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Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told a reporter from the National Journal Thursday that the Pentagon has for "a long time" been preparing an array of military options for striking Iran if diplomatic and economic sanctions fail to stop what is widely but not universally viewed as that nation making progress toward building a nuclear weapon. Such preparations should be no surprise. The Pentagon develops contingency plans for a variety of actions that never take place.

Tehran has for years adamantly denied that it intends to build a nuke and no one has shown hard evidence that it is doing so. But its past behavior in this regard, having concealed previous work, has led to suspicions that it is still engaged in some level of concealment even now.

Foes of attacking Iran range from those who say that that nation is not building a bomb to those, such as former national intelligence officer Paul Pillar, who say it shouldn't come under fire even if it does.

Whether the saber-rattling will actually lead to an outright attack is anybody's guess. Speculation about attacks from Israel or the United States being imminent have been going around for a decade.

Yochi J. Dreazen reports:

In the interview, Panetta said he didn’t believe Israeli leaders had made up their minds about whether to order a high-risk raid against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Panetta, President Obama, and an array of other senior U.S. military and civilian officials have counseled Israel to give the sanctions more time to work before resorting to military force. They’ve also warned that an attack would set Iran’s nuclear program back only by a few years, a high price to pay for the inevitably violent Iranian retaliation likely to follow. [...]

Panetta said in the interview that a unilateral Israeli strike against Iran would be less effective than one conducted by the U.S., which has a significantly larger air force and an array of advanced weapons more powerful than any possessed by the Jewish state. [...]

“If they decided to do it there’s no question that it would have an impact, but I think it’s also clear that if the United States did it we would have a hell of a bigger impact,” Panetta said in the interview.[...]

Panetta’s remarks echoed his tough talk on Iran earlier this week. Speaking to a powerful pro-Israel lobby on Tuesday, Panetta said that “if all else fails, we will act” to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. 

“Let me be clear—we do not have a policy of containment,” he told the crowd. “We have a policy of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.”

Is this just campaign talk? Or something real?

Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2004:

Today is International Women's Day, and women's peace groups around the world are issuing backgrounders and statements galore; in particular they are drawing attention to the very important issue of the decline of rights and security for women in Iraq since the US "liberation."

[I've gotten four different ones in my inbox already.] One of the best ones I've seen came from Madre, and since this is a resource we don't see cited very often in dKos land, I thought it might be worthwhile to pass it on.

Before you start to complain that security isn't a woman's issue per se, it might be helpful to remember that when social structures break down, it is women (and the weaker in society) who bear, in particular ways, the burdens that arise from that collapse. Thus these issues offer a good indicator of "bigger picture" state security questions.  

Women: the canaries in the proverbial national security coal mine.

Tweet of the Day:

If only Obama were white & had stuffed a dead deer head into Derrick Bell's mailbox, he wouldn't have this problem today #BreitbartHasTape
@JC_Christian via Tweed webOS

High Impact Posts are here. Top Comments are here.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 08:30 PM PST.

Also republished by Adalah — A Just Middle East, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, and Progressive Hippie.

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