Gen. Dempsey says Israeli attack on “rational” Iran would be “destabilizing”

Update: Both clips have been added to this post after the jump.

According to a Bloomberg Businessweek report, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, made the following statements about Iran during an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria:

– “It’s not prudent at this point to decide to attack Iran,” Dempsey said in an interview with CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” scheduled to be broadcast today. The U.S. government is confident the Israelis “understand our concerns,” he said, according to an e-mailed transcript.

– “A strike at this time would be destabilizing and wouldn’t achieve their long-term objectives,” Dempsey said of the Israelis. “I wouldn’t suggest, sitting here today, that we’ve persuaded them that our view is the correct view and that they are acting in an ill-advised fashion.”

– “We are of the opinion that Iran is a rational actor,” Dempsey said. “We also know, or we believe we know, that the Iranian regime has not decided” to make a nuclear weapon, he said.

Despite considerable criticism from pro-Israel commentators about his stance on Iran, Zakaria also spoke out again today against preemptive war with the Islamic Republic while comparing Israel’s Iran concerns with U.S. anxiety about the Soviet Union during the Cold War:

Israeli officials explain that we Americans cannot understand their fears, that Iran is an existential threat to them. But in fact we can understand because we have gone through a very similar experience ourselves. After World War II, as the Soviet Union approached a nuclear capability, the United States was seized by a panic that lasted for years.Everything that Israel says about Iran now, we said about the Soviet Union.

The efforts to delay and disrupt Iran’s nuclear program are working. But even if one day Tehran manages to build a few crude bombs, a policy of robust containment and deterrence is better to contemplate than a preemptive war.

Jasmin Ramsey

Jasmin Ramsey is a journalist based in Washington, DC.



  1. I hope they continue to convince themselves that sanctions on Iran are working. Fact is, they aren’t. India and China are buying more oil from Iran than ever.

    But if the neocrazies can convince themselves and the media that Iran is working on a nuke, they can also convince themselves that sanctions are working.

    And that would be a good thing.

  2. “I hope they continue to convince themselves that sanctions on Iran are working.”

    I suspect that they aren’t trying to convince themselves. I suspect that they are appealing to an insatiable group of religious fanatics.

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