It is my assessment that an attack on Iran's nuclear program would set it back, but not end it. Iran is not Syria. It is bigger, prouder and more confident that it is following God's path for it, as they understand God. It is a theocracy, after all. An attack would be a setback, but the program would resume in time, with the Government and the People even more determined.
I believe Mr Luttack agrees. Here is the last sentence in his article:
In fact, given the probability that an attack could only delay Iran's nuclear efforts by several years, the only one worth considering at all is the small, overnight strike.This question of dealing with Iran is complicated by Iran's promise to wipe Israel off the map. Given the number of pogroms that have been conducted against Jews, this should not be considered an idle threat. That said, I favor the cold war strategy of deterrence via Massive Retaliation. We promise the Iranian Government that we will return them to the stone age if they use nuclear weapons against Israel; if their own people don't throw them out first for their crimes.
The problem is further complicated by the Presidential candidates on both sides, who promise to deal with this issue. All except Ron Paul, who apparently still believes in the concept of nation sovereignty. I am particularly disappointed in Candidate Newt Gingtich in this respect. He is smart enough to think through this issue.
Our political leadership has been failing us on this issue. A classmate of mine, from UMass Lowell, Pat, sent me a link to the latest Pew Poll. Pew says:
Nearly six-in-ten (58%) of Americans say it is important to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, even if it means taking military action.This is not good.
The often asked question is "how much is enough". There are a couple of ways to cut this. For Iran there is the question of how many nuclear weapons Israel has. The estimates range from 75 to 400. A point to keep in mind is that with Israel we are probably talking thermonuclear weapons.
By way of comparison, the US nuclear inventory grew fairly slowly, being 2 in 1945 (plus three expended, two on Japan), 9 in 1946, 13 in 1947 and 50 in 1948.
Then there is the question of what Iran would need. With one nuclear weapon, on Tel Aviv, Iran might be able to kill 100,000 people, Jews and Arabs combined. Fewer if it is a ground-burst, but then more nuclear fallout to the East. To avoid Muslim casualties, smaller weapons would be best, but requiring more weapons. Then there is the question of "counter-force". What would it take to neutralize Israel's retaliation ability.
Not having the "Green Book" in front of me, I am only guessing. A couple of weapons for testing. A dozen weapons for counter-population. A dozen weapons for counter-force. Then a dozen weapons to cow the various neighbors who might take advantage of the Israeli (and US) retaliation that would ensue. A devastated Iran might be relatively easy pickings for Saudi Arabia and others.
Iran faces the fact that it is one thing to use a couple of nucs on a nation without a nuclear capability. It is quite another to go toe to toe with a like armed nation.
Regards — Cliff