Obama in 2004: Military Strike Preferable to a Nuclear-Armed Iran

By Jeffrey Goldberg

Buzzfeed's Andrew Kaczynski has unearthed a fascinating interview with then-Senate candidate Barack Obama about the threat posed by a nuclear Iran. The interview proves, if nothing else, that Obama has been thinking critically about this question for a very long time, and that his thinking has been fairly consistent. Here is some of what Obama told The Chicago Tribune editorial board:

"The big question is going to be, if Iran is resistant to these pressures, including economic sanctions, which I hope will be imposed if they do not cooperate, at what point are we going to, if any, are we going to take military action?" Obama asked.

Given the continuing war in Iraq, the United States is not in a position to invade Iran, but missile strikes might be a viable option, he said. Obama conceded that such strikes might further strain relations between the U.S. and the Arab world.

"In light of the fact that we're now in Iraq, with all the problems in terms of perceptions about America that have been created, us launching some missile strikes into Iran is not the optimal position for us to be in," he said.

"On the other hand, having a radical Muslim theocracy in possession of nuclear weapons is worse. So I guess my instinct would be to err on not having those weapons in the possession of the ruling clerics of Iran. ... And I hope it doesn't get to that point. But realistically, as I watch how this thing has evolved, I'd be surprised if Iran blinked at this point."

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/03/obama-in-2004-military-strike-preferable-to-a-nuclear-armed-iran/254703/