Mullen: We ‘Will Have to Deal with Iran in the Very Near Future’
Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made a very profound statement at Monday night’s Atlantic Council awards dinner that has received virtually no press notice: That we “will have to deal with Iran in the very near future.”
Here’s the context:
We also live in a time where Iran routinely pushes its way into more and more realms of instability. And I, for one, think it is important that we deal with that instability that they create, whether it is Hezbollah, Hamas. Recent operations in Southern Iraq, recent combat operations in Southern Iraq in Basra highlighted yet again Iran’s activities in ways that very specifically pointed to activities which, in fact, resulted in the deaths of coalition soldiers. And I think for the ability to create stability in that part of the world that not just this alliance, but those who are allied, will have to deal with Iran in the very near future.
You can watch the video here.
Mullen made these remarks late Monday night in his speech accepting the Council’s 2008 Award for Distinguished Military Leadership. Perhaps because there were so many other fine speakers, or because his was the last speech of the night, or because the oxygen was all taken by the next day’s Pennsylvania primary, these remarks weren’t picked up.
Indeed, when I did my quick write-up of this the next day for the Council’s website, I headlined the piece “Mullen: ‘We Will Have to Deal with Iran in the Very Near Future'” — correctly picking out the main point — but frankly not fully grasping its significance. I was only reminded about it because some gentlemen were talking about it before a luncheon I attended today put on by The National Interest at the Nixon Center.
I continue to believe that not only is military action against Iran simply not feasible but, contrary to the conventional wisdom, not part of the Bush administration’s agenda. One would think the world’s top military man doesn’t make a point of bringing up the need for action if trade sanctions or a stern diplomatic communique are all that’s on his mind. Then again, a little strategic ambiguity on these matters can help advance ones goals, especially when the options at hand are all unattractive.