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Hillary Clinton The Mad Bomber ?

ABC News’s Jake Tapper brings to light some rather aggressive comments from Hillary Clinton about Iran:

Clinton further displayed tough talk in an interview airing on “Good Morning America” Tuesday. ABC News’ Chris Cuomo asked Clinton what she would do if Iran attacked Israel with nuclear weapons.

“I want the Iranians to know that if I’m the president, we will attack Iran,” Clinton said. “In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them.”

Here’s the video:

There are two things about these comments that bother me. First, as Alex Knapp notes, there’s something overly belligerent about the way Clinton put this:

[O]ne thing that I think bears mentioning is that the tone of her response is a little too aggressive for my taste, considering that Clinton isn’t talking about retaliating against an attack on the United States, but rather Israel. For one thing, I’m a little disappointed that Clinton didn’t take GMA to task for the premise of the question. Namely, the fact that Iran doesn’t actually possess any nuclear weapons to attack Israel with.

Secondly, I find it a little problematic that Clinton offered an unequivocal commitment to “obliterate” Iran in the event that Iran attacked Israel. What if Israel attacked Iran first? Would we back them unequivocally then? No matter what the cause or reason for Israel’s attack?

To put it more bluntly, and notwithstanding the admitted strategic interests that the United States has vis a vis Israel’s survival, is it really in our national interests to extend the American “nuclear umbrella” to Israel, which is, bascially, what Clinton is saying she would do ?

Moreover, considering that Israel has a nuclear arsenal of it’s own, it’s hard to see why an American guarantee like this is even necessary.

Finally, the response completely misses what the real problem of further nuclear proliferation in the Middle East really is all about. It’s not just a matter of a nation like Iran, currently led by a madman with a messianic vision of doomsday, getting nuclear weapons, it’s the possibility of terrorist groups getting their hands on such weapons. If al Qaeda or Hamas detonate a nuke or a dirty bomb in downtown Tel Aviv, who do you retaliate against ?

Extending the insanity that was Mutual Assured Destruction, a strategy based on the assumption that even dictators will ultimately behave rationally, to the Middle East, where rational actors are not exactly plentiful, is hardly the answer.

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