By Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post Staff Writer
04/25/08 “Washington Post”
The nation’s top military officer said today that the Pentagon is planning for “potential military courses of action” against Iran, criticizing what he called the Tehran government’s “increasingly lethal and malign influence” in Iraq.
Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said a conflict with Iran would be “extremely stressing” but not impossible for U.S. forces, pointing specifically to reserve capabilities in the Navy and Air Force.
“It would be a mistake to think that we are out of combat capability,” he said at a Pentagon news conference.
Still, Mullen made clear that he prefers a diplomatic solution to the tensions with Iran and does not foresee any imminent military action. “I have no expectations that we’re going to get into a conflict with Iran in the immediate future,” he said.
Mullen’s statements and others by Defense Secretary Robert Gates recently signal a new rhetorical onslaught by the Bush administration against Iran, amid what officials say is increased Iranian provision of weapons, training, and financing to Iraqi groups that are attacking and killing Americans.
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