General Question

Cruiser's avatar

Should Israel attack Iran's nuclear program?

Asked by Cruiser (40444points) May 17th, 2012

The Israel Government is in lock-down causing much speculation over their intent to attack Iran’s nuclear program. Should Israel attack now if so why or why not?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

20 Answers

robmandu's avatar

Damned if they do; damned if they don’t.

Qingu's avatar


Israel, unlike Iran, actually has illegal nuclear weapons right now. Does that mean Iran has the right to attack Israel’s nuclear weapon facilities?

Practically speaking, I’m not sure what an attack will accomplish. In the short term it very well might spark a full-scale war where tens or hundreds of thousands of people will die. Most people in the middle east despise Israel; their starting such a war will further inflame opinion against them and likely give political clout to anti-Israel hardliners in emerging democracies in the region (not to mention Iran). And for what? In the short term such an attack might—MIGHT—delay the weapons program by a few years. In the long term such an attack will likely accomplish nothing.

Finally, I do not think Iran is a threat. They are not going to attack Israel with nuclear weapons unprovoked. Only insane people believe this. I think Netanyahu and his cohorts are dangerously delusional in their grasp of Iranian politics, as bad as Bush was leading up to the Iraq War.

jrpowell's avatar

It is about as good of idea as shouting, “Fuck you niggers” in Compton.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Publicly, I say: “No. Tsk Tsk..” But privately, I’d breathe a sigh of relief if the plant magically stopped working.

Jaxk's avatar

It seems unlikely that Iran would fire a nuclear missile into Israel. I wouldn’t put it past them but it doesn’t seem likely. What seems more likely is Iran using one of it’s many surrogates to set off a nuclear bomb. Maybe Syria or Palestine or any of a number of terrorist groups. Most of the Middle East doesn’t want a nuclear Iran any more than we do. There are just no good options. Once they go nuclear, the threat will be there forever. And it’s only a matter of time before someone uses the weapon. I would support Israel which ever way they go.

wundayatta's avatar

Of course not! Who wants more war?

Are you thinking this could prevent more war down the road? It seems unlikely. What Iran wants, like what most countries want, is security. The best way to achieve security is through peace and stable relationships. It seems like Israel could make peace with Palestine and that would go a long way towards calming the roiled waters of the Middle East.

But no. Israel can’t even consider any compromises at all.

Well, if there is war in the Middle East again, Israel won’t be able to claim they had no chance to avoid it. They just won’t move an inch. I don’t think they want peace. They want to expand as much as they can get away with. Iran will have to develop the bomb, and even then, Israel won’t back down until Iran shows some willingness to go to war. That’s all Israel understands.

flutherother's avatar

Yes, I think Israel should attack Iran’s nuclear programme by disarming thus removing the justification Iran has for developing nuclear weapons.

Blondesjon's avatar

If I was Iranian I would say no.

If I was an Israeli I would say yes.

As an American I would have to ask which decision benefits me the most.

Nullo's avatar

If they could do it without aggroing any of their neighbors, I’d have to say it would be a good idea.

@Qingu What exactly constitutes an illegal nuclear weapon? Size? Potency? Excessive quantity?
I trust Israel with nukes partly because they have them but haven’t used them, partly because they don’t have an Ahmadinejad analogue calling for the destruction of unpopular states.

@wundayatta But no. Israel can’t even consider any compromises at all.
Look at their history. Look at all of the land that they gave up in hopes of having peace with their neighbors. Compare Israel after the Six Day War to Israel today and note that the difference works out to concessions, not conquest.
The trigger-happy Palestinians want Israel gone, and will settle for nothing less.

Linda_Owl's avatar

I have to say @Blondesjon , you have definitely got the feel for the US federal government!!

Nullo's avatar

@Linda_Owl Well, that is kind of their job. Best interest for the country, people, re-election, etc.
Put not your faith in mankind, ‘cos it’ll disappoint you every time.

woodcutter's avatar

If Iran does get the bomb then every single country over there is going to try to get their own nuclear arsenals. Doesn’t that sound peachy?

knowsharry's avatar

Iran already has plenty enough bombs to level most of ‘israel’; so give it a rest.

Qingu's avatar

@Nullo, one that is developed outside of international treaties.

And you, like many commentators, are mischaracterizing Ahmadinejad’s statements about “destroying Israel.” Not that it even matters what Ahmadinejad says because Iran’s foreign policy is controlled by the Ayatollah.

But let’s think this through. Do you actually believe that Iran would use a nuclear weapon to destroy Israel? Why or why not? What do you think would happen to Iran if they launched a nuclear weapon at Israel? For example, do you think that Iran is ignorant of the fact that Israel (not to mention its allies) has nuclear armed submarines that are designed explicitly to launch a second strike? Or do you believe that the Iranian leadership does know this and are simply suicidal?

And we haven’t even address what “destroying Israel” in a military strike would entail in terms of civilian casualties from Iran’s perspective. Muslim Arabs constitute almost 50% of the population in Israel and its occupied territories. Do you believe that the Iranian leadership is willing to mass-murder literally millions of fellow Muslims?

@knowsharry, actually, no, they don’t. Israel is ~260 miles long and ranges from ~10 to ~70 miles wide. You could not come close to “leveling” this area with conventional weapons. In fact you couldn’t come close to leveling this area with a large (1-megaton) nuclear weapon. The lethal blast radius of a 1-megaton nuke is about 6 miles. Thermal radiation and fallout would be more widespread depending on atmospheric conditions. That’s nowhere close to Israel’s total area. It would destroy a city in Israel but would not come close to destroying the whole country.

And that’s for a 1-megaton bomb! Iran is nowhere close to having that powerful of a nuclear weapon. As a point of comparison, North Korea’s and Pakistan’s nuke tests were only a few kilotons.

robmandu's avatar

@Qingu, ask the innocent Muslims who died on 9/11 what good their affiliation did for them.

I don’t know about the “occupied territories”, but according to Wikipedia, less than 17% of people in Israel practice Islam. Of those the majority are Sunni.

Juxtapose that with Iran’s Muslim population where 98% are Shi’a and I could see where the wrong kind of crazy could see the numbers adding to up “acceptable collateral damage”.

It’s obvious that nuclear attack from anywhere to anywhere would be bad for everyone in the entire region as well as run the risk of sucking in outsiders to begin a real World War 3. I hope the saner minds prevail and figure out a winning solution for everyone.

Qingu's avatar

@robmandu, there are ~4 million Muslims living in the occupied territories. It adds up to about half of the total population of Israel + West bank + Gaza.

I find your comparison to 9/11 ludicrous, for several reasons. Perhaps several dozens of Muslims died. Not 5 million. So that’s one difference. Another difference is that Iran constantly champions the Palestinians living in occupied territories (despite being from a rival sect of Islam) whereas I’m not even sure al-Qaeda was aware that there were Muslims in the WTC.

Another difference is that Iran’s leaders are merely religious fundamentalists, while al-Qaeda is a death cult—one that, you know, Iran’s leaders hate as much as us, one that Iran’s leaders once volunteered to team up with us to fight in Afghanistan.

I mean, your argument here seems to be, and correct me if I’m wrong, “Muslims in Al-Qaeda killed a few dozen Muslims on 9/11 so of course the Muslims leading Iran would be fine with killing 5 million Muslims.”

And we haven’t even broached the subject of what “destroying Israel” means. Did you ever think about what would happen if everyone living in Israel-occupied territory could vote in Israeli elections?

woodcutter's avatar

I don’t think it will be weaponised fissile material delivered by rockets that will do the trick. Not against Israel. It could be a more discrete devise that may end up in N.Korea or to Hamas or other similar players. Either way even if the delivery method is not directly from Iran, it will be assumed to be because there is a finite amount of this stuff and it is all pretty much accounted for,or, mostly accounted for. This kind of stuff isn’t something anyone can say, “didn’t come from us”.
In the end a nuclear armed Iran probably will be something we are going to have to live with.What would be the effect on the world economies if a war with Iran happens? It’s hard to imagine US assets will be able to stay out of this one if nothing more than to protect the Straights. It will be interesting to see if the Republicans are going to have their hats in their hands when they finally have to tell their homies they need to raise taxes to cover this one assuming there will be much of an economy to harvest tax revenues from.

Nullo's avatar

@Qingu And the thing is shaped like itself.
Which of these illegal nuclear weapons does Israel have? Or is it illegal for Israel to have nuclear weapons, period?

I’ll grant the likelihood of a fuzzy Farsi-English translation, but no translation or apologia that I’ve found lends itself to the idea that Ahmadinejad is happy with Israel.
I would not discount a suicidal nuclear strike; after all, Israel has had its share of suicide bombers on a smaller scale. Or it might not be suicidal; a hypothetical strike might bank on Western temerity of a nuclear counter-attack (though Israel seems not to pay attention to criticism, so maybe not), or perhaps even a fear of counter-retaliation from the Muslim world.
The deaths of their fellow Muslim are easy enough to justify – the amputation removes healthy flesh and gangrenous flesh alike, for the well-being of the body as a whole, does it not? Anyway, they have a lot of execution of political opposition in their recent history – being Muslim apparently isn’t much protection.

While it is a comfort that Ahmadinejad is apparently locked out of the dangerous governmental functions, there are more people than just him at the helm who probably aren’t terribly keen on having an Israel around, either.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther