Saturday, January 06, 2007

Looking Under the Lamp Post

So even Israel can set back Iran's nuclear program by hitting fewer than a score of identified targets, we are assured. And if they can, we can. There are supposed to be certain identifiable projects whose loss would be enough to put off the nuclear date by 5 to 10 years.

If somebody--Israel or America--is getting ready to hit Iran's nuclear infrastrucuture based on this assumption, do we know where all the targets are?

I'm not talking about what's in Iran. Are important parts of Iran's nuclear effort in other countries such as North Korea and Syria? And what of Venezuela, which under Hugo Chavez has become best buddies with Ahmadinejad's Iran?

We could hit Iran, believe we've bought ourselves years of time, and then wake up one morning not long after to see a smiling mullah explain that the nuclear detonation in country X was an Iranian bomb being tested. And that Iran has ten more of the same design already.

Recall that Libya could have been Iraq's remote nuclear partner and we would have never known about it. And Sudan appeared to be Iraq's partner in chemical weapons production (that's why we bombed that plant in Sudan ten years ago under President Clinton).

Iran is a big country, but the world is even bigger. My guess is that Iran doesn't really believe they can burrow deeply enough to avoid our precision bombing. Besides, if you dig deep enough, aren't you just digging your own grave if the exits to the surface are crushed and caved in? Nor do the Iranians likely believe they can hide anything inside Iran big enough to be a crucial part of the nuclear program.

But our satellites can't scrutinize the entire world the way we can look down on Iran alone. By focusing on Iran, are we looking where the light is best?