This report from today’s Washington Times will come as a relief to those who think that keeping all options on the table is the best way of persuading the Islamic Republic of Iran not to go nuclear:
Mullen: U.S. can strike Iran, By Bill Gertz, October 19, 2007
U.S. military forces are capable of conducting operations against Iran if called on to bomb nuclear facilities or other targets, the new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said yesterday.
“From a military standpoint, there is more than enough reserve to respond if that, in fact, is what the national leadership wanted to do, and so I don’t think we’re too stretched in that regard,” Adm. Michael Mullen told reporters when asked if current operations had worn out U.S. forces.
Adm. Mullen said he has been concerned over the past year and a half with Iranian leaders’ statements of intentions, Tehran’s support for bombers in Iraq and Iran’s covert drive for nuclear weapons.
“All of which has potentially a very destabilizing impact on a part of the world, a region of the world which is struggling in many ways already,” he said in his first press conference since becoming chairman Oct. 1. “So they’re not being helpful.”
Defense and military officials have been preparing U.S. forces within striking distance of Iran. The forces would be dominated by Navy and Air Force weapons and forces since Army and Marine Corps forces are focused on Iraq and Afghanistan.
There are two main targets of any Iranian military action, according to the officials. First, U.S. forces are set to attack Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps facilities because of the paramilitary’s support and provision of armor-piercing roadside bombs.
A U.S. official said the location of a factory where Iranian bomb materials are being produced has been identified. A second target would be Iranian nuclear facilities, which are in numerous underground facilities across the country.
Adm. Mullen said Iran’s support for terrorism “adds up to a huge and growing concern about Iran and where it’s headed.”
“There is a significant amount of activity right now to try to influence them diplomatically,” he said. The use of military force would be an option “of the last resort,” Adm. Mullen said.