Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

US Military Officials Urge Caution on Attacking Iran

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

US Military Officials Urge Caution on Attacking Iran

Article excerpt

The problem is that many of the Iranian targets - buried deeply underground - would be beyond the reach of the Israeli military, in what Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey calls a "zone of immunity."

Senior Pentagon officials are making no secret of the fact that despite the apparent stepped-up drumbeat to war with Iran, they believe a strike on the country is "not prudent" right now.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, put this view - held by many in the Department of Defense - in perhaps the strongest terms yet this week.

True, Israel could bomb Iran and delay the country's ability to create nuclear weapons "probably for a couple of years," General Dempsey told CNN Sunday.

The problem is that many of the Iranian targets - buried deeply underground - would be "beyond the reach" of the Israeli military, in what Dempsey called a "zone of immunity."

What's more, Iran would likely retaliate by closing the Strait of Hormuz using mines and swarming boats. It might also activate proxy cells to attack not just Israel, but possibly US interests in Iraq or US troops in Afghanistan.

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Precisely how Iran would chose to respond to a strike is "the question with which we all wrestle," Dempsey said, "and the reason we think that it's not prudent at this point to decide to attack Iran."

Equally important, senior defense officials emphasize, while it's clear that Iran aspires to nuclear technology, it is far from certain whether the country is intent on actually weaponizing this technology,

This was the finding of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI)'s recent assessment on security threats facing the United States. Right now, Iran is "more than capable of producing enough highly-enriched uranium for a weapon if it's political leaders - specifically the supreme leader himself - chooses to do so," DNI head James Clapper told the Senate Armed Services Committee February 16. …

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