Sensible people did not know how to regard him. Some considered him a simple and modest person, while other said he was a madman.” Polybius, Histories 26:1. That’s about Antiochus Epiphanes, not Ahmadi Nejad.
There are many very real ifs and buts in the bombing of the Iranian nuclear facilities. In the similar situation in 1981, Menachem Begin was fortunate to be losing the elections and, fearing military indecisiveness of the leftists coming to power, finally decided to strike the Iraqi reactor. Today, Israelis don’t even have time to dethrone Olmert and bring, say, Netanyahu to power – assuming that Netanyahu or Lieberman would bomb Iran.
Unwilling to fulfill the civil duty of controlling the government, Israelis place their hopes for the Iranian solution with the US. That won’t work. In 1981, the US, along with everyone else, condemned Israeli attack on Osiraq. Bush is no more hawkish than Reagan, though less prudent. In 1981, Iraq was the US ally against Iran. Now, James Baker courts Iran for help in curbing the sectarian violence in Iraq. Attacking Iran is politically a bad bet for Americans.
Iranian nuclear bomb poses moderate danger to the US. Even the mullahs in Iran are sufficiently smart to avoid nuking America. Rather, Iran will provide nuclear shield for Syria, Hezbolla, and Hamas to operate against Israel without the fear of overwhelming retaliation a la Lebanon-2006 scenario. To drive the lesson home to other Muslims, Iran might nuke a Sunni town in Iraq, but that’s basically a welcome development for America, turning the US-inspired civil war in Iraq into the continuation of the latent Iran-Iraq conflict.
The US help or explicit approval is not forthcoming. Iran is foremost Israeli business, and we should not wait for the others to do our job.