CAMPAIGN 08 & EDITOR’S COMMENT: Clinton’s promise to “totally obliterate” Iran

Clinton on an Iran attack: ‘obliterate them’

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.

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4 thoughts on “CAMPAIGN 08 & EDITOR’S COMMENT: Clinton’s promise to “totally obliterate” Iran

  1. William deB. Mills

    Very well stated. As a political scientist with a special interest in how the confrontation between Washington and Islam will unfold, I was just wondering: if you had to choose among Hillary, Bush, Netanyahu, and Ahmadinejad, who would you say would win first prize for incendiary rhetoric?

  2. carol Elkins

    Hillary has morphed into a terrorist. This is helping her to be elected President. Barack is being proved wrong to say that this is NOT what the American people want. I have said this here before: the problem is NOT in Washington, it is in the electorate which Washington exploits.
    As far as the “elite”, a.k.a. educated people, are concerned. how did we ever allow ourselves to believe that the American Empire would not follow in the footsteps of all other Empires? Just more quickly than they did.

  3. Lance Winslow

    Hillary Clinton, tells it like it is in this case. If Iran or Syria, attacked Israel with nuclear weapons, it must be their very last act. And as long as they know that in advance all is fair.

  4. carol Elkins

    And that, do you think, will be able to be counted as a victory for the United States? It will be so because, do you think, the world will be safer then? Safer because more open to reason? Do you think there is a tipping point at which, when in the course of obliterating others we have ensured out own obliteration, or can we forever survive whatever horrible things happen to others?
    And otherwise, what can WE do that is an alternative to obliterating others?

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