Retired US general: US can’t stop Iran getting nukes

Tehran has the knowledge to rebuild even if it is hit by a military strike, James Cartwright says.

February 26, 2012 02:42
2 minute read.
Retired US Gen. James Cartwright [file]

Retired US Gen. James Cartwright 390 (R). (photo credit: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


WASHINGTON – Neither the US nor Israel has the ability to keep Iran from getting a nuclear bomb, a retired top US general said Thursday.

“If they have the intent, all the weapons in the world are not going to change that, because the knowledge is there and they’d just build it back,” said retired Gen. James Cartwright, who served as the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff until last year, about what would happen should the US use force to take out the Iranian program.

Speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Cartwright also said that, should Israel attack, the country “can delay it, some people estimate two to five years. But that does not take away the intellectual capital. That does not take away the ability of the Iranians to then proliferate the sites.”

Cartwright said he didn’t “see a lot of value in going in,” particularly since an attack was likely merely to galvanize Iran to redouble its efforts, and suggested that his feeling was widespread throughout the US military.

Retired Adm. William Fallon, who appeared with Cartwright at CSIS, said the idea of either country attacking Iran was “certainly not a preferred option” among US military brass, and said any effective operation would require boots on the ground in Iran.

Fallon, who resigned from his post as the commander of US Central Command during the George W. Bush administration after making outspoken comments on Iran, added that the US was unlikely to undertake such a mission.

Cartwright acknowledged that it was possible that speaking openly about opposition to a military attack could erode the credible threat of force underpinning diplomacy with Iran, but said such a scenario was improbable because of the ambiguity Iran would perceive in US thinking.

Click here for full Jpost coverage of the Iranian threat

“It’s not likely that it’s going to diminish the threat of a strike,” he said.

He also said that it wasn’t clear how the US would respond should Israel decide to launch an attack on its own, but that it would be extremely unlikely to try to stop the IAF if its planes were in the air.

Fallon stressed that the US and Israel share many objectives and values when it comes to the region, and that would encourage the US to work with Israel in such a scenario.

“We will certainly cooperate on things to the maximum extent that we can,” he said.

“We’re certainly going to share intelligence, because we think that any weaponization capability in Iran is not in either of our best interests.”

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Bushehr nuclear Iranian
August 5, 2014
Iran and the bomb: The future of negotiations