A Bad Idea Whose Time Has Come

Well, obviously, this is a spectacularly dumb idea, but it might have one very positive consequence:

Israel has drawn up secret plans to destroy Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities with tactical nuclear weapons.
Two Israeli air force squadrons are training to blow up an Iranian facility using low-yield nuclear “bunker-busters”, according to several Israeli military sources.

Israeli pilots have flown to Gibraltar in recent weeks to train for the 2,000-mile round trip to the Iranian targets. Three possible routes have been mapped out, including one over Turkey.
Air force squadrons based at Hatzerim in the Negev desert and Tel Nof, south of Tel Aviv, have trained to use Israel’s tactical nuclear weapons on the mission. The preparations have been overseen by Major General Eliezer Shkedi, commander of the Israeli air force.
Sources close to the Pentagon said the United States was highly unlikely to give approval for tactical nuclear weapons to be used. One source said Israel would have to seek approval “after the event”, as it did when it crippled Iraq’s nuclear reactor at Osirak with airstrikes in 1981.

Well, it’s nice to know that the US won’t be backing Olmert in breaking the 62-year nuclear taboo. It’s worth pointing out, again and again, that the Iranian nuclear weapons program does not exist and that US-Iran relations should be premised on that essential fact. In any case, imposing sanctions (like the UN just did) and using military force are very, very bad ideas. A nuclear strike, in particular, could well kill thousands of Iranians, and would make countries like Pakistan, India, North Korea, China and Russia more willing to use nuclear weapons in small-scale endeavors (imagine Russia suppressing the Chechens with nukes, or China doing the same with the Uyghurs).
However, there might be one small silver lining to an action like this one. The sheer craziness of it would make the American people turn sharply against the pro-Likud movement spearheaded by groups like AIPAC and the ADL and by politicians like Joe Lieberman and Tom Lantos. Thus, 2008 presidential candidates might be pressured to adopt a tougher line with Israel, which, if implemented, could help lead to a final peace settlement with the Palestinians and, eventually, a Palestinian state. Which would be a very good thing.

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