National Security Network

NSN Special Update: Military and Security Leaders, Public Reject Conservative Saber-Rattling On Iran

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Report 18 November 2011

Iran Iran

After intense back-and-forth at the GOP presidential primary debate, the past week has seen an outpouring of commentary from military leaders, security experts and diplomats, rejecting a saber-rattling approach to Iran. Such analysis has been echoed by leading opinion writers, fact-checkers and public polling, including a CBS poll that shows a majority of Americans believe Iran can be dealt with without military action. Expert opinion stands in sharp contrast to the aggressive rhetoric coming from the conservative candidates for president. As Ambassador William Luers, Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Jim Walsh write, "[I]ncreasingly grave warnings and hostile language are unlikely to change the policies of Tehran's nuclear program - but could bring the U.S. closer to military conflict." Here is a collection of top commentaries from the past week:

Military and Security Experts and Analysts

Brigadier General John Johns, USA (Ret.), Before We Bomb Iran, Let's Have a Serious Conversation, New York Times, 11/14/11

Ambassador William Luers, Ambassador Thomas Pickering, and Jim Walsh, The GOP Field's Risky Saber-Rattling, POLITICO, 11/14/11

Ambassador James Dobbins, An Attack Would Only Strengthen Iran's Influence, U.S. News & World Report, 11/16/11

Kareem Sajadpour and former weapons inspector David Albright, This Week with Christiane Amanpour, ABC News, 11/13/11

Matthew Duss, Diplomacy Best Option in Dealing with Iran's Nuclear Aims, U.S. News & World Report, 11/16/11

Sara Sorcher, National Security Insiders: Don't Launch Iran Strike, National Journal, 11/15/11

Journalists and Opinion Writers

Seymour M. Hersh, Iran and the IAEA, The New Yorker, 11/18/11

Calvin Woodward, FACT CHECK: Misfires on Iran, China in GOP Debate, Associated Press, 11/13/11

Rowan Scarborough, Attack on Iran Could Risk Gulf Oil Supplies, Washington Times, 11/14/11

Fred Kaplan, Stopping Iran without Bombing Iran, Slate, 11/10/11

Alan Berger, Address Iran's Nukes with Aggressive Sanctions, Boston Globe, 11/16/11

Roger Cohen, Contain and Constrain Iran, New York Times, 11/14/11

Avner Cohen, A New Nuclear Reaction, Haaretz, 11/13/11

James Traub, The Nuclear Options, Foreign Policy, 11/11/11

Carter Eskew, Romney and Gingrich Need Better Answers on Iran, Washington Post, 11/14/11

Martin Schram, Mitt Romney Talks Texas-Tough on Iran, Scripps Howard News Service, 11/15/11