Skip To Content
Get Our Newsletter
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Life

What if Bush Decides To Attack Iran on the Way Out of Office?

Ha’aretz’s Ari Shavit poses the following hypothetical:

In November, after Senator Barack Obama becomes president-elect of the United States, outgoing president George W. Bush inflicts a severe blow on Iran. That could take the form of a naval siege, the flexing of American military muscle, or even an all-out air strike targeting Iran’s nuclear program.

Under ordinary circumstances, people would reject out of hand such a wild scenario. The American public does not support the idea of opening a second front in the Middle East, and America’s political, military and intelligence establishments are fearful. A military move, even a semi-military one, carried out by an outgoing president would be unprecedented and illegitimate; it would be perceived as the final insane trumpet call of a thoroughly off-the-wall administration with a committed religious outlook.

He thinks that this scenario may have “little likelihood” of happening, but, he adds, “little likelihood is not zero likelihood.”

The upshot of confronting Iran? Shavit writes:

In the long run, such a wild scenario would be good for Israel just as it would be good for America. A nuclear Iran would endanger Israel’s survival, Middle Eastern stability and the West’s well-being. On the other hand, an Iran deprived of its nuclear weapons would ensure both Israel’s future and a stable Middle East and would allow the West to continue maintaining its values and lifestyle for a considerable period of time.

However, in the short run, this wild scenario is fraught with danger. There could be a serious intelligence blunder; there could be a serious military blunder. In any event, the Iran of the ayatollahs is a power with a religiously committed leadership; it is very clever and powerful. If pushed into a corner, it might prefer to go out with a bang. Nobody today can say for sure what would be the nature and intensity of such a bang.

Hat tip: JTA’s Uriel Heilman, who thinks this scenario ain’t gonna happen.

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free under an Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives Creative Commons license as long as you follow our republishing guidelines, which require that you credit Foward and retain our pixel. See our full guidelines for more information.

To republish, copy the HTML, which includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline, and credit to Foward. Have questions? Please email us at help@forward.com.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.