Part 3: It’s Getting Late
I predicted that the allied democracies would prevaricate and delay, but in 2008-2009 Israel would prepare to act. For them the issue is existential.
John Bolton, more than a year ago: "[Iran] clearly mastered the
enrichment technology now...they're not stopping, they're making
progress and our time is limited." Bolton has recently named the period November '08 to Jan '09 as the likely time to act.
If we think like crime detectives, we can ask if Iran has the motivation, the means, and the opportunity to attack Israel and the US. The motivation is obvious: “Death to America, Israel should be wiped of the face of the Earth, blah, blah, blah”.
Iran is progressing on developing the means.
We all know about ‘Projects’, we’ve all worked on ‘Projects’. They’re not done until they’re completely done. When I was younger, I would declare my projects ‘almost done’ when they were only half done. Maybe you did too. My guess is that Iran will not be very good at completing their nuclear weapon ‘Project’. Ahmadinejad is probably declaring his project almost done when in fact, it’s far from done. Literally, Iran could not build a LADA without help.
The easiest route is to build a gun-type uranium bomb. We know Iran has the plans needed to make one, we've caught them with the blueprints. This is the easiest type of nuke to build. Take two pieces of uranium-235 and fire one piece into the other one so they momentarily fuse. Instantly this large lump of uranium goes critical and makes a nuclear explosion.
The hard part is getting enough refined uranium-235, and that's what Iran is doing with all those centrifuges.
The recent Photoshopped missile debacle opens the question of Iran's missile capability. The fake pictures go back at leas to 2005. Iran is certainly trying to develop reliable ballistic missiles which can reach Israel and Europe. But It is not easy to miniaturize a nuclear bomb to fit into a missile with a one-ton payload.
First you have to make a bomb that works, then you have to test it. This leaves a seismic signature even if it's exploded underground. Then you have to miniaturize it and test it again.
Then you have to make sure the missile will work, and deliver the bomb to the target. Caroline Glick speculates that this would be Tel Aviv, a major commercial city on the Mediterranean coast. I agree. I don't think Iran would blow up Jerusalem.
Then you have to fuel and fire the missile, and avoid the existing anti-missile defenses.
But the big problem is that military satellites are very good at tracking the heat signatures that ballistic missiles produce. The bomb would be tracked back to Iran within minutes. An Israeli counterstrike is almost certain. However Iran may not need a missile delivery system.
Will Iran Have an Opportunity?
If Iran bombs Israel, Israel will retaliate. Iran is not thinking ahead very well. A nuclear exchange would kill about 100,000 Israelis and about 28 million Iranians. Obliterating Israel seems very attractive, but many logical steps have been left out.
It is irrational to expect Iran to be rational. Since when have Iran’s leaders been rational? Rationality is out of character for them.
Iran will continue being irrational, and they will keep on with their nuclear weapon ‘project’ until they are stopped. Ahmadinejad is obviously not very bright, and he’s very emotional. It is completely possible that if he got nuclear weapons he would not know what to do with them except get himself and one-third of his countrymen killed.
More likely, Iran or a proxy group will sneak a large gun-type nuclear weapon into Israel or an Israeli harbor. They could try it without testing it. They could bring it into Tel Aviv harbor on a ship or large boat.
Then they could detonate it and act dumb. Blame it on Al Qaida or someone. Al Qaida would probably be eager to take the credit. That just might work. Each nuclear weapons facility usually leaves unique radioactive nuclear traces, but that might not work in Iran's case because of the secrecy and the collaboration with North Korea, Syria, and Pakistani rogue elements.
Step 1, Disclose the IAEA report
I call on Bush to disclose and publish the report the IAEA recently gave the UN. No nation should be kept ignorant about such critical issues. In democracies the people must have the information they need to make informed political decisions. We have a right to know the evidence that Iran is clearly preparing to become armed with nuclear weapons. Our lives are on the line.
There should be no war without justification, and in the presence of clear and present danger, no democratic people shall be deceived regarding that danger. Bush, cough up those dossiers.
Interim measures have helped. Sanctions and embargoes have helped a lot. They have not only reduced the regimes’ capacity to build WMD, but they have also slowed the economy. Inflation is beyond 25%, and poverty is widespread. This has helped Iranians realize that the Mullahs are not free, and it is they who stand in the way of peace, freedom, prosperity and enlightenment.
Most Iranians do no hate the West, they are pro-American, and rush to embrace Western things.
I also said we have time to think of something, and here are some options right now. Bush and Olmert may have come up with a method to maneuver between the U.S. election, and Israel's problems with doing the attack by themselves.
Bush can't launch a massive bombing attack against Iran. McCain would lose the election, and if Obama wins he is likely to undo all that was done against Iran. Lives would be lost for nothing. Furthermore the job would almost certainly have complex sequelae, including Iran’s attempts to blockade of the straights of Hormuz.
Step 2 Blockade all Iranian imports via the Straights of Hormuz. Oil can go out, but nothing goes in. This will spark an almost instant gasoline crisis that would slow the Iranian economy to a crawl. If that doesn't work, go to step 3.
Step 3 Help Israel Bomb Iran.
I know, I hate war too, Canadians are famous for being nice. But bombing Israel Iran right now will save lives. If Israel does not act soon, 28 million Iranians will probably die later.
Israel could do it with bit of help. Striking Iran would be difficult for Israel because of the need for in-flight refueling of attack aircraft. Israel has an unknown number of long-range F-16's but it will still benefit from help with refueling. The more bombing runs the better, and quicker refueling gets the job done sooner.
The strike must be done in a short time, and it must be devastating against Iran’s nuclear capabilities. It must set the Iranians back at least 10 years, and it cannot cause huge civilian casualties. A pre-emptive nuclear attack by Israel is unlikely, but if nukes are used they will only be usable against remote targets.
I think this is why Bush just visited Europe. He was enlisting help for Israel in their coming attack on Iran. A multi-power strike on Iran would be much more effective militarily and politically than an Israel-only or U.S./Israel initiative. The support powers need not attack Iran, but they will be very helpful in support logistics, especially the airborne tanker problem.
If Iran stops oil export's the US will not suffer much. Only the fools who still trade in Iranian oil will suffer, and that's justice, in my mind. Furthermore a blockade is not as serious as it used to be because there are now pipelines which carry crude oil to the Red Sea. This route bypasses the Persian Gulf entirely. Also, Iran would be shutting down it's own economy. If there is trouble around the Straights of Hormuz, most Americans would support action to reverse that problem.