Obama Plays Hawk-in-Chief on Iran - Michael Hirsh - NationalJournal.com Obama Plays Hawk-in-Chief on Iran In a rousing election-year speech to the powerful Jewish lobby in Washington, President Obama on Sunday sought to eliminate any remaining daylight between the United States and Israel, especially on the threat from Iran. In so doing he may have succeeded both at firing up Jewish voter supportand at bringing America closer to another war. Directly confronting the threat from Tehran in a more aggressive way than he ever has before, Obama declared that a nuclear-armed Iran equally violates Israels interests and the national security interests of the United States. He tried to remove any remaining doubts about his willingness to use force himself and to green-light, under the right circumstances, Israels own right to use it, even while urging Israeli leaders to observe a timetable that would delay action until after the U.S. election in November.* Deploying important code words familiar to AIPAC and its supporters, Obama said Irans leaders* should not doubt Israels sovereign right to make its own decisions about what is required to meet its security needs. Toward the end of his speech, which drew several standing ovations, Obama also once again addressed perhaps the central doubt in the mind of visiting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who will meet the president at the White House on Monday: whether America will act militarily if Israel cannot seriously damage or destroy the Iranian nuclear facilities on its own. Obama delivered something close to the guarantee that Israelis and many American Jewish supporters of Israel were looking for: a pledge that if diplomacy, sanctions and pressure dont work, he will attack Irans nuclear facilities. I will take no options off the table, and I mean what I say. That includes all elements of American power, Obama said. A political effort aimed at isolating Iran; a diplomatic effort to sustain our coalition and ensure that the Iranian program is monitored; an economic effort to impose crippling sanctions; and, yes, a military effort to be prepared for any contingency.