Military "bad option" against Iran
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is welcomed by officials at Tehran's Mehrabad on January 14, 2012 upon his return from a five-day visit to Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba and Ecuador. AFP PHOTO/ATTA KENARE
January 17th, 2012
02:15 PM ET

Military "bad option" against Iran

By Mike M. Ahlers

Former CIA acting director John McLaughlin said the U.S. can engage Iran through diplomacy, sanctions or military action, but said military action "would be a very bad option."
Speaking during a panel discussion in Washington, McLaughlin, who served as acting director of the CIA in 2004, said direct military action with Iran could grow to involve Hezbollah, the militant group based in Lebanon.

"One of the reasons (military action is a bad option) is that Iran does have this relationship with Hezbollah. Hezbollah has not attacked American interests in recent years, but has lots of plans on the library shelf for doing that in the event we got into a confrontation with Iran," McLaughlin said.
"And Hezbollah of course has been present in the United States, at least in fundraising. And so one of the big problems with Iran is if you get into an open confrontation, a military confrontation, you risk a cycle of retaliation and response with great difficulty seeing where the end point is," McLaughlin said.
Speaking at the same forum, President Obama's former National Security Advisor said he believes 2012 will be a pivotal year in dealing with Iran, which experts believe is creating materials for a nuclear weapon.
"I think 2012 has seen itself as the year that Iran has got to be dealt with one way or the other," said James L. Jones, who served as National Security Advisor from January 2009 until October 2010.
The Iranian nuclear threat jeopardizes Israel, could spark a nuclear arms race in the region, and could provide a way for a non-state actor to get a nuclear weapon, Jones said. "And if that happens, I think that the world that we live in changes dramatically," Jones said.
Jones said the U.S. has successfully rallied nations to take economic sanctions against Iran, and that other nations also are beginning to "really tighten the screws on Iran."
"I think Iran knows that. I think that's one of the reasons that we're seeing the bellicose behavior of Iranian forces in the Arabian Gulf, or threatening the Strait of Hormuz," he said.
McLaughlin and Jones spoke during a panel discussion sponsored by the Aspen Homeland Security Group.

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Filed under: CIA • Hezbollah • Iran • Nuclear
soundoff (40 Responses)
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    March 13, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Reply
  6. brother in america

    go ahead western nations (white natons) band together and wipeout iran show proof that any country of color that tries to have has the same power to eliminate races will be destroyed. continue on with youre race war the majority of the world which is nonwhite and nonnuclear will not stop until all not just white countries have race eliminators.

    February 15, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Reply
  7. brother in america

    go ahead western nations (white natons) band together and wipeout iran show proof that any color of country that tries to have has the same power to eliminate races will be destroyed. continue on with youre race war the majority of the world which is nonwhite and nonnuclear will not stop until all not just white countries have race eliminators.

    February 15, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Reply
  8. Cwit

    An irainian friendship with south america... hmmm sounds alot like the cuban missle crisis on steriods in the near future...

    February 11, 2012 at 11:08 pm | Reply
  9. Rob Lanken

    "On to Richmond" was a bad idea, too. But, ask the millions of slaves if THEY thought so.

    February 8, 2012 at 9:22 am | Reply
  10. John Lennon

    Yes! The military is a bad option against Iran. That's why we need to go to war with Iran AND Syria. Oh wait, AND continue in Afghanistan. WTF is wrong with this country?

    February 7, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Reply
    • jay

      they think there the biggest bullies minds me of high school but there using military

      February 8, 2012 at 9:04 am | Reply
  11. youcantbethatdumb

    nuke this nuke that. i seem to remember North Korea getting nukes and nothing happened. So why was there no talk of invading North Korea when they got thiers. could it be they a larger standing army than use that are brain washed killing machines. no, not having a chance in hell to win has nothing to do with were we invade. best keep to the enemy we can fight best, small underdeveloped oil producing nations.

    February 4, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Reply
  12. Dee

    Dont think we have the capacity to defeat Iran. I mean come on, didn't we already try that with Iraq and Afghanistan and fell on our faces. Get smart people.

    February 3, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Reply
  13. Iceman

    Matt, change your meds guy, who gives a rats ass what the proper name of the Gulf is. Are you a kindergarten teacher??

    January 21, 2012 at 8:38 pm | Reply
    • Timpa

      iceman prefers his brain to be frozen in the primitive state he shares with us. If you don't care about the facts then why do you read the news? Oh, that's right, the news is just here to entertain, not make you think.

      January 23, 2012 at 2:27 am | Reply
  14. Callin McLaughlin

    The US position has nothing to do with, Irans highly questionable nuclear arms building! It has everything to do with the fact, that US's embassy was taken over, hostages held...The US, will invade Iran, of that there is no doubt at all, unless Iran falls, the US agenda in the middle east, cannot work. Control the oil, control the world, simple! Black gold, TEXAS tea!!!!!

    January 21, 2012 at 12:03 am | Reply
    • Jim

      What is with all the commas?

      February 3, 2012 at 8:13 am | Reply
  15. The Rock

    I am the Rock. I am here to tell all Iranians to wait patiently for the Drone we are sending your way. Watch for it little ragheads.

    January 18, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Reply
    • active XO

      You sir, are an idiot.

      February 6, 2012 at 11:59 am | Reply
  16. mamoud

    Breen everything onn wee will keel any ameeikans that come near. Keel I say dead like yor mothers. and fatheers probable, Yor wifes are already dead, so we will let that one go.

    January 18, 2012 at 4:19 am | Reply
    • Iranacockuptheirass

      Looks like a pack of monkeys. Quick, every one start throwing shit at them so they feel at home!

      January 18, 2012 at 8:34 am | Reply
  17. Boss

    It's Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea. Messed up if our "leaders" don't know the details.

    January 18, 2012 at 2:23 am | Reply
  18. ZACHARAIAH 14

    THEY SAID HITLER WOULD NOT ATTACK,THEY SAID SADDAM WOULD NOT ATTACK.THEY SAID USAMA BIN LADIN WOULD NOT ATTACK AND MANY MORE PAST CRAZY LEADERS ATTACKED.I SAY TOO THE ELITE FAR LEFT WHO HAVE BODY GUARDS WHY DO YOU HAVE SECURITY IF YOU FEEL SAFE ONLY A SUCKER AND FOOL THINKS IRAN WANT ATTACK THATS LIKE TELLING THE ROYAL FAMILYS AROUND THE WORLD TO GO LIVED IN POVERTY NOT GONNA HAPPEN AND THE IAEA AND UN AND NATO CAN TALK TO IRAN BUT ITS USELESS IRAN IS GONNA FORCE YISREAL TOO STRIKE LIKE KING DAVID AND KING SOLOMON AND LIKE WHEN YESUS TURNED THE MONEY TABLES OVER IN THE MISHKAN COMPLEX

    January 17, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Reply
    • mamoud

      shut uo rwligiouss monkee wuith stoopid namey. Shut up

      January 18, 2012 at 4:21 am | Reply
    • mamoud

      and pleese stop with theese stoopid stoopid capsitals. Ass

      January 18, 2012 at 4:33 am | Reply
      • Fuck you mamoud

        Mamoud go butt fuck your friends and your gay middle eat butt fuck party you 2nd class human, Your whole region is so ass backwards you think the world owes you and your backwards ass thinking? Go fuck yourself!

        January 20, 2012 at 4:17 am |
  19. Hans Wall

    I think the Obama administration and John McLaughlin do have a point. Contrary to what neocon war lovers say this confrontation with Iran has a high potential to hurt US interests if not handled carefully. E.g. a realistic course of action for Iran to retaliate for a military attack on its nuclear sites would probably include an attack on Saudi and other oil terminals in the area. I do not see them wasting their limited military capabilities on a futile attempt to close the strait of Hormuz. Also coordinated attacks on Nigerian, Kazakhstan, and Russian oil facilities by Islamist proxies could fit into this scenario that eliminates a couple of million barrels per day oil production and throws the US world economy into a death spiral. Funny thing is that the Armageddon hopefuls of the Christian Right like Ron Rhodes just salivate to see 'The Oil Storm' happen.
    Mitt Romney's pandering to these lunatics has already had obviously a detrimental effect on his national security views.

    January 17, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Reply
    • Snap

      Israel attacks Iran's nuclear facilities, Iran retaliates by hitting western oil depots, all of the western world's powers come together to stomp Iran's current regime out of existence, justifying civilian casualties because of Iran's retaliation. I really don't see an end game where Iran doesn't loose big. They're all talk.

      January 20, 2012 at 11:30 am | Reply
  20. Matt

    Its Persian gulf not Arabian Gulf please correct

    January 17, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Reply
    • Hans Wall

      Geographically you are right politically not so much: (From Wikipedia)
      In recent years, due to increased cooperation with Arab states of the Persian Gulf, various branches of the U.S. armed forces have issued directives to their members to use the "Arabian Gulf" when operating in the area ("Persian Gulf" is still used in official publications and websites), partially to follow local conventions, or simply to follow local laws that ban the use of "Persian Gulf", e.g. in the United Arab Emirates. Also for similar reasons, branches of American universities in the region have also dropped references to "Persian Gulf" in their teaching materials.

      January 17, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Reply
      • Sucka Punch

        Just an FYI to those that post WIKIPEDIA as being the correct source. It is not Always the case.... Just an FYI just because Wiki says it doesn't make it gospel !

        February 3, 2012 at 10:21 am |
  21. Leon

    Iran needs to wise up. Most of the world is looking at you and your boneheaded choices. Join the club westernize everyone else is doing it. Stop holding on to your weak grudges and start to live and bring about peace. I bet if you country were to uprise, the first thing the Iranian govt would do is ask for help from AMERICA

    January 17, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Reply
  22. YOU WILL NEVER WIN IRAN

    TOO MANY PEOPLE AND TECHNOLOGY TO STOP YOU

    January 17, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Reply
  23. HEADS UP

    I WILL NEVER TRUST AN IRANIAN

    January 17, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Reply
    • Iranacockuptheirass

      Amen Headsup!

      January 18, 2012 at 8:35 am | Reply
  24. strangedays

    so this seems proof positive that the american military is only interested in striking targets with an complete inability to strike back at American interests. Wow... there is a reason for slashing the military budget if I ever heard one. Unless that is what the American people want of their military ... nuclear aircraft carriers roaming the seas beating up on small third world nations with no means of defending themselves.

    January 17, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Reply
    • TiredOfPayn

      So you'd prefer that they get a nuke so that it would be more of a fair fight? What a stupid comment.

      January 26, 2012 at 9:21 am | Reply
      • Sucka Punch

        I agree very stupid comment. BTW strangedays Just one U.S. Carrier contains an air force larger than MOST countries including some that aren't considered 3rd world. You're probably the kind of guy that picks a fight with someone and then screams " You wouldn't hit a guy with glasses on would you?"

        February 3, 2012 at 10:32 am |
  25. mipolitic

    well may i say that the result of inaction agaist iranian nukes is what ??? lets get on some oxygen and over come the mold spores that have infected our brains and think clearly. iran with nukes will equal terrorist with nukes. iran has and presently uses terrorist groups to conduct covert opps against its targets, and than crys alowd, we have no conection to the actions of these people. was not the cia the ones that said the weapons of mass destruction are in iraq. please someone get oxygen to some of these guys.

    January 17, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Reply

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