Will they (the Israelis) or won't they? And if so, when? I know the answers, but you're not going to like them.
The answers are all the same: we don't know. And we're not going to know. So when you read, watch, or listen to somebody who tells you he knows, stop reading or turn off the radio, TV, smart phone, iPad, or other device I don't know about. ‘Cause they don't know. The one exception is if you get a direct line to Bibi's brain, but that's unlikely.
Yes, they're planning it. They're running all kinds of drills, some involving the armed forces, some involving the civilian population. That's prudent; they need to be prepared in the event they decide to do it. And maybe they've actually decided, in which case the drills are necessary to prepare for possible consequences (which nobody really knows about either).
Whatever the actual state of affairs, they're not gonna tell us, and it's quite farfetched to imagine that somebody's gonna put the whole country at risk by leaking it. So a really smart pundit would just wait and see, because in order to know that a decision is near, or has actually been taken, he'd have to know what the Israelis think they know about the Iranian nuclear project.
Why is that? Because Israel is only going to do it if they think they know that time's up. That the Iranians have everything they need to put a nuclear warhead on a serviceable missile that can hit Israel. Israel does not want to do it. For as long as I can remember, the Israelis have been trying to get U.S. to do it, because they have long believed that Iran was so big that only a big country could successfully take on the mullahs in a direct confrontation. So Israel's Iran policy has been to convince us to do whatever the Israelis think is best. And while they're willing to do their part, they are very reluctant to take on the entire burden.
Just read what Israeli leaders are saying and you'll see that, I think.
But if you're the prime minister, and your head of military intelligence comes to you and says "time's up," and you've failed to convince the Americans, then you've got to act.
Is that the situation today? I don't know, and I don't know if anyone around here - including Petraeus and Panetta - knows. The one thing I do know is that in order to answer the "will they or won't they?" question, you've got to know what the Israelis think they know about the Iranians.
Which you don't. Nor I. So shut up and stop sucking your thumb.
Dr. Michael Ledeen is the Freedom Scholar at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He is also a contributing editor at National Review Online. Previously, he served as a consultant to the National Security Council, the State Department, and the Defense Department. He has also served as a special adviser to the Secretary of State. He holds a Ph.D. in modern European history and philosophy from the University of Wisconsin, and has taught at Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Rome.
Dr. Ledeen regularly appears on Fox News, and on a variety of radio talk shows. He has been on PBS's NewsHour and CNN's Larry King Live, among others, and regularly contributes to the Wall Street Journal and to National Review Online. He has a blog on Pajamasmedia.com.
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