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Posted: 12/20/2005 1:20:04 AM EDT


Dec. 15, 2005 13:23 | Updated Dec. 19, 2005 18:29

Rattling the Cage: We can live with a nuclear Iran
By LARRY DERFNER

www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?apage=1&cid=1134309586138&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

If I could choose between living with an Iran that had nuclear weapons and an Iran that didn't, I would choose the latter.

And seeing as how Iran is going about the development of nuclear weapons, if there seemed a good chance that Israel could knock out its nascent capability as safely, or nearly as safely, as the Israel Air Force did with Iraq's in 1981, I'd be in favor of trying this route.

A nuclear Iran is nothing to take lightly. But it doesn't have to drive Israel and Israelis crazy with fear and dread, which is what's happening because of the wrong-headed and at times reckless words of some of our leaders, from Ariel Sharon to Dan Halutz and on through the defense establishment. (Binyamin Netanyahu's campaign promise to destroy Iran's nuclear program was by far the most reckless statement of all, but I wouldn't include it on the list because nobody of sound judgment takes him seriously anymore.)

Even the Defense Ministry's denial of the Sunday Times report that Israel is planning a March attack wasn't very reassuring. There are no such plans "at the moment, in the current phase," said the ministry's Amos Gilad, who added that "it's impossible to say, in advance, that all options will be ruled out."

Put this together with Sharon's repeated warnings that a nuclear Iran is "unacceptable," Halutz's prediction that international diplomacy will fail to prevent it and that afterward "we will have to rely on ourselves," and military intelligence chief Aharon Ze'evi's estimate that the deadline for diplomacy is next March, and the impression is that our leaders are at least thinking seriously about a military strike against Iran, sometime or other.

I have no doubt that a wide majority of Israelis would support it.

The thinking here is that Iran is crazed with Islamic fundamentalist hatred of Israel, crazed enough to nuke Israel even if it meant getting nuked itself. What this means, according to Israeli thinking, is that nothing else matters, no risk is too high - we have to do whatever is necessary to stop Iran from building the Bomb.

The problem is that it looks like there's nothing we can do to stop it. Iran 2005 is a much, much tougher nut to crack than Iraq 1981. Iran's nuclear program is dispersed, some of it is underground - who knows where it all is? In 1981 the Israel Air Force had satellite photos of a few big buildings to bomb; there are no easy maps like that now. Also, we've pretty much lost the element of surprise.

So it seems we're talking about an operation that would probably take more than a few hours, and include sending at least some Israeli soldiers onto Iranian turf. Can Israel get away with even trying something like that? What would Iran's partners Russia and China have to say? What would the US have to say?

I DON'T think it's doable. I think Iran is going to get nuclear weapons. And while I'm not happy about the prospect, I'm not going to have a nightmare over it because Israel, you see, has an answer to a nuclear Iran - more and better nuclear weapons of its own.

It also has more and better chemical and biological weapons than Iran has. And Israel is going to keep on improving its WMD arsenal indefinitely. This is called deterrence, and it works well. It's why Saddam Hussein didn't load his Scuds with WMD when he fired them at Tel Aviv in the 1991 Gulf War; he knew Israel's response would be catastrophic. This is why Israel's other enemies, whether nations or terrorist groups, don't manufacture or buy easily hidden, easily transportable WMD and use them against Israeli targets, even though they'd like to - because Israel's power to strike back is prohibitive.

Lethal power, especially superior lethal power, isn't worthless in this world. It really does affect the actions of national leaders. When this power is lethal enough and superior enough, it can make leaders who talk like they're criminally insane - such as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with his threat to "wipe Israel off the map" - act with sanity and caution.
Stalin was criminally insane at the end of his life when he had the hydrogen bomb; I'm sure he might have liked to use it on the US, but he didn't because it would have meant the destruction of the Soviet Union. The same was true of Mao in China.

America's nuclear deterrence has a perfect record - and so does Israel's. This doesn't mean something can't go wrong in the future, which is why nobody can be indifferent to the specter of a nuclear Iran. But it does mean that so long as Israel maintains its WMD superiority in the Middle East - which it has every intention of doing - then I'd say global warming is just one of the dangers facing this country that's more worrisome than the Iranian nuclear program.

Preemptive military attack is not a strategy for stopping the spread of nuclear weapons anymore; the changes in technology have made it obsolete. Concealing a nuclear start-up is so much easier now than it was in 1981, and it's only going to get easier yet. Throwing fighter jets, commandos and whatnot at Iran is more than risky; it's almost certainly futile, if not altogether impossible. Better for Israel and Israelis to forget about it, and instead meet the Iranian threat by making this country's deterrent power even more intimidating than it already is.

A nuclear Iran isn't a cause for indifference, but neither is it a cause for dread, and certainly not for recklessness. A nuclear Iran is, actually, acceptable. We can live with it. The truth is we've been living here with threats very much like it all along.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 1:36:37 AM EDT
In a limited light he does have some good points.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 2:16:46 AM EDT
We're getting our troops out of Iraq to move them next door.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 2:31:41 AM EDT
... I'm betting Benjamin Netanyahu doesn't agree with this article.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 2:46:18 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Winston_Wolf:
... I'm betting Benjamin Netanyahu doesn't agree with this article.



I suspect that you are correct.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 5:05:54 PM EDT
bump
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 6:30:44 PM EDT
Dunno how well M.A.D. will work if one side thinks they're headed for martyrdom atop that mushroom cloud.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 7:36:08 PM EDT
I fear a fatal and final WWIII is a true possibility soon after the development of an Iranian nuclear bomb. We are dealing with fundementalist nuts who would not hesitate to take a first strike on Israel with the intent of readilly wiping the small country off the face of the Earth. I don't put it past Iran to do the dirty deed themselves, or secretly provide the bomb to the Alquida types also too anxiouis to use it.

Some how, I don't think we would stand by in idle mode during such a horendous act. There's going to be a lot of nervous fingers on red buttons everywhere taking sides.

The problem with destroying Iran's nuclear facility in a preemtive strike is that it is too far for the Israeli jets to reach on a solo mission.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 7:39:19 PM EDT
Living with a Nuclear IRAN is a bit like living with Nuclear RAIN.

Fallout kills.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 7:40:42 PM EDT
You can live with a nuclear Iran-- the problem is that a nuclear Iran cant live with you.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 7:42:59 PM EDT
What part of wipe Israel off the map and the holocaust never happened did he not understand?
Link Posted: 12/21/2005 5:31:40 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/21/2005 5:33:03 PM EDT by glockguy40]

Originally Posted By PsyWarrior:
What part of wipe Israel off the map and the holocaust never happened did he not understand?



What Ahmadinejad (The Iranian president) says makes no difference. He has no power over the military. In Iran, the president is not Commander and Chief of the military. The Supreme Leader, Ali Khemenei, is the Commander and Chief of the military and he has basically told Ahmadinejad to shut the hell up. He's made it clear that he wishes Ahmadinejad to have no real power.... he single handedly cut Ahmadinejad's powers and expanded the power of the Expediency Council, lead by Rafsanjani (Ahmadinejad's political rival). The Iranian leadership is currently battling for power.... and Ahmadinejad's anti-Israel rhetoric is simply a tool to try to create controversy and prevent himself from being sidelined politically. It has very little to do with Israel itself. And the fact that he has been saying what he has been saying only hurts Iran politically in the world.... it does nothing to promote its interests. The rest of the Iranian leadership understands this. Ahmadinejad is desparate to keep himself from being powerless, so he is grasping for straws. Iran will never nuke Israel... for it will be the end of Iran as well if it does.
Link Posted: 12/21/2005 5:50:55 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/21/2005 6:44:08 PM EDT
There are some people on this very board who will jump for joy the day Iran gets a bomb. You know who the fuck you are. But as usual it's up to tougher elements to prevail. Seeing as how Iran could'nt even kick Iraqs ass over 8 years and how WE kicked Iraqs ass militarily in what? 1 week? I think that "pushing back" Irans ability to get the bomb is actually quite doable. However I doubt the US will get directly involved, we're tooo streached out and have no willingness to do it since it's so obvious that in 2003 Iraq was 10 times more dangerous that Iran ever was. So we had to invade Iraq instead. This will have to be for the most part a "circumcision only" operation. The US might permit passive help or Air support but nothing more. People seem to forget that Isreal has Massive intel about Iran. Plenty of "persian" jews who had to flee the "tolerent" islamic revolution went to Isreal and now work in intel. Yeah they speak Farsi and everything! I bet even if Iran has "dispersed" it's refineries the Isrealis know where most of them are. SO i, t-stox the uber-tactician! proporse the following operation- Operation "get the guy who just stepped out of a holiday inn shower"! waddya think? like the name? It will be just like the operation to free the hostages in Uganda!! No pussy footing! No missle fired from 250 miles away crap. They are gonna have to go in and land and engage the ground forces and destroy the refineries that lie under those mountains. Those Iranians can't fight for shit so i guess that once the sites are secured a counterattack can easily be repelled though not indefinatly. Then engineer units are going to have to be brought in to blow the place to Allah! Get in then get out! THe only real problem is with the Iranian Airfarce They'lll have to be taken out and hope they dont launch a punative missle strike against Isreal. As for the international community, some might wag their finger but secretly they will be relieved. Oh and Pakistan will erupt in riots. (as usual)
Link Posted: 12/21/2005 6:52:43 PM EDT
Iran can be 'taken care of' without *acknowledged* boots on the ground...

The question is are we going to give the CIA and DoD the free reign to handle the situation properly...

What Iran needs is a few catestrophic nuclear accidents to 're-orient' their priorities wrt such things....

Link Posted: 12/21/2005 7:05:54 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/21/2005 7:09:37 PM EDT by glockguy40]

Originally Posted By t-stox:
There are some people on this very board who will jump for joy the day Iran gets a bomb. You know who the fuck you are. But as usual it's up to tougher elements to prevail. Seeing as how Iran could'nt even kick Iraqs ass over 8 years and how WE kicked Iraqs ass militarily in what? 1 week? I think that "pushing back" Irans ability to get the bomb is actually quite doable. However I doubt the US will get directly involved, we're tooo streached out and have no willingness to do it since it's so obvious that in 2003 Iraq was 10 times more dangerous that Iran ever was. So we had to invade Iraq instead. This will have to be for the most part a "circumcision only" operation. The US might permit passive help or Air support but nothing more. People seem to forget that Isreal has Massive intel about Iran. Plenty of "persian" jews who had to flee the "tolerent" islamic revolution went to Isreal and now work in intel. Yeah they speak Farsi and everything! I bet even if Iran has "dispersed" it's refineries the Isrealis know where most of them are. SO i, t-stox the uber-tactician! proporse the following operation- Operation "get the guy who just stepped out of a holiday inn shower"! waddya think? like the name? It will be just like the operation to free the hostages in Uganda!! No pussy footing! No missle fired from 250 miles away crap. They are gonna have to go in and land and engage the ground forces and destroy the refineries that lie under those mountains. Those Iranians can't fight for shit so i guess that once the sites are secured a counterattack can easily be repelled though not indefinatly. Then engineer units are going to have to be brought in to blow the place to Allah! Get in then get out! THe only real problem is with the Iranian Airfarce They'lll have to be taken out and hope they dont launch a punative missle strike against Isreal. As for the international community, some might wag their finger but secretly they will be relieved. Oh and Pakistan will erupt in riots. (as usual)



you are delusional if you think any of that will happen. And a tactician you definitely are not.

ETA: Well... I'll give you that the part about Pakistan is true
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