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Eiland: Attack on Iran Not 'Crazy' or 'Irresponsible'

Former National Security Council director Giora Eiland said that an Israeli attack on Iran was not "crazy" or "irresponsible."
By David Lev
First Publish: 11/3/2011, 11:50 AM

Maj.-Gen. (res) Giora Eiland
Maj.-Gen. (res) Giora Eiland
Flash 90

Former National Security Council director Giora Eiland said in an interview with Israel Radio that contrary to opinions rendered by other top security officials – most notably former Mossad director Meir Dagan – there was nothing “irresponsible” in considering an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. “It's not a crazy idea,” Eiland said, as long as the preparation for such an attack was done properly.

The decision to attack would, of course, be made by the government, but the IDF's input would – and must – be key in determining whether or not that attack should take place, Eiland said. “The defense establishment must give the political establishment the answers it needs regarding the implications of such a move and our ability to undertake it, and to provide information on Iran's capabilities.” Among the main issues that must be taken into consideration, Eiland says, is whether an Israeli attack would solve the problem of Iran's nuclear program. If it would not, alternative means might need to be found to deal with the Iranian program.

If, however, such an attack would wipe out Iran's nuclear capability or deal it a mortal blow, “then the government could consider it as a viable option, despite the dangers associated with such a move,” Eiland said.

Earlier this year, Dagan was quoted as saying that an Israeli attack on Iran would be “crazy and irresponsible,” and as such Eiland's comments could be seen as a direct response to Dagan. Speaking at a forum Wednesday night, the former Mossad director reiterated his position, saying that the situation with Iran was complicated, and that Israel needed to take into consideration “the day after.”

It should be noted that Eiland, too, has in the past been opposed to an Israeli attack on Iran. In 2008 Eiland said that he did not believe Israel could stop Iran's nuclear program. “Unfortunately there is nothing we can do to totally destroy the Iranian nuclear option to the extent that it will not return eventually. The most we can do is make completing it very difficult for the Iranians.” At the time, Eiland said that if Israel was going to attack Iran to prevent it from reaching the “point of no return,” such an attack needed to take place by summer 2011 at the latest.