Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Clinton: If Tehran nukes Israel, U.S. could 'totally obliterate' Iran

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, facing a crucial primary in Pennsylvania Tuesday, said that if she were in the White House and Tehran attacked Israel with nuclear weapons, the United States would be able to 'totally obliterate' Iran.

Interviewed on ABC's Good Morning America program, Clinton was asked 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 replied. "In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them."

Gates: Iran 'hell-bent' on getting bomb

Meanwhile,U.S.Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said he believes Iran is "hell-bent" on acquiring nuclear weapons, but he warned in strong terms of the consequences of going to war over that.

"Another war in the Middle East is the last thing we need and, in fact, I
believe it would be disastrous on a number of levels," he said in a speech he was delivering Monday evening at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.

He said he favors keeping the military option against Iran on the table, given the destabilizing policies of the regime and the risks inherent in a future Iranian nuclear threat, either directly or through proliferation.

Gates also said that if the war in Iraq is not finished on favorable terms, the consequences could be dire.

"It is a hard sell to say we must sustain the fight in Iraq right now, and continue to absorb the high financial and human costs of this struggle, in order to avoid an even uglier fight or even greater danger to our country in the future," he said.

He added, however, that the U.S. experience with Afghanistan - helping the Afghans oust Russian invaders in the 1980s only to abandon the country and see it become a haven for Osama bin Laden's terrorist network - makes it clear to him that a similar approach in Iraq would have similar results.

Gates said the U.S. military was not organized or equipped for the kind of wars it finds itself in today. "The current campaign has gone on longer, and has been more difficult, than anyone expected or prepared for at the start," he said. "And so we've had to scramble to position ourselves for success over the long haul, which I believe we are doing."

By Haaretz Service and News Agencies