General Michael Hayden wrote an oped for CNN on Iran’s nuclear program and the disparity between the US and Israeli assessments of the threat it poses.
Hayden served as the head of the NSA and the CIA under Bush 43. He now advises Mitt Romney.
In his oped, Hayden backs Obama’s policy of waiting for incontrovertible evidence that Iran is actually building nuclear bombs before attacking and says it is in perfect alignment with Bush’s policy. He also gives a strong defense of the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate on Iran. That document made the specious claim that Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program in 2003. In so doing, the NIE rendered it impossible for Bush to take any military action to block Iran’s race to the bomb in the waning days of his presidency.
Hayden also argues that Obama proved that he has what it takes to make the hard call when he ordered the killing of Osama Bin Laden.
The fact that this is the view of Romney’s adviser has to make you wonder why all the pro-Israel American Jewish policy wonks have been going after every Republican candidate other than Romney with such intensity. It’s fine to support Romney or any other Republican over Obama. Certainly, Romney would be better for the US and the US economy than Obama.
But the fact is that while Romney is more pro-American than Obama is and would be friendlier to Israel and the US’s other allies than Obama has been, he isn’t that great on the issues that these Jewish pundits care about. He certainly isn’t as strong as the other candidates including Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich and before them Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry. He’s okay. He’s better than Obama. But he isn’t the best the Republican field has offered. Certainly it makes sense to support him. But it makes no sense to go to to the mattresses for him against every other Republican contender.
But whether the Jennifer Rubins of the American Jewish punditocracy take note of the problem or not is secondary to whether Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu notices it.
The message that Hayden just transmitted to Netanyahu is very clear and it is crucial that Netanyahu hears it.
Hayden’s oped is as clear a warning to Israel as Obama’s statement to Medvedev about being more anti-American after he gets reelected. What Hayden just told us is that as far as Iran’s nuclear weapons program is concerned, it doesn’t matter who is in the White House in January 2013.
The only one Israel can count on to remove the threat of a nuclear Iran is the IDF. So if we think we can’t abide by a nuclear armed Iran, we should stop talking about it and start bombing the facilities, now, when we still can.