Today, the Wall Street Journal reported that Israeli security officials are “divided” over whether they need permission from the U.S. should Israel decide to attack Iran over its nuclear program. The Israelis fear that if new sanctions on Iran fail, “the Israeli and American positions on Iran could rapidly diverge — and Israel, if it chooses to attack Iran, would have no choice but to do so on its own.”
While top U.S. officials have been reluctant to focus on a military strike against Iran, let alone endorse an Israeli one, Fox News war hawk John Bolton said last night on the network’s business channel that the U.S should actually “be helping Israel if they’re making a decision that they might use military force against Iran.” However, on the O’Reilly Factor, another reliable Fox News armchair warrior Charles Krauthammer actually acknowledged that attacking Iran could prove pointless:
KRAUTHAMMER: Do we have enough intelligence? Do we know where their stuff is hidden? They have spoken about a second uranium enrichment place. Do they have others? And, also, how deeply buried and how hardened are the targets? Because unless we know if we have access with our equipment, our bombs, they may be ineffective. I think they have got to make assessment on the current intelligence which appears to us, at least on the outside, rather weak.
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Krauthammer is right. There is a strong possibility that bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities would be completely “ineffective” at eliminating its program, because, as the New York Times reported in January, “Iran has quietly hidden an increasingly large part of its atomic complex in networks of tunnels and bunkers” which has “shielded its infrastructure from military attack in warrens of dense rock” and has “obscured the scale and nature of its notoriously opaque nuclear effort.”
Moreover, bombing will most likely incentivize the Iranian leadership to withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty and accelerate its nuclear program toward weaponization. An attack would not only unify the country around the regime but also, as Defense Secretary Robert Gates said last year, “cement their determination to have a nuclear program, and also build into the whole country an undying hatred of whoever hits them.” “Even a military attack will only buy us time and send the program deeper and more covert,” Gates has said.