Bending the Third Rail
Because We Should, We Can, We Do
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Bush Proxy
One of the arguments that I always made for not going to war with Iraq was that if Iraq was really a threat, why wasn't Israel worried?

Unfortunately that argument doesn't work when it comes to Iran. Clearly Israel is worried:
But the specter of a nuclear-armed Iran has rattled Israel's self-confidence. Its politicians and generals warn of a "second Holocaust" if, as in the 1930s, the world stands by while a heavily armed nation declares war against the Jews.

Spelling out that scenario, Israeli officials have begun an unusually open campaign to muster international political and economic pressures against Iran. They warn that time is growing short and hint that they will resort to force if those pressures fail to prevent Iran's development of an atomic weapon.

Israeli leaders fear that an Iranian bomb would undermine their nation's security even if Tehran never detonated it. That Israel has its own nuclear arsenal would not counteract the psychological and strategic blow, they believe.

Israel began secretly preparing in the early 1990s for a possible air raid on Iran's then-nascent nuclear facilities and has been making oblique public statements about such planning for three years.

What is new is Israel's abandonment of quiet diplomacy to rally others to its side. Until a few months ago, Israeli leaders worried that high-profile lobbying would backfire and provoke accusations that they were trying to drag the United States and its allies into a war.


Israel strongly prefers that the world keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons through crippling, dissuasive economic sanctions, Olmert said. But he added: "We have the right to full freedom of action in defense of our vital interests. We will not hesitate to use it."
Sounds pretty clear. But I found this particularly astounding:
In such an environment [nuclear Iran], many Israelis might flee. A December poll in the newspaper Maariv found that 27% of Israelis would leave or consider leaving if Iran acquired nuclear weapons. Two-thirds of those surveyed said they believed Iran would drop a nuclear weapon on Israel.
That looks like a nuclear Iran is seen as a real existential threat by a significant number of Israeli's, as compared to the trumped up existential threat Americans feel (hey dude, they're going to take away my SUV!!!!)

There is evidence that sanctions on Iran are working, and that further sanctions might work. But I'm not sure if there's the time. Bush believes that only he can have the guts to take on Iran and his time is short. It's my contention that the confluence between the evangelical Bush's belief and Israeli's sense of existential threat may create the perfect environment for an Iranian attack. With the Israeli's lighting the fuse and leading the way, and with AIPAC's enormous influence in Washington, Bush could easily get away with supporting Israel in a war to cripple Iran greatly expanding the middle east conflict.