Thursday, February 16, 2012

US Poll - Only 5% Of Americans Oppose Israeli Strike On Iran

Apparently the average American has a lot more common sense than some of the media elites or the White House.

According to the latest Pew poll, only 5% of Americans believe the U.S. should oppose an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. Over 39% believe America ought to actively support it:

Broken down along party lines, Republican support for an Israeli strike was clearly stronger than Democrats and independent voters. A strong 62% majority of Republicans said Washington should support Israeli military action, while only one-third of Democrats and independents answered similarly.

Although the answers about support for an Israeli strike varied when broken down by the gender, education, political affiliation and religion, one consistent position was that very few think the US should oppose Israeli action. In total, only five percent of Americans oppose such a move.

Put into the context of whether military action will be required to stop Iranian nuclear proliferation, a majority of Americans do not believe that increased sanctions against Tehran will work. That belief was held by Republicans, Democrats and independents, although Republicans were most cynical of sanctions deterring Iranian from developing nuclear weapons, the survey found.

Asked whether Iran should be prevented from developing nuclear weapons, even if doing so requires military action against the Islamic Republic, a majority of those polled answered affirmatively.

Nearly two thirds of Republicans said it was more important to stop Tehran's nuclear proliferation even at the cost of war, while a mere 16 percent said it was more important to avoid military conflict even if that resulted in a nuclear-armed Iran. Half of Democrats answered that it was more important to stop a nuclear Iran, while 38% said priority should be placed on avoiding military conflict.

A number of particularly silly op-eds have been written recently about why the US ought to oppose and Israeli strike from the usual suspects. The usual claim is that the consequences would be too dangerous and that the price of oil would spike.

I'm curious how bearable these people think the consequences and the price of oil are going to be like after Iran obtains nuclear weapons?

The Israelis for their part may to be be preparing for something:

If Israel strikes Iranian nuclear facilities, Tehran has three major targets: the atomic reactor at Dimona, Haifa’s port and refineries, and the area of Zakariya, where Israel stored its missile arsenal. Eyal Eisenberg, head of the Home Front Command, recently declared, “Haifa will be flooded with 12.000 missiles.” Israel’s army estimates that Hamas and Hezbollah have 1,600 rockets capable of hitting targets with high precision. In the words of former Minister Matan Vilnai, in the event of such a war, Israel’s Defense Ministry building “will not remain standing.”

But Israel is no stranger to missile fire. Since 1948, the year of the founding of the state, more than 60,000 rockets have fallen on Israel. In 2006 during the second Lebanon war when Hezbollah rained missiles down on the north of the country, one million Israelis were forced to live in shelters for more than a month. There are estimated to be 200,000 missiles pointed at the country today. The situation is such that, according to a survey conducted by Tel Aviv University, 30 percent of those Israelis with a foreign passport are willing to leave the country. A few days ago, Yediot Ahronot, Israel’s largest circulation newspaper, published a list of “cities of refuge” where it is better to live “in case of emergency.”

Tel Aviv, where 60 percent of Israel’s population reside, is now facing Iran’s “judgment day.” Many security drills are termed “NBC:” nuclear, biological and chemical threats.

Syria is the “most advanced Arab country in the production of chemical weapons,” according to a report by the Center for Strategic Studies at Bar Ilan University. Though Syria’s government is preoccupied with the rebellion against the Assad regime, it is still an ally of Iran and might decide that joining in an attack on Israel would be a good way to divert public anger against the massacres of dissidents. Syria has produced hundreds of tons of chemical weapons and bombs filled with sarin and another lethal gas, VX. The idea is that botulinum, anthrax and other lethal pathogens can be used in conjunction with explosives. Just 100 grams of mustard gas would be enough to kill 500 Israelis.

With this sort of threat in view, Israel is preparing its bomb shelters. This week, the Foreign Ministry gave the embassies a list of bunkers available for the diplomats. Only Tel Aviv has as many as 240 bunkers. The Jerusalem railway station is able to accommodate 5,000 people. Even theaters, like Habima in Tel Aviv, will host thousands of people. In Safed, the first hospital-bunker for children is being prepared. Evacuation plans are ready for Ramat Gan, the populous suburb of Tel Aviv hit by Saddam Hussein’s rockets in 1991.

While many Israelis may take shelter in the Negev, up to half a million could take refuge in the Jewish settlements of Samaria. The commander of the Home Front, General Yair Golan, declared that “cities can be transformed into a battlefield” and that masses of people will be forced to flee to a “national refuge” in Samaria in the West Bank. The hospitals have emergency plans. The most important industries, such as the banks and the Bezeq phone company, are preparing alternative technologies in case of national collapse.

Meanwhile, in southern Israel, where Gaza-based terrorists have rained down thousands of missiles in recent years, bulldozers are hard at work building new shelters for the expected next round of shelling. In Sderot, the town that has been hardest hit by Hamas missile fire, virtually every street is already dotted with concrete huts. The government has promised to put a missile-proof security room in every home. Five thousand shelters are planned for a place with just 20,000 inhabitants.

In addition to the shelters, a new alarm system, located in the Negev desert, can calculate the exact trajectory of a missile. The plan is to use this information to alert all the mobile phones in the area via SMS, audio alert and display lighting.

Given the level of preparation for these attacks, these days the State of Israel looks like a bunkered Western outpost threatened with destruction by Iran. The countdown for war may have already begun. But as Israelis start thinking about heading to shelters, the question in their minds is: once the assault on their nation begins, will the West come to their aid?

My gut feeling is that there's a strong liklihood Hezbollah and Hamas would not risk striking Israel,although it's certainly possible. Hamas is still recovering from Cast Lead, Iran is not funding them at this point and they likely realize that a strike at Israel would be treated as an act of war for which their could only be one ending. Hezbollah is more likely to get involved, but an attack would again be treated as an act of all out war and Hezbollah might be unwilling to risk their political position in Lebanon by bringing on a heavy Israeli counterstrike.Unlike the last time, the gloves would be off and all Lebanon would be fair game.

If I were the Israelis,I would not count on the West coming to their aid,especially not an America under President Obama's control.The best Israel could hope for is some low level aid and a posture in the UN that uses America's veto to prevent any major anti-Israel resolutions passing. And that's a best case scenario.

If worst comes to worst, the idea of Judea and Samaria becoming the Israeli haven might not be the worst thing that could happen. A great many Israelis who now feel that appeasing the 'Palestinians' by trading Israel's heartland for yet another false 'peace' might feel differently about the matter afterwards.

What an irony if it ends up being tiny Israel that saves the West from its folly.

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