BY SAM GARDINER,COLONEL,USAF (RET.)
(A 26-page report in pdf format)
"WHEN IS THE STRIKE?
When does it all come together? When could the United States pull the trigger
on the military option? The most important point in understanding the window
for an attack is that the military preparations will not be the determining factor.
This operation will not resemble the six months of preparations for Operation
Desert Shield in 1990. The preparations will be much less visible than the
movements to the region in early 2003. We will not read about discussions with
Turkey for basing permission. It will not be a major CNN event.
Instead, preparations will involve the quiet deployment of Air Force tankers
to staging bases. We will see additional Navy assets moved to the region.
Over the past few months, we have seen numerous leaks and administration
documents that raise an Iran–al Qaeda connection. But more importantly, it opens the way for an argument that a strike on Iran was part of the global war on terrorism
already authorized by Congress.In other words, approval by Congress does not necessarily have to be part of the calculation of when an attack could take place.13 If the determining factor of timing is neither the preparation of military forces nor congressional approval, one question remains: How much public support do decisionmakers believe they need before pulling the trigger?14 And that question brings us back to the beginning of the summer of diplomacy. Vice President Cheney had to be convinced that it was necessary to give some lip service to diplomacy, checking that box in order to secure public support. President Bush seems to be con-vinced of the rightness of his cause and vision. He repeats often that he does not
care about public opinion.
By redrawing the red line in this manner, U.S. policymakers are creating
pressure to go to war with Iran. In saying that Iran could not be permitted to
have the knowledge to develop nuclear weapons, the president used almost the
exact words the Israeli Foreign Minister had used a year earlier.
After going through the analysis, I believe that the United States can and
will conduct the operation by itself. There may be low-visibility support from
Israel and the U.K., and France may be consulted. But it will be an American
The window for a strike on Iran stands open."