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Monday, January 03, 2011

If the US will be blamed anyway, it should help Israel get it right

George Washington University professor Gary Anderson has an interesting take on the possibility of the United States joining in on an Israeli attack against Iran.
There is another truism at work here. When the Israelis go after the Iranians, the United States will get blamed in the Muslim world no matter what we do to dissuade the Israelis. No argument will convince the professional America haters, who set the narrative on the Muslim street, that we didn't put the Israelis up to it, so why try? If it is going to happen, we should give serious consideration to helping the Israelis get it right. A massive disruption of Iran's nuclear program will not permanently destroy Iranian nuclear ambitions, and it likely will coalesce Iranian public support around an already unpopular regime. Again, so what? The Iranians have not shown the will to unseat the regime.

The Iranians almost certainly will attack Israel with missiles or by proxies in revenge, and they likely will be up to no good regarding those of our interests they can get their hands on. The Israelis can take care of themselves; they likely will act on credible intelligence and will not allow a grave threat to their homeland to go unchallenged. Our efforts to restrain them will only work until they determine that Iran's nuclear program presents a clear and present danger. No reasonable action the U.S. government can take will restrain them. This brings us to the question of whether our country should assist Israel when it decides to strike.

Although there would be some public tittering in the Sunni Muslim world, WikiLeaks has made public what those of us who have had dealings in the Middle East and South Asia have known for years: The Arabs see the Persians as mortal enemies. In that part of the world, Western "crusaders" are a relatively new and somewhat feckless threat at best. Shiite Iran is the real enemy to the Arabs, Sunni or Shiite. If we are going to be blamed in any event, there is a strong argument to be made that we should get blamed for something that works.

We are in the best shape we will ever be in to deal with attempted Iranian retaliation for our part in assisting an Israeli strike. Our posture to disrupt and protect against terrorist attacks at home and abroad has never been stronger, and Iran's Hezbollah surrogate has far more to lose in Lebanon than to be gained by directly attacking the United States at this juncture.
Read the whole thing.

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