By Jim Lobe
".....Mullen is actually going further in calling for dialogue than former Centcom Commander Adm. William “Fox” Fallon did. And note that there’s no mention of the current precondition, that Iran suspend its uranium enrichment. His opposition to any attack by Israel is really quite explicit.
Now, the question is, why did Mullen, who clearly enjoys the backing of his boss, Pentagon chief Robert Gates, go as far as he went in his remarks? Is it simply an effort to tamp down rising tensions (and oil prices) set off the threats and counter-threats of the last few weeks, as even the White House seemed inclined to do, particularly in the wake of Israel’s well-advertised exercises last month and the publication of Sy Hersh’s New Yorker article over the weekend? Does it reflect real concern that Israel may indeed be preparing to attack unilaterally or that the hawks are gaining ground in their push for an attack before the the administration leaves office? Or does it reflect confidence that the realists are in control and that now, particularly in light of indications this past week that the Iranians may be prepared to conditionally accept the latest 5+1 offer, is the moment to push for serious engagement? I think it’s still too early to tell, but the message behind these remarks is pretty clear: the Pentagon brass are firmly opposed to military action."