Jeffrey Goldberg, in the cover story for the new issue of The Atlantic, explores whether Israel would launch military air strikes against Iranian nuclear sites. Speaking to a number of senior U.S. and Israeli officials, he finds "a consensus emerged that there is a better than 50 percent chance that Israel will launch a strike by next July." Goldberg says Israel would be motivated by "the immediate specter of nuclear-weaponized, theologically driven, eliminationist anti-Semitism" that, rooted in "a line of Shia Muslim thinking that views Jews as ritually contaminated," could seek the destruction of the Jewish state. Is he right? Here are the cases for and against.
The Case That Israel Will Bomb Iran
- Only Israel Can Solve Iranian Nukes Israeli blogger Carl writes, "I don't believe Obama is constitutionally capable of waging the kind of all-out war that would be required against Iran. I don't believe he is capable of inflicting the civilian casualties that would be inflicted in such a war. And I don't believe he's capable of doing that where he doesn't see that war as a war for his or his country's existence. And that's where Israel is different because we understand that a war with Iran is an existential necessity for us, no matter how many times Netanyahu tries - in vain - to convince the world that it's not just our problem."
- Obama Hoping for Israeli Strike? Conservative blogger Glenn Reynolds sighs, "I think some people in Washington — and elsewhere — have been letting the Israelis twist in the wind in the hopes that Israel will solve our Iran problems for us, and take the blame. I don’t think these 'leaders' will like the outcome, and if I were the Israelis I wouldn’t be trying too hard to make it pleasant. Irresponsibility can be expensive."
- With 'Weak' U.S., Israel Must Take Lead The American Thinker's Rick Moran writes, "with success, the Israelis will buy time (probably putting the Iranian program back 3-5 years), earn the secret thanks of most of the moderate Arab regimes in the Middle East, and will have stopped potential proliferation to terrorist groups in its tracks. ... This will be the first world crisis since the end of World War II where American power and prestige will not be used to intervene in order to prevent catastrophe. Obama is betting the farm that his worldview will be more conducive to defusing a crisis than the more realpolitik and pragmatic point of view that has dominated American foreign policy for 65 years. We are shortly going to find out whether good intentions really matter in international affairs."
- U.S., Israel, Iran Already Preparing Response Conservative blogger Allahpundit writes, "Pay attention to the part near the end where Goldberg writes about Iran keeping Hezbollah in reserve for a counterattack in case Israel strikes. According to an Arab newspaper, Israel nearly launched a large operation against Lebanon just last week, ostensibly as a reprisal for the recent border incident in which an Israeli soldier was killed. I wonder if there’s more to it than that, though, in light of the Atlantic piece: Clearly, the IDF will want to do something about Hezbollah’s missile cache before making its move on Iran. ... Meanwhile, Obama will have to plan for the risk of Iranian attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan in the wake of an Israeli strike. Whether that means accelerating withdrawal later this year or forcing some sort of change in tactics to better protect troops in the field I’ll leave to military readers to opine on."