While the Israeli government considers the Bush administration highly sympathetic and sensitive to its security concerns, there are growing signs that Washington and Jerusalem may be diverging in their analysis of the urgency of the threat posed by Iran's nuclear program and its defensive military preparations for countering a possible strike, and their subsequent prospective timelines for considering possible military action against Iran. While Israeli national security experts say that Israel would not act without coordinating with the US, and there are other significant factors weighing against prospective Israeli military action on Iran before the Bush term ends, there are also emerging differences between the US and Israel on the accepted intelligence over when Iran would be considered to have a nuclear breakthrough, as well as what would constitute a "redline" that would prompt military action, Washington analysts say. In addition, the US, unlike Israel, feels more deeply constrained by the considerable investment it has made in blood and treasure in stabilizing Iraq, which could be risked by the tumult that could follow military action on Iran.
"My sense is the Pentagon would be worried or opposed to an Israeli attack," says David Wurmser, former Middle East adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney, who left the White House job late last summer. "They are afraid it would inflame the situation in Iraq, which could undermine the US position there.
It's refreshing to hear Wurmser speaking a little more sensibly these days, but let's not forget that this "genius" and this "strategist" once joined Douglas Feith, Richard Perle and others to come up with a nearly ingeniuous plan to destabilize the entire Middle East based on assumptions that were wrong and ideas that dissipated into nothing when actually put in play by the Bush Administration.
So I don't know what Wurmser adds--an attack on Iran proper would legitimize the Iranian regime and cause the price of oil to skyrocket--thanks to the fact that it's already headed that way anyway. Every time someone beats the war drums, oil goes up a notch. The oil needed by the industrialized world is now transferring unprecedented wealth to the Middle East. Pretty soon, they'll be able to buy armies and protection anyway, so maybe attacking them now isn't so crazy.
Except that it is.