So the generals are brewing, and the veterans are getting restive. Nine months after Obama’s inauguration, according to the Times, the military establishment is beginning to lose its patience with a president who has yet to commit to a coherent plan for Afghanistan.

Needless to say, Obama’s delay isn’t for lack of information, much less analysis. Last spring he sent an A-Team of military strategists and counter-insurgency experts to comb the Afghan countryside, while more recently it’s been a rare day that the editorial pages of the Washington Post, the New York Times or the LA Times have failed to roll out yet another version of What To Do.

So why then can’t Obama commit?

There’s no knowing for sure, but I doubt it’s simply a matter of cold feet. More likely it has to do with the game of nuclear chicken currently being played by Israel and Iran.

To see what I mean, just consider the following transcript. My guess is it’s fairly close to what’s passing for polite conversation in the Situation Room these days.

President Obama: So, Bob, what are we waiting for? I’m getting hammered on health care, Geithner has his head up Goldman’s ass, now I’m taking flak on Afghanistan. What the hell is taking so long?

Secretary Gates: Israel, Mr. President. We’re not sure if they’re going to take out Qom, much less Natanz, and we can’t commit to Afghanistan until we know for certain.

President Obama: What do you mean we’re not sure? Everyone knows Israel is crazy. Of course they’re going to bomb Iran.

Vice President Biden (shaking his head): Barry, I love you, but come on. Get with the game here. The question isn’t whether Israel is crazy. It’s whether they’re batshit crazy. Bob wasn’t referring to the nuclear site at Natanz, he was referring to the whole damn city.

President Obama: Bob-?

Secretary Gates: He’s right, Mr. President. As I’ve said before, a conventional military strike, no matter how extensive, would only set the clock back a few years. A nuclear strike is the only way guaranteed to permanently disable Iran’s nuclear program.

President Obama: So are you telling me Israel is seriously considering a nuclear attack on Iran?

National Security Advisor Gen. Jones: Sir, we have to assume they are. Israel is dead serious about preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, and they know as well as we do that that’s the only sure way.

President Obama: But would Israel really risk the backlash?

Chief of Staff Emanuel: Risk? Mr. President, you’ve got to be f*cking kidding me. The entire Israeli defense establishment is predicated on risk. Just look at Sharon. What do you think his career signaled to the IDF officer corps? To lay off, act cautiously? Please. If the IDF pulls off this strike, they’ll be treated as national heroes.

President Obama: So the political fallout isn’t a deterrent.

Secretary Gates: Not for Israel. Presumably they’d have to deal with more rockets from Hizbollah and Hamas, and a few dozen ballistic missiles from Iran. But by and large Iran would target us in response, lashing out wherever we’re weakest, be it Iraq or Afghanistan. They’d also either attack a few boats in the Gulf or let it be known they’ve planted more mines — whatever it takes to send insurance rates skyrocketing for oil supertankers.

President Obama: So what are our options?

Gen. Jones: What we’ve been doing. Wait and see. If Israel is dead-set on attacking Iran, we probably can’t stop them. Which means we need to stay as flexible as possible to deal with Iran’s potential response.

President Obama: In other words, keep stalling on Afghanistan.

Secretary Gates: You said it, sir, not me.

Again, just a guess. But I think it’s fairly clear that Obama’s hesitation on Afghanistan has less to do with the country itself and far more to do with the uncertainty surrounding its regional context.
Already we have
John Bolton pushing for an Israeli nuclear strike on Iran, Israel leaking its knowledge of Russian nuclear scientists working in Iran, Secretary Clinton making bizarre trips to Russia, and, not least, exactly the kind of mid-level Pentagon chatter you’d expect to see if something were in the offing.

Hopefully I’m wrong. But something is clearly brewing, and I fear the stakes are far higher than losing Kandahar or Helmand.

12 Responses to “Obama’s Delay, or Why Israel Might Nuke Iran”  

  1. 1 Tom

    There is something deliciously ironic about Israeli translators deliberately misquoting Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s words about Israel “disappearing into history’s dustbin” to “wiping Israel off the map”. If anyone is responsible for wiping Israel off the map, it will be Israel’s own actions. The Chinese are very big on saving face, and the Russians have a good bit of pride themselves. I just can’t imagine an Israeli nuclear attack on Iran, one of China’s and Russia’s major trading partners, going unanswered. That answer is liable to be swift, final, and unanswerable by the US, unless we want to share Israel’s fate.

  2. Holy CRAP!…I hope this “transcript” is some sick/twisted SNL skit, If our presiden’t acting this way we’re ALL screwed!! But, I do have to agree with the contention that Israel’s “BAT SHIT CRAZY”…that’s for sure.

    On a side note, the meeting with Vladimir Putin was another FUNNY moment…threatening to turn Israel into an ‘ASHTRAY’…that was just priceless!!

  3. 4 Jeff

    Dear Hillary,
    When you said the US would obliterate Iran for using Nukes, I am guessing that applies to Israel also?

  4. 5 S. Tuttle


  5. 6 Bladerunner

    All He can do is move sideways, and wait. Clinton is doing her best to tell the Russians we’re not going to go to Israel’s aid if they do this horrible, evil thing. Why are we still writing the checks to Israel? They got the US by the balls. The banking industry, and congress are run by Zionist. I don’t think Obama “really” knew everything he was getting himself into.

    As to why health care is still just blah, blah, blah. We really are broke, and the dollar is dead. That’s my guess. Our economy is on the ventilator…

  6. 7 michael mazur

    Maybe Obama realises that this is not a computer game, and that to nuke Iran into the Stone Age means holocausting most of the 70,000,000 people there.

    Apart from a complex of interlocking unknowns immediately and over time becoming evident post nuking, one thing is certain, the reputation of USrael will be lost forever for having obliterated an innocent country, not having learnt from the horror of what they had done to Japan at a time when peace feelers were being ignored.

    Reptilian blooded USrael having seen their handiwork in 45, wanted to try it someplace else with more and better nukes. As it was not forgiveable then, it would be truly monstrous now, and so they would be deserving of being cast out from all contact with the rest of humanity for all time.

    Yes, the Jewish State didn’t exist in 45, but the Jews had decades before already become the defacto govt of the United States of America.

  7. First, Israel cannot possibly attack Iran without US complicity. Israel needs to get it’s ordnance from the US (Israel will not use nuclear weapons), as well as the jet fuel needed for the operation. The only safe route politically for Israeli strike aircraft to fly to Iran is via Saudi Arabia. This may have already been negotiated and, if it has, it almost certainly would have been brokered by the US.

    Second, Israel would not be capable of anything more than making a first strike. For political purposes, that first strike will be against Iran’s nuclear facilities despite the fact that both Israel and the US are aware that Iran has no nuclear weapons program. For propaganda purposes the casus belli for Israel making the strike is Iran’s nuclear weapons program and so a strike against its facilities is essential in order perpetuate the rhetoric. However, since the real objective is to affect regime change, there will be a requirement to prevent a retaliatory attack from Iran against Israel which, in turn, will provide an opportunity for the US to strike Iran’s defences and its regime institutions so massively that, so they hope, the Iranians will capitulate and go cap in hand to the UN for a ceasefire the conditions of which would be dictated by the US and Israelis.

    The point is; Israel is nowhere near big enough just to walk up to Iran, punch him in the mouth and then just walk away hoping that Iran does nothing. The reality is this: Any attack against Iran will be meticulously planned as a joint operation between the US, Israel and possibly some of their other Western allies. Every contingency will be catered for. There are likely to be forces inside Iran ready to move against the current regime though the Iranian people are not going to take too kindly to being attacked by the US and Israel and even anti-Ahmadinejad forces will likely rally behind him and the Mullahs to fend off such an attack.

    Bottom line: There will be no unilateral attack by Israel against Iran though they may make the first strike to make it look like a unilateral hit but the US will respond in an instant and you can be assured that the whole thing has been very, very carefully planned to the last detail.

  8. 9 Just Another Moron

    An unforeseen, out-of-the-box catalyst is required here, of course depending on which “side” you’re on. It should be religious in tone. International. Any way you look at it, the box needs to be stirred up quite a bit more, and the *reality paradigm* needs to be adjusted quite dramatically.

    It’s not only going to take military might. It will require a mindset change the likes of which we haven’t seen in millenia.

  9. In the “dialogue” in the article there is one glaring oversight. If we cut off Foriegn Aid, as Pres. Eisenhower did, the Israelis would mind US, as they did in the 1950s. Gen. Jones said, >>If Israel is dead-set on attacking Iran, we probably can’t stop them.<< . . . WE PROBABLY CAN'T STOP THEM is what people say, who are under the Antichrist Spell.

  10. 11 Mouser

    Are you all crazy?
    Israel is not ever going to nuke Iran because they would literally be wiped off the map by Russia and/or China.
    That is why Israel is trying to get the US to use their conventional arned forces to invade Iran.
    America don’t be a schmuck.
    Iran is not making a nuclear bomb they are making energy.
    Instead, send Israel to a criminal psychiatrist and throw away the key.

    The above “scenario” is not funny SNL, it is just plain stupid.

  11. 12 klaus

    Thу only possible “Israeli” strike on Iran can be false-flag Israeli and USan in reality.
    And the main purpose was just mentioned but not discussed – it is the mining of Strait of Hormuz that will stop ENTIRE oil of the Persian Gulf which is 1/3 of the World! This will skyrocket the oil prices and restore USD monopoly in oil trade. Iran as you might have heard is traiding oil for Euro and Dubai’s currency. Only 15% of Iranian oil trade was in USD but recently it demanded from Japan to use its national currency yen instead.
    So who needs blocking of Hormuz strate Iran or US?
    This is a rhetoric question! US ruling high oil price party needs it!
    Russia in spite of rhethorics is on the USan side. Just think how it was nice for greedy kremlin inhabitants under Bush presidency, when oil was twice to what is now. Therefore, Russia behaves immoraly and delays with S-300 shipment to Iran.
    This behavior is nothing but the help to agrressors. S-300 is absolutely defensive.
    Norlmal state cannot refuse to supply another state with it taking into consideration that the last is constantly threated with aggression.
    And why Isarel is risking? Beacause it hopes that the whole Gulf will be closed for oil trade. And the oil will turn from East (as it is now) to the West and go to Israel!
    There was a long dreamed zionist dream of new Rotterdam – enormous oil port near Haifa. With this scenario this dream can become true.
    European and Chinese economy will suffer a great blow. Nevertheless, EU may join USans and zionists and occupy part of Jordan and Iraq and perhaps Syria in oredr to build pipeline to Isarel. Finally, it is closer to Europe from Israel than from the Gulf states. Of course USan economy will also suffer from great oil prices, but who the hell cares! This is the plan according to my reconstruction.

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