One would think by now a damper would have been put on the hyperventilated notion of Israel or the U.S. attacking Iran's nuclear facilities.
It was just two months ago in March that President Obama, in a speech at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee confab in Washington, D.C. warned "loose talk of war" with Iran could accelerate its development of a nuclear weapon and "now is not the time for bluster".
Not only Obama but Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Martin Dempsey have recently stated that specific plans of attacking Iran is not something to talk about.
Apparently the American ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro didn't "get the memo".
On Tuesday, speaking before the Israeli Bar Association Shapiro opined, "It would be preferable to resolve this diplomatically and through the use of pressure than to use military force. But that doesn't mean that option is not fully available. And not just available, but it's ready. The necessary planning has been done to ensure that it's ready". Hmm.
So what is Ambassador Shapiro doing, talking explicitly about preparations for attacking Iran planned and at the ready? Is he a loose cannon gone off the reservation? Since when do ambassadors advance policy considerations in contradiction with the president, the defense secretary and the nation's top military official?
And what does such saber rattling do for the upcoming negotiations in Baghdad between Iran and the U.S., China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany? Is it meant to be an ultimatum to Iran prior to negotiations that if the country doesn't halt its nuclear program (which is completely legal under the terms of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty of which Iran is a signatory and is in compliance) it will be attacked?
Why are there now mixed messages coming out of the Obama administration vis---vis Iran?
Iran has agreed to enter into open ended diplomatic negotiations without pre-conditions with the members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany. That's what negotiations are meant to be when there's an impasse between those negotiating. Such negotiations are not articles for unconditional surrender. There is no "hot war" currently with Iran although two American carrier groups are operating in the Persian Gulf directly off the coast of Iran, the U.S. has allies in Turkey, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, all but surrounding Iran, plus with economic sanctions placed on Iran coming from the U.S., Iran could justifiably conclude it was under siege.
Yet getting back to Shapiro's remarks, it's hard to imagine him operating on his own in this situation. It makes sense President Obama authorized the ambassador to get the pot boiling with Iran so as to increase his tough guy "cred" against cries from Republicans that he's "soft on defense".
So unless Shapiro is recalled and admonished in the oval office for his "remarks of indiscretion", it's a safe bet he was just being the mouthpiece for the president.
America is becoming more and more like the old Soviet Union i.e., whenever public statements are made by administration officials, one has to try and decipher what exactly do they mean.
There is no straight talk, just mountains of dissembling and politically calculated moves based on the latest polls to off set the domestic opponent.
Hell, maybe there's still some crystal ball gazing going on in the White House, perhaps with the lady astrologer Nancy Reagan reportedly consulted with. But she would have to be vetted first to be sure she wasn't a Republican plant. You can never be careful enough in such matters. It's always necessary to be sure.