Debate continues in Washington. To attack or not attack? If so, when? Electoral priorities dictate policy. Three unnamed retired senior war planners offered views. Comments were as follows:
"I think it would take an extraordinarily dumb move on the part of the Iranians to force U.S. kinetic interventions before the U.S. presidential election (by abandoning negotiations)."
"Israel has fewer reservations (about attacking) given the recent solidification of their government."
The most politically opportune time would be 2013 or 2014.
"The assessment I'm betting on is continued watching, but (with U.S. forces) close to action."
An attack "would employ a totally stealthy force of F-22s, B-2s and Jassms (joint air-to-surface standoff missiles) that are launched from F-15Es and (Block 40) F-16s."
Other advanced weapons and radar jamming devices would be used.
"We should give Iran advanced warning that we will damage and likely destroy its nuclear facilities. It is not an act of war against Iran, the Iranian people or Islam."- Advertisement -
"It is a pre-emptive attack solely against their nuclear facilities and the military targets protecting them. We will take extraordinary measures to protect against collateral damage."
The above comment doesn't square with reality. An attack means war. Launching one assures many deaths. Vast destruction will occur. Civilian infrastructure and military targets will be struck. War planners know what's involved. The pattern repeats from one conflict to the next.
At a February Israeli security conference, Lt. General (ret.) Dan Halutz (former IDF chief of staff) said Iran's nuclear program shouldn't be used as an excuse for Israel to attack unilaterally.
"The military option should be last, and it should be led by others." He meant Washington, but Israel would be involved.
Another issue is Syria. It has surveillance and air defense capabilities. Damascus shares information with Tehran. Attacking Iran involves possible routes over Turkey, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Israel.
Syrian radar would detect it. Ousting Assad denies Iran advance warning.
According to America's Israeli ambassador Daniel Shapiro, Washington is ready to act if diplomatic talks fail. The military option is "not just available, it's ready," he said.