The Outlook section of today's ( 23 September, 2012) Washington Post contains a three part essay on what the Post wants the American people to believe would be likely to happen in the event of an unprovoked Israeli "maximum effort" attack on Iran. This attack supposedly takes place before the US election in November. The essay is written by three groups of authors and it seems to have been intended that such a device would make the assembled essay seem more plausibly to represent three different points of view. They are all representative of the same point of view. Amusingly, this conceit recalls three plays once seen on British TV that were set in an English suburban house and garden. In these plays characters make entrances and exits from one part of the same house to another or out into the garden. Alfred Molina starred on television. The actors go from one supposed play to another simultaneously in a literary creation that really is but one play. A pretty device. it was better done than this collective sermon.
The three parts of the essay supposedly represent the action in Washington, Tel Aviv and Teheran in the event of this attack. A general defect of the thing is the complete ignorance reflected of the actual limitations of distances, weapons, numbers of aircraft and missiles, Iranian air defenses, the lack of any recovery air fields between Israeli bases and the targets or SAR capability for the attacking Israeli force. Basic military knowledge of the situation is ignored in the manner common in politico-military strategic war games. In these "games" any reference to actual limitations are airily waved off as not germane. In this essay it is suggested that one option is for the US to "shoot down' the attacking Israeli force before it passes beyond Iraq. The Joe Biden character angrily says that this is not an option. He is correct but not for the reason implied. In fact, since the completion of the US withdrawal from Iraq the US has no ability to do such a thing and neither do the Iraqis. The nearest USAF assets are in the Gulf or Turkey and the nearest US Navy assets are where the carriers may be. Look at the distances.
The three essay parts can be somewhat summarized by capital:
- Tel Aviv. Natanyahu is depicted as masterful, deeply insightful, profoundly wise and decisive. He dominates the play and tells the president of the US that he expects the US to fully support Israel's action. Israeli attacks are described as not fully but significantly effective against the Iranian facilities and Israel is said to have "misplaced" one aircraft. There are many aspects of intelligence preparation of this battlefied that the Israelis could not do for themselves and that would not be done for them in the context of a unilateral attack. Those aspects would cost them dearly, but the authors know nothing of that and do not mention it.
- Washington. BHO is "drawn" as a "lightweight" ditherer who would rather have dinner with his family and counsel his children than focus on this world crisis. His administration is depicted as deeply divided over a response to Israel's seizure of the initiative. While he dithers, the Senate of the United States votes 99 t0 1 to support a war powers resolution. The House would presumably be even more supportive of war. Senor, the neocon voice of Romney, denounces the president of the United States for his disloyalty to Israel.
- Teheran. Having been struck the mullahs decide to refrain from retaliation for fear of a "regional war." This is a striking piece of cognitive dissonance. In one part of the larger essay the Iranian leaders are said to be madmen intent on jihad. In this part of the essay they are rational actors who decide against retaliation on a coldly calculating basis. If they would do that, why attack them at all?
Economic effects are portrayed as minimal, the Arab states are depicted as favorable.
The general message is that such an Israeli attack would largely succeed in spite of the fecklessness of Obama. The authors claim that costs of all kinds would be low.
The Washington Post chose to publish such a propaganda piece with the obvious goal of undermining the president of the United States and supportiing a foreign political leader.
I fear for October. pl