Charles Krauthammer (column, 8-31) presents a good case for Israel being concerned about presumed Iranian nuclear weapon ambitions, but is less than convincing that it would be advantageous to Israel to launch an air attack on existing nuclear facilities, some of which are underground.
Any attack on Iran by a nuclear power (which Israel is) would tend to justify Iran’s need for nuclear weapons. Secondly, doesn’t it appear from statements by Iranian officials in regard to Israel that Iran is trying to goad Israel into attacking?
Similarly, in making public statements about “progress” and intentions to reconstruct surface nuclear facilities underground, aren’t Iranians essentially telling Israel, “You better act quickly if you want to stop us”?
Rightly or wrongly, Iranians do not appear to be concerned with an Israeli attack. Might their air defenses actually be as good as the Iranians appear to believe them to be? Is there any real chance that an air attack alone (without “boots on the ground”) could effectively and significantly delay development of an Iranian nuclear weapons industry, if that is the Iranians’ aim?
If an Israeli initial attack is largely or wholly unsuccessful, might Israel then resort to use of nuclear weapons?
And, finally, what should be the U.S. government policy in regard to all this? My own guess is that current economic sanctions on Iran are hurting more than any non-nuclear Israeli air attack is likely to.