As usual Mrs. Clinton tries to sound very tough. She probably thought that the message she was sending to Iran was extremely tough.

The story is reported in Ha'aretz under the headline, "Clinton: If Iran strikes Israel, expect retaliation."

"I don't think there is any doubt in anyone's mind that were Israel to suffer a nuclear attack by Iran, there would be retaliation." Strong talk, strong medicine.

Well, I read this pronouncement by the secretary of state to George Stephanopoulos a bit differently. She has actually admitted that the administration has foregone its program of forcing Iran to desist from making nuclear weapons.  If it hadn't why was she so eager to talk about retaliation?  If this is not a surrender to Iran's atomic ambitions the president and the secretary are obliged to make that clear.

Mrs. Clinton did say that Iran should expect full retaliation from "a  battery of nuclear weapons countries" should it ever attack Israel. But she would say whether the U.S. would be the among the battery. Perhaps Israel should rely on France or Russia to take up the cudgels for what remains of its state and its people.  To say nothing about all the dead Palestinians for whom Dr. A'jad is making these bombs in the first place.

"We want to make clear that there are consequences and costs," said Hillary.

So instead of her forcing Iran to look at the consequences of building nuclear weapons she has them thinking about whether, when they have an atomic arsenal-- they will really attack the Jewish state.  Which the president of Iran has said he would.