Charles Krauthammer discusses possible Israeli pre-emptive war with Iran (column, 8-24) without mentioning Israel’s nuclear stockpile estimated (in a national publication) at 75 or more warheads.
If Israel launches a conventional bombing strike at Iran, there are three possible outcomes:
• Most Israeli planes are downed, with limited damage to Iran’s nuclear facilities, some of which are constructed underground.
• Damage by airstrike is considerable, in which case Iran might chance a counterattack, knowing that Israel might escalate to a nuclear strike or the United States might intervene militarily.
• Damage of the initial airstrike is considerable, but Iran decides that discretion is the preferred response and goes to the U.N. as “victim” of “unprovoked aggression.”
If the second alternative happens, then the U.S. would have an immediate decision to make: intervention or possible (probable?) nuclear war.
Perhaps Krauthammer really believes that Israel would restrain itself while 50,000 rockets (his estimate) rained down upon it, but I doubt that.
Israelis have been trying to push the U.S. into war with Iran for at least the past year. Of the presidential candidates of both major parties, only Ron Paul has indicated that a new U.S. pre-emptive war would be out of the question were he president.
Other Republicans seem avid to launch a war, although the Bush administration did nothing of the sort when North Korea was about to join the nuclear club. Public discussion of this critical issue is needed.