The Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, evaded a question Tuesday regarding the theoretical possibility that the US would shoot down IAF jets en route to attack Iran.
The Weekly Standard reported that in a town hall meeting on the campus of the University of West Virginia, a US Air Force ROTC cadet asked Mullen to respond to a hypothetical situation: if Israel decided to attack Iran, he said, its jets would need to fly through Iraqi airspace, which is considered a “no-fly” zone by the American military. Would US troops shoot down the Israeli jets, the airman asked, if they entered that zone?
Mullen evaded the question. “We have an exceptionally strong relationship with Israel,” he said. “I’ve spent a lot of time with my counterpart in Israel. So we also have a very clear understanding of where we are. And beyond that, I just wouldn’t get into the speculation of what might happen and who might do what. I don’t think it serves a purpose, frankly,” he said. “I am hopeful that this will be resolved in a way where we never have to answer a question like that.”
The cadet insisted: “Would an airman like me ever be ordered to fire on an Israeli aircraft or personnel?”
Mullen still would not answer directly. “Again, I wouldn’t move out into the future very far from here,” he said. “They’re an extraordinarily close ally, have been for a long time, and will be in the future.”
Mullen, appearing in a forum at Columbia University on Sunday, equated the danger of a nuclear Iran with the danger of an attack on it. ""I worry . . . about striking Iran. I've been very public about that because of the unintended consequences.I think Iran having a nuclear weapon would be incredibly destabilizing. I think attacking them would also create the same kind of outcome," He did not mention the added danger to Israel of a nuclear Iran that has vowed publicly to destroy the Jewish State.
Brzezinski: 'confront them'
In September, former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, known for anti Israel views, urged the US to fire on Israeli jets if they try to reach Iran. “They have to fly over our airspace in Iraq. Are we just going to sit there and watch? We have to be serious about denying them that right,” he said. “If they fly over, you go up and confront them. They have the choice of turning back or not.”
US President Barack Obama called Brzezinski "one of our most outstanding thinkers" in 2007, when Brzezinski endorsed his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination.