In a new op-ed in USA Today, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter once again emphasized that the US retains the option to attack Iran militarily irrespective of reaching a nuclear deal with them, saying the “military option is real today” and that he will make sure it remains open into the future.
Carter went on to say he was recently in the Middle East and assured the troops there that they remain “full speed ahead” against Iran, and that the US will retain the ability to “quickly surge overwhelming additional force” into the region to fight Iran.
While a number of administration officials have hyped the “military option” since the P5+1 nuclear deal was reached with Iran, none has done so more often than Carter, who on the day the deal was announced declared that the US might still attack Iran at any moment no matter what they agreed to .
A lot of these threats to attack Iran are seen as an effort to placate hawks, both in Congress and in Israel, who have opposed the deal in no small part because of the perception that it might get in the way of a war with Iran. Even today’s op-ed saw Carter talking up the war while defending the deal, suggesting this remains a very awkward attempt to cushion the blow that the pact represents to the pro-war crowd.