Joint Chiefs chair not sure if U.S. would shoot down Israeli jets attacking Iran

posted at 4:42 pm on April 21, 2010 by Allahpundit

What a silly story. How was he supposed to answer the question? If he says no, we won’t shoot them down, it’ll be taken as a green light for an Israeli attack and cause a Category 5 political clusterfark in Baghdad. If he says yes, we’ll take ‘em out, it’ll be taken as a red light and create a Category 5 clusterfark in Tel Aviv. And either way, Obama will completely freak out. Result? A scrupulous non-answer:

In a town hall on the campus of the University of West Virginia, a young Air Force ROTC cadet asked Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen to respond to a “rumor.” If Israel decided to attack Iran, the speculation went, those jet would need to fly through Iraqi airspace to reach their targets. That airspace is considered a “no-fly” zone by the American military. So might U.S. troops shoot down the Israeli jets, the airmen asked the chairman, if they breached that airspace?

Mullen tried to sidestep the question. “We have an exceptionally strong relationship with Israel. I’ve spent a lot of time with my counterpart in Israel. So we also have a very clear understanding of where we are. And beyond that, I just wouldn’t get into the speculation of what might happen and who might do what. I don’t think it serves a purpose, frankly,” he said. “I am hopeful that this will be resolved in a way where we never have to answer a question like that.”

The cadet followed-up: “Would an airmen like me ever be ordered to fire on an Israeli – aircraft or personnel?”

Mullen’s second answer was much the same as his first. “Again, I wouldn’t move out into the future very far from here. They’re an extraordinarily close ally, have been for a long time, and will be in the future,” the admiral said.

Remember last year when Mika’s pop thought it’d be a swell idea to send U.S. jets up to “confront” the Israelis en route to trying to disarm an American archenemy? Six months later, with The One under fire from Congress about his handling of Israel and New York Times headlines screaming about our cluelessness on how to handle a nuclear Iran, how do you think an IAF/USAF dogfight would play at home? Imagine opening your newspaper one day to read that Iran’s terrorist special ops force is setting up shop in our hemisphere and then the next day the lead is the Battle of Basra or whatever. That afternoon’s White House presser with Gibbsy would be extra special, wouldn’t it?

As for what Obama would do, it’s largely academic assuming media reports over the last few years are accurate. The Times broke the news just a few days before Bush left office that Ehud Olmert had requested the right to fly over Iraq to hit Iran. The answer, according to a top Bush aide who knew what it would mean for the U.S. troop presence: “Hell no.” A few months later, the Times of London claimed that the head of Mossad had secretly secured flyover rights from, of all people, the Saudi government per the “enemy of my enemy” school of Sunni/Shiite relations. Israel’s also working on refueling strategies for long-range missions, so a roundabout route to Iran is clearly on the radar screen. So to speak.


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Comment pages: 1 2

Simple minds are simply amused.

Dark-Star on April 21, 2010 at 8:42 PM

You just continue to rant on like a juvenile who has watched too much TV and you still haven’t answered my question. Why is that?

MB4 on April 21, 2010 at 8:45 PM

Oh well, dark-star must have gone back to watching Rambo VIII on DVD or to playing starwars video games.

MB4 on April 21, 2010 at 8:58 PM

This was a no-win for Mullen, for sure. Subsitute “France” for “Israel” and it becomes absurdly clear how weird it is to not categorically deny that we would shoot down an ally’s warplanes.

Unfortunately, Mullen’s hedging in this regard can send only one signal: that we might shoot IAF planes down. Not excluding the possibility on principle is saying “this ally and this situation don’t merit such boilerplate assurances.”

The Israelis, of course, are not hair-trigger punks, just waiting to hear one American official say we won’t shoot them down to high-five each other, prance around like fools, and launch the attack. They know that no matter what the Chairman says on 21 April 2010, Obama will make his decision when the times comes.

I think Mullen’s answer mainly needed a different emphasis. Proposed alternate response: “Israel is a close ally. We share a commitment to keep Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and we’re working together on that. I don’t foresee the scenario you’re talking about, son.”

Repeat, as necessary.

J.E. Dyer on April 21, 2010 at 9:31 PM

Now we have lowlife scum suckers like David2.0 and JohnGalt inhabiting what used to be a decent website. This is what you get when the website managers dont understand that we say NO when asked if we will shoot down are closest allie and who does not understand that Jerusalem is the Eternal Capitol of Israel.

georgealbert on April 21, 2010 at 9:33 PM

The US shooting down Israeli jets is bound to earn us a deluge of brimstone…

Inanemergencydial on April 21, 2010 at 9:37 PM

Dark-Star

Where you at? What branch of service was you in, dude?

Cybergeezer on April 21, 2010 at 9:44 PM

Those in high positions in the military really don’t care nearly as much for initiative as they claim.

The Admiral did a pi$$ poor job of answering the question. If I was President I would be tempted to switch Mullen’s and the kid’s ranks.

MB4 on April 21, 2010 at 7:53 PM

Quite the opposite. The kid didn’t ask a question he should have asked. The Admiral did the best job he could with a hypothetical which is way beyond his pay grade to answer.

The question was either
a) designed to embarrass, or
b) not designed to embarrass.

If (a) the kid is a wisecrack and deserves what’s coming to him, and if (b), the kid is stupid and deserves what’s coming to him.

The common thread: He deserves what’s coming to him.

unclesmrgol on April 21, 2010 at 10:23 PM

Not going to happen.

Even if the order were given, I don’t think any American soldier would obey it.

Here’s your answer cadet: You’ll shoot down what the h*ll you are TOLD to shoot down.

David2.0 on April 21, 2010 at 6:15 PM

How did that work out for those on trial at Neurenberg?

MB4 on April 21, 2010 at 7:48 PM

Exactly. It would be murder. A soldier may disobey an unlawful order.

scotash on April 21, 2010 at 10:27 PM

unclesmrgol on April 21, 2010 at 10:23 PM

Get a grip……AF ROTC kid vs. JCS and you find fault with the kid….who will be in harms way? Think about it…..

dmann on April 21, 2010 at 10:32 PM

This had nothing to do with embarrassement, contrary to the idiot that said so. The question is simple. Will the general kowtow to the communist president, or will he do his job? Simple.

proconstitution on April 21, 2010 at 10:45 PM

So when did it become US policy to play ALL our cards face up? What’s wrong with a polite, “We don’t discuss TOP SECRET PLANS in Press Conferences…next question”.

opaobie on April 21, 2010 at 11:12 PM

The reason why it is a legitimate question is that back in September, Obama adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski recommended that if Israel were to try to defend herself with a preemptive strike against the Iranian Nukes, America should shoot our ally’s planes down

The_Lid on April 21, 2010 at 11:46 PM

If we won’t say that we will not shoot down our allies’ planes, what will we say?
notagool on April 21, 2010

It’s not our fight.

DSchoen on April 21, 2010 at 11:58 PM

flipflop on April 21, 2010 at 5:05 PM

Or a scheduled/un-scheduled safety stand down.

I don’t think we can fire on anyone unless they show hostile intent to our troops.

At best escort them out of Iraq air space.

Why does everyone think they would attack with the AF flying from Israel?

What about the Israeli Navy?
They have 4 or 5 Dolphin class subs
A number of support ships
They recently developed huge a new Drone that can be catapult launched.

The Heron TP drones have a wingspan of 86 feet (26 meters), making them the size of Boeing 737, Payload is classified.

IAI Harpy and IAI Harpo, which are basically UAV Wild Weasels, the perfect thing to take out a SA-300 system.

Once that’s down they can use their Cruise Missiles to blast away what’s left.

I think a UAV the size of a Boeing 737 should be able to carry a few deep penetration bunker buster bombs.

If they keep looking at Iraq there gonna get smacked in the A$$.

Or not.

DSchoen on April 22, 2010 at 12:44 AM

You just continue to rant on like a juvenile who has watched too much TV and you still haven’t answered my question. Why is that?

MB4 on April 21, 2010 at 8:45 PM

Braindead Star is one of those McCain types. He’s a “moderate” because it fills his hyper egotistcal need to feel superior to those that are to the right of him. You can tell who they are because when they call him out on one of his many stupid comments he calls them a wingnut.
He probably is a juvenile. At least he has the IQ and attitude of one.

Hard Right on April 22, 2010 at 1:02 AM

Chuck Norris was a clerk in the Air Force.
MB4 on April 21, 2010

Sure you don’t have him mixed up with Jessie Ventura? He was an SK, in the Navy SK is Storekeeper

DSchoen on April 22, 2010 at 1:10 AM

So when did it become US policy to play ALL our cards face up? What’s wrong with a polite, “We don’t discuss TOP SECRET PLANS in Press Conferences…next question”.

opaobie on April 21, 2010 at 11:12 PM

yeah no kiddin. I think Isreal can handle themselves quite well and we’d best let them do what they think they need to do.

johnnyU on April 22, 2010 at 4:40 AM

Mullen needs to grow some balls. NO we will not shoot down the Israelis. In fact, he ought to say that they can do whatever they want in order to protect their own country!

golfballs03 on April 22, 2010 at 8:04 AM

I’m having trouble even contemplating what kind of idiots would make these surmises.

jeanie on April 22, 2010 at 8:17 AM

In this case I am not sure that the US pilots would follow a “shoot down” order.

duff65 on April 22, 2010 at 9:31 AM

Hey David2.0 was your punk ass in MY Marine Corp, what was your MOS. Embassy Marines in most cases are the pick of the litter, you sure don’t measure up. You want to call me a punk, you’re nothing but a big mouth, and a liar, how’s that sit with you punk.

jainphx on April 22, 2010 at 11:28 AM

Hey David2.0 was your punk ass in MY Marine Corp, what was your MOS. Embassy Marines in most cases are the pick of the litter, you sure don’t measure up. You want to call me a punk, you’re nothing but a big mouth, and a liar, how’s that sit with you punk.

jainphx on April 22, 2010 at 11:28 AM

Odds are he doesn’t give you the MOS because he was never in the USMC. However, on the chance he was, the Marines usually discharge white-supremecist vermin like him. Either way, he’s likely an easy kill.

Andy in Agoura Hills on April 22, 2010 at 4:27 PM

No wait! I bet he’s a 3381!!! LOL!!!!

Andy in Agoura Hills on April 22, 2010 at 4:28 PM

Isn’t it Iraqi airspace? Has the democratic leader and the citizens of Iraq have a say in this?

mags on April 22, 2010 at 4:54 PM

jainphx on April 22, 2010 at 11:28 AM
Andy in Agoura Hills on April 22, 2010 at 4:27 PM
Andy in Agoura Hills on April 22, 2010 at 4:28 PM

Any chance David2.0 is the reincarnation of the erstwhile HotAir troll named Dahvid? Or are their M.O.s too different to imagine they are the same person?

RD on April 22, 2010 at 11:09 PM

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