear ambitions might not be the wisest course.
"War, in the state-to-state sense, in that part of the region would be devastating for everybody, and we should avoid it in my mind to every extent that we can," he said. "On the other hand, we can't allow the Iranians to continue to push in ways that are injurious to our vital interests."
He suggested that many in Iran perhaps even some in the Tehran government are open to cooperating with the West. The thrust of his remarks was a call for patience in dealing with Iran, which President Bush early in his first term labeled one of the "axis of evil" nations, along with North Korea and Iraq.
He said there is a basis for hope that Iran, over time, will move away from its current anti-Western stance.
Abizaid's comments appeared to represent a more accommodating and hopeful stance toward Iran than prevails in the White House, which speaks frequently of the threat posed by Iran's nuclear ambitions. The administration says it seeks a diplomatic solution to complaints about Iran's alleged support for terrorism and its nuclear program, amid persistent rumors of preparations for a U.S. military strike.
Abizaid expressed confidence that the United States and the world community can manage the Iran problem.
"I believe the United States, with our great military power, can contain Iran that the United States can deliver clear messages to the Iranians that makes it clear to them that while they may develop one or two nuclear weapons they'll never be able to compete with us in our true military might and power," he said.
He described Iran's government as reckless, with ambitions to dominate the Middle East.
"We need to press the international community as hard as we possibly can, and the Iranians, to cease and desist on the development of a nuclear weapon and we should not preclude any option that we may have to deal with it," he said. He then added his remark about finding ways to live with a nuclear-armed Iran.
Abizaid made his remarks in response to questions from his audience after delivering remarks about the major strategic challenges in the Middle East and Central Asia the region in which he commanded U.S. forces from July 2003 until February 2007, when he was replaced by Adm. William Fallon.
The U.S. cut diplomatic relations with Iran shortly after the 1979 storming of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Although both nations have made public and private attempts to improve relations, the Bush administration labeled Iran part of an "axis of evil," and Iranian leaders still refer to the United States as the Great Satan.
Glad he is retired.
sounds like he’s out of the loop
Hey, I thought only Moveon critizes U.S. generals.
senile is more like it.
He’d probably feel welcome back in Lebanon, Italy, or someplace like that.
Does he have as many stars as Petraus?
Did I criticize him? He’s entitled to his opinions, which that is. And he served honorably. That does not make me not thankful that such an opinion is coming from a retired general as opposed to an active duty one.
Only Moveon calls them traitors.
“Iran is not a suicide nation,” he said. “I mean, they may have some people in charge that don’t appear to be rational, but I doubt that the Iranians intend to attack us with a nuclear weapon.”
I agree, I doubt Iran intends to attack us with a nuke.
It’s Israel they will attack.
This first sentence is beyond shizo. "Every effort" means pulling out all the stops, including bombing them back beyond the stone age. But obviously the author doesn't mean he wrote, or he forgot what was written just after finishing the sentence. Or...
I can't figure out this diplomatic double-speak.
let’s not piss em off right? I mean they already wants us dead, if we oppose them, they might wants us double dead!
Well, of course, the question is, will our superior military strength in fact be sufficient to contain a maniacal, suicidal atomic Iran? General Abazaid's four stars do not necessarily give him any greater insight into this question then I enjoy, or any reader possesses for that matter. He says they will not use the bomb against us and we all pray he is right, but how does he know? If he is wrong with the downside is intolerable, therefore, why should we base our foreign policy on his opinion?
The whole problem with Iran coming in to possession of the bomb is that they may not be deterable because they are fanatic and even suicidal in their lust for Armageddon. We cannot rely on general Abazaid and we cannot rely on the CIA because they have gotten everything wrong so far. We have to err on the side of prudence.
If we are having difficulty waging a asymmetrical warfare against a ragtag guerrilla in Iraq because we have not yet demonstrated, even with the surge, that we can defeat such an insurgency at a price Americans are willing to pay, why in the world would you believe that we could successfully wage a cold war with Iran? One suitcase bomb in one American city spells defeat for us. That is the very nature of asymmetrical warfare and we are simply not prepared to slug it out with atomic weapons.
If general Abazaid wants to lecture me about the strategic implications to, for example, the flow of oil through the Straits of Hormuz, or potential civil wars spreading to neighboring countries, in the event of an American strike to interdict Iran's nuclear program, I will listen with a thirsty ear. But I would also expect him to devote an equal time in his lecture to the strategic implications for upsetting the precarious balance of power in the Gulf region should the Iranians achieve the bomb.
Love those liberals.
“I mean I doubt...........”
What the heck.. it must be nice to live in fantasy land.
I really doubt that someone would want to kill 6 million Jews.
I really doubt even a dictator would kill over 10 million of his fellow countrymen.
I really doubt that a (teacher-preacher-enter your favorite position here) would ever want to take advantage of their position with young children.
I really doubt anyone would ever kill someone just for a few dollars.
Sorry General.. Heaven on Earth hasn’t arrived yet... hate to break it to you.
What an idiot he is. Yes, we could survive such a scenario. This doesn’t mean it’s the scenario most likely to ensure peace or is even in the top 100 abidable scenarios.
Yeah, you can survive a car wreck, a gunshot wound, a gun pointed at your head by a crazed ex-employee, a would-be suicide bomber. Sure, you can abide it all, possibly, by toughing it out, slicking your way through it, or convincing an assailant to set your differences aside and shake hands.
OH yeah, no problem. It’s been done-—>As a last resort, general, you moron, after everything else, including combat with the assailant when YOU have the advantage, has failed.
Now apparently he figures we can wait until the gun is pointed at our heads and then reduce it to a previously solved problem: the Cold War, expecting the same result.
This guy is the biggest @ss clown the military has produced since John Murtha. He’s going to cause is great grief with this nonsense by giving people an excuse to sit idly by.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.