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(h/t Heather at VideoCafe)
Looks like everyone got their Republican talking points about red lines with Iran, since they asked about it on every Sunday show, including This Week with Jake Tapper. What a war-thirsty bunch these media armchair commandos are! Nothing else gives them such a thrill as the thought of other people going to war:
TAPPER: And on that subject, George Stephanopoulos interviewed Mitt Romney this week and asked about the red lines, where the U.S. will draw the line in the Iranian nuclear program — nuclear weapons — alleged — before acting. And here’s that exchange.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: The red line going forward is the same.
ROMNEY: Yes. And I recognize that when one says that it’s unacceptable to the United States of America, that that means what it says, you’ll take any action necessary to prevent that — that development, which is Iran becoming nuclear.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: George, where does Prime Minister Netanyahu want this red line to be publicly drawn? We’ve heard so much about this red line. President Obama has not stated what it is. Mitt Romney has not stated what it is. What does Bibi want?
WILL: I’m not sure what he wants, because I’m not sure how you draw red lines when you can’t have confidence — not from incompetence, but just the limits of knowledge — confidence in our intelligence system.
Last March, in an interview with Jeffery Goldberg of the Atlantic, President Obama said our intelligence service will give us a pretty long lead time in understanding where Iran is. Our intelligence services did not predict India’s testing of a nuclear weapon, Pakistan’s testing, didn’t anticipate, didn’t predict North Korea’s, so I think he may have a faith in the ability of our intelligence services to draw lines and put down markers as to where the Iranian program is that we simply actually don’t have.
TAPPER: And, General Clark, does the president — I mean, is it in the president’s interest to publicly state what the red line is? Doesn’t that mean that he then has to go to war?
CLARK: No, he’s not going to state a red line. There probably are several different indicators, and there’s going to be a margin for uncertainty, because everyone understands that intelligence, as George said, is not precise. It’s been sharpened up a lot. It’s clearly a subject of focus that we didn’t have on India and Pakistan, so that’s not — you know, it’s not a direct comparison.
We’re doing better on that intelligence. But he’s going to have — no president can publicly declare red lines. That surrenders his decision-making authority. He’s going to evaluate a number of factors. He’s — he’s been very clear they’re not going to get a nuclear weapon. He says it’s unacceptable. He’s decisive. Osama bin Laden found that out. And if I were the Iranian leaders, I’d be very concerned.
Wes Clark is really one of the most effective surrogates President Obama could want, and displays it in this conversation. Of course the President can’t make idle threats until he knows exactly what’s happening – and no, it’s not a sign of weakness.