Sunday, January 07, 2007


The Drudge Report has announced that Israel is going to nuke Iran.

ISRAEL has drawn up secret plans to destroy Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities with tactical nuclear weapons.
Two Israeli air force squadrons are training to blow up an Iranian facility using low-yield nuclear “bunker-busters”, according to several Israeli military sources.


I don't think that word means what you think it does.

This is certainly serious and worrisome but, my stock disclaimer notwithstanding, there are 3 reasons why I think the blinking Drudgereport blue-lights and above-the-fold breathlessness hysteria is unwarranted.

1The costs for Israel in such an attack even barring Pakistani involvement are going to be severe: Latent antisemitism, Europes Oil Dependancy, the feckless corruption of the UN, and Europes tolerance with any despot who will utter the right egalitarian platitudes and various other factors including an abominable double standard in the press coverage have Israel already teetering on pariah status. An attack such as this would get Israel the same diplomatic cold shoulder as South Africa in the late '80s, US security council veto or not.

2This would not be armageddon even if it happened. Hitting Irans nuclear sites with bunker-busting ground penatrating nukes would release less radiation than many of the above ground tests we set of in our own country in the '50s (*). Despite the propoganda putsch of Al-Jazeera and the media in general Israel does have a good record of trying to minimize civillian casualties. There is unlikely to be a response in kind from France Russia China India the US or the UK. So as terrible a thing as this would be for those in the proximity of Irans ill-concieved nuclear infrastructure it would be very unlikely to initiate global nuclear war.

3The fact that this is being leaked indicates 2 things, perfidy in the Israeli military or a calculated message. In other words warning/ red-flag whatever. The latter seems more this time. Glenn Reynolds pithilly points out another aspect to this.... I'm pretty sure that if they do they won't leak it first. They didn't leak the Osirak raid, or the Entebbe plans, or . . . . Well, you get the idea.

So the momentary freak-out response of certain press outlets seems to be a bit over the top.
More on this at the Moderate Voice, Captain's Quarters and Wizbang

OK so lets go play...

This is not impossible and may not even be unlikely in the longer run.

One quibble with Capt. Ed: Of course they would deny this, even if true; it would be an attack on a sovereign nation and just the plans could present Iran with a casus belli. Does anyone see Ehud Olmert as the man most likely to launch such a war?

Casus Belli?
Iran has announced that it does not recognize Israels right to exist, It has sworn to wipe Israel from the face of the planet. I has sent it's proxies to murder and kidnap Israelis, firing rockets into civillian towns and supplied them with Iran's most advanced weaponary. And now it is on the cusp of having its most advanced weaponary split atoms....I'd say Casus Belli already exists, the Iranians have quite adequately provided it with no help from the Israelis.

If (and that is a big "if") this happened one must also ask if letting Iran have nuclear weapons is any better an option.

The Iranians began their regime with terrorism they support terrorism around the world hate us with almost as much fervor as they hate the Jews. On a the theological front they see themselves on the cusp of taking the mantel of Islamic expansionism back from their greatest competition (Sunniism...which got a boost from the antics of AlQuaeda). In as little a 2 years (perhaps sooner) they will have nuclear weapons with Pakistan, and North Korea also running around as loose cannons, a nuke going off here in Hampton Roads, in New York of the District of Columbia would even have some plausable deniability.

We are talking about MLLIONS of deaths here. That is if they get the bomb. if this terrible step is taken what then?

In reason #2 as to why one should not panic yet, I mentioned a list of all the countries with full nuke capability.....except Pakistan.
Pakistan is one heartbeat away from becoming what Iran wants to be, a purveyor of nuclear weapons, the arab world openly cheered the "Islamic bomb" and with or without even Musharrif's admitedly imperfect arestor switch on the designs of many of the mullahs in the country and members of Pakistans intel services, (who put the Taliban in power BTW) that there is a possibility that an attack by the US and Israel could push some in the country to launch a strike or release some of these weapons to unsavory elements...if they haven't been already.

This is not the doomsday scenarios of the cold war with tens of thousands of nukes flying across the northern hemisphere destroying nearly all cities and enveloping the planet north of the equator in a frigid and radioactive little ice age ....but it is darned bad. Regards that (*)asterix in point 2, ground bursts tend to release orders of magnitude more fallout than airbursts, so any bunker buster however "clean" it is designed would likely have a greater short term fallout problem than, say, Hiroshima.

One argument against military action is that it would radicalize the Iranian regime....but I do wonder exactly HOW radical they need to be before some people will determine that that cost/benefit reasoning no longer applies....they think that the Holocaust as a PR ploy pulled by the dirty zionist Jooooooz!(tm) who rule the world. The Iranians are killing Israeli citizens as we speak, via Hezbollah rocketry. They are killing our soldiers pretty oppenly in Iraq, they are supporting terrorists....they want nukes.
This is pretty damned radical.

A few more points to ponder:

The positioning of multiple US carriers in the Arabian Sea.

The appointment of Admiral Fallon to lead a ground war in Asia.

Any Israeli strike upon Iran will involve considerable aquiesence by the US simply because it will involve passage through huge swaths of US controlled airspace and midair refueling therein. It is not inconcievable that it could be a "joint op" to varrying degrees. Certainly given the American blood Iran has spilled in Iraq and Lebanon and their support for terrorists stymying their nuclear ambitions is in US interests though the costs for us both meaningful(closure of the Hormuz straits, oil at 130 dollars a barrel, possible santions) and irrelevant (sanctimonious fingerwagging by hyppocritical, panzyass, Chaimberlainesque Euros) would be steep indeed.

IF this came to pass, it would be a terrible thing. But it may not be the worst posible outcome.....

Like Iraq , and everything else on the plate handed the US Government after 9/11, the situation in Asia and the 'stans is a buffet of bad worse and terrible choices, with few if any good ones. What is not recognized by many of those who are quick to criticize the choices made is that the absolute worst decisions are often the most tempting as they involve doing nothing or engaging in the smug cathartic security of endless talk....while monstrous evil transpires, (See Rawanda, Darfur)but there is no flow chart for sucess, and those who oppose us for reasons both misguidedly noble and obscenely evil are not generally incompetents.
The future is always an unlit road, but our future is a bit more complicated than that.
Our enemies are hard to detect and tend to be quite cunning. Our intelligence apparatus has not covered itself in glory vey often, thus we are often left fighting fires in the dark, but to stop means the whole of civilization burns down.

I am not optimistic about this year, but Armageddon is not at hand and hysteria does not in any way help us deal with the dark days that may well be ahead.

Update: Instapundit links to this piece...which makes some related points, though I must point out, though, that even the Democratic leadership has come out gainst Iranian nukes...what they intend to do is whats unclear.

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