Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen told “Meet the Press” on Sunday that the United States has a plan to attack Iran but such an attack would have a “great downside, potentially.”
ADM. MULLEN: Actually, when I speak to that, I talk to unintended consequences of either outcome. And it’s those unintended consequences that are difficult to predict in what is a, an incredibly unstable part of the world that I worry about the most. What I try to do when I talk about that is, is identify the space between those two outcomes, which is pretty narrow, in which I think the diplomacy, the kind of sanctions, the kind of international pressure that, that is being applied, I am hopeful works. I, I, I recognize that there isn’t that much space there. But, quite frankly, I am extremely concerned about both of those outcomes.
MR. GREGORY: But leaders have to make a decision. You’re a leader, the president’s a leader. Which is worse, Iran with a nuclear weapon or what could happen if the United States attacks?
ADM. MULLEN: Well, certainly for our country, the president would be the one making those decisions, and I wouldn’t be one that would, would pick one or the other along those lines. I think they both have great downside, potentially.
MR. GREGORY: The president has said he is determined to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. He doesn’t just say it’s unacceptable, he says he’s determined to stop it. Is force against Iran by the United States on the table in a way that it has not been even in our recent history, past six months, a year?
ADM. MULLEN: No, I, I think the military actions have been on the table and remain on the table, and certainly in that regard it’s, it’s one of the options that the president has. Again, I hope we don’t get to that. But it’s an important option, and it’s one that’s well understood.
MR. GREGORY: There was a concern among Israelis, among Americans, that there weren’t very many good options when it came to attacking Iran, should it come to that. Is that still the case?
ADM. MULLEN: I think that’s the case.
MR. GREGORY: There aren’t very many good options.
ADM. MULLEN: No, no. I mean, there aren’t—it depends on what you mean by that. None of them are good in a sense that it’s certainly an outcome that I don’t seek, or that, that we wouldn’t seek. At the same time, and for what I talked about before, is, is not just the consequences of the action itself, but the things that could result after the fact.
MR. GREGORY: But the military has a plan, should it come to that?
ADM. MULLEN: We do.