An unnamed Israeli official quoted in the Times of London Sunday put the matter somewhat more bluntly. Iran, he said, should "read the writing on the wall." He continued: "This was a dress rehearsal, and the Iranians should read the script before they continue with their program for nuclear weapons. If diplomacy does not yield results, Israel will take military steps to halt Tehran's production of bomb-grade uranium."
Citing an unnamed US military official, the Wall Street Journal reported that "US policy makers were divided over reasons for the exercise. Some viewed the maneuver as an actual practice run for a future strike on Iran, while others see it mainly as a show of force designed to remind both Tehran and Washington of Israel's concern."
Such an exercise—and the publicity about it in the US media—has another and crucial objective. It is aimed at preparing the American public for being dragged into another war of aggression.
Military analysts agree that the Israeli air force by itself lacks the strategic capacity to carry out any attack on Iran that would even have the possibility of destroying its nuclear program, much of which is housed in fortified underground bunkers. The only viable purpose for such threats is either as part of a joint campaign with the US or to draw Washington into such an attack.
There is an important constituency for such a course of action among influential elements of the Republican right, who are openly expressing support for a US-Israeli attack on Iran—as well as their frustration with Washington for not moving more rapidly to carry one out.
This was clearly the message of an editorial published Monday in the Wall Street Journal, among the most consistent mouthpieces for the right-wing layers that have dominated the current administration. Entitled "Israel on the Iran Brink" the editorial states:
"Israelis surely don't welcome a war in which they will suffer. Yet they have no choice but to defend themselves against an enemy that vows to obliterate them if Iran acquires the weapon to do so. The tragic paradox of the past six years is that the diplomatic and intelligence evasions offered in the name of avoiding war with Iran have done the most to bring us close to this brink. Appeasement that ends in war is a familiar theme of history."
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