And President Obama clearly wants no part of it. This was at Time magazine last month:
Inside Israel, reports persist that prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and defense chief Ehud Barak are determined to launch a strike, and American officials continue to urge restraint. Israeli analysts say Netanyahu wants Obama to send a letter committing to U.S. military action by a specific date if Iran has not acceded to concessions, but the U.S. administration does not appear to be complying. U.S. Joint Chiefs chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey told reporters in London this week that a military strike could damage but not destroy Iran’s nuclear capability, and added, “I don’t want to be complicit if they choose to do it.”
The U.S. is also dramatically scaling back on a joint military exercise with Israel:
“Basically what the Americans are saying is, ‘We don’t trust you,’” a senior Israeli military official tells TIME.
The reductions are striking. Instead of the approximately 5,000 U.S. troops originally trumpeted for Austere Challenge 12, as the annual exercise is called, the Pentagon will send only 1,500 service members, and perhaps as few as 1,200. Patriot anti-missile systems will arrive in Israel as planned, but the crews to operate them will not. Instead of two Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense warships being dispatched to Israeli waters, the new plan is to send one, though even the remaining vessel is listed as a “maybe,” according to officials in both militaries.
Is there any doubt that, if Mitt Romney becomes president, we’ll have full American participation in a bombing strike on Iran, and that this could lead to a much wider war?
My bet is that Netanyahu won’t actually attempt to attack Iran until he finds out whether or not Mitt Romney has won the presidency. But once he knows that, it will be “all systems go” (with or without the Americans). Of course, if Obama wins, the course to war will be less certain. Regardless, 2013 will be a nervy year.
The “Austere Challenge 12” joint military exercise begins next week. Will it come up in Monday’s presidential debate? A report more recent than Time magazine’s suggests that the number of US troops participating will be closer to 3,000, not 1,200. The pot is warming.