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View Diary: How a Reality Addict Sees Iran, How Neo-Cons See Iran (Map) (55 comments)

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  •  A lot of people strongly disagree ... (none)
    ...with the view that Iran's nuclear ambitions can be stopped "once and for all." For instance, retired intelligence analyst Jeffrey White:

    Long-term Reaction. In the long-term, Iran would attempt to take steps that would insure itself against another attack on its nuclear program or a broader attack on the regime. Tehran would almost certainly rebuild the program, reflecting its status as a high-value national asset. Unless significant numbers of scientists and technicians were killed in the strikes, there is no reason why Tehran could not restart the program; as long as it possesses the necessary knowledge and skills, Iran will have the basis for such a program. Indeed, Iran would likely accelerate both its nuclear and long-range-missile efforts in order to achieve a measure of deterrence as quickly as possible. The regime would also increase security for the program by instituting or increasing hardening, dispersal, redundancy, and active defense measures.
    In addition, Tehran would likely plan and then implement asymmetric attacks on high-value U.S. and allied targets.


    The implications of a U.S. or allied strike against Iran's nuclear program are considerable. The United States would have to be prepared for a long-term conflict with an Iran that would seek out and attack weak points. Washington must weigh the costs and benefits of facing a more overtly hostile Iran following a strike as opposed to a nuclear-armed Iran in the not-too-distant future. Washington will also have to weigh the short-term benefit of delaying Iran's nuclear program against the possible long-term consequence of undermining those forces in Iran that want to improve U.S.-Iranian relations.

    In the wake of an attack on Iran, Washington would need to demonstrate "escalation dominance" -- that is, holding other high-value Iranian targets hostage while making clear that still-worse things could happen to Iran if it retaliated against important U.S. targets or interests. The United States must also be ready to defend any of its allies that are within Iran's reach.

    •  Don't get me wrong, MB (none)
      I am not advocating a bombing campaign.

      What I am saying is that if we are faced with a situation in which construction and deployment of Iranian nukes is inevitable, and the determination is made that the threat must be neutralized, ground forces are not necessary.  An occupation is not necessary.

      Israel whomped an Iranian nuclear facility and suffered no consequences despite its proximity.  I am merely interested in deconstructing the relatively unchallenged notion that we'd have to prosecute an Iraq-style war to neutralize a nuke threat from Iran, because I think that assumption leaves the door open for a neocon-style strategy.  You can't drive a missile over a crater, and there is not an endless labor market for nuclear physicists in Iran, or bordering nations.

      Some things are not for sale. Send the Republicans home in 2006.

      by The Termite on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 12:53:52 PM PST

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      •  I read your comments all the time ... (none) I know you're not pushing for a bombing campaign.

        My view is that bombing campaigns get a lot of credit for things they can't necessarily do. Osirak was logistically easy, even if politically hard. Taking out the Iranian sites, however, even if all their locations are known will be tougher and cost thousands of Iranian deaths and probably a few dozen U.S. casualties, at least.

        Maybe U.S./Israeli intelligence knows where all those nuclear sites are, maybe not. Certainly Shlomo Brom,  writing in Getting Ready for a Nuclear Iran, doesn't think so.

        According to one estimate, there are 19 traced suspected nuclear facilities in Iran without assurance that this number is finite. The nuclear facilities that Iran is constructing are also well defended. The centrifuge plant built at Natanz is underground, and it is defended by an extensive ground air defense system.

        It is very difficult to find in the Iranian nuclear program one vulnerable point that, once it is attacked and destroyed, the Iranian program is stopped or stalled for a long time. The Bushier nuclear power plant, which is relatively vulnerable to attacks, is not really a part of the military nuclear program, and it mostly serves as an excuse for an Iranian wish to have control over the full fuel cycle, namely building a capacity for uranium enrichment. Its attack would not have a real effect on the military program. The net effect is that any attempt to attack the Iranian nuclear program would necessitate sustainable attacks on a relatively large number of targets that are well-defended, passively and actively.

    •  By the way... (none)
      ...that's a great piece, and I hadn't seen it.  Thanks for posting the link.

      Some things are not for sale. Send the Republicans home in 2006.

      by The Termite on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 12:59:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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