This mornings' New York Times headline read, "U.S. War Game Sees Perils of Israeli Strike Against Iran".
It was a report about a "classified war simulation" conducted earlier this month and apparently presented to two Times reporters, Mark Mazzetti and Thom Shanker by American officials on the condition of anonymity. It wasn't depicted or read as a leak. The Obama administration obviously intended this war games assessment be made public.
One would assume the war games findings "that the strike would lead to a wider regional war, which could draw in the United States and leave hundreds of Americans dead" was aimed directly at the American public to persuade it NOT to support an Israeli strike on Iran. It was also intended to show that war weary public a major difference between Obama and his Republican rivals for the presidency namely Romney, Santorum and Gingrich (though not Ron Paul), who all support Israel striking Iran.
As for the hard liners in the Netanyahu led Israeli government, such war games assessments aren't likely to be persuasive. Even Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency concurs with the American intelligence assessment that Iran is not pursuing a nuclear weapon, but apparently to no avail, as the Netanyahu gang still claim, Iran is an existential threat to Israel's survival.
The truly scary scenario in all this, besides the unpredictability of a wider Middle East war, is that Israel could/would attack Iran without giving the U.S. advance notice knowing as they surely do the U.S. would inevitably be politically drawn into the conflict in support of Israel.
There's a "catch 22" illogical sense about it that augurs an ominous foreboding of a potentially wider war stemming from an Israeli attack on Iran that we seemingly can't prevent from happening.
Yet if an attack on Iran does occur, what will the Khamenei led regime do?
It could retaliate directly against Israel with conventional missile strikes. It could attack U.S. naval forces operating in the Persian Gulf (as it makes no distinction between Israel or the U.S. attacking it). It could mine the Strait of Hormuz and block all oil traffic. It could induce its allies in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Gaza to retaliate against Israel proper and U.S. installations in Iraq. World oil prices would surely be affected and could bring with it a serious worldwide economic dislocation and a renewed recession.
Since all agree, a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities would not permanently cripple its nuclear development, Iran could conclude, for the sake of its own defense, developing a nuclear weapon is the only way to deter a future attack. That's the lesson North Korea drew when President Bush incongruently lumped it with Iraq and Iran as part of an "axis of evil" in January 2002 that prompted that country to develop its own nuclear weapon as the ultimate deterrent against attack.
So despite Iran being led by a clerical, authoritarian regime it has not initiated a war in hundreds of years. It has shown it will defend itself when attacked as it did when Saddam Hussein's Iraq, backed by the U.S., invaded Iran in 1980.
The fact is Iran poses no threat, imminent or otherwise, to the U.S. It poses no real threat to Israel, which has its own nuclear arsenal and could vaporize Iran if there was any real threat to its existence coming from Iran. Lastly Iran is an ancient civilization and despite the current leadership it is not suicidal.
The whole attack on Iran scenario is a contrived and unnecessary potential conflict that defies reason. Every legitimate intelligence assessment says Iran ceased development of a nuclear weapon in 2003.
Let's put it bluntly, an attack on Iran by Israel or the U.S. is simply insane.