Attacking Iran’s nuclear program could destroy Israel, kill American soldiers

Many folks don’t know that The Forward editor Larry Cohler-Esses lived in Iran for five years and speaks fluent Farsi. So when he and Nathan Guttman report on a new and most comprehensive analysis by one of the leading mideast military strategists and a former advisor to the King of Jordan which spells catastrophe for an Israeli military strike against Iran, we sit up and listen.

The heart of the 114-page report spells the costs: a crippling rate of aircraft attrition, the opening of renewed all-out war by Arab-Muslim states against not just Israel but the United States’ personnel, and the weakness of Israel to defend against the number of hostile rockets likely to be used in retaliation.

Their March 14 study notes that these defenses may include a deadly, ultra-sophisticated Russian anti-aircraft system that could down 20% to 30% of Israel’s attack aircraft — “a loss Israel would hardly accept in paying.” They note reports that Russia has secretly supplied Iran with this system, the SA-12 Gladiator/Giant. Also, even a successful Israeli attack on these three sites could prove futile, they warn, if Iran maintains secret facilities for uranium enrichment, as some suspect.

Meanwhile, in the event of an attack, Iran and its Shi’ite allies in neighboring countries would launch retaliatory attacks against Israel, American military forces in Iraq, and Western interests regionwide, Cordesman and Toukan suggest. They predict that these attacks would include ballistic missiles — including some with chemical, biological and radiological warheads — targeting “Tel-Aviv, Israeli military and civilian centers and Israeli suspected nuclear weapons sites.” Israel’s air defenses would not be adequate to counter the tens of thousands of missiles likely, they add.

The report notes that Iran has taken steps to not repeat Iraq’s mistake in putting all its nuclear eggs in one facility. Repeated strikes against underground bunkers still may not set back the country but a few years. Israel relies on Egypt and Jordan to triage with the Palestinians, negotiating for Gilad Shalit and ceasefires with Hamas through them. The Arab League offered Israel universal recognition and diplomatic ties in its 2006 peace proposal. In effect, pushing the nuclear horizon out a few years but pushing Israel back to 1967 in all-out Arab War.

I want our homegrown Iran-baiters to consider this heavily: An Israeli attack risks the lives of American personnel in Iraq, Afganistan and elsewhere. I, as an American, cannot condone this. My father was in the US Army for the first 14 years of my life. If he were presently serving, he’d be on his third tour in Iraq (like some of my high school friends are). To be killed because of Bush’s stupidity is bad enough. But to be killed because of the recklessness of a supposed ally like Israel would be infuriating. I cannot say that Israel’s warm standing in America would survive.

And I agree with Israeli military experts like Reuven Pedatzur, quoted at the end of the report, who say that Israel needs to accept the coming day of nuclear Iran and bolster its deterrance occordingly. “The key, of course, is deterrence. Only a clear and credible signal to the Iranians, indicating the terrible price they will pay for attempting a nuclear strike against Israel, will prevent them from using their missiles.”

The military option is no option. It’s suicide for Israel and deadly for Americans.

12 Responses to “Attacking Iran’s nuclear program could destroy Israel, kill American soldiers”

  1. What would be the point of bombing civilian, intensively IAEA-monitored sites that verifiably produce only low-enriched uranium which *cannot* be used to make bombs?


    hass · June 3rd, 2009 at 11:41 am
  2. It’s a shame that Israel has voted in a group of religous freaks into their government. The holocaust scardy cat decision’s that these people make create their own paranoia.
    Now if you had a govenment that can MAN UP to 1967 maybe you would find a better victory by being to sleep easy rather than knowing that you are doing wrong in East Jerusalem and know they will come. Israel knows they are in the wrong it is arrogance that will be their demise ! Maybe it would be better for Israel to attack Iran and get wiped off the map. Maybe Iran already has a nuclear weapon ? I do know one thing for sure, you will never see a more viscious unrelenting warrior as in the Iranian one they wake up !


    GDP · June 3rd, 2009 at 2:35 pm
  3. I want our homegrown Iran-baiters to consider this heavily

    I want our homegrown Arabists and Persianists to at least admit that it will be an awful day when the Iranians complete their first nuclear weapon, a day that will plunge the region further into disaster….indulge us war-mongering zombies just this once


    Jonathan1 · June 3rd, 2009 at 8:00 pm
  4. Jonathan1-
    If Iran builds a nuclear bomb and is not attacked by anybody, how exactly will it plunge the region into disaster? Are we to admit that nuclear weapons in general are a danger to the region? Or is it just when Iran has them that it’s a problem? And if we are opposed to Israel attacking Iran, that makes us “Persianist”?


    Justin · June 3rd, 2009 at 11:57 pm
  5. That nuclear weapons were ever invented is a travesty. Who is disputing this?

    Once Iran develops nuclear weapons, there will be an arms race, in the Arab world, to acquire nuclear weapons to counerbalance Iran (because the West clearly will not intervene per the Iran example)– so it might not be very long until Egypt, the Saudis, Syria, and others also develop nuclear capabilities.

    Is it inconceivable that some of these regimes will eventually fall to Islamic revolution? So, it’s not so hard to imagine a Muslim-Brotherhood-style government in Egypt, nuclear armed.

    Even more, once Iran goes nuclear, its regime will be strengthened greatly. That means less of a chance for reform there–less free speech, less open and fair elections, more political prisoners, more support for Hizbollah in Lebanon and probably Hamas in the territories, more Iranian influence in Iraq.

    Personally, I don’t think this situation will be so cheeful.

    The term “Arabist” means someone (normally from outside the Arabic-speaking world) who specialises in the study of the Arabic language and Arab culture, and often Arabic literature. I was making a play on words by using “Persianist,” which I don’t think is actually a word. Maybe Miri knows (she seems to know everything else.) I’m sure KFJ is a big boy, who can take a bit of the kind of ribbing of which he dispenses.

    If you’re implying that the region would be better off without Israeli nuclear weapons I would agree in that the world as a whole would be better off without nuclear weapons. But does that seem likely any time soon? We know for sure that Israel didn’t use nuclear weapons in ’73 and, apparently, sent a signal to Mr. Huessien in ’91 that any chemical/biological attack (of which he had a history) would be met with a nuclear response. There were no such attacks, B’H.

    Is there not a difference between opposing a military attack against Iran and being almost glib that Israel admittedly won’t be able to stop an Iranian nuclear bomb? (not that KFJ necessarily comes across that way here, but others have, IMHO.)


    Jonathan1 · June 4th, 2009 at 12:19 am
  6. it seems to me that iran will not hesitate to use nuke on israel once it got it.


    tine · June 4th, 2009 at 12:38 am
  7. What is the point of attacking Iran? If Israel, US,UK,Germany, France, India, China, Japan, Russia, Pakistan , North Korea probably some other already have thousands of nuclear weapons? Is this fair? While US has a record of using atom bomb no country has, then US and its allies should be stopped first and asked to destroy their weapons before attacking iran.


    Tujeok · June 4th, 2009 at 4:12 am
  8. The Arab League offered Israel universal recognition and diplomatic ties in its 2006 peace proposal. In effect, pushing the nuclear horizon out a few years but pushing Israel back to 1967 in all-out Arab War.

    Iran will suspend its nuclear program if there is an Israeli-Palestinian agreement? Why?

    Are they developing nuclear technology because of the occupation in the territories? And, if the Iranian nuclear issue is resolved (don’t worry, it won’t be, they’re about to get the bomb, and we can all sleep easier,) somehow the Israeli-Palestinian dispute will be solved quickly? Who developed this unorthodox theory?
    It makes no sence.

    And, universal recognition isn’t such a carrot, btw. We don’t need the Emir of Kuwait’s “recognition” to know that we exist.


    Jonathan1 · June 4th, 2009 at 9:27 am
  9. I don’t understand that why is it a big deal if Iran get Nuclear weapons. Israel does so Iran should have them as Israel is the one threatening them of the strikes.

    This is unacceptable that Israel bomb every other nation in Middle east and still play victim enough of our support to this apartheid Israel.

    First we should denuclearize Israel.


    John · June 4th, 2009 at 4:17 pm
  10. I think Rep. Ackerman (D-NY) explained it most eloquently today. (Ackerman is chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, cheif AIPAC posterboy there, and is more or less the head Representative on the Israel issue.)

    To bring together the kind of unified international pressure that stands a chance of pushing Iran to back down from its nuclear ambitions and its subversive activity, the United States needs to demonstrate it is capable of resolving conflict and providing regional security. And for the states in the Middle East, that means normalizing relations with Israel and the end of the Arab-Israeli conflict. It means statehood for the Palestinians and it means, at long last, real peace and real security for Israel.

    The priority has to be on stopping Iran. And all terrorism. Whatever detracts from that goal has to be subordinated.

    The growth of Israeli settlements, unfortunately, detracts from the goal. Palestinian violence destroys the goal. Stopping settlement construction won’t turn off a single Iranian centrifuge, it’s true. But it will demonstrate that the United States is driving the political agenda in the region and is serious about peace. That fact will help shore up the moderate Arab states-some of whom are weak, some of whom have been wavering-reinforce American leadership with our allies in Europe, and give hope to both Israelis and Palestinians that peace, not merely a peace process is in the offing.

    Nobody is saying for each settlement removed, Iran stoppes a centrifuge. That’s a straw man you can keep beating to death only if you want to look silly.

    We are saying that the strongest way to reduce Iran’s power (and lots of other extremist powerbases) is to pull out their teeth: their ability to incite through the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


    Kung Fu Jew · June 4th, 2009 at 6:16 pm
  11. Fair enough.


    Jonathan1 · June 4th, 2009 at 6:29 pm
  12. Fair enough, KFJ.


    Jonathan1 · June 5th, 2009 at 12:21 am

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"I may attack a certain point of view which I consider false, but I will never attack a person who preaches it. I have always a high regard for the individual who is honest and moral, even when I am not in agreement with him. Such a relation is in accord with the concept of kavod habriyot, for beloved is man for he is created in the image of God." —Rav Joseph Soloveitchik