I've been covering the possible run-up to a war with Iran — see here and here for the background on this.
Now we find that retired Gen. James Cartwright, former vice chair of the Joint Chiefs, is saying that even if we (or Israel) attack Iran, we still can't stop them from getting nukes. It's just impossible (my emphasis and some reparagraphing below):
A former high-ranking military official says the U.S. does not have the ability to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons. “If they [Iranians] have the intent, all the weapons in the world are not going to change that,” retired Marine Corps Gen. James Cartwright, former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said late Thursday.At the end of the article, Adm. Fallon, former commander of U.S. Central Command is quoted as saying, “No one that I’m aware of thinks there’s a real positive outcome of a military strike.” (Central Command, or CENTCOM, is the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia; the war zone.)
Speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., Gen. Cartwright also said that Israel will not be able to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons, even if the Jewish state attacks the Islamic republic’s atomic sites.
“They can slow it down. They can delay it, some estimate two to five years. But that does not take away the intellectual capital,” he said.
Note that Cartwright is speaking on the record; this is not "friends are reporting" thing he's saying privately. He's laying down a marker.
Factor that into your Iran thoughts, on two levels. On the Iran level, that nation is saying it wants only peaceful uses of nuclear power. Whether that's true or not, even if we strike at Iran, we can't produce a positive military outcome (according to these generals). Whatever trouble we bring on ourselves (the U.S. and Israel), we still won't get a pony for it.
On the second level, this is now retired generals weighing into the U.S. discussion. It would be interesting to see if active duty generals are wheeled out by the Pentagon to counteract this evaluation.
If the Pentagon generals, or civilian Pentagon chief Panetta, says Cartwright and Fallon are wrong, put your ears on high alert and start listening carefully. Something will definitely be in the works at Smarter Than You headquarters.