WASHINGTON – In her role as secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton suggested the United States weigh the benefits of giving Israel “a tacit green light” to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities on its own.
While Clinton did not explicitly endorse the idea, she suggested that by exploring it, a unilateral Israeli strike could “take care of the problem for” the US, one senior administration official quoted her saying, as first reported by Time journalist Michael Crowley.
The idea was raised at senior-level meeting in 2010 “as one option to consider,” another US official said. The notion was quickly rejected by those in the White House.
The year 2010 marked an important turning point in US President Barack Obama’s policy toward Iran: Its leaders appeared to reject his outreach efforts and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was disinclined to believe that Obama would ever be prepared to order American military action.
In his revelatory memoir published this week, former secretary of defense Robert Gates said that the US, at that time, began preparing for a unilateral Israeli strike, “including whether the US would assist.”
“Militarily, I thought we needed to prepare for a possible Israeli attack and Iranian retaliation,” Gates wrote.