Saturday, August 13, 2005

All Options Are On The Table

President Bush told Israel's Channel One TV last Saturday that military force was an option to make Iran give up its covert nuclear program to develop atom bombs. Said Bush:
"As I say, all options are on the table. The use of force is the last option for any president and you know, we've used force in the recent past to secure our country. ... In all these instances we want diplomacy to work and so we're working feverishly on the diplomatic route and we'll see if we're successful or not."
That should give the mad mullahs of Teheran pause for thought, if they ever indulge in that pastime. We occupy countries on the east and west of Iran: Iraq and Afghanistan. We have forward air bases in nearby friendly countries like Turkmenistan. Iranian oil is forced to travel through the easily stoppered Strait of Hormuz. That's quite a lot of disadvantages for Iran to take a belligerent course of action.

And then there's the character of President Bush. When he says war is an option if need be, you don't need to wonder what he means by "is." The character of Bush is worth another ten divisions and ten air wings and a naval fleet in this confrontation.

However, on the negative side of the balance, it is uncertain that military force short of invasion and occupation will stop the Iranian atom bomb program. The Iranians are not as dumb as the Iraqis, who centralized their atom bomb development in one spot, Osirak, which was easily obliterated by an Israeli air strike. The Iranians have dispersed their nuclear research program over three hundred sites, twenty of which are hardened. That reduces the probability of success of a coup de main from the air, as a war game funded by the Atlantic Monthly magazine leads one to believe. You just can't be sure of taking out three hundred targets simultaneously. Experience in Iran shows that there are some buried bunkers that our penetrating bombs can not reach.

It looks like, despite our sabre-rattling, the mad mullahs are going to get their Bomb. Nothing good can come of that.


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