The leaking, counter-leaking, information and disinfo continue with the story in today's (Wed.) NYTimes offering armchair calculations about how Iran would respond to an Israeli attack."While a missile retaliation against Israel would be virtually certain, according to these assessments, Iran would also be likely to try to calibrate its response against American targets so as not to give the United States a rationale for taking military action that could permanently cripple Tehrans nuclear program." Here.Does this invite U.S. acquiescence in an Israeli attack? Or does it show how brave (or foolhardy) Israel is, and how prudent (or cowardly) the U.S. is?In the article, an Israeli official offers this calculation: 'If Iran is struck surgically, it will react no doubt,' said the former Israeli official, echoing Mr. Baraks comments last year. 'But that reaction will be calculated and in proportion to its capabilities. Iran will not set the Middle East on fire.'"Is 40 missiles on Tel Aviv nice?' the official asked, summing up the Israeli calculus. 'No. But its better than a nuclear Iran.'Really? If I lived in Tel Aviv this conjecture would not reassure me.... but I live in New York where there have been real terrorists attacks....And here's an eye-opener in Ha'aretz: "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to publicly harden his line against Iran during a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington on March 5, according to a senior Israeli official."Israel wants Obama to make further-reaching declarations than the vague assertion that "all options are on the table," the official said. In particular, Netanyahu wants Obama to state unequivocally that the United States is preparing for a military operation in the event that Iran crosses certain "red lines," said the official; Israel feels this will increase pressure on Iran by making clear that there exists a real U.S. threat."And read on about various Netanyahu efforts at lobbying the U.S. Congress.M.J.Rosenberg has these observations at Media Matters.

Margaret O’Brien Steinfels is a former editor of Commonweal. 

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