In a scathing editorial this weekend, The Wall Street Journal blasted President Obama’s handling of the Iran crisis, from the failure of U.S. diplomacy which has apparently only sped up the Iranian nuclear program, to Obama’s letting go unanswered Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey’s remarks that he doesn’t want to be “complicit” in an Israeli strike.
As TheBlaze reported last week, Dempsey told reporters that an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities would only delay, not likely destroy any nuclear program, adding: “I don’t want to be complicit if they [Israel] choose to do it.”
The Wall Street Journal’s editors wonder if Gen. Dempsey was speaking for himself or on President Obama’s behalf:
Barack Obama is fond of insisting that he “has Israel’s back.” Maybe he should mention that to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. […]
We don’t know what exactly Gen. Dempsey thinks American non-complicity might entail in the event of a strike. Should the Administration refuse to resupply Israel with jets and bombs, or condemn an Israeli strike at the U.N.? Nor do we know if the General was conducting freelance diplomacy or sending a signal from an Administration that feels the same way but doesn’t want to say so during a political season.
Whatever the case, the remarks were counterproductive and oddly timed, with this week’s report by the International Atomic Energy Agency that Iran’s nuclear programs haven’t been slowed in the least by U.S. or international sanctions. In fact, they are accelerating.
There are signs the Israeli government is getting ever closer to making a decision on military action. On Friday, the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot quoted Israeli Prime Minister saying at a behind-closed-doors meeting with the U.S. ambassador to Israel that “time has run out” for diplomacy. And on Sunday, Netanyahu expressed that opinion publicly and on camera during his opening remarks at the weekly cabinet meeting, where he also said the international community must set a “clear red line” for Iran.
The Journal’s harsh critique takes to task the Obama administration’s approach, which appears to be ignoring or denying the documented progress of Iran’s nuclear program and the Islamic Republic’s moves to mask those efforts and bury them deep inside fortified bunkers.
Last week’s quarterly report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) showed that Iran has more than doubled the number of centrifuges in its underground Fordo bunker, raising even more suspicion that its nuclear efforts have military intent.
The Wall Street Journal editorial continues:
No wonder the Israelis are upset—at the U.S. Administration. It’s one thing to hear from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that he wants to wipe you off the map: At least it has the ring of honesty. It’s quite another to hear from President Obama that he has your back, even as his Administration tries to sell to the public a make-believe world in which Iran’s nuclear intentions are potentially peaceful, sanctions are working and diplomacy hasn’t failed after three and half years.
The irony for the Administration is that its head-in-the-sand performance is why many Israeli decision-makers believe they had better strike sooner than later. Not only is there waning confidence that Mr. Obama is prepared to take military action on his own, but there’s also a fear that a re-elected President Obama will take a much harsher line on an Israeli attack than he would before the first Tuesday in November.
The editors conclude: “Since coming to office, Obama Administration policy toward Israel has alternated between animus and incompetence. We don’t know what motivated Gen. Dempsey’s outburst, but a President who really had Israel’s back would publicly contradict it.”