Apparently Ehud Barak, Israel's defense minister and former prime minister, is having some sleepless nights. Should Israel preemptively strike Iran?
The Mossad, arguably the finest intelligence agency in existence, has apparently said yes to three nagging questions concerning an attack on Iran:
1.) Is Israel's military capable of delivering a crippling blow to Iran's nuclear program?
2.) Will the Israelis be able to sustain and overcome Iran's retaliatory attack after the strike?
3.) Is America in Israel's corner?
I personally have concerns about the first and third questions.
If you follow Biblical prophecy, it has Iran joining with Russia and a few of the Stans (Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, etc.) in a still future, surprise attack against an overconfident Israel. Since Iran is predicted to engage in that attack, one may assume that neither Iran nor Israel will be destroyed prior to that time.
America was formerly Israel's strongest supporter. It's an election year, and President Barack Obama needs the Jewish vote, so at least for now illusionary support will go Israel's way. All signs appear to say Go!
Syria is internally hemorrhaging and will probably not retaliate. Egypt is still adapting to life after Hosni Mubarak. Lebanon's Hezbollah is supported by Syria and will therefore presumably remain inactive. And, of course, Jordan is nonthreatening. With Israel's northern, southern, and eastern borders relatively secure, what better time could there be to strike a distant enemy that has vowed to wipe them off the map?
The big question Barak has to answer, the one that all statisticians know cannot be answered, is what will be the unintended consequences. After all, it is certain that some Russians will die.
Historically, Jews have tended to wait too long. Hitler's Germany literally had handwriting all over the walls, but German Jews held their places until it was too late.
In 70 A.D., at Masada, Jewish zealots watched as the Romans built a siege ramp up to their high, impregnable fortress. They hesitated and then chose not to kill any construction workers because the Romans were forcing Jewish slaves to build the ramp. The zealots wouldn't kill fellow Jews. Because of their inaction, the night before the hated, pagan Romans successfully punched through their last line of defense, the zealots murdered their wives and children. They then killed each other until only one remained. After the last living zealot had checked to see that everyone was dead, he took his own life.
The massive killings and suicide deprived the Roman victors of concubines, slaves and their happily anticipated crucifixions. Barak must act soon, if at all. Many have speculated about a strike of some sort for years. In the words of an old, popular song, it's now or never.
Israel has promised to give Washington a 12-hour notice of any impending attack. I can't imagine why. With our leftist, anti-Semitic media, Iran should be able to hear of the attack on CNN prior to its occurrence.
Conventional wisdom, which is probably correct in this case, predicts a strike on the night of a new moon. The next new moon is February 21.
Will Israel wait that long?
Walt Osterman is the author of Not Home Yet: A Tale Concerning Israel's Rebirth. He served in Vietnam and is a Bronze Star recipient. He lives in Wyoming.