If you read this Jerusalem Post story, you’d think Adm. Mullen told us to grip up for the forthcoming Iran war.
The US does not want to see confrontation with Iran but is still preparing its military for that possibility, America’s top uniformed officer said Thursday.
“We’ve looked to do all we can to ensure that conflict doesn’t break out there, while at the same time preparing forces, as we do for many contingencies that we understand might occur,” Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during an appearance at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Funny thing: I was at that speech yesterday. And the J-Post is quoting Mullen correctly. Only reporter Hilary Leila Krieger is way overblowing Mullen’s Iran comments. Mullen gave a speech about the U.S. in the Middle East that barely touched on Iran at all. So much so that moderator Rob Satloff reserved the last question in the Q&A for himself — to my chagrin — to ask about Iran. Mullen’s answer was complete boilerplate: Iran’s intent is for nuclear weapons; that could be destabilizing; we’re working with our allies to change that calculation. Anyone who has spent ten minutes covering the military knows that any uniformed strategic planner is going to publicly proclaim in a vague way that the military is prepared for any contingency. To turn that completely unremarkable caveat into the lead for a story is journalistic malpractice.
My eyes glazed over after Mullen’s Iran answer, which is why I didn’t report anything about it. In fact, the only comment of his I found remotely interesting was when he said that a military strike on Iran would be “very, very destabilizing.” Sounded like a) a signal that there would be no U.S. military response and b) Israel needs to back off the idea. Yet you have to read to paragraph fifteen in Krieger’s story to learn that. Out of eighteen grafs!