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Commentary: Romney's war cry

By ARNAUD DE BORCHGRAVE, UPI Editor at Large   |   Aug. 1, 2012 at 6:46 AM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- Stripped of gaffes and bad syntax, Mitt Romney has told the world that if he is elected president in November, the United States will stand behind Israel if it decides to bomb Iran's nuclear installations.

Following the Afghan and Iraq wars, the United States would then find itself at war again -- for the third time in 10 years.

From Israel's standpoint, the most propitious time to bomb some of Iran's nuclear facilities would be at the height of the U.S. presidential campaign. Neither side would take a chance on his or her defeat by criticizing Israel and incurring the wrath of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

This was a propitious time for U.S. President Barack Obama to sign into law the U.S.-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012.

The Bipartisan Policy Center "applauded Congress for overwhelmingly passing legislation that reaffirms the long-standing commitment of the United States to the security of Israel by providing it with the necessary military aid to defend itself against terrorist attacks."

"Key measures in the bill," said the center, "specifically the importance of providing Israel with refueling tankers and bunker busting munitions, were strong recommendations by BPC's latest Iran report, 'Meeting the Challenge: Stopping the Clock'."

In this report, BPC emphasized the importance of the United States to strengthen Israel's military threat against Iran's nuclear facilities to pressure Iran to halt its nuclear program.

In the event of pre-emptive Israeli bombing, Iran would automatically see the United States as a co-belligerent. The Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz, through which are transported daily 35 percent of the world's seaborne oil supplies, Hezbollah-dominated Lebanon and Hamas-ruled Gaza would all become part of a larger theater of war.

The Israeli-occupied West Bank, increasingly under the sway of Hamas, would be ripe for a third intifada or violent demonstrations.

The 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty, with the Muslim Brotherhood and the military now sharing power in Cairo, would be in serious jeopardy. Since it took over the reins of government this summer, the Muslim Brotherhood has restored full diplomatic relations with Iran.

To prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear capability, said Romney, the United States stands 100 percent behind Israel. It should be the Americans' "highest national security priority" to stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

Wealthy American Jews, including Sheldon Adelson, the multibillionaire casino operator who has promised to donate $100 million to Romney's campaign, flew to Israel to be on hand for the Republican candidate's 2-day visit.

How much was grandstanding for U.S. Jewish support for Romney's White House ambitions and how much would become U.S. policy if he becomes the 45th president of the United States is perhaps still an open question. But the words he used left no wiggle room for equivocation.

Two weeks before Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met Romney, Obama's national security adviser Tom Donilon briefed him on current U.S. deployments in the Persian Gulf region.

The United States has two aircraft carrier strike forces cruising the Gulf of Aden. In recent months, the U.S. minesweeping fleet in Bahrain has gone from two to four to eight ships. Iran has hundreds of mine-carrying small boats that can dart in and out of the north and southbound shipping lanes of the Hormuz Strait.

The strait at its narrowest is 21 miles wide. Traffic lanes are 6 miles across, including two 2-mile-wide traffic lanes for inbound and outbound shipping, separated by a 2-mile-wide safety median.

The leading Israeli daily Haaretz reported Netanyahu and Donilon spent 3 hours over dinner discussing U.S. contingency plans for dealing with Iran's nuclear facilities -- including the effectiveness of deep-penetration 15-ton bombs.

These bombs, Donilon is reported to have said, can create havoc with any of Iran's known underground nuclear installations.

Donilon, reported Haaretz, assured Netanyahu that Iran's nuclear facilities were all within destructive reach of the 15-ton "daisy cutters."

The Vietnam-era BLU-82 was filled with 12,600 pounds of GSX explosive slurry and when detonated created a blast wave of more than 1,000 pounds per square inch, the Center for Global Research says.

They have been improved in destructive burrowing power since they failed to stop Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida terrorists as they made their escape from Afghanistan through the Tora Bora Mountain pass in mid-December 2001.

Next in Jerusalem for talks with Netanyahu was U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Panetta is understandably more cautious. Defense dollars are being cut back in anticipation of automatic "sequestration" at year's end unless a bipartisan deal emerges before then.

The 8-year Iraq war cost a cool trillion dollars -- with little to show for it. By the time, the United States and its allies leave Afghanistan at the end of 2014, a second trillion dollars will have been spent on a 13-year war.

In Iraq, violence shook 14 cities almost simultaneously this week, killing 110, wounding some 200 -- days after al-Qaida announced that it was back in its terrorist business against a much weakened Iraqi government. In one attack, the terrorists killed 14 Iraqi soldiers.

Emboldened by Syria's civil war next door, al-Qaida clearly sees an opportunity to relegate Iraq to the status of a failed state.

Leading the charge against the government of Nouri al-Malaki was the notorious anti-U.S. cleric Moqtada Sadr, who spends more time in Tehran with his Iranian sponsors than in Baghdad.

Panetta's caution about getting involved with Israel against Iran is understandable.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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