The question is when.
Some have tried to toy with the word, ‘if’… but, no. It really is all about ‘when’.
“What about the U.S.,” you ask?
Well, someone recently mentioned that America hasn’t really won a war since World War II. That’s a little harsh, but there is a lot truth to that statement. America tends to do too little too late, and the price for that is paid in lives – other people’s lives.
Israel does not, and cannot, allow America come to the rescue with her customary lateness. Millions of Israeli lives are at stake. Of course, it’s nice to know that Americans will feel really, really bad that they didn’t step in soon enough to protect Israel – after two million, or maybe all, Israelis are massacred.
So, while Israel may want the United States to take the lead in the effort to stop Iran’s nuclear weapons development, Israel knows that, in the end, it will probably have to act alone. The question is how they will act.
Because the US has forced Israel to delay and delay, Iran’s nuclear weapons program has become a harder and harder target to neutralize. To me, there seems to be just three possible options. Israel could:
- Mount a concentrated conventional bombing campaign, and when it was over HOPE that they got everything.
- Send in elite combat units on a suicide mission to attack these facilities on the ground, to make sure that everything that could produce a nuclear weapon was destroyed. (Israel’s elite paratroopers recently participated in the first brigade size parachute jump in 15 years. Funny coincidence, right?)
- Try something that would work, while horrifying the rest of the world.
Here’s a quote from the New York Times that you might have missed:
They [Iran] are holding the fissile material at sites across the country, most notably at the Fordo facility, near the holy city Qom, in a bunker that Israeli intelligence estimates is 220 feet deep, beyond the reach of even the most advanced bunker-busting bombs possessed by the United States.
Iran’s nuclear weapons development is going deeper and deeper underground. Can conventional bombs take out these hardened facilities?
It doesn’t look like it, and Israeli strategic planners know that they won’t get a second chance at this.
So, it looks increasingly likely that Israel will have to use nuclear weapons. Of course, Israel will do her best to make sure that there will be as little fallout as possible, but a little fallout is still fallout – and the world will howl for Israel’s destruction.
And, we will only have ourselves to blame. We forced Israel to delay and delay until nuclear weapons were the only answer.
However, the US government doesn’t care whether Israel lives or dies. It has loftier ideals than saving a handful of Jews in a tiny country that you can barely see on a map. From the same article that I quoted above, here’s an example of that attitude:
In June 2007, I met with a former director of the Mossad, Meir Amit, who handed me a document stamped, “Top secret, for your eyes only.” Amit wanted to demonstrate the complexity of the relations between the United States and Israel, especially when it comes to Israeli military operations in the Middle East that could significantly impact American interests in the region.
Almost 45 years ago, on May 25, 1967, in the midst of the international crisis that precipitated the Six-Day War, Amit, then head of the Mossad, summoned John Hadden, the C.I.A. chief in Tel Aviv, to an urgent meeting at his home. The meeting took place against the background of the mounting tensions in the Middle East, the concentration of a massive Egyptian force in the Sinai Peninsula, the closing of the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping and the threats by President Gamal Abdel Nasser to destroy the State of Israel.
In what he later described as “the most difficult meeting I have ever had with a representative of a foreign intelligence service,” Amit laid out Israel’s arguments for attacking Egypt. The conversation between them, which was transcribed in the document Amit passed on to me, went as follows:
Amit: “We are approaching a turning point that is more important for you than it is for us. After all, you people know everything. We are in a grave situation, and I believe we have reached it, because we have not acted yet. . . . Personally, I am sorry that we did not react immediately. It is possible that we may have broken some rules if we had, but the outcome would have been to your benefit. I was in favor of acting. We should have struck before the build-up.”
Hadden: “That would have brought Russia and the United States against you.”
Amit: “You are wrong. . . . We have now reached a new stage, after the expulsion of the U.N. inspectors. You should know that it’s your problem, not ours.”
Hadden: “Help us by giving us a good reason to come in on your side. Get them to fire at something, a ship, for example.”
Amit: “That is not the point.”
Hadden: “If you attack, the United States will land forces to help the attacked state protect itself.”
Amit: “I can’t believe what I am hearing.”
Hadden: “Do not surprise us.”
Amit: “Surprise is one of the secrets of success.”
Hadden: “I don’t know what the significance of American aid is for you.”
Amit: “It isn’t aid for us, it is for yourselves.”
What utter fools. I can tell you that this kind of disgusting idiocy is everywhere in the US government.
Worse, time really is running out. Here’s yet another quote:
At that point Barak leaned forward and said with the utmost solemnity: “And if a nuclear Iran covets and occupies some gulf state, who will liberate it? The bottom line is that we must deal with the problem now.”
He warned that no more than one year remains to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weaponry. This is because it is close to entering its “immunity zone” — a term coined by Barak that refers to the point when Iran’s accumulated know-how, raw materials, experience and equipment (as well as the distribution of materials among its underground facilities) — will be such that an attack could not derail the nuclear project. Israel estimates that Iran’s nuclear program is about nine months away from being able to withstand an Israeli attack; America, with its superior firepower, has a time frame of 15 months. In either case, they are presented with a very narrow window of opportunity. One very senior Israeli security source told me: “The Americans tell us there is time, and we tell them that they only have about six to nine months more than we do and that therefore the sanctions have to be brought to a culmination now, in order to exhaust that track.”
It is truly amazing to me how we have allowed this to happen and pressured into inaction the one country with the brains and courage to handle the situation.
God help us all.