Tag Archives: Martin Dempsey

In Open Letter, Retired Pentagon Brass Endorse Iran Deal

Call on Congress to Vote in Favor of the Pact

by Jason Ditz, August 11, 2015

In a new open letter, three dozen retired US generals and admirals have endorsed the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran as the “most effective means” to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, and called on Congress to vote in favor of the pact.

The letter echoes sentiment from current Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, who said that resolving the dispute with Iran diplomatically “is superior than trying to do that militarily.”

A military confrontation with Iran is very much the point for a lot of the Congressional opponents, however, and the letter also seemed aimed at them, saying that a US war with Iran would be much easier to sell internationally if the diplomatic deal had been tried first.

Congress is not expected to be able to muster enough votes to block the deal, and administration officials are warning that if they do it would be calamitous for America’s global standing, and making diplomacy with other nations much more difficult in the future.

Defense Secretary: Deal Imposes No Limits on US Attacking Iran

Joint Chiefs Chairman: Attacking Iran Still a Act of War

by Jason Ditz, July 29, 2015

Once again seeking to reassure the Senate Armed Services Committee that the Iran deal won’t get in the way of a potential US attack on Iran, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter today insisted the deal provides “no limits” to US attacks, and that the US has such a “robust” amount of military force in the area they can hit anywhere in Iran at any time.

Carter has repeatedly talked up the idea of the US following on to the nuclear deal with a unilateral military strike on Iran for some unspecified reason, and presented the notion multiple times in the week after the deal’s announcement, during which he visited Israel and sought to assure them that war as still in the works.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey appeared to talk back the notion of a sudden attack, however, declaring in his own testimony that a US attack on Iran would be “an act of war,” while going to great lengths to avoid taking a position on the wisdom of launching such a war.

Dempsey and other officials also presented as part of the narrative on the deal that it makes war less likely, a talking point for the administration which doesn’t seem to be sitting well with many in Congress, for whom a massive new war is an end unto itself.

Pentagon Officials Tell Senate: ISIS War Will Be Long and Difficult

Hagel, Dempsey Offer Few Details, No Guarantees

by Jason Ditz, September 16, 2014
Top Pentagon officials, including Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee today to brief them on the new war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
The two offered very few details on the plans for the war, though Gen. Dempsey conceded that the US ground troops in the country as advisers could end up being used in combat operations, despite repeated insistence this had been ruled out.Dempsey presented the eventual attack on Mosul as one particular circumstance which could lead to the use of US ground troops in combat, saying they’d do “close combat advising,” while of course fighting themselves.

The one thing that was clear was that the war is going to be long, and both Dempsey and Hagel conceded that the current plans were unlikely to defeat ISIS in Syria. Hagel insisted that the current plans to train 5,000 Syrian rebels to fight ISIS would not be nearly enough to defeat ISIS.

In that regard, Sen. John McCain (R – AZ) was unusually the voice of reason, saying that the belief that the rebels would fight ISIS was a “fundamental misunderstanding” of their nature, and that their focus was on the Syrian government. The US-backed rebels have been allying with ISIS off and on, and recently signed a non-aggression pact.

Both of them tried to assure the Senate, though the news was decidedly not reassuring, that the strategy continues to be a work in progress and that regular adjustments would be made.