Nuke, Nuke, Nuke, Nuke Nuke Iran?

In an interview with ABC News, Hillary Clinton said "In the next ten years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them." But then Howard Wolfson told Ben Smith that neither this talk of total obliteration nor her talk during the debate about "massive retaliation" should be understood as threats to use nuclear weapons. But then she went on Olberman later and said we should "make it very clear to the Iranians that they would be risking massive retaliation were they to launch a nuclear attack on Israel."

John Aravosis is confused and so am I. If these aren't threats to use nuclear weapons, then what are they? Massive retaliation has a pretty clear meaning in this context. And I still don't understand why Israel's own nuclear deterrent isn't looming larger in these conversations.

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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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