Leon Panetta, DOD:
Military Strike on Iran Could Have Unintended Consequences
November 11, 2011
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says military action against Iran
could have unintended consequences. The warning came at a press
Secretary Leon Panetta during a news conference at the Pentagon, Nov.
The U.S. defense chief’s warning follows the release this week of a
report by the International Atomic Energy agency that says Iran may be
carrying out secret experiments for the purpose of developing nuclear
The report bolstered calls by some in Israel’s government who have been
calling for an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities sooner rather than
At a joint conference with Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Martin
Dempsey, Panetta warned against any military action. Panetta said he
agrees with the assessment of his predecessor, Robert Gates, that a
military strike would only set the Iranian nuclear program back by three
years at most.
“You’ve got to be careful of unintended consequences here and those
consequences could involve not only, not really deterring Iran from what
they want to do, but more importantly it could have a serious impact in
the region and it could have a serious impact on U.S. forces in the
region," said Panetta.
said the U.S. and its allies should instead toughen economic and
diplomatic sanctions on Iran to change its behavior.
On a visit to Israel last month, Panetta warned against any unilateral
action against Iran. Israel says it will use military force only as a
last resort. Iran says it will retaliate if attacked.
Also in his remarks Thursday, Panetta called for an independent
investigation of the alleged mishandling of U.S. soldiers’ remains at
Dover Air Force Base in the U.S. state of Delaware, in a case that has
sparked outrage among Americans. Three employees of the base’s mortuary
revealed what they said were inappropriate actions that included losing
body parts from the corpses of U.S. soldiers and - in one case -
removing an arm bone from a dead soldier in order to make the body fit
into his uniform for burial - a procedure that was reportedly done
without relatives’ permission.