Sunday, July 05, 2009

Biden talking carelessly on Israel and Iran?

Helena Cobban thinks so: Joe Biden's loose lips Just World News 07/05/09. She criticizes the Vice President for seeming to repeatedly declare his indifference to a military strike by Israel on Iran in a weekend interview with George Stephanopoulos. "Whether we agree or not," Biden said. They're entitled to do that. Any sovereign nation is entitled to do that..."

Helena spells out three problems with that idea:

  1. The hardware the IDF would use to strike Israel would certainly include US-supplied items, all of which are supplied on the basis of explicit agreements that they will be used only for defensive purposes.
  2. As Stephanopoulos was smart enough to point out, the US controls the air-space in Iraq, Saudi, Arabia, and other countries that Israel would need to overfly in any air-launched attack on Iraq.
  3. Finally-- and this for me is the clincher--It is US forces, not Israeli forces, that are "on the front-lines" against Iran. If Israel attacks Iran, the Iranian government can justifiably assume, based in part on points 1 and 2 above, that it did so with at least US collusion, if not active US partnership. On this basis Iran would be entitled to respond to any Israeli attack by counter-attacking against not only Israel but also the many, very vulnerable military assets that the US has very near Iran's borders and coastline-- whether in Iraq, in and around the Gulf, or in Afghanistan.
With our troops in Iraq, the United States is part of the neighborhood. And what happens there that affects our position in Iraq is very definitely an American concern.

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