Are We Going to War With Iran?

On October 6th, a Pew Poll was released showing 61% of Americans would approve of the use of force to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.  That, by itself, would not have caused me to fear what I now believe is coming.  The United States is on the verge of armed conflict with Iran.

Last week, Stratfor released an alarming analysis of the Iranian nuclear program and cited two, nearly simultaneous “leaks” to newspapers in the U.S. and Britain.  The New York Times reported that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) now believes that Iran is much closer to having the ability to create nuclear weapons than previously thought.  The British newspaper, The Times, reported that the purpose of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s highly publicized secret visit to Moscow on Sept. 7 was to provide the Russians with a list of Russian scientists and engineers known by the Israelis to be working on Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

The UN Security Council has demanded since 2006 that Iran cease all enrichment activity, with little to no effect on the Iran’s behavior. The fact that UN officials will be sent later this month to inspect an enrichment facility at Qom after giving the Iranians over a month to “prepare” the facility is laughable and is typical of the authority wielded by the United Nations.

Benjamin Netanyahu has stated quite emphatically, even before he became Prime Minister, that Israel could not and would not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon.  Knowing that if Israel were to strike Iran, the Iranian surrogate terror organizations Hamas and Hezbollah would most certainly attack Israel, Netanyahu does not feel there is any choice.   Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has made clear since he first took office that it is the intention of his regime to wipe Israel off the map.  Nuclear weapons coupled with missiles with the range to deliver those weapons makes Iran a serious threat to everyone in Israel.

Given the geography of the region, it would be virtually impossible for Israel to launch an attack of the size that would be needed to knock out the Iranian nuclear program without U.S. knowledge.  Former Security Advisor under Jimmy Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski  recently stated in an interview with The Daily Beast that the U.S. should consider doing whatever is necessary including shooting down Israeli aircraft to prevent that attack from taking place.  Even if the Israelis could manage to attack Iran without the U.S. knowing, it would appear as if we knew to the rest of the region and the world anyway.

Then there is the problem of what to do if the Israelis attack.  Do they have the capability of launching a single wave capable of taking down the entire Iranian nuclear program.  Not likely.  If they do not take out all of those facilities, plus the missile facilities and many of her airfields, will the Iranians respond with attacks of their own?  Quite likely.  Will there be U.S. targets in that response.  Quite likely.  Even worse, the Iranians will most likely attempt to close the Straight of Hormuz probably beginning the moment Israeli aircraft are detected in Iranian airspace. 

The United States simply cannot and will not allow that to happen.  So there you go.  In order to stop Iran from mining the Straight, we need to attack their naval facilities and the sooner the better.  Presuming we know when the attack is coming, it would be a better strategic move for the U.S. to help them…or even do it for them.

The argument that the U.S. cannot fight a war with Iran because we are bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan does not apply, nor does the argument that our forces are exhausted from the fighting in those countries.  The nature of war that would be fought in Iran will be with missiles and aircraft.  Except for some possible special forces units, there would be no need for troops on the ground.  The war would not be fought to take over the country or even to defeat the enemy on the ground.  The two primary goals would be to keep Iran from a nuclear strike capability, eliminate the missile threat to Israel and others from Iran and to keep the Straight of Hormuz open for shipping.  All of these goals could be accomplished by naval and air forces.  We might hope for a resulting regime change, but it is not even in the top couple of priority positions.

I have delayed publishing this article while I tried to think of a way President Obama might avoid going to war with Iran.  I suspect this may be the “test” Joe Biden referred to during the campaign.  I have a feeling that President Bush and his intelligence team already knew that this was not only likely, but inevitable.  By the time of Biden’s statement, the candidates were receiving intelligence briefings and it is possible that this subject may have been covered.  Biden may have known anyway due to his position on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  I frankly have not figured a way to avoid war with Iran unless we stop Israel from launching their own attack.

I can only hope our leaders can find the way that I have not thought of.  War with Iran would be a disaster for our nation.  While I don’t believe that our military would be defeated, I believe this war, at this time, would be a critical mistake. 

But then you must remember the mantra of this administration, “You don’t ever want a crisis to go to waste; it’s an opportunity to do important things that you would otherwise avoid.”

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