Biden says Israel has the right to attack IranPoor Mullen -- trying to cover all the bases, and falling all over himself in the process.
Washington — Vice President Joe Biden signaled that the Obama administration would not stand in the way if Israel chose to attack Iran's nuclear facilities....
"Look, Israel can determine for itself -- it's a sovereign nation -- what's in their interest and what they decide to do relative to Iran and anyone else," Biden [said].
"Look, we cannot dictate to another sovereign nation what they can and cannot do," he said.
Reminded that the U.S. could impede an Israeli strike on Iran by prohibiting it from using Iraqi airspace, Biden said he was "not going to speculate" ....
Adm. Michael G. Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he had been "for some time concerned about any strike on Iran." He also said that military action should not be ruled out and that a nuclear-armed Iran was a highly troubling prospect.
Mullen said he worried about unpredictable consequences of an attack on Iran.
"I worry about it being very destabilizing not just in and of itself but the unintended consequences of a strike like that," he told CBS' "Face the Nation." "At the same time, I'm one that thinks Iran should not have nuclear weapons. I think that's very destabilizing."
Another straw in the wind, for what it's worth:
Saudis would ignore Israeli jets en route to IranNow none of this comes as any great surprise. Everybody now acknowledges that the Israel-crazed Bush administration actually refused to let Israel attack Iran, a couple of years ago. But the Democrats have historically been even more Israel-crazy than the Republicans, so if they're now giving the green light -- which is certainly what Biden's comments sound like -- it's only to be expected, on prior form.
LONDON (AFP) — Saudi Arabia would turn a blind eye to Israeli warplanes flying over the kingdom in any raid on Iran's nuclear sites, The Sunday Times said in a report denied by Israel.
Citing diplomatic sources, it said the head of Israel's Mossad intelligence service had assured Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Saudi Arabia has tacitly agreed to the use of its airspace....
The Sunday Times said Mossad director Meir Dagan had held secret talks with Saudi officials to discuss the possibility.
"The Saudis have tacitly agreed to the Israeli air force flying through their airspace on a mission which is supposed to be in the common interests of Israel and Saudi Arabia," it quoted a diplomatic source as saying.
The mildly interesting question is whether Obama is down with all this. Or is he just being bypassed? Is he, in fact, King Log(*)?
The same question occurs in connection with the coup in Honduras. My man Ace Cockburn thinks it was the usual Central American military coup, and Washington was in it up to its elbows, Obie included:
We can take it as an absolute certainly that CIA and Pentagon advisors were at the elbows of the Honduran plotters, giving the green light and barely bothering to maintain deniability, and that Obama and Mrs Clinton had been fully briefed....But my other man, Hugo Chavez, thinks -- or at least says -- different (apologies for the translation -- my Spanish is really bad):
The first statements from Obama and Secretary of State Clinton bear all the marks of careful preparation. In the coup’s immediate aftermath last Sunday they merely urged negotiations with the coup plotters to "restore constitutional order”, feebly enjoining "all political and social actors in Honduras to respect democratic norms, the rule of law and the tenets of the Inter-American Democratic Charter”, which has all the moral and persuasive power of telling a child not to go swimming immediately after lunch. Carefully avoided was any tough demand by Obama or Clinton – still hoarse from shouts for “democracy” in Iran -- for the legitimate Honduran President Zelaya to be returned to office. The plan was obviously to try and run out the clock with indecisive parleys until Zelaya’s term ends in six months.
Chavez... accused sectors of the US right-wing of being behind the [Honduran] coup.... [He] said these groups were 'defying' President Obama with these actions....
[Chavez] declared that [the US is] sliced up among powerful organizations that add up to a "horrific miltary, industrial, financial, terrorist and drug-dealing machine."
[He] discounted the possibility that the north American [president] had any connection with what happened in Honduras... but warned him to take a position more opposed to the [coup] government.
Somehow -- pace Alex -- I prefer the idea of rogue entrepreneurs a la Aaron Burr conducting US foreign policy on their own, while Obie polishes his soothing phrases in the Oval Office. But who knows? Let's hope we all live long enough to read the memoirs.
(*) A fable of Aesop's. The frogs wanted a king, so Zeus dropped a nice old log into their pond. The frogs enjoyed the log for a while, leaping off its sun-warmed back into the cool water, but then they decided they wanted a more stylish, activist king. So Zeus sent 'em a stork, who ate them all up.