Bintel Blog

What if Bush Decides To Attack Iran on the Way Out of Office?

By Daniel Treiman

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Ha’aretz’s Ari Shavit poses the following hypothetical:

In November, after Senator Barack Obama becomes president-elect of the United States, outgoing president George W. Bush inflicts a severe blow on Iran. That could take the form of a naval siege, the flexing of American military muscle, or even an all-out air strike targeting Iran’s nuclear program.

Under ordinary circumstances, people would reject out of hand such a wild scenario. The American public does not support the idea of opening a second front in the Middle East, and America’s political, military and intelligence establishments are fearful. A military move, even a semi-military one, carried out by an outgoing president would be unprecedented and illegitimate; it would be perceived as the final insane trumpet call of a thoroughly off-the-wall administration with a committed religious outlook.

He thinks that this scenario may have “little likelihood” of happening, but, he adds, “little likelihood is not zero likelihood.”

The upshot of confronting Iran? Shavit writes:

In the long run, such a wild scenario would be good for Israel just as it would be good for America. A nuclear Iran would endanger Israel’s survival, Middle Eastern stability and the West’s well-being. On the other hand, an Iran deprived of its nuclear weapons would ensure both Israel’s future and a stable Middle East and would allow the West to continue maintaining its values and lifestyle for a considerable period of time.

However, in the short run, this wild scenario is fraught with danger. There could be a serious intelligence blunder; there could be a serious military blunder. In any event, the Iran of the ayatollahs is a power with a religiously committed leadership; it is very clever and powerful. If pushed into a corner, it might prefer to go out with a bang. Nobody today can say for sure what would be the nature and intensity of such a bang.

Hat tip: JTA’s Uriel Heilman, who thinks this scenario ain’t gonna happen.



Comments
J.B. RIFKIN Sat. Jun 7, 2008

WE SHOULD'VE TAKEN OUT IRAN 3 YEARS AGO WITH NUCLEAR ORDINANCE. THIS WOULD'VE SAVED COUNTLESS AMERICAN SERVICEMEN IN IRAQ. THE COUNTRY THAT ATTACKED US ON 9-11-01 HAS GONE SCOT FREE BECAUSE THE CLOSET DEMOCRAT, SAUDI ARAB BOOTLICKER AND POLITICAL ASS HOLE CONSIDERS THEM A FRIEND. ON 9-12-01 WE SHOULD LIQUIDATED THAT COUNTRY AND TAKEN OVER THE OIL FIELDS.SAUDI-ARABIA STAKES ALL THE MOSQUES IN THIS COUNTRY WHICH ARE NOTHING MORE THAN SAFE HOUSES FOR THE MUSLIM TERRORISTS IN OUR MIDST.

Joseph Fri. Jun 13, 2008

The only US president to strike Iran in my lifetime was Carter.

Kevin Farris Mon. Jun 30, 2008

As an American I hope we always side with Israel. Iran is our enemy. The God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob has the whole world in his hands.

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