Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Two very bad headlines 

Israeli officials say Syria gives Hezbollah Scuds
JERUSALEM – Israeli defense officials said Wednesday they believe Hezbollah has Scud missiles that could hit all of Israel, a day after Israel's president accused Syria of supplying the Lebanese guerrillas with the weapons for the first time.

Israeli officials say the introduction of Scuds could alter the strategic balance with Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed militia that battled Israel to a stalemate during a monthlong war in 2006.

President Shimon Peres, speaking in Paris, charged that Syria is playing a double game, talking about peace, while "it is delivering Scuds to Hezbollah to threaten Israel," according to a statement from his office.

US officials: Iran could be a year away from bomb
WASHINGTON – Iran could amass enough nuclear material to build a bomb in about a year and with help might eventually be able to field a missile powerful enough to reach the United States, senior military and intelligence officials said Wednesday.

Four top representatives of the Obama administration told Congress they are pursuing new sanctions on Iran urgently and add that a military strike has not been ruled out.

President Barack Obama has said he won't "take any options off the table with respect to Iran," Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy said. "Now, that means to me that military options remain on the table."
Double Ugh.

I hope that the Israelis will have a really good anti-missile system in place, and that the United States will, too. Not just good, actually, but perfect, if there is such a thing.


By Blogger Kinuachdrach, at Wed Apr 14, 08:36:00 PM:

Escort -- this is the wages of wishful thinking. And looks like you have been bitten hard by the bug.

The only historically-proven way to deal with these kind of threats is with the potential of pro-active force, not with a re-active shield.

You don't give the bad guys the freedom to choose where & when to hit you. You make them sufficiently afraid of the threat of your overwhelming pre-emptive strike that they decide to stay out your way.

Both the Israelis and the Americans have indulged their softer side. And so conflict will inevitably come, and human beings will die. More blood on the hands of those bleeding hearts.  

By Blogger clint, at Wed Apr 14, 09:52:00 PM:

There's no such thing as a perfect defense.

Deterrence sometimes works, though.

For me, I'd like to see the Israelis state openly that the day a Hezbollah scud blows up in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, the Israeli military will respond by leveling every single building in Damascus.

I'd love to see them wax rhapsodic about how the United States has shown them the way to fight terror. How we responded to an attack on Manhattan by a dozen Saudi terrorists not by tightening restrictions on flight schools, but by attacking Al Qaeda's state sponsor, overthrowing Afghanistan's ruling Taliban.

Then again, I'm not the one who would have to deal with the wrath of the current U.S. state department at such a sensible policy.  

By Blogger MTF, at Wed Apr 14, 10:06:00 PM:

I congratulate Escort on a very succinct post, describing our problem perfectly. The only point left unmade is that our leaders intend to do nothing, and rely on the empty hope our problem will somehow just go away.  

By Blogger Escort81, at Thu Apr 15, 12:18:00 AM:

Kinuachdrach - I think we are on the same page, actually. I believe that I have consistently advocated on this blog a "forward-leaning" foreign policy, both in terms of diplomacy and military strategy and tactics.

There is no such thing, right now, as a perfect ABM system, so there was some intended snarkiness there that did not shine through.

What the Israelis do is of course up to the current leadership there, but most reasonable observers in this country would not expect the Obama administration to take any type of decisive military action against Iran to stop the Mullahs from acquiring nukes and the means to deliver them. The Bush administration was faced with similar but somewhat less urgent issues and did not use the military option, and evidently discouraged the Israelis to do so, as well. It's hard to say what the last administration would do now if it was still in power.

Guessing how minds think in D.C., everyone is probably hoping that continued economic and political pressure might lead to another uprising, this time toppling the regime.  

By Blogger Popsdacook, at Thu Apr 15, 01:56:00 AM:

Israel shouldn't even have to use their Patriot anti-missile defense system.
They proved their abilities with the raid in Iraq, and they should do it again in Iran...except this time they should leave their own mushroom cloud.
I'm pretty sure most of the Muslim world wouldn't miss the little twerp anyway.  

By Blogger Neil Sinhababu, at Thu Apr 15, 02:46:00 AM:

Iran is always within five years of having nuclear weapons. Back in 1992, they were actually within a year of having nuclear weapons! I wouldn't be surprised if in 2025, they're still within a couple years of having nuclear weapons.

These folks at CATO have the history. Basically, we've been awash in panicky Iran-about-to-go-nuclear stories for the last 20 years.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Apr 15, 05:10:00 AM:


That is a helpful and enlightening link. It does highlight the poor visibility our intelligence services have into Iran (of course 9/11 proved that Iran is not the only area where their visibility is poor).

What you didn't mention is that the CATO author then goes on to say "But I think we can all agree that we are severely underestimating Iran’s capability."  

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By Anonymous What is to be done, at Thu Apr 15, 10:10:00 AM:

MAD worked with the Soviets, why not with Israel vs Iran. Whoever is really running Iran needs to knows that Tehran will be leveled and that they will too -- wherever they're hiding out -- in retaliation for any attack by Iran.

A pre-emptive attack by Israel is what the crazies in Iran want, Putin too.

Nukes are over-rated as weapons -- except in the strategic MAD sense. Your delivery mechanism of same is a big constraint. Iran isn't close to being effective.
Terrorist dirty bombs worry me more.

What am I missing?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Apr 15, 10:32:00 AM:

To me, the puzzling think about this issue is why there are not daily demonstrations in US cities demanding that the US support Israel.  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Thu Apr 15, 02:37:00 PM:

"What am I missing?"

A truck can be a delivery system. A cargo ship. A submarine. An airliner. A train car. A yacht.

The development and perfection of asymmetrical warfare techniques has rendered old weaponry newly effective, or invented new weapons. A small band of lightly armed people who would be utterly destroyed on a battlefield can massacre a hotel full of people and bring two nation states to the brink of war. 20 people with freaking box cutters and some airline tickets can alter the global geopolitical system.

Thinking of nuclear weapons only in their old, Cold War, strategic deterrent sense is backwards-looking and dangerous. They don't have to be attached to missiles to go off.  

By Anonymous What is to be done, at Thu Apr 15, 03:03:00 PM:

"They don't have to be attached to missiles to go off."

They don't even have to be a bomb, not in the Little Boy - Fat Man sense. A dirty bomb can be just as effective, can be created more easily, and can be delivered more easily and with less "fingerprints." The MAD defense doesn't necessarily work against it.

So, I don't know how much we're disagreeing. If I were an Israeli, the threat of a Cold War A-bomb delivered by Iranian missile wouldn't top my list of worries. If Iran really wanted to destroy Israel there are sneakier, easier ways to work to that end.

I'm intrigued by thorium reactors. I don't know why we're not going balls out on exploring use. My assumption is that thorium waste is less of a proliferation issue.  

By Blogger Gary Rosen, at Fri Apr 16, 03:28:00 AM:

"Iran is always within five years of having nuclear weapons. Back in 1992, they were actually within a year of having nuclear weapons! I wouldn't be surprised if in 2025, they're still within a couple years of having nuclear weapons."

Funny how when da Jooos are the target all of a sudden the left is blithely unconcerned about nuclear proliferation.  

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