The final question is, who should launch the air strikes? Israel has shown an eagerness to do so if Iran does not stop enriching uranium, and some hawks in Washington favor letting Israel do the dirty work to avoid fueling anti-Americanism in the Islamic world.
But there are three compelling reasons that the United States itself should carry out the bombings. First, the Pentagon’s weapons are better than Israel’s at destroying buried facilities. Second, unlike Israel’s relatively small air force, the United States military can discourage Iranian retaliation by threatening to expand the bombing campaign. (Yes, Israel could implicitly threaten nuclear counter-retaliation, but Iran might not perceive that as credible.) Finally, because the American military has global reach, air strikes against Iran would be a strong warning to other would-be proliferators.
Marc Lynch has a brilliant response to the article, in which he makes two very helpful points:
1) That the op-ed appeared in the New York Times and not the Post or the WSJ is helping bring the ‘option’ of bombing Iran into the mainstream, whereas it had been relegated to the unthinkable in the last few years; and
2) This idea is completely nuts.
I would like to give Alan Kuperman (the op-ed author) props for realizing that an American attack would stir up anti-Americanism in the region. It would, drastically. I would also like to give Kuperman props (for lack of a better word) for completely and utterly ignoring this point. Wow. Stunning.