Gates on Iran

The Washington Times Weekly - - National -

For­mer gen­er­als and spe­cial­ists on Iran re­acted harshly May 15 to com­ments by De­fense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates who said the United States should adopt more con­cil­ia­tory poli­cies to­ward Iran, in­clud­ing un­of­fi­cial con­tacts and talks with the regime led by Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ah­madine­jad — at a time when U.S. troops are dy­ing in Iraq from Ira­ni­an­sup­plied bombs.

“Tehran’s lead­ers need to pay the price for their ter­ror­ism, not be re­warded,” said re­tired Army Maj. Gen. Paul E. Val­lely. “It is ap­palling for any­one to sug­gest that Ah­madine­jad regime whose EFPs [ex­plo­sively formed pen­e­tra­tors] are the num­ber-one killer of Amer­i­can troops in Iraq would be of­fered con­ces­sions.”

Said re­tired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas G. McIn­er­ney: “I ap­plaud Sec­re­tary Gates’ hope that more con­tacts with non­govern­men­tal Ira­ni­ans might help our re­la­tion­ship, but un­for­tu­nately, 28 years of try­ing to be rea­son­able has got­ten us noth­ing.

“Hope is not a strat­egy and th­ese rad­i­cal Is­lamists view our car­rot-and-stick approach as weak­ness,” Gen. McIn­er­ney said. “I urge covert ac­tion to help the Ira­nian peo­ple take their coun­try back. This will solve most of our prob­lems in the Mid­dle East.”

Alireza Ja­farzadeh, au­thor of “The Iran Threat,” and for­mer spokesman for the Na­tional Coun­cil of Re­sis­tance in Iran, said he op­poses the stream of con­ces­sions of­fered by the U.S. to Iran since the 2003 in­va­sion of Iraq. “As a re­sult, Tehran has emerged as the sin­gle most dan­ger­ous threat in Iraq to­day,” he said.

Ken­neth Tim­mer­man, an au­thor and spe­cial­ist on Iran, said: “The only way to get Tehran to stop killing Amer­i­cans in Iraq, fund­ing Hezbol­lah, and aid­ing al Qaeda, is to send a force­ful mes­sage that the United States will no longer tol­er­ate such be­hav­ior.

“That mes­sage must be sent with B-2 bombers, prefer­ably on a broad ar­ray of lead­er­ship tar­gets,” Mr. Tim­mer­man said.

Mr. Gates said in a speech May 14 that he agreed with lib­eral New York Times colum­nist Tom Fried­man that “we need to fig­ure out a way to de­velop some lever­age with re­spect to the Ira­ni­ans and then sit down and talk with them.”

“If there’s go­ing to be a dis­cus­sion, then they need some­thing, too,” he said of his pro­posal for con­tacts with Ira­ni­ans out­side of the gov­ern­ment.

Pen­tagon spokesman Ge­off Mor­rell said Mr. Gates’ views do not dif­fer from those of Pres­i­dent Bush, who yes­ter­day in Is­rael dis­missed the idea of mak­ing con­ces­sions to ter­ror­ists and rad­i­cals as “ap­pease­ment.”

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