Josh Rogin informs of the consensus of Bush administration intelligence and defense experts:
President George W. Bush‘s administration concluded that a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities would be a bad idea — and would only make it harder to prevent Iran from going nuclear in the future, former CIA and National Security Agency (NSA) chief Gen. Michael Hayden said Thursday.
“When we talked about this in the government, the consensus was that [attacking Iran] would guarantee that which we are trying to prevent — an Iran that will spare nothing to build a nuclear weapon and that would build it in secret,” Hayden told a small group of experts and reporters at an event hosted by the Center for the National Interest.
Hayden served as director of the NSA from 1999 to 2005 and then served as CIA director from 2006 until February 2009. He also had a 39-year career at the Air Force, which he ended as a four-star general.
Hayden’s comments track closely with the argument made by Colin Kahl, the recently departedhead of Middle East policy at the Pentagon, who opposed a military strike on Iran in an article this week in Foreign Affairs.
“Even if a U.S. strike went as well … there is little guarantee that it would produce lasting results,” Kahl wrote. “[I]f Iran did attempt to restart its nuclear program after an attack, it would be much more difficult for the United States to stop it.”
Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates espouses the same view:
Mr Gates, who became defence secretary under the Bush administration in 2006 and was reappointed by President Barack Obama, has previously made clear his opposition to striking Iran.
In 2007, he told a private meeting of Congressmen that bombing Iran would “create generations of jihadists, and our grandchildren will be battling our enemies here in America,” according to the New Yorker.
Even a full blown demolition of Iranian nuclear capability would strengthen the current government’s resolve to resume the process underground. No more cooperation with the IAEA, no more internal political rifts, attacking Iran’s nuclear power program would rally Iran together and we would be confronted with a Cold War style stalemate. The right-wing hawks (in both the U.S. and Israel) cannot be allowed to set the course to endless wars of choice. We really ought to be relaxing our laws with regards to uranium exchange. If we were to foster a relationship in which our previously used uranium could be recycled and enriched for Iran’s hospital patients in need, it would do wonders with diplomatic relations throughout the Middle East.