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Hillary Clinton's loose talk on Iran

Her idea of a US ‘defense umbrella’ against Iranian nukes may only trigger war.

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Loose lips sink ships and, for America's top diplomats, they can also sink countries into war.

In early 1950, then-Secretary of State Dean Acheson implied – mistakenly – that the US would not defend South Korea from communist attack. A few months later, North Korea did invade. It took three years and nearly 40,000 lives to end combat.

Last week, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton suggested the US may extend a "defense umbrella" over friendly nations in the Middle East "once" Iran has a nuclear weapon.

Oops. She didn't really mean it exactly that way, her aides said. But the comment nonetheless suggests President Obama may be ready to accept a nuclear-armed Iran. And, more important, he might counter it with either a missile defense system in the Middle East or perhaps – despite the denial of unnamed Clinton aides – a promise to regional allies of a US nuclear strike on Iran if it ever launched an atomic weapon.

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