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Apr 22, 2010

Would US shoot Israel planes out of the sky?

If Israel should decide to go it alone and send planes to bomb the Iranian nuclear reactors, would the US interfere and shoot at the Israeli planes as they cross over Iraq, a no-fly zone, on the way to Iran?

That is basically the question a young cadet asked the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen.

Mullen twice finagled his way out of answering the question.

It might simply have been a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation, so he avoided it...

In a town hall on the campus of the University of West Virginia, a young Air Force ROTC cadet asked Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen to respond to a “rumor.” If Israel decided to attack Iran, the speculation went, those jet would need to fly through Iraqi airspace to reach their targets. That airspace is considered a “no-fly” zone by the American military. So might U.S. troops shoot down the Israeli jets, the airmen asked the chairman, if they breached that airspace?

Mullen tried to sidestep the question. “We have an exceptionally strong relationship with Israel. 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 followed-up: “Would an airmen like me ever be ordered to fire on an Israeli – aircraft or personnel?”

Mullen’s second answer was much the same as his first. “Again, I wouldn’t move out into the future very far from here. They’re an extraordinarily close ally, have been for a long time, and will be in the future,” the admiral said.

Does this represent a shift in American policy towards Israel? Some signal that the U.S. would stop an Israeli first strike at the final moment? Probably not. I’d guess this is Mullen trying not to wade further into treacherous waters. But it was interesting to hear America’s top military officer decline to knock down the idea that U.S. troops might fire on America’s closest ally in the Middle East.

How ironic would that situation be, that the US would defend the enemy against the ally???

1 comment:

  1. He doesn't want to go on record, but the USA would not shoot those planes down. For many reasons.



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