US considering military alternatives for Iran

April 17, 2010
Gates Says U.S. Lacks Policy to Curb Iran’s Nuclear Drive

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has warned in a secret three-page memorandum to top White House officials that the United States does not have an effective long-range policy for dealing with Iran’s steady progress toward nuclear capability, according to government officials familiar with the document.

Several officials said the highly classified analysis, written in January to President Obama’s national security adviser, Gen. James L. Jones, came in the midst of an intensifying effort inside the Pentagon, the White House and the intelligence agencies to develop new options for Mr. Obama. They include a set of military alternatives, still under development, to be considered should diplomacy and sanctions fail to force Iran to change course.

Officials familiar with the memo’s contents would describe only portions dealing with strategy and policy, and not sections that apparently dealt with secret operations against Iran, or how to deal with Persian Gulf allies.

One senior official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the memo, described the document as “a wake-up call.” But White House officials dispute that view, insisting that for 15 months they had been conducting detailed planning for many possible outcomes regarding Iran’s nuclear program.

In an interview on Friday, General Jones declined to speak about the memorandum. But he said: “On Iran, we are doing what we said we were going to do. The fact that we don’t announce publicly our entire strategy for the world to see doesn’t mean we don’t have a strategy that anticipates the full range of contingencies — we do.”

But in his memo, Mr. Gates wrote of a variety of concerns, including the absence of an effective strategy should Iran choose the course that many government and outside analysts consider likely: Iran could assemble all the major parts it needs for a nuclear weapon — fuel, designs and detonators — but stop just short of assembling a fully operational weapon.

In that case, Iran could remain a signatory of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty while becoming what strategists call a “virtual” nuclear weapons state.

According to several officials, the memorandum also calls for new thinking about how the United States might contain Iran’s power if it decided to produce a weapon, and how to deal with the possibility that fuel or weapons could be obtained by one of the terrorist groups Iran has supported, which officials said they considered to be a less-likely possibility.

Mr. Gates has never mentioned the memo in public. His spokesman, Geoff Morrell, declined to comment on specifics in the document, but issued a statement on Saturday saying, “The secretary believes the president and his national security team have spent an extraordinary amount of time and effort considering and preparing for the full range of contingencies with respect to Iran.”

Pressed on the administration’s ambiguous phrases until now about how close the United States was willing to allow Iran’s program to proceed, a senior administration official described last week in somewhat clearer terms that there was a line Iran would not be permitted to cross.

The official said that the United States would ensure that Iran would not “acquire a nuclear capability,” a step Tehran could get to well before it developed a sophisticated weapon. “That includes the ability to have a breakout,” he said, using the term nuclear specialists apply to a country that suddenly renounces the nonproliferation treaty and uses its technology to build a small arsenal.

Nearly two weeks ago, Mr. Obama, in an interview with The New York Times, was asked about whether he saw a difference between a nuclear-capable Iran and one that had a fully developed weapon. “I’m not going to parse that right now,” he said. But he noted that North Korea was considered a nuclear-capable state until it threw out inspectors and, as he said, “became a self-professed nuclear state.”

Mr. Gates has alluded to his concern that intelligence agencies might miss signals that Iran was taking the final steps toward producing a weapon. Last Sunday on the NBC News program “Meet the Press,” he said: “If their policy is to go to the threshold but not assemble a nuclear weapon, how do you tell that they have not assembled? I don’t actually know how you would verify that.” But he cautioned that Iran had run into production difficulties, and he said, “It’s going slow — slower than they anticipated, but they are moving in that direction.”

Mr. Gates has taken a crucial role in formulating the administration’s strategy, and he has been known over his career to issue stark warnings against the possibility of strategic surprise.

Some officials said his memo should be viewed in that light: as a warning to a relatively new president that the United States was not adequately prepared.

He wrote the memo after Iran had let pass a 2009 deadline set by Mr. Obama to respond to his offers of diplomatic engagement.

Both that process and efforts to bring new sanctions against Iran have struggled. Administration officials had hoped that the revelation by Mr. Obama in September that Iran was building a new uranium enrichment plant inside a mountain near Qum would galvanize other nations against Iran, but the reaction was muted. The next three months were spent in what proved to be fruitless diplomatic talks with Iran over a plan to swap much of its low-enriched uranium for fuel for a medical reactor in Tehran. By the time Mr. Gates wrote his memo, those negotiations had collapsed.

Mr. Gates’s memo appears to reflect concerns in the Pentagon and the military that the White House did not have a well prepared series of alternatives in place in case all the diplomatic steps finally failed. Separately, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote a “chairman’s guidance” to his staff in December conveying a sense of urgency about contingency planning. He cautioned that a military attack would have “limited results,” but he did not convey any warnings about policy shortcomings.

“Should the president call for military options, we must have them ready,” the admiral wrote.

Administration officials testifying before a Senate committee last week made it clear that those preparations were under way. So did General Jones. “The president has made it clear from the beginning of this administration that we need to be prepared for every possible contingency,” he said in the interview. “That is what we have done from day one, while successfully building a coalition of nations to isolate Iran and pressure it to live up to its obligations.”

At the same hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Lt. Gen. Ronald L. Burgess Jr., director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and Gen. James E. Cartwright, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and one of the military’s most experienced officers on nuclear matters, said that Iran could produce bomb-grade fuel for at least one nuclear weapon within a year, but that it would probably need two to five years to manufacture a workable atomic bomb.

The administration has been stepping up efforts to contain the influence of Iran and counter its missiles, including placing Patriot anti-missile batteries, mostly operated by Americans, in several states around the Persian Gulf. The Pentagon also is moving ahead with a plan for regional missile defense that reconfigures architecture inherited from the Bush administration to more rapidly field interceptors on land and at sea.

19 Responses to “US considering military alternatives for Iran”

  • spk truth says:

    OMG! I do believe the Generals our all insane lunatics. If the American people are talked into buying another war for Israel by corporate media zionsts, whatever happens as a result of the lies/deceptions by the zionists in the White House, neo cons in the Pentagon….the American people will deserve whats happens as a result of their terrorists imperialism. The world will realize (if they havent already) the US is a terrorist nation. A terrorist nation who will lie and deceive their own people and attacks nations who are no threat to them, without provocation!

    Every day I wake up wondering if today is the day and then realize the demonizing program has only started, it will take the summer to grease the people and attack Iran before election day. If the US doesnt do it in 2010, they will permit the sanctions to run full blown and then attack before the 2012 elections! Meanwhile we have the senile Senator McCain ginning up the ultra right with his “bomb bomb bomb Iran”. That man has lost all sense of credibility.

  • Ron says:

    Spk Truth is absolutely right. Actually we will probably have to do little or nothing because our direction is going to take us over the cliff. Our actions in supporting everything Israel does and in supporting their rogue behaivor is taking us to the abyss and it will happen pretty much on its own.
    I disagree so very much with this bomb bomb Iran and I believe that if McCain gets back in again we will just go that much faster towards our own demise. I am a USS Liberty survivor and I have seen with my own eyes what Israel does behind everyones back.

  • MIKE says:

    The only solution TO STOP THE WARMONGERS is a REVOLUTION……….

  • Jeanne says:

    Obama is one of us. He, too, knows that Israel is the problem and will never be satisfied — wanting us to take on one country after another in their “forever wars” against the Muslim world. Obama knows the consequences of an attack would be catastrophic and will not bomb, bomb Iran. To scare Iran and mollify US hawks, the Israeli lobby etc., there will be a military plan — but Obama will not launch an attack on a 3rd Muslim country. I thank God everyday for the Obama victory. The election of 2012 is a worry.

    Ron, I thank you and the other survivors of the deadly Israeli attack on the USS Liberty for your heroism and for your efforts to tell the story and warn Americans of Israeli treachery. I must make a contribution to your efforts today.

  • John Taurus says:

    We will fight this war for Israel; after all, Americans are Israeli slaves. What Israel wants, our “Representatives” gives Israel. Israel demands America make war on Iran for them…and we will…because our “Representatives” represent Israel, not American citizens. I would like to see some trials for treason start taking place…along with a few firing squads making gunpowder smoke drift across the plaza.

  • John Taurus says:

    This war will open with a false flag nuclear operation against an American city, perhaps Atlanta or LA. The “ragheads” will be blamed and the media will beat the citizenry into an Arab killing frenzy. Americans would be standing on the corner scarfing down feces sandwiches if the media wanted to convince them feces was good for them and the economy. “High in recycled nutrients”.

  • a[ex says:

    The us is controled by zionist jews, parasaites and blood suckers.Obama is a house niger, and a puppet of the jewish handlers.The problem with americans is that they are greedy fat and ignorant fools, that think they live in a democracy,the jews are sending your ignorant kids to fight thier wars, which they never question, but guess what,they will be coming back, and for the most part they are all fucked up in the head.Pay back is bitch.

  • PJ says:

    AIPAC has the US Congress in it’s pocket. It says jump, and Congress gladly asks how high?

    I am very glad to see Ray publish the facts most are unaware of regarding Israels attack on the USS Liberty in 67′ and the fact we have no defense agreement between us. Israel is no friend.

    And, if we were to follow our forefathers advice given in the constitution, we should form no alliances or pacts with foreign nations, only relationships dealing in commerce and trade.

    To look at humanity on a time line, how very smart we’ve become in a short span of time relative to technology, yet, how very primitive we remain in terms of evolving as a human species. Still, we are the only species on Earth with the ability to literally eradicate itself via nuclear weapons.

    What is it going to take to move us as a nation to put an end to this madness?

    Our forefathers placed the power into OUR hands in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness”

    “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

    What in the hell are we waiting for?

    Israel is no friend. Congress is corrupt and we are complacent.

    “Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.” Ben Franklin.

    We certainly will get what we deserve if we let Israel continue to influence our Congress and foreign affairs. I’m just saying.

  • Bill in Ohio says:

    ‘Corral the 50 wealthiest jews and there will be no wars.’
    – Henry Ford

    “I’ve never seen a President, stand up to the Israelis.
    They always get what they want.
    If the American people understood what a grip these people have on our government, they would Rise up in Arms. Our citizens don’t have any idea what goes on.”
    – Admiral Thomas Moorer
    Former Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff under Reagan

  • Bill says:

    In October and November 2008 there was a military drill in which they simulated the simultaneous explosion of several nukes in different American cities. The British, French and Australian security services warned that there was a severe threat to the US. What the Zionists will probably do is use a drill like that to explode a nuke(s) on American soil and blame it on Iran. According to talk show host Michael Rivero, the Israeli consulate in New York City is leaking radiation, but the Israelis won’t let us in to investigate. Several such radiation leaking consulates could be the site of an Israeli false-flag attack to bring us into the next Middle Eastern, and probably World War, designed to make the nations adopt a Rothschild/Rockefeller dominated world government.

  • Cocoa says:

    And if someday, Iran; did get Nuclear capibilities, do you really think that she would go out and use them unless attacked or falsely provoked? I don’t think so. Now, Israel on the other hand can not be criticized for anything that she does because They say so. And, so the occupation’s and killing in the Middle East goes on. More to come, right? They want it but the People never do. Only the Leaders take us to wars for which we don’t need. Besides, were broke! And if an American city gets nuked. ALL of the other countries are going to want to know just who really did it. Blackmail, ya know… WWIII, I hope not

  • Steve says:

    Jeanne can I interest you in purchasing shares in a huge secret gold mine in the North West of Australia?

  • abubaqar says:

    i beg to differ with jean or others in your opinions. it would be nice to hope for peace and security for all in the world but the zionist jews are leading us all into a 3rd world war from which will arise the dajjal/antichrist. the prophet mohammed stated 1430 years ago that the christian nations will stand under 80 banners and invade the muslim world with 12000 soldiers under each banner leading to global war which they will lose(godwilling).
    are the christians really such morons they do not know who is pulling them into this morass by the nose like heedless cattle???

    wake up christians, muslims are not your enemies!! but those who every prophet of god and god himself cursed in history as is evident from your bible in every chapter!

    we are the closest to christians in faith so take our hand and be one with us in faith to worship the father in heaven and not any man or monkey foisted upon you!

  • Mihail says:

    The Jews admit that they are not the descendants of the Ancient Israelites in their writings. Under the heading of “A brief History of the Terms for Jew” in the 1980 Jewish Almanac is the following:

    “Strictly speaking it is incorrect to call an ancient Israelite a ‘Jew’ or to call a contemporary Jew an Israelite or a Hebrew.”
    (1980 Jewish Almanac, p. 3).

    Encyclopedia Americana (1985)

    “Khazar, an ancient Turkic speaking people who ruled a large and powerful state in the steppes North of the Caucasus Mountains from the 7th century to their demise in the mid 11th century A.D… In the 8th Century it’s political and religious head… as well as the greater part of the Khazar nobility, abandoned paganism and converted to Judaism… (The Khazars are believed to be the ancestors of most Russian and Eastern European Jews).”
    Encyclopedia Britannica (15th edition):

    “Khazars, confederation of Turkic and Iranian tribes that established a major commercial empire in the second half of the 6th century, covering the southeastern section of modern European Russia… In the middle of the 8th century the ruling classes adopted Judaism as their religion.
    The Jewish Encyclopedia:

    “Khazars, a non-Semitic, Asiatic, Mongolian tribal nation who emigrated into Eastern Europe about the first century, who were converted as an entire nation to Judaism in the seventh century by the expanding Russian nation which absorbed the entire Khazar population, and who account for the presence in Eastern Europe of the great numbers of Yiddish-speaking Jews in Russia, Poland, Lithuania, Galatia, Besserabia and Rumania.”
    New Grolier Encyclopedia:

    Khazars {kah’z-ars} The Khazars, a Turkic people, created a commercial and political empire that dominated substantial parts of South Russia during much of the 7th through 10th centuries. During the 8th century the Khazar aristocracy and the kagan (king) were converted to Judaism. The Khazars established their capital at Itil (or Atil), in the Volga delta, and for four centuries thereafter this Jewish empire held the balance of power between the Christian Byzantine Empire and the Muslim Caliphate. The fortified Khazar city of Sarkil on the lower Don River was built with Byzantine help and served as a crossroads to central Asia. The Khazars controlled many of the trade routes to the Orient; some of the Radhanites (Jewish merchants from Gaul), for example, were accustomed to crossing the Khazar empire while traveling to and from China and India. During the late 10th and early 11th centuries an alliance of Byzantines and Russians broke the power of the Khazars in the Crimea. In 965, Svyatoslav I, duke of Kiev, decisively defeated the Khazar army. Further to the east new waves of Turkic invaders overran the remains of the Khazar state.
    The Bible:

    Relates that the Khazar (Ashkenaz) Jews were/are the sons of Japheth not Shem:

    “Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood. The sons of Japheth;…the sons of Gomer; Ashkenaz…”
    (Genesis 10:1-3)

    Therefore, the Bible proves that the Ashkenaz Jews [Khazars] are not the descendants of Shem and cannot be Semite.

  • Patriot says:


    Todd responded to below:

    George Friedman, the guy who runs STRATFOR, spoke on BookTV this weekend.

    I set my VCR for a different speech but as they sometimes do, those good folks at COMCAST shoved my program aside and ran this establishment creep, so I was stuck with that. Towards the end of the video– Please do, visit this video

    and listen to the summarization at the last 10 minutes or so. He says, the US has no choice but to bomb Iran because Israel is insane and they’re going to do it. Friedman talks like this is just a fact of life we are supposed to believe.


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