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Gates: Attacking Iran Would ‘Worsen The Violence In Iraq And Lead To Greater American Casualties’

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"Gates: Attacking Iran Would ‘Worsen The Violence In Iraq And Lead To Greater American Casualties’"

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The Pentagon is actively planning, and the administration is reportedly considering, a preemptive strike on Iran. Today, Defense Secretary nominee Robert Gates was asked about his views on attacking Iran. Gates said “the consequences of a military conflict with Iran could be quite dramatic” and agreed it would “worsen the violence in Iraq and lead to greater American casualties.” Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2006/12/byrdgates.320.240.flv]

Gates joins many other respected national security experts who believe there are no good military options in Iran.

Transcript:

BYRD: Mr. Chairman, I thank you.

And, Dr. Gates, our relationship goes back over a number of years.

Do you support — now, we hear all these rumors about the potential for an attack on Iran due to its nuclear weapons program, or on Syria due to its support of terrorism.

Do you support an attack on Iran?

GATES: Senator Byrd, I think that military action against Iran would be an absolute last resort, that any problems that we have with Iran, our first option should be diplomacy and working with our allies to try and deal with the problems that Iran is posing to us.

I think that we have seen, in Iraq, that once war is unleashed, it becomes unpredictable. And I think that the consequences of a military conflict with Iran could be quite dramatic.

And therefore, I would counsel against military action except as a last resort and if we felt our vital interests were threatened.

[snip]

BYRD: Would you say that an attack on either Iran or Syria would worsen the violence in Iraq and lead to greater American casualties?

GATES: Yes, sir, I think that’s very likely.

BYRD: Your answer is yes on both questions?

GATES: Yes, sir, very likely.

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