Finally, and even more disquieting, was the contention I heard repeatedly that an Israeli strike in the next six months — conducted before Iran can further harden its nuclear sites, or make them redundant — will set back the ayatollahs’ atomic ambitions at least five years. American military planners tend to think that Israel could do only a year or two worth of damage.
The arguments I’ve outlined here — and those I’ll describe in my next column — all lead to a single conclusion: The Israeli political leadership increasingly believes that an attack on Iran will not be the disaster many American officials, and some ex-Israeli security officials, fear it will be.
These were vertigo-inducing conversations, to say the least. Next week, I’ll discuss why, from Netanyahu’s perspective, a strike on Iran, even if only marginally successful, might be worth the risk — and may be historically inevitable.