Dateline: Tel Aviv
From this moment the State of Israel declares a state of war exists between the State of Israel and the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Because Israel views the threats by the government of the IRI in conjunction with its efforts to develop nuclear weapons and means of delivery as existential threats, Israel will take all actions necessary, specifically including unilateral and preemptive military action, to protect its citizens from the threats posed by representatives of the government of the IRI and to assure Israel's continued survival.
To minimize civilian casualties, the population of Iran should immediately and permanently evacuate populated areas within the IRI. We intend to demolish the government of the IRI and its current leadership and to permanently destroy the capacity of the Islamic Republic of Iran to manufacture weapons of mass destruction and to reduce, for generations, its capacity to manufacturer modern weapons.After decades of effort, Iran's nuclear infrastructure is nearly impervious to a conventional attack. Its processing sites are scattered, redundant and deeply buried. Their protection against attack from the air, already substantial, is increasing almost weekly, most recently with the activation of four batteries of the newest-generation Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missile, which is capable of downing airplanes, cruise missiles and ballistic warheads.
Unfortunately, our actions will have widespread and lasting effects. We recognize that the anticipated costs are extraordinary, both to those whom will die as a direct consequence, which number we have worked to minimize, but also those whose lives and whose children's lives will forever change. However, we cannot consider these costs in a vacuum. If we do nothing, Israeli's will die. Israel will die. For more than a generation, we've asked the civilized nations of the world to intercede, to prevent this threatened second holocaust. Their efforts have failed. We can not, we will not fail in our mission.
Israel does not have the power of sanctions. We do not have the luxury of accepting the eventual insanity defense upon which the government of IRI must eventually mount its justification of its genocide. By then all talk will be too late. Because we're required to take these madmen seriously, we do. We take them at their word.
There is but one circumstance that might prevent the action we contemplate as a consequence of this announcement. If the people of Iran, the citizen's of the Islamic Republic of Iran, immediately replace their government, cease all nuclear development and open their land to inspection, we shall forbear. With this, the people of Iran can retain their civilization and the State of Israel will offer its hand in peace. We stress that such action must be immediate. Without these three steps, this war will be devastating to the citizens of Iran.
To the government of the Syrian Arab Republic, we say: from this moment forward, any attack against the northern border of the State of Israel, any attack from the territories of Lebanon or Syria, any rockets or missiles fired from those territories will be considered by us as an attack by Syria against Israel. We will respond directly. Our goal will be to demolish the Syrian regime.
We recognize that this announcement is likely to increase verbosity from world leaders and that much of it will be condemnatory toward this announcement and our intent to take unilateral action to protect the Jewish people. We wish to remind those leaders of the decades' of words, generations of words, which have gone before, to no effect. The time for words has passed. We look forward to peace we create.
Traditional thinking focuses on a three or four day attack composed of a combination of long-range cruise missiles, special forces and waves of aircraft. They would be tasked first with the destruction of Iran's air defense capabilities and its limited long range delivery systems. When the defenses have been adequately suppressed, more cruise missiles plus bombers launched from secret bases in Saudi Arabia would deliver precision and so-called bunker busting rounds to close, to bury, the nuclear facilities. Game theory suggests that these aircraft would continue to sortie over Iran for several days, bouncing rubble until either the Israelis are convinced they've done as much as possible to retard nuclear development or until world opinion forces a stepdown.
There is an alternative that would very likely result in almost no battle casualties on either side. It would permanently destroy Iran's ability to manufacture or export WMD's. It would destroy the government Islamic Republic of Iran and its leadership and destroy its ability to export terrorism or support terrorists, including those forces facing Israel across the northern border and Gaza. It would remove Iran from contention for any leadership role in the middle east. It would minimize, perhaps eliminate, the risk of radiation leaks from the facilities already charged with nuclear materials. Rather than a futile attempt to "dig out" or "bury" the buried facilities, Israel can depower them.
By using no more than six low-yield EMP (electromagnetic pulse) weapons in two waves separated by just a few minutes in order to take out the emergency and backup generators, Israel could destroy nearly 100% of Iran's sophisticated electrical infrastructure, the power plants, electric transmission lines and on-site generators dedicated to powering the research centers. If triggered in daytime, there would be few noticeable effects of the weapons' detonations themselves. If centered in the north-central part of the country, effects on neighbors would be minimal. The flash and blast effects, 20 to 30 miles above the surface, would be almost invisible from the ground. There would be no physical blast effects, no buildings destroyed or monuments damaged. Pedestrians might notice a slight tingling, similar to the feeling that nearby lightening creates, but not otherwise harmful in and of itself. Within seconds, however, lights would go out across much of the country and every centrifuge would stop, permanently frozen. Desert laboratories would lose all cooling, fresh air would stop circulating in the underground bunkers. Elevators and delivery systems would grind to a halt. Fuel transport trucks, needed to keep the turbine generators turning, would stop in their tracks. As would aircraft.
Because of the physics of EMP, the largest consumers of electricity would take the biggest hit. The largest users in Iran are its secret nuclear labs.
Because the Iranian regime has buried so many of its nuclear facilities near population centers, many of them on the outskirts of Tehran or even underground at the center of the city, it is impossible to target only military infrastructure with any hope of success, no matter the demolition tools chosen. With EMP, the citizenry of Tehran, Tabriz, Qom and other cities would avoid blast and radiation effects but lose all municipal services. There would be no water transmission or storage, no sewer, no autos or trucks for delivery, no functioning hospitals. The eventual death toll might become substantial, depending first on the willingness of Iran's population to heed the warning of an attack by evacuating to lesser developed locations and further depending on the willingness of Iran's friends and neighbors to jump in to help with relief and infrastructure rebuilding.
Iran would be returned to a pre-Shah level of material civilization from which it would take a decade to return. Other rogue nations might take the message that development of WMDs is not a risk-free endeavor, that words have consequences.
We can re-establish the conversation, perhaps more productively, in a generation or two. But, first we end the threat.
UPDATE: Bumped from August 2010.
I believe that Mr. Obama's dithering has made an EMP attack more likely; that the odds favor such an attack within six weeks from now. If Israel wants:
to be absolutely certain of destroying Iran's capability for war; whileA three- shot ballistic missile nuclear EMP is the only option open to the State of Israel.
retaining and reserving its main battle forces for the defense of the state from other threats; and,
minimizing the potential for confrontations with Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria and the U.S. that would be caused by overflights; then
I would urge the Israeli Knesset to declare a state of war with Iran now. I would further urge Israel to directly warn the Iranian people of the impending attack so that they can make their own preparations to re-enter the stone age, including immediate evacuation to other states.