Is the U.S. Resigned to Cleaning up Mess Israel Makes by Attacking Iran?

At the Daily Beast, Newsweek’s Eli Lake, previously of the Washington Times, writes about

… new conversations between the United States and Israel over what the triggers—called “red lines” in diplomatic parlance—would be to justify a pre-emptive attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

What exactly constitutes a red line (as, presumably, in “don’t cross” or as on a tachometer, as in “Slow down, Iran. You’re going too fast.”)? Lake cites a Foreign Affairs article by Matthew Kroenig, who recently served in the Defense Secretary’s office.

He argued that the U.S should attack Iran’s facilities if Iran expels international nuclear weapons inspectors, begins enriching its stockpiles of uranium to weapons-grade levels of 90 percent, or installs advanced centrifuges at its main uranium-enrichment facility in Qom.

But Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Ya’alon doesn’t seem to believe that the United States has the will to attack Iran. Lake quotes a recent speech of his.

“There is no credible military action when we hear leaders from the West, saying, ‘this is not a real option,’ saying, ‘the price of military action is too high.’”

Perhaps that’s a reason that Israel may act unilaterally. Lake again.

Despite repeated requests going back to 2009, Netanyahu’s government has not agreed to ask the United States for permission or give significant advanced warning of any pending strike.

Thus is the United States left guessing.

Three U.S. military officials confirm to The Daily Beast that analysts attached to the Office of the Secretary of Defense are often revising estimates trying to predict what events in Iran would trigger Prime Minister Netanyahu to authorize a military attack on the country’s nuclear infrastructure.

At Counterpunch, Dave Lindorff sums up the absurdity:

What other country can you name which is almost totally dependent upon the US for its military, yet can nonetheless make threats to use its US-supplied weapons to start a potential global war (by invading Iran), with Washington left pleading with it not to take such an action?

The United States needs to make it clear that it would not come to Israel’s rescue if the latter mounted an attack and found itself unable to cope with the thousands of missiles raining down on it from Hezbollah. Perhaps that would induce Israel to ease off the gas pedal and bring the RPMs of war back down below the red line. It’s disturbing to see the United States acting like a classic enabler by refusing to put its foot down on Israel’s bad behavior and resigning itself to cleaning up the mess Israel makes afterward.