“war and logic”
3rd update, 02.08.2011. watch and see how this develops. i don't think any attack on iran by israel will occur w/ two u.s. fleet carriers nestled in by the coast of iran.
it does, however, put a lot of u.s. assets right there to help, if necessary. end update.
2nd update, 02.07.2011 . the following article, from the "all arabiya news," entitled "just a bluff? fear grow of israeli attack on iran" discusses the growing concern among world & arab leaders that israel will attack the iranian nuclear establishment to forestall iran obtaining a nuclear weapon. http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/02/06/192896.html?PHPSESSID=lg5ntfggbea728778gerd5fdu6 .
of particular concern to those who discuss this issue is whether iranian facilities will be reachable by israeli/western weapons is they they "go deep" with them, e.g., if they are buried at substantial depths. this of course highlights the pressures that the continuing iranian push to the bomb has placed upon israel/the united states/the euro union decision making. in my post below, i discuss at length the almost irresistible pressure upon israel to attack the subject nuclear facilities if iran approaches the ability to actually make a weapon.
this business of burying the nuclear facilities does nothing less, nothing more, than become an equivalency to iran obtaining the bomb. by that i mean, had the facilities remained on the surface amenable to attack, israel had the "luxury" of delaying just as long as it trusted its intelligence on when iran might actually produce a weapon.
with this move, iran has taken that luxury from the israeli's. if israel allows the production/development facilities to go underground, deeply enough such that conventional bunker busters might not be capable of reaching them, then this is tantamount to giving the iranian's the ability to produce the bomb at their leisure, beyond attack.
in short, it is the same as having iran actually having the bomb, in terms of analysis of risk.
this means that the fulcrum of analysis is moved up substantially on israel. if they are determined to prevent the building of the bomb, then they must determine to prevent that measure which means that iran can produce it without interference at some time, whatever that might be.
the bomb today, the bomb tomorrow, what difference does it make if israel has determined to allow its construction? timing is not the essential analysis.
looked at from another perspective, the bomb today, or the bomb tomorrow, what difference does it make to israel if it has determined to not allow its construction? in either event, any step which would assure the building of the bomb must be prevented. timing is everything, and the pressure is now upon israel to prevent the iranian facilities from being made impenetrable, if, in the israeli analysis, this would allow the iranians to complete the bomb.
if that is the case, then israel must attack the iranian nuclear facilities now, before they are put out of reach.
now, if the iranians invite attack, the issue of whether israel attacks the nukes or takes out their supporting infrastructure becomes critically important.
i live about 60 miles from the hanford nuclear reservation, just upriver on the columbia river from richland, washington. trust me when i tell you, that nothing much happens at a nuclear facility without electrical power, and without the presence of water as a cooling agent.
my guess remains, that israel will attack iran's nuclear facilities, and it will choose error on the side of not being too late in its actions. i am of the belief that only if iran declares that it is not pursuing weapons grade fuel, and opens it reactors completely to western and israeli inspection and regulation will israel delay an attack at this point. i have seen nothing from the iranians to believe that they will do such a thing.
there is something else to consider here.--
were israel faced with bombing "buried facilities," it doesn't necessarily have to reach them with explosives, if it can locate the "portals" to them. if you bury the front door, the back door, and the little "escape" holes, you can not only take out the facility, but you can bury its personnel at the same time. you don't even have to bomb them one at a time, from time to time, you can take them out all at once. those that survive such an attack are going to be living in a very hostile environment, if damage is done to control systems or if radioactive leaks are caused.
again, something to consider.
end 2nd update.
update: this update on the issue of proliferation of nuclear weapons in the middle east, upon iran attaining the bomb. from newsmax, statements coming from the saudi's to the effect, if they get one, we have to have one, http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/SaudisWellGoNuclearIfIranDoes/2011/07/01/id/402192?s=al&promo_code=C8B9-1 . this can hardly come as a surprise. end update: 07.02.2011.
logical imperatives lead israel inextricably to war with iran and its proxies, and that logic is compelled in its content and structure by the iranian drive to nuclear weapons.
caroline glick, interviewed at atasshrugs by pamela geller on may 28, 2008 forecast the outcome of this logic in a sort of offhand summation yet did not, unfortunately, expand upon the premises driving her conclusion. [link.] ms. glick said of the iranian nuclear weapons program and its goal to build a nuclear bomb, to the effect, “yeah, and when they test it, it will be on tel aviv.” this communicated, perhaps, a mere fatalistic resignation given the tenor of violence, vitriol and hatred directed at israel and spewed by arab regimes, led, of course, by iran and supported in chorus by the region over. i have not read ms. glick enough to know whether she has clearly enunciated the logic behind that conclusion, but, a logic there is, and its ever tightening coils of purposeful activity and the tendencies and sway of circumstance point to inevitable nuclear war.
“yeah, and when they test it, it will be on tel aviv.”
this is not a mere glib pronouncement, for although she may not have considered it fully before she said it, the use of nuclear weapons in the middle east seems an almost inevitable dynamic. it is destiny, if iran continues on its present path. we are approaching the point in this high stakes poker game where both players push their chips to the center of the table, and declare, “all in.”
consider the effect were iran to conduct the first explosion of a “successful” bomb somewhere in the great flowing expanse of the middle east, surely one of the world’s great bomb testing facilities blessed with seemingly endless desert, rather than “testing” such a device over tel aviv, as prophesied by ms. glick. consider the impact upon middle eastern affairs if iran were to conduct a bomb test, and that bomb were to go “boom.” israel would simply have no choice, given the rhetoric, venom and threats directed at it every day, not to mention the low grade artillery and missile barrages conducted against it daily on its borders w/ syria, gaza and the west bank by iran’s proxies, but to take out the iranian nuclear production and weapons production facilities, after making such an attack feasible by negating the air defenses surrounding them, and to take out all potential delivery systems, chiefly the iranian missile capability and air forces, (such as its limited strategic capabilities would allow, and this is an absolutely vital qualification.) not to do so would be suicidal to an extent simply incomprehensible, and criminal, and not even a coward like prime minister olmert could stand by in this situation and do nothing: even the most liberal socialists and marxists amongst jewish politicians would take grave pause at the image of an iranian mushroom cloud, cast in the mind’s eye over jerusalem, and it would not require too vivid an imagination or unlimited prescience to imagine where the next bomb would explode.
i have advocated for some time destroying iran’s entire nuclear establishment by preemptive strike in a manner designed to take out its infrastructure of scientists, technicians, facilities, supporting electrical grid and water and communications and materials networks supporting it. as i would conceive such an operation it would be long, bloody, and quite as involved as the elimination of saddam hussein’s regime, and sadam himself: the obnoxious little dwarf would get his just desserts, you might be assured. were the united states to do that we could interrupt this dynamic which leads inevitably to nuclear war, and the longer we wait to do so, the more we assure that this process may very well come to “fruition” before we act. from a western perspective, the iranians court madness and have set in motion a dynamic steeped in religious fanaticism and mysticism, and which careens increasingly out of control towards a precipice beyond which lies nuclear war, seemingly heedless to the consequences of their actions. but, you cannot gainsay that the iranians, ayatollahs & ahmahdinejad & their entire cabal their intelligence and craft. nor can you question the political savvy with which they have read the intentions of the west, and anticipated the reaction of the west to their provocations: they have, after all, hired the best social scientists, political scientists and propagandists the west can produce in order to gauge our every thought and posture. nor can you deny their fundamentally sound perception that the west is either heedless of the path they have chosen, or is fundamentally so weak and indecisive as to be unable to stop them, or unwilling to do so.
the iranians understand the above circumstances, and have analyzed the risks of the course they have set in motion. they have gauged the reactions to this course of the americans and the israelis.
they know that to publically test and confirm their nuclear capacity, and absolutely to confirm its deployment, is to invite its immediate destruction. they will not expose themselves to the risk, or, more correctly, near certainty, of the destruction of all that they have worked so hard to attain, on the eve of its success.
the level of the risk they undertake by continuing to develop the weapon, doing so with a steady inexorable pace and with a capacity which seems to assure its development, can be only as a result of a complex calculus and assessment on their part that the risk of being preemptively struck and having their complex destroyed is outweighed by the rewards of successfully developing the weapon, and then attacking israel with it. make no mistake; they will use a nuclear weapon against israel.
look at the risks of further development from the iranian perspective.—
what if they press the west and israel too heavily prior to having the weapon, and invite and trigger its preemptive destruction, as well as the physical plant supporting it? well, so what?
they will not suffer nuclear attack. no western government is prepared to do that at this juncture.
they will not suffer a wide spread destruction of their society and infrastructure, nor a general war such as we would comprehend as provided by the model of world war ii. the attacks will likely be limited to direct physical assault upon the nuclear and weapons manufacturing facilities, as well as the enrichment plants.
the worst case scenario in the estimation of iran, in such an event, has to be something along the line of the very surgical strikes proceeding the invasion of iraq: they will have concluded, assuming a united states controlled by the liberal/socialist/muslim leaning democratic party and buoyed by a leftist press corp and “intelligentsia”, that no invasion or occupation will be forthcoming, given the “distaste” for such things now prevalent in this country, and that regime change is not likely implicated. so, the u.s. in prepping such a battlefield, would take out air defense systems, any ships stupid enough to put to sea, and the nuclear facilities themselves.
a more likely occurrence and in the form of a best case scenario from the iranian interest, perspective, (and quite likely anticipation) would be a limited strike calculated to destroy any existing bombs but leaving the nuclear production capacity intact, not calculated to destroy iran’s military, and not directed at all towards the elimination or killing of scientists or personnel employed in bomb production. an armed intervention of this magnitude would have to be viewed by the iranians as amounting to little more that a temporary and minor interruption in their scheme of things, and a matter hardly of lasting consequence. my guess is, that the iranians figure that with just a modicum of luck their civilian infrastructure would be left undamaged, and things such as power plants, hydroelectric and irrigation and water systems, and electrical grids would be ignored. with a modicum of luck civilian casualties would be minimal, indeed.
full insight into the iranian analysis hinges on an appreciation of their perspective in the matter, how they read the interests and reactions of the rest of the world, entirely within the context of their messianic and religious zeal to destroy israel and rid the world of jewish influence. and, an appreciation that the iranian analysis is concerned preeminently with one country in the world, the united states, perhaps even more so than with the reaction of israel .
no other country has either the capacity or inclination to interfere with the execution of the iranian scheme to have the bomb, and to use it on israel.
from the iranian perspective, neither britain, nor europe, nor the soviet remnant nor china inhibit their schemes and ambitions, and, no other entities are even remotely capable of stopping them. they are, in fact, nullities in the iranian calculation, being either totally incapable of projecting military power into the region, or politically incapable of mounting any sort of resolve to get involved one way or another, to the extent and not considering that for various reasons they may actually be supportive of the iranian ambitions. the french, the russians and even the chinese, moreover, have much to gain from the destruction of israel as a political state, as it portends ejecting united states' presence, interests and influence in the region, israel being an extremely crucial american ally.
if the iranians read the situation as i do, their assessment at this point has to be that any strike against their nuclear facilities from outside the region prior to an attack upon israel will come only from the united states. the iranians have to be convinced as well, that such will only amount to a delay of its ambitions.
how do they assess israel’s reaction to the looming threat, prior to the explosion of an atomic weapon over israeli soil, tel aviv or jerusalem the most likely targets.
the assessment has to be that an attack is more likely coming from israel, but in real terms, such an attack would not be as severe as even the least worrisome scenario posed by a united state’s attack. the simple fact is, that israel, as deadly competent and capable as she is in her own defense upon or adjacent to her own territory, does not have the power to project conventional military force into iran other than by attack by tactical fighter/bombers from an aerial standpoint, and has no capability to sustain a mechanized infantry and artillery and armored attack upon iran, let alone occupy and police its territories. an additional limitation upon israel’s options is that it hasn’t the capability of strategic air attack upon iran, nor the likely ability to totally defeat the iranian air defenses. i know they slipped into syria, unscathed and undetected, and carried out their mission without loss, and apparently with sufficient success that upon assessment they felt no need to go back and strike again. i quite frankly do not know precisely israel’s missile capability, but i do not think her possessed of either sufficient strategic or tactical missile capacity to very effectively attack iran’s nuclear infrastructure by missile: i do not think israel will or would use nuclear missiles to wage such an attack.
iran is not syria.
the iranian facilities are larger, and will require more than just a single raid by several jets to destroy or even cripple significantly. the israel’s do not, from all appearances, have the punch to do it by strategic air attack: they haven’t the equipment, they haven’t the throw weight, and they haven’t the logistical train to do it.
israel can harm iran, but she cannot undertake an attack as would eliminate the iranian nuclear development and arms capacity, in my estimation, solely by air attack. israel cannot harm iran by land forces: she hasn’t the reach, she hasn’t the capacity. israel’s land forces are sufficient only for localized and very regionalized attack, and are not set up for occupation.
in my estimation, though israel can harm iranian installations by air attack, it cannot pound them into dust, e.g., totally destroy them, as the united states is capable of doing. as a consequence, the best that israel can do is to cause damage sufficient to delay implementation of iran’s nuclear ambitions from time to time as the situation stands. in short, israel can interdict and delay the implementation of iran’s planning and manufacturing capacities in producing the bomb, but cannot stop it in its tracks, and as a result, is left with the prospect of having to go back in from time to time to redo the job. it is precisely with iran as it has been with pan arabic nuclear pretensions, a recurring threat that israel does not have the capability of permanently defeating, but must destroy piece meal every now and again: sort of like weeding a rose garden each spring.
[everybody sort of assumes that what the united states has done and is capable of doing in afghanistan and iraq is rather normative for a military, and that any competent power could do the same.
nothing could be further from the truth.
no other country or organization of countries on the face of this planet has the capacity and strength, and the supply and logistical and strategic train to do what the u.s. has done in the world, ever. if the soviet union had possessed such power, it would have used it. but, the u.s. held the soviets at bay in europe, and thwarted their expansion into africa and the americas. the soviet remnant does not have the ability to project power into the middle east now, and the iron clad proof of the issue is that they haven’t: if they could have, they would have.
why on g_d’s little green earth do you think that no one has shown up in the middle east to oppose us? it is because they cannot, that is why. the other reason is that it is comforting to have a “bully” protect you, when the “bully” is so solicitous of your safety and concerns, and takes the abuse and scorn heaped upon it for protecting you, with such grace, good human, and equanimity.]
the next question or analysis performed by the iranians must be, must necessarily have been, what is the likelihood of an israeli preemptive nuclear attack on its facilities, and the iranians have most assuredly answered that calculus by concluding almost overwhelmingly, in my estimation, that it is just not going to happen. there is a kind of inverse logic being applied here, as i am looking at the iranian course of conduct as a litmus of israeli thinking, the logic being that iran has assessed israeli reactions, gone ahead with their plans on the conclusion that israel will not preemptively attack with nukes, and that the iranians must be correct because they have gotten away working under these assumptions to this point. there are limits to the utility of this mode of analysis, especially as we get closer and closer to iran getting the bomb, and israel has to deal with the stark reality of using its own nuclear capacity or suffering nuclear attack herself: the risk of the use of israeli nukes go up greatly the closer iran gets to using its own. but, for right now, iran has the comfort of fact and actual israeli conduct to this point to bolster its confidence in its own assessments.
now, neither do i underestimate the intelligence of the israeli’s. i harbor the conceit that i am on track with everybody’s thinking to this point, and i harbor the further conceit that the israeli’s view the matter as i do: that is the way i would look at it, were i them, at the very least.
do the israeli’s think that they would use nuclear attack(s) to take out the iranian nukes.
how can they?
my guess is that as the actuality of the iranian nuclear weapon approaches, so will there occur a concomitant reduction in the virulence and vitriol of iranian rhetoric, and instead “from” iran will appear a ray of hope, with offers of negotiation and accommodation, and a diplomatic solution to the problem. the iranians will act to further emotionally, psychologically and intellectually disarm the resolve and analysis of the israeli’s and the united states, and they will do it through their allies the press, the peace movements, and the universities and intelligentsia.
in order to justify a nuclear preemptive attack the israeli’s will have to defeat such an effort and artifice, and i do not believe they have enough intellectual credence left in the world to do so, so effective the propaganda of the muslim world and the left in the last 20 years. to use a nuclear weapon israel would have to build an airtight case to justify having done so, and i do not believe that the israeli’s believe they can at this juncture: it seems that at some point, however, repeated exposure to these scenarios and provocations may lend israel confidence in its judgment that recourse to nuclear arms is justified, but not now. to use a nuclear weapon the israeli’s will have to believe and be able to demonstrate that their very existence demands that they do so, regardless of the penalties they would suffer at the hands of the international community afterwards.
i do not believe they have formed such an assessment at this point, and it is pretty obvious neither do the iranians, because if the iranians perceived the israeli’s possessed of such resolve and clarity of thinking, they would not be proceeding further, because at this point they run the risk of annihilation. i base my assessment of the israeli lack of resolve to use nukes at this point upon my assessment and perception of iran having concluded that is the case, premised upon their going ahead with their plans. and, in being successful with that course of conduct to this point.
what do i think would change the iranian assessment, at this point, prior to iran obtaining a weapon?
in my mind, it would take an unequivocal statement from both hillary clinton and barrack obama on the one side, and john mccain on the other, that not only iran, but syria and egypt would be destroyed by nuclear attack were israel attacked by a nuclear weapon. it would take a similar statement by mr. olmert that not only iran but the entire middle east would seethe in a nuclear puddle if israel is attacked by iran with a nuclear weapon. such declarations would have to be delivered with steely eyes directly into the cameras and jaw muscles clenched tightly, as none of them could ever equal dutch reagan casually talking about throwing a couple of nukes in through the bathroom windows at the kremlin to let the ruskies know where they stood with him.
ain’t gonna happen, because in my mind none of them are capable of so saying, because none of them have sufficient resolve to protect israel to that extent, and they don’t believe it in their guts. see dutch reagan.
i do not think that the present israeli government has that resolve, nor the israeli public, because they cannot bring themselves to conceive of the issue, let along do they have the ability to conceptualize the nature of the resolve to make such a promise credible or to see it through.
you will notice that my thinking on this is entirely circular, an absolute tautology as it were, and that i assume my conclusion as a premise of my analysis, and that my conclusion follows from my premise, i.e., that israel thinks a certain way because iran has gotten away with a certain course of conduct. i apologize for this intellectually, and it is not a very elegant way to construct a “proof,” but it seems legitimate when viewing the conduct of the parties over time. trying to figure out what they are up to is a bit like observing the perambulations of very uncomfortable dance partners over a dance floor: though they are inextricably in lock step, the one’s actions premised on the others, their reactions inextricably joined, the cordiality may be very quick in ending, and unpredictable. israel and iran dance along, haltingly and at arm’s length, eyes firmly fixed upon the faces and eyes of the other, each attentive to and acting upon the perceived intent of the other, always ready to reach for the daggers at hand.
so much for the risk analysis from the various sides prior to the “testing” of a weapon over tel aviv.
from this point it gets quite tricky, and again it depends upon the risk to the iranians in pursuing such a plan as opposed to the potential rewards, e.g., the destruction of the state of israel and the annihilation of the jewish people, to the extent possible, in bringing such a plan to fruition and execution, if not full realization.
my own thinking, as should be obvious if i have explained it at all cogently above, is that little risk is entailed to the iranians, in their view, prior to the bomb going off. oh, a few iranians and a little property might be bombed, and some lives lost, if the west can rouse itself to protect itself, but save for the united states that appears unlikely and the united states will have been perceived by the iranians as not having the taste for much once bush is gone, and it appears he will do little as this juncture: he has been “cold” cut, some time ago, in my estimation, and probably in the view of the iranians.
you will also notice i have not factored in an iranian regime change as a prospect in case of a pre-“testing” destruction of their nuclear plant and weapons design/build infrastructure. it does not appear to me much of a consideration for the ayatollahs: they would gladly hand over ahmadinejhad should the plan fail, and i think the ayatollahs are comfortable with the notion that someone will replace them of suitable zeal if they suffer a like fate to that of the little dwarf, or of saddam, for that matter.
the crux of the matter, the central question and the fulcrum of where the iranians analyze the risk versus utility of setting off a nuclear bomb over israel, is how they gauge the world’s reaction if they are successful in doing so. it is a two layered analysis, involving their assessment of how the west in general will react, and gauging what the israeli reaction will be. as to the latter issue, i do not think the israeli reaction is as predictable as might be assumed at first consideration of the issue: one would quite naturally assume that israel would wreak destruction on the middle east, but i am not so sure.
looking to the west, the iranians fear no one in the west, except for the united states.
i do not think they fear the united states with a democratic president and a democratic congress after november, 2008. this assures, in my view, there will be no iranian attack upon israel before then, conventional or nuclear. i believe, with no particular proof, that the warm reception nancy pelosi got in syria and iran on her junket after the mid-term congressional elections was as a result of her telling the middle eastern thugs that they need not fear american intervention after an attack on israel during a democratic administration. we shall see, but i think the deal done.
i also believe, very strongly, that after november 2008 there will be an incredible compression of the time deemed and perceived needed for the iranians to bring a nuclear bomb, or bombs, operational and capable of going “boom” properly once armed and the button pushed: dependability in a bomb does not find its wellsprings in scientific theory, hell, there is not a physicist on the face of the planet who doesn’t know in theory now to build one, … , but, as dwight eisenhower was fond of saying, the devil is in the details, and in this case, the details are in the engineering. and, i do not know how the iranians are going to deliver such a weapon, e.g., if they have a rocket that can lift it off the ground, drive it the hundreds of miles to israel through space and re-entry and come down anywhere close to habitation, and if they can make it go boom at the proper distance off the surface of the earth: after a certain point, the blast effect is markedly reduced the closer to the ground a bomb goes off, and if it went off after being driven several hundreds of feet into the ground, while the results would be spectacularly unpleasant, they would be nothing in comparison to a proper airburst. likewise, towing a bomb into harbor on a barge or on board ship would be destructive, but not as devastating as an airburst.
we shall see.
but, i digress. the point of the analysis is what the iranians think the west might do in retaliation to the fait accompli of exploding a nuclear bomb on israeli land, regardless of how the matter is accomplished.
well, first off, let us ask, who is likely to do anything to iran? the soviet remnant? china? north korea? it is not very likely that any of these entities would do anything.
england? holland? germany? france? italy? greenland? venezuela?
no, the only concern the iranians can have is the united states.
i do not believe that the united states would do anything, save the extremely remote chance that a leader of a strategic air command element might choose to do something on his own volition, ala failsafe or doctor strangelove, or how i learned to love the bomb: not very likely that a slim pickens type who would ride the baby home waving a cowboy hat has gotten by the psychological screening developed over 60 years on babysitting the boomers.
i do not believe the united states would do anything, because we have not committed to doing anything, nor have we prepared to do anything. in short, by not deciding what to do, we have in effect decided to do nothing, if an “unimaginable” situation should ever arise.
we are not prepared to launch a retaliatory strike upon iran, because our military has not developed the supportive doctrine, has not trained for such an attack, and is not now nor will it be mobilizing for such an attack. you may think this frivolous, but tom clancey has not written a book based upon such an event occurring, nor outlining our response to it, so it is my belief that the war colleges and the staffs of the various war colleges have not prepared for such contingencies nor even considered such scenarios, let alone have they actually done the planning and the gaming involved in preparing orders of battle and attack to carry out such a retaliatory attack.
if you think that these things are done spontaneously, or without planning or advanced consideration, then you simply do not understand the game the way she is played. the military has to know exactly what it is to do, before it does it, otherwise we are not engaged in proper warfare, but a brawl, and the united states is not going to enter into a nuclear brawl without having given the notion considerable thought, and there is no indication that we have thought about it very much to this point, at all.
neither are we going to launch a retaliatory strike two years after an event, (and, jesus christ, kill all those innocent people?) nor are we prepared to launch such a strike two minutes after a cloud goes up over tel aviv, nor are we prepared to do so 2 hours later, and we would not have the will to do so two days later. my goodness gracious friends conceive of the clamor not to do so, from all over the world and from all sides.
i believe the iranians assess it this way.
i believe that they have attacked us, and attacked us, and poked us in the rear with sharp sticks, and gouged our eyes, and attacked our ships on the open sea, and killed our troops by helping the insurgents in iraq and afghanistan kill our troops, and have attacked and killed our troops with their own operatives and elite forces, … , repeatedly, … , simply to gauge and assess our reaction, and lack of it: they have attended to trying to understand us as best they can, and they have attended to trying to manipulate our opinion and reaction to these matters as best they can.
our troops and military commanders in the field are the finest, most battle honed, most tactically and strategically formidable in the world, and no force on this earth, regular or irregular or guerilla or terrorist wants to take them on in direct battle: it is a very good way to get killed very dead very permanently very quickly. no one wants to goad the marines into a street fight, or the army into a battle of movement and maneuver over open ground. it is, indeed, suicidal to do either.
but, we can be picked at piecemeal, and outrages inflicted in ways not anticipated and in ways that are not by the book.
destroy a country over a troop getting his head cut off like a lamb at slaughter? not done, not reacted to, because it is inconceivable, and therefore not in the book as battle doctrine.
and, so it will be with a bomb over tel aviv.
folks, i believe that the iranians believe that the worst they will be exposed by way of force reaction to a nuclear attack upon israel by the west is a conventional attack upon iran by the military forces of the united states, and no one else.
i cannot conceive of what the iranians would have to do to rouse the conscience of europe, or the outrage of the united nations, and, quite frankly, at this point, the iranians cannot conceive of what they would have to do to arouse the ire of the u.n. or of europe. they have tried to find out, but they have simply gotten away with every provocation they can think of or attempt. they must be astounded.
and, i believe that iranian assessment is that they would survive, over time, whatever form an american attack might take, up to and including occupation and regime change, as has occurred in iraq. i believe the ayatollahs, and the imams, and the mullahs and the itinerate tent preachers believe this as a matter of faith.
i believe that from the iranian perspective any risk that they might be exposed to from an american attack if more than outweighed by the rewards presented in such a case, the destruction of the jewish state, and the crippling of the psyche of the surviving jewish people and religion for epochs to come.
it is a small risk posed by the united states, even given exploding a nuclear bomb over israel, to gain such rewards as obtained thereby by pan arabia and islam, and in the ayatollahs and imams worth a century’s suffering and abasement to achieve.
we come to the second layer of analysis, from the iranian perspective. in my view, the only serious impediment to the iranian desire and initiative to proceed is the difficulty in assessing the israeli reaction to nuclear attack. the crux of the matter for the iranians is, therefore, will the israelis retaliate with a full scale nuclear response designed to totally destroy iran. anything short of absolute destruction by israel strikes me as an acceptable cost to be sustained by the iranians, in their view. it seems conceivable to me, for instance, that were the iranians to conclude that if they bomb tel aviv with a nuclear weapon the israelis would retaliate simply by bombing teheran with a similar weapon, and naught else, a “proportionate response” in that curious double speak parlance of the diplomat, then this would serve as a positive inducement to iranian attack: they would calculate they could survive the damage and rebuild, whereas they would conclude a nuclear bomb over either tel aviv or jerusalem would destroy israel as a nation, psychologically and spiritually: i think this a proper calculus on the part of the iranians, by the way. no, the only conceivable deterrent to iranian plans to deploy and explode a nuclear weapon over israel would be the probable total destruction of islam. victory is the destruction of israel and the survival of islam, and to sacrifice a city to assure that is not too great a cost to prevent seeking that victory.
let me add a curious observation here, as if talking about such matters were not curious enough, but in an odd sort of a way were israel to retaliate in such a manner instead of launching a wasted earth response, this would probably preclude further reaction by any other entity, including the united states, as they would feel that enough damage were already done. this is a no-sense-in-multiplying-the-horror sort of an argument. i cannot help but say again, were iran to perceive that it could get out of such a nuclear exchange at this level, it would induce them to attack israel with a bomb, as such a level of retaliation would be more than acceptable to them, and would be a welcome cost to carry out their scheme.
in the days of menachem begin such a bold initiative as attempted now by iran would never have occurred, and stark proof of that assertion is that it never did: what, the arabs hated israel less vehemently when the likes of golda meir or begin led the country? nonsense. no, such a scheme if every hatched was never nursed or suckled, because the arabs knew the israeli reaction, and knew the israeli resolve: pan arabia would have ceased to exist.
they are emboldened now, because they measure and perceive the israeli resolve, and that of her quailing and cowardly politicians, to be at ebb so low by comparison as to almost defy believe. they must quite rightfully perceive olmert as a walking sack of dung, totally without resolve, and totally without faith and belief.
the arabs/muslims are fueled by faith and religious fervor, and by the belief in their justification and fate. my guess is that they are ecstatic at the good fortune of being presented with a situation so ripe for the destruction of a hated enemy, and that they cannot believe the good prospects for victory which lies so close to being within their grasp. i see very little in the situation to deter the iranians, and very much in the situation as it obtains to encourage them to proceed as quickly as possible toward their goal. we must understand why they are so buoyed by the prospect of nuclear war, and it is because they think they will come not unscathed from it, but victorious from it upon the scale they anticipate it to be waged, and upon the limited costs they deem they will suffer from it. it is a view foreign to us, but not to islam, which has been beaten from pillory to post the past several hundreds of years, and will take victory on any acceptable costs, even if it looks prohibitive from a western view: the muslims are not western.
again, to look at the iranian view of their adversaries, to understand their fervor, is to understand what it means to them to see such a lack of a complimentary well spring of motivation in their israeli foes: this view must be a tremendous incentive for them. they view the present israeli leaders as cowards and weaklings, becaue not only by their standards but by the standards of any civilized society of men and warriors who ever existed, the israeli leaders are.
the israeli leaders are abject failures by any standards, corrupt, greedy, relativistic and cowardly.
the iranians have to believe in the deepest recesses of their hearts that the israeli leaders, political and military, have not resolved to destroy them in retaliation for a nuclear attack, because they lack the mettle spiritually, morally and intellectually to destroy their enemies as a last gesture of defiance and revenge, even in their personal death throes and in the death throes of their populaces. i do not think they view the israeli political and military leadership as being hard enough to make this kind of decision, to destroy their adversaries as they perish as a last gesture of defiance. i believe, quite firmly, that the iranians perceive the israelis as being too civilized, to bourgeois, to do so.
the iranians have to believe this after witnessing the half measures and indecisions exhibited by this same group of men in the most recent conventional battles, and in the ongoing skirmishes, and in the absolute lack of a military, social and political will to retaliate for the kidnapping and execution and beheadings and desecrations of the bodies of israeli soldiers, and in the resolve to exact revenge for the constant rocket bombardment and suicide bombings of her citizens.
the iranians have pressured the israeli’s for generations, and they find the steel of this generation lacking.
the israeli’s have been found wanting by the iranians in lacking the will to kill, even in a measured way let alone in total wanton abandon and rage in order to protect their lives and their existences, and from this, i believe that the iranians will and do perceive them as not having sufficient moral, intellectual and religious resolved to annihilate their executioners as a last act of vengeance. i believe that the israeli hesitancy to take measure for measure, plus the premium usually exacted in revenge by he who is unjustly attacked, in the last years has signaled to the arabs a weakness of spiritual and religious resolve to exist and conquer at all costs, and that the arabs view this as a weakness which has made the israeli fate a deserved one, from their perspective.
to behave in a civilized manner in response to the attacks of islam is simply to invite, … , it is almost an invitation or license, … , further islamic attack. if we learn anything from this, it should be this lesson.
i do not think the iranians think that the israeli’s will retaliate with nuclear weapons and annihilate them, as they lack resolve to.
i believe that the iranians view this as presenting a sufficient margin of reward to justify the nuclear attack upon israel. they will suffer some harm, and the iranians probably believe they will come under limited nuclear attack, but it will not be the unleashing of the full fury of the israeli nuclear arsenal, and that the iranians calculate that they will survive such an exchange with their society, cities, infrastructure and religion intact, while to israel the nuclear attack will prove fatal as a country.
if this is what the iranians believe, then the rewards of such an attack outweigh the risks.
and, as a result, such an attack will occur.
the methodology, or the capacity of the iranians to deliver such an attack immediately upon the development of one bomb is problematic. but, if that bomb is developed, others will follow, and they will be used. the entire premise of the american & soviet nuclear arsenals, as they developed, lay in the mutual adherence to the theory of mutually assured destruction. the iranians, indeed, no country at this point, can afford the building effort and expense the united states and the soviets went through to build their military arsenals, … ,it bankrupted the soviet union and led to the downfall of a very powerful regime, in amazingly quick order once it started. the society we have built, heavy on infrastructure and manufacture, and high risk business, is not immune from a similar fate, and we shall see how the energy crises and resultant economic recession/depression play out in this country, with our liberal/socialistic/green friends adding fuel to the fire, to mix metaphors to ridiculous degrees. fuel on the fire, so to speak.
the last consideration is the assessment of the israeli’s, really, the assessment of the israeli intelligence community of all of this.
it would appear that this group is the last vestige of intellectual and political vigor left in the country, and they appear to have maintained their vitality and analytical and intelligence skills, evidently quite superior to our own formidable talents in this regard.
the recent adventures in syria point out that their analysts are still damn good, and their thinking and analysis sharp.
again, i harbor the conceit that the israeli intelligence will view this in much the same manner and using much the same disciplines that i have, though to a sophistication i cannot pretend to possess in terms of knowledge of the arab thinking and thinkers, and in terms of familiarity with the israeli political scene and the state of its leadership: it must be truly scary to be an israeli intelligence analyst. but, in a rough hewn sort of way, i don’t think that i am too far off the mark in assessing the situation, and don’t think that i am too far off the mark of the israeli intelligence thinking.
i believe they will have made the same assessment of iranian perceptions and motivations as i have, and will regard the iranian leadership as being made of much sterner stuff indeed, much more spiritually and intellectually zealous and dedicated, and indeed, far more sophisticated geo-politically than their own political and social leadership. one of the great failings of the israeli leadership is its parochial focus: they remind me as nothing so much as local chicago ward healers, grafters, gangsters and tavern habitués, campus leftist intellectuals, trying to play international politics as with a bored indifference as they monitor the income from numbers and prostitution. they are small time hacks who have inherited a system founded on a great vision and zeal and purpose, and who are not in the slightest dedicated to the same vision and goals as the founders of the israeli state, nor in the least bit capable of advancing that vision, … , or, even of preserving it from destruction. hell, I don’t think that they even particularly comprehend let alone feel it. (tommy lasorda, the chubby manager of the los angeles dodgers played, coached and managed in the dodgers organization his whole career, and once asserted that when he bled, he bled dodger blue. menachem begin probably couldn’t have told the difference between a baseball and a tomato, but he would have had no difficulty understanding what tommy lasorda meant. when menachem begin bled, and he bled often, he bled jewish and he bled zion. mr. olmert might read this little parens fluff 20 times without ever comprehending a word of it.)
to any intelligence analysis, there are still the elite military cadres to be considered. there is the israeli air force and the special forces units, small in number and small in extent, but amongst the best trained and ablest troops in the world. the sole remaining questions in my mind, and they must be questions in the minds of those who consider such matters in israel, are whether the military elites are willing and capable to take direction of the israeli government and military, to exert enough influence and persuasion to create an impetus for a preemptive bombardment of iran to stop the development of the bomb, for now, and to build the strategic strength in air power and the ability to develop a mechanized infantry/artillery/army and logistic train to attack iran on the ground, and to take out the iranian capacity from time to time as required in the future.
in short, can they reshape israel to her former prowess as a state of committed jewish civilian warriors. it seems unlikely to me that such a rededication to the spartan ideals and discipline, the mission and and zeal and vision of the kibbutz can happen, given the diluting of the spiritual zeal that founded the state. the economy is a wonder and the country has bloomed, but tending stock portfolios has never bred heroes quite the way as the rigors of the kibbutz bred the kibbutzim. it remains to be seen, but I doubt it.
can these people shape the resolve to use the nuclear option to prevent its use upon israel? who knows? it does seem doubtful, and no indication exists at present that the military will usurp control of the state to preserve it. more is the pity.
this is the final open question.
i simply have no idea how the iranians view it, though i must apply the same inferential and circular logic as used above to this question, and suggest that the very continuance of the iranian adventure to this point by the ayatollahs and the dwarf suggest that they have made the assessment that this last possibility of israel defending herself is very slight, else we would not come to this pass. we simply would not be to this pass were the iranians fearful of this result obtaining, and fearful of the prospect of a military cabal having recourse to atomic weapons, or whether the iranians felt it sufficiently likely as to have discouraged the further continuance of their adventure.
the entire logic of it says war, of a quite devastating nature.
the more the israeli’s quail over a preemptive strike, the more the iranians are emboldened, and the more they commit to the task, and the more risk that they undertake, the greater are the demands that they finalize and go through with their plans. after all, if they get so far down the path, they have to perceive that the risk of attack by israel upon them first becomes so great that the only way it can be alleviated is to carry out their own strike. in addition to the strategic considerations, it seems to me that a certain situational psychology drives this dynamic as well, and that it derives from the sense of validation and a sense of destiny given to a group carrying out such an endeavor that continued success after continued success brings: after a while, every circumstance feels like destiny. nothing fuels the certainty of success like success.
and, as for the israelis, the longer they wait, the more they miscalculate, is to more and more invite attack. at some point, their hesitation militarily almost compels iran to attack them with a nuclear weapon, or weapons (more likely, the word weapon is a convenient metaphor for a developed weapons system). certainly the israelis understand, and feel this, and consequently as we near this point the pressure is almost irresistible for israel to attack first, her own maladroit political behavior having brought the reality of attack so near. israel will attack first, if it can muster the will to preserve itself, if it can master the rhetorician's paradox of killing to preserve life.
if only the israelis would perceive such an attack as the preservation of good in the face of conquest by evil. if only enough of the faith of the jewish tradition coursed through the veins of a thoroughly secularized, corrupt and valueless leadership.
there is a final depressing aspect of all of this, really more depressing than all the other considerations to this point, and it lies in the seeming inability of the parties ever to conclude this internecine conflict, which gets ratcheted into even more lethal realms than heretofore, simply because of an inability of israel and the west to use the force necessary to quell arab/islamic aggressions. this aspect lies in the hesitancy of the united states to deliver a finalizing knockout blow to iran’s nuclear pretensions, and, as discussed above, israel’s inability to do so either tactically or strategically.—
the u.s. can destroy iran’s plants and personnel with relative ease in a conventional manner, but will choose not to, in all likelihood. israel has no such capability.
neither the u.s. nor israel seem very likely to use nuclear weapons to foreclose an iranian nuclear capability.
the u.s. will probably not invade nor occupy iran, at least any time soon, or attempt regime change in iran, the experience in iraq being so fresh, indeed, not yet concluded, as to limit the probabilities of that happening, as it properly should, in my view. the force capable of being mustered by israel is simply insufficient to do so.
what this means is that iran never suffers total devastation, nor defeat serious enough to prevent her from picking herself up from a scuffle, dusting herself off, and starting all over again upon the same adventurous design to attain nuclear weapons. each fresh refusal on the part of the u.s. and israel to deal total destruction upon iran for her transgressions will simply embolden her further.
in effect, and in golfing terms, iran simply gets a continuous string of mulligans off the tee, until she can do it right, develop, deliver, and explode a nuclear bomb over israel. each failure to deal definitively with the problems posed by iran's plans to destroy israel simply increases the odds that the next attempt will be successful.
this is the kind of war of attrition that israel has historically demonstrated tires her, and drains her resolve. israel’s population and politicians have demonstrated a growing reluctance to keep refighting inconclusive wars, which gain her no apparent resolution of the problems she faces. she has weakened, and the public zeal to share in the burden of defense with all other citizens seems to be lessening, because she has forgotten that every fight is for her existence, and that if she does not keep fighting for her existence, solely for that reason alone, she will cease to exist. if israel survives long enough, and begins to perceive, after continuing attacks upon iran destroying iran’s capacity to wage nuclear war only for limited periods until iran rebuilds, (which seems to me the result of solo israeli attacks, as she has neither the tactical nor strategic capacity to take out the iranian plant entirely, or to conquer and occupy), then the desire to use a nuclear attack to settle the matter once and for all will prove irresistible.
in the alternative, should israel prove incapable of such resolve, eventually she will slip into such a sloth of defeatism and despair that the destruction by iranian nuclear attack shall prove inevitable, israel having lost the resolve to defend against it: this attitude will simply whet the iranian appetite, as blood in the water does a sharks.
i view the resolve of islam in these protracted battles over epochs as superior to the west’s, and to israel’s, and i think the west and israel both at spiritual and psychological low ebbs at this point. we simply do not like to fight to internecine conflicts, over and over again.
to my mind, therefore, it is imperative to deal a decisive and devastating blow when we can, else we slide into a situation in which the advantages ceded to our islamic foes by the continuing failure of resolve to end these threats assures our destruction.
in short, if we do not use conventional weaponry in such quantities that will completely destroy iran’s nuclear reactors, her bomb making facilities, her ability to make enriched plutonium, … , etc., then it appears to me that the inevitable consequence at some point is nuclear war, either initiated by iran when capable of doing so and getting away with it destroying israel, or initiated by israel to foreclose her own eventual destruction under a mushroom cloud. if this conflict goes on long enough, it will once again polarize the worlds powers around the center of the conflict, and perhaps pull other countries and regions into a nuclear exchange, from which no one will emerge, period.
this is a situation we cannot allow to develop.
we must fight to win decisively, while we have the opportunity. the sooner, the better, and to end this now.
to do that, israel’s leaders and politicians must return to the wellsprings of their founding fathers, and find the faith and the belief that spiritually and morally and religiously, it is more important that jews kill to exist that to forebear from killing in the interests of preserving muslims.
the united states must realize that our interests in preserving israel are our very own interests in preserving our own values, our own politics, and our own heritage and civilization.
there are only two ways this process does not end in nuclear war. the first is for iran to back away from the fire, to quit stoking the flames, and give up her nuclear pretensions. failing that alternative, the second alternative is for the united states and/or israel to totally destroy iran’s nuclear capability, right down to the last geiger counter: any intermediate effort just causes a new round of hostilities where the risks of the same eventuality are heightened and exacerbated.
neither of these eventualities appears to me likely.
we are rushing toward very dark days indeed, should iran acquire the bomb. she will use it on israel if she gets it, … , she must. to use it is to invite her own destruction of course, but, to not use it is to assure her own destruction. the logic of the matter insists that iran must use the bomb. and, of course, if iran gets away with using the bomb, she will use it on others.
my guess would be that saudia arabia will be the next target. i take no solace in that observation, for confirmation of my view would simply mean the prior destruction of israel.
--john jay, @ 05.29.2008