Clinton further displayed tough talk in an interview airing on “Good Morning America” Tuesday. ABC News’ Chris Cuomo asked Clinton what she would do if Iran attacked Israel with nuclear weapons.
“I want the Iranians to know that if I’m the president, we will attack Iran,” Clinton said. “In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them.” [complete article]
Editor’s Comment — Oy vey! Where to start? Let’s set aside the idea that a promise to incinerate millions of Iranians could be a vote winner in middle America, and let’s instead carefully parse what Clinton said.
Jake Tapper, true to form, cuts the quote off to make it as sensational as possible, so its important to add the sentence that followed:
In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them. That’s a terrible thing to say, but those people who run Iran need to understand that, because that perhaps will deter them from doing something that would be reckless, foolish and tragic.
Interestingly, Clinton is distinguishing herself from the neocons here because she accepts the idea that the behavior of Iran’s leadership can be influenced by the power of deterrence. Given that she believes this, when the question was posed, “What would you do if Iran launched a nuclear attack on Israel,” she (or anyone else) who wanted to level with the American people should have given the honest answer:
Iran is not going to launch a nuclear attack on Israel, because if it did, it would suffer devastating retaliation from Israel itself. With a nuclear arsenal estimated to be around 200 warheads, Israel is perfectly capable of defending itself from, and deterring, a nuclear attack.
If in his confirmation hearings Robert Gates could be straightforward enough to skip the game of pretending that no one knows Israel is a nuclear state, then maybe it’s time for everyone else to give an honest account of Israel’s strengths and its weaknesses. Israel, as a nuclear state, is the military Goliath of the Middle East.