Last night, the Atlantic hosted Sen. George Mitchell, formerly President Obama’s top Middle East envoy, to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. At the end of the event, co-host Jeffry Goldberg asked Mitchell what the consequences are of a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Mitchell said there are “too many imponderables,” adding that those who advocate for attacking Iran should ask themselves, “What about the next day?” “I don’t think the case has been made,” he said:
MITCHELL: Clearly there is no benefit to taking options off the table until you’re forced to do so. I don’t think anyone who is a proponent of a preemptive strike has so far made a sufficient case to justify it at this time. I think there are too many imponderables in terms of uncertainty about a status that they were in, second, what the effect would be.
Secretary of Defense Gates [sic], who is widely respected both in and outside the United States has said very clearly, emphatically, that we could not assure the full termination of their program. That the best we could do is to set it back. And you always have to ask yourself, “What about the next day?” … It’s awfully easy to get into wars. It’s very hard to get out of them. … I don’t think the case has been made.
Watch the clip: