General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker were interviewed by Brit Hume exclusively on FNC earlier tonight. Transcript highlight follows…
HUME: Do the rules of engagement that you’re operating under allow you to do what you think needs to be done to suppress this activity on the part of Iran? Or perhaps do you need assistance from military not under your command to do this?
PETRAEUS: Well, they allow us to do what we need to do with inside Iraq.
PETRAEUS: Beyond that…
HUME: Is that enough, in your view?
PETRAEUS: Well, that’s what I’m responsible for. And, again, when I have concerns about something beyond that, I take them, of course, to my boss, Admiral Fallon, who is the regional commander. And, in fact, we have shared our concerns with him and with the chain of command. And there’s a pretty hard look ongoing at that particular situation.
HUME: That sounds pretty disturbing, Ambassador Crocker, that we are confronting with Iran now a situation where — I mean, it doesn’t appear we have any diplomatic possibility there, do we, to suppress this activity by Iran? Or do we?
CROCKER: Well, I have had a couple of meetings now with my Iranian counterpart, in which we’ve laid out very clearly what our concerns are, and said that what they need to do is align practice on the ground with their stated policy of support for a stable, democratic Iraq.
HUME: You have said, by the way, today that you thought that they believe that a stable, democratic Iraq was in their interest. And at the same
time, though, you said that if it all went to hell over there, that it would be — that they would be, as you put it, a big winner. Which is right?
CROCKER: Well, I think you see a collision in Iran between their long-term strategic interests and their narrow tactical desires. Their narrow
tactical desires I would define as trying to administer a defeat to the U.S. in Iraq. The problem they’ve got is that, if they are able to create
circumstances that cause us to reconsider our commitment, the result is going to be a chaotic Iraq that, over the long run, could potentially be dangerous for them, as well.