While no one in the Barack Obama administration knows whether Israel will strike Iran's nuclear program, America's war planners are preparing for a wide array of potential Israeli military options -- while also trying to limit the chances of the United States being drawn into a potentially bloody conflict in the Persian Gulf.
Iran's getting the bomb is going to go down as an enormous failure of US strategic policy. Bush bears plenty of blame for it but so does Obama. Power is not power if you are not willing to use it. If you are willing to use it, you won't have to, or not as much. Part of the huge miscalculation that has been Iraq is how it has paralyzed us against Iran, which turns out to be the greater threat, even against Israel. This is a huge failure. If the neo-con idea was to protect Israel against existential threats, they have failed. It turns out Iraq did not have WMDs, at least not to any dangerous extent, but Iran sure is going to, and soon. So by defending against imaginary WMDs we have rendered ourselves impotent against real ones. By being incapable of action (being unable to restrain the CIA from doing what it wants to do doesn't count as action) Obama has created circumstances in which inaction may be his best course; it may be too late to stop Iran now. Bush was capable of acting, just not capable of formulating his own strategic vision, unless you count his fantasy of democracy sweeping the Middle East. Now our best hope is that somehow having nuclear weapons will make the mullahs more sober and less crazy. That seems doubtful. --TS