Edward Luttwak, the iconoclastic military historian and strategist of “Give War a Chance” fame, is now making the case for a strike against Iran. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Luttwak argues that the conventional wisdom poses a false binary choice between an all-out assault on Iran’s nuclear facilities and a policy of containment:
[T]his war planning denied to the president and American strategy the option of interrupting Iran’s nuclear efforts by a stealthy overnight attack against the handful of buildings that contain the least replaceable components of Iran’s uranium hexafluoride and centrifuge enrichment cycle—and which would rely on electronic countermeasures to protect aircraft instead of the massive bombardment of Iran’s air defenses.
Luttwak points to historical precedent in support of his proposal:
[T]his kind of attack was carried out in September 2007, when the Israeli air force invisibly and inaudibly attacked the nuclear reactor that Syria’s Assad regime had imported from North Korea, wholly destroying it with no known casualties. To be sure, an equivalent attack on Iran’s critical nuclear nodes would have to be several times larger. But it could still be inaudible and invisible, start and end in one night, and kill very few on the ground.
Via Meadia supports tough diplomacy and sanctions to bring the mullahs to heel, but if the current standoff continues, we expect many more editorials discussing options like these to make their way to major newspapers and the desks of policymakers. The war drums may still be far in the distance, but our current path is taking us closer to conflict every day.In the meantime, we hope the Iranians aren’t reading the Wall Street Journal. If they are, they might start moving some of that vulnerable equipment.