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National Security Desk / Mar. 18, 2016

Ashton Carter’s Iran Rebuke Rings Hollow

It’s nice that Carter has finally offered some harsh words — but to what end?

In January, shortly after Iran humiliated the U.S. by provisionally apprehending 10 Navy personnel in the Persian Gulf, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, despite saying he was “very, very angry,” declared nevertheless, “I’m not going to give you the international law answer, but I can tell you, Americans wouldn’t have done that.” This week he appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee and gave a somewhat different account. Yesterday he claimed, “As I made clear then, Iran’s actions were outrageous, unprofessional and inconsistent with international law, and nothing we’ve learned about the circumstances of this incident since then changes that fact.”

It’s nice that Carter has finally offered some harsh words — even though he did not previously call Iran’s provocation a violation of international law — but to what end? As Townhall’s Leah Barkoukis points out, “While Carter was clearly angry at the situation, he failed to provide lawmakers with any specific recommendations on how the administration would respond to Iran’s behavior since then.” Obama has already completely acquiesced to Iran's terrorist-supporting government. What will Carter have to say if Iran-supplied fissile material is detonated in a U.S. urban center? Will he respond merely by calling the attack “outrageous, unprofessional and inconsistent with international law”? This administration is all talk, no action.

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