Robert Gates: Attacking Iran Would Be A ‘Catastrophe’
Iran hawks and the GOP presidential candidates like Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney have been slow to acknowledge the inherent dangers of U.S. and/or Israeli military strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities while members of President Obama’s cabinet have made the case that sanctions and diplomatic pressure are the best strategy for deterring Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon.
But in remarks delivered last week at the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates — himself a Republican — delivered a stern warning to those who push for the “military option” against Iran.
“If you think the war in Iraq was hard, an attack on Iran would, in my opinion, be a catastrophe,” said Gates, as reported by the Jewish Exponent. Gates, who served as Defense Secretary in both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations, warned that Iran’s nuclear facilities would be difficult to destroy and an attack would lead Iranians to “rally behind their mullahs.”
The Obama administration has ruled out a policy of containing a nuclear-armed Iran but, in views concurrent with those expressed by Gates, has emphasized that a diplomatic solution is “the best and most permanent way” to relieve mounting tensions over Iran’s nuclear program.