Zogby Poll: 52% Support U.S. Military Strike Against Iran

Zogby Poll: 52% Support U.S. Military Strike Against Iran

October 29, 2007

A majority of likely voters – 52% – would support a U.S. military strike to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon, and 53% believe it is likely that the U.S. will be involved in a military strike against Iran before the next presidential election, a new Zogby America telephone poll shows.

The survey results come at a time of increasing U.S. scrutiny of Iran. According to reports from the Associated Press, earlier this month Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice accused Iran of “lying” about the aim of its nuclear program and Vice President Dick Cheney has raised the prospect of “serious consequences” if the U.S. were to discover Iran was attempting to devolop a nuclear weapon. Last week, the Bush administration also announced new sanctions against Iran.

Democrats (63%) are most likely to believe a U.S. military strike against Iran could take place in the relatively near future, but independents (51%) and Republicans (44%) are less likely to agree. Republicans, however, are much more likely to be supportive of a strike (71%), than Democrats (41%) or independents (44%). Younger likely voters are more likely than those who are older to say a strike is likely to happen before the election and women (58%) are more likely than men (48%) to say the same – but there is little difference in support for a U.S. strike against Iran among these groups.

When asked which presidential candidate would be best equipped to deal with Iran – regardless of whether or not they expected the U.S. to attack Iran – 21% would most like to see New York U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton leading the country, while 15% would prefer former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and 14% would want Arizona U.S. Sen. John McCain in charge. Another 10% said Illinois Sen. Barack Obama would be best equipped to deal with Iran, while Republican Fred Thompson (5%), Democrat John Edwards (4%) and Republican Mitt Romney (3%) were less likely to be viewed as the best leaders to help the U.S. deal with Iran. The telephone poll of 1,028 likely voters nationwide was conducted Oct. 24-27, 2007 and carries a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points.

Clinton leads strongly among Democrats on the issue, with 35% saying she is best equipped to deal with Iran, while 17% would prefer Obama and 7% view John Edwards as the best choice. Giuliani is the top choice of Republicans (28%), followed by McCain (21%) and Fred Thompson (9%). One in five independents chose Clinton (21%) over McCain (16%) and Giuliani (11%). Clinton was the top choice among women (24%), while 14% would be more confident with Giuliani in the White House and 11% would prefer McCain. Men slightly prefer McCain (18%) to Clinton (17%) on this issue, while 15% said Giuliani is best equipped to deal with Iran. The survey also shows there is a significant amount of uncertainty if any of the long list of declared candidates would be best equipped to deal the Iran – 19% overall said they weren’t sure which candidate to choose.

There is considerable division about when a strike on Iran should take place – if at all. Twenty-eight percent believe the U.S. should wait to strike until after the next president is in office while 23% would favor a strike before the end of President Bush’s term. Another 29% said the U.S. should not attack Iran, and 20% were unsure. The view that Iran should not be attacked by the U.S. is strongest among Democrats (37%) and independents, but fewer than half as many Republicans (15%) feel the same. But Republicans are also more likely to be uncertain on the issue (28%).

As the possibility the U.S. may strike Iran captures headlines around the world, many have given thought to the possibility of an attack at home. Two in three (68%) believe it is likely that the U.S. will suffer another significant terrorist attack on U.S. soil comparable to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 – of those, 27% believe such an attack is very likely. Nearly one in three (31%) believe the next significant attack will occur between one and three years from now, 22% said they believe the next attack is between three and five years away, and 15% said they don’t think the U.S. will be attacked on U.S. soil for at least five years or longer. Just 9% believe a significant terrorist attack will take place in the U.S. before the next presidential election.

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Israel Had `No Business’ Bombing Syria, UN Nuclear Chief Says

Israel Had `No Business’ Bombing Syria, UN Nuclear Chief Says
By Lorraine Woellert

Oct. 28 (Bloomberg) — Israel had “no business” bombing Syria and lacks “any evidence at all” that its target was a nuclear facility, the head of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency said.

Mohamed ElBaradei, chief of the Vienna-based UN nuclear watchdog group, called the Sept. 6 raid “very distressful” and a violation of UN rules that require member nations to alert investigators if there is evidence of nuclear activity.

“To bomb first and then ask questions later, I think it undermines the system and it doesn’t lead to any solution,” ElBaradei said on CNN’s “Late Edition” program.

Israeli officials have indirectly acknowledged the raid, while refusing to discuss the details. North Korea denied newspaper reports that it might be helping Syria build a nuclear plant. Satellite photographs taken of the site since the attack show it cleared of all debris.

Syrian officials told ElBaradei that the cluster of buildings targeted by the Israeli air force was a “military facility,” and has “nothing to do with nuclear,” the IAEA chief said.

Israel has provided no evidence to support a claim that the buildings hit were connected to a nuclear program. The UN has purchased its own commercial satellite images of the site and is studying them, ElBaradei said.

“Until today, we have not received information about nuclear-related activities, clandestine nuclear-related activities in Syria,” ElBaradei said.

The Israeli air attack was aimed at a partly built atomic reactor site to demonstrate Israel’s unwillingness to allow neighboring Syria to possess nuclear weapons, the New York Times reported Oct. 13, citing unidentified U.S. and foreign officials with access to intelligence reports. President George W. Bush and members of his administration have refused to confirm whether the bombing took place or whether the U.S. was consulted beforehand.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lorraine Woellert in Washington at lwoellert@bloomberg.net .

Photographs Said to Show Israeli Target Inside Syria

Photographs Said to Show Israeli Target Inside Syria

By Robin Wright and Joby Warrick

Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, October 24, 2007; Page A01

Independent experts have pinpointed what they believe to be the Euphrates River site in Syria that was bombed by Israel last month, and satellite imagery of the area shows buildings under construction roughly similar in design to a North Korean reactor capable of producing nuclear material for one bomb a year, the experts say.

Photographs of the site taken before the secret Sept. 6 airstrike depict an isolated compound that includes a tall, boxy structure similar to the type of building used to house a gas-graphite reactor. They also show what could have been a pumping station used to supply cooling water for a reactor, say experts David Albright and Paul Brannan of the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS).

   

U.S. and international experts and officials familiar with the site, who were shown the photographs yesterday, said there was a strong and credible possibility that they depict the remote compound that was attacked. Israeli officials and the White House declined to comment.

If the facility is confirmed as the site of the attack, the photos provide a potential explanation for Israel’s middle-of-the-night bombing raid.

The facility is located seven miles north of the desert village of At Tibnah, in the Dayr az Zawr region, and about 90 miles from the Iraqi border, according to the ISIS report to be released today. Albright, a former U.N. weapons inspector, said the size of the structures suggested that Syria might have been building a gas-graphite reactor of about 20 to 25 megawatts of heat, similar to the reactor North Korea built at Yongbyon.

“I’m pretty convinced that Syria was trying to build a nuclear reactor,” Albright said in an interview. He said the project would represent a significant departure from past policies. ISIS, a nonprofit research group, tracks nuclear weapons and stockpiles around the world.

Israel, which has nuclear weapons of its own, has not said publicly what its warplanes hit or provided justification for the raid. Syria has denied having a nuclear program. But beginning construction of a nuclear reactor in secret would violate Syria’s obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which requires all signatories to declare their intent when such a decision is made, according to sources at the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog.

Continues 

Sept 6th 2007 ‘So close to war’ Israel bombs Syria

‘So close to war’

We came so close to World War Three that day

James Forsyth and Douglas Davis

Wednesday, 3rd October 2007

On 6 September, when Israel struck a nuclear facility in Syria

A meticulously planned, brilliantly executed surgical strike by Israeli jets on a nuclear installation in Syria on 6 September may have saved the world from a devastating threat. The only problem is that no one outside a tight-lipped knot of top Israeli and American officials knows precisely what that threat involved.

Even more curious is that far from pushing the Syrians and Israelis to war, both seem determined to put a lid on the affair. One month after the event, the absence of hard information leads inexorably to the conclusion that the implications must have been enormous.

That was confirmed to The Spectator by a very senior British ministerial source: ‘If people had known how close we came to world war three that day there’d have been mass panic. Never mind the floods or foot-and-mouth — Gordon really would have been dealing with the bloody Book of Revelation and Armageddon.’

According to American sources, Israeli intelligence tracked a North Korean vessel carrying a cargo of nuclear material labelled ‘cement’ as it travelled halfway across the world. On 3 September the ship docked at the Syrian port of Tartous and the Israelis continued following the cargo as it was transported to the small town of Dayr as Zawr, near the Turkish border in north-eastern Syria.

The destination was not a complete surprise. It had already been the subject of intense surveillance by an Israeli Ofek spy satellite, and within hours a band of elite Israeli commandos had secretly crossed into Syria and headed for the town. Soil samples and other material they collected there were returned to Israel. Sure enough, they indicated that the cargo was nuclear.

Three days after the North Korean consignment arrived, the final phase of Operation Orchard was launched. With prior approval from Washington, Israeli F151 jets were scrambled and, minutes later, the installation and its newly arrived contents were destroyed.

So secret were the operational details of the mission that even the pilots who were assigned to provide air cover for the strike jets had not been briefed on it until they were airborne. In the event, they were not needed: built-in stealth technology and electronic warfare systems were sophisticated enough to ‘blind’ Syria’s Russian-made anti-aircraft systems.

Continued 

Israel did bomb Syrian nuke plant

Analysts Find Israel Struck a Nuclear Project Inside Syria

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Published: October 14, 2007

WASHINGTON, Oct. 13 — Israel’s air attack on Syria last month was directed against a site that Israeli and American intelligence analysts judged was a partly constructed nuclear reactor, apparently modeled on one North Korea has used to create its stockpile of nuclear weapons fuel, according to American and foreign officials with access to the intelligence reports.

The description of the target addresses one of the central mysteries surrounding the Sept. 6 attack, and suggests that Israel carried out the raid to demonstrate its determination to snuff out even a nascent nuclear project in a neighboring state. The Bush administration was divided at the time about the wisdom of Israel’s strike, American officials said, and some senior policy makers still regard the attack as premature.

The attack on the reactor project has echoes of an Israeli raid more than a quarter century ago, in 1981, when Israel destroyed the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq shortly before it was to have begun operating. That attack was officially condemned by the Reagan administration, though Israelis consider it among their military’s finest moments. In the weeks before the Iraq war, Bush administration officials said they believed that the attack set back Iraq’s nuclear ambitions by many years.

By contrast, the facility that the Israelis struck in Syria appears to have been much further from completion, the American and foreign officials said. They said it would have been years before the Syrians could have used the reactor to produce the spent nuclear fuel that could, through a series of additional steps, be reprocessed into bomb-grade plutonium.

Many details remain unclear, most notably how much progress the Syrians had made in construction before the Israelis struck, the role of any assistance provided by North Korea, and whether the Syrians could make a plausible case that the reactor was intended to produce electricity. In Washington and Israel, information about the raid has been wrapped in extraordinary secrecy and restricted to just a handful of officials, while the Israeli press has been prohibited from publishing information about the attack.

Full article 

Previously on digitalinsugents 

Nuke transportation story has explosive implications

Nuke transportation story has explosive implications

Last month, six W80-1 nuclear-armed AGM-129 advanced cruise missiles were flown from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., to Barksdale AFB in Louisiana and sat on the tarmac for 10 hours undetected. Press reports initially cited the Air Force mistake of flying nuclear weapons over the United States in violation of Air Force standing orders and international treaties, while completely missing the more important major issues, such as how six nuclear cruise missiles got loose to begin with. Opinion columns and editorials appeared in America’s newspapers, some blasting the Air Force for flying nukes over the U.S. and some defending the Air Force procedure. None of the news reports focused on the real questions of our nuclear security. Let me be very clear here: We are not talking about paintball cartridges or pellet gun ammo. We are talking nuclear weapons. There is a strict chain of custody for all such weapons. Nuclear weapons handling is spelled out in great detail in Air Force regulations, to the credit of that service. Every person who orders the movement of these weapons, handles them, breaks seals or moves any nuclear weapon must sign off for tracking purposes. Two armed munitions specialists are required to work as a team with all nuclear weapons. All individuals working with nuclear weapons must meet very strict security standards and be tested for loyalty — this is known as a “Personnel Reliability Program.” They work in restricted areas within eyeshot of one another and are reviewed constantly. All security forces assigned are authorized to use deadly force to protect the weapons from any threat. Nor does anyone quickly move a 1-ton cruise missile — or forget about six of them, as reported by some news outlets, especially cruise missiles loaded with high explosives. The United States also does not transport nuclear weapons meant for elimination attached to their launch vehicles under the wings of a combat aircraft. The procedure is to separate the warhead from the missile, encase the warhead and transport it by military cargo aircraft to a repository — not an operational bomber base that just happens to be the staging area for Middle Eastern operations. Yes, we still do fly nuclear warheads over the United States today. We also drive them over land as well. That’s not the point. This is about how six nuclear advanced cruise missiles got out of their bunkers and onto a combat aircraft without notice of the wing commander, squadron commander, munitions maintenance squadron (MMS), the B-52H’s crew chief and command pilot and onto another Air Force base tarmac without notice of that air base’s chain of command — for 10 hours. It is time that we got to the bottom of it through a comprehensive investigation. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has asked Larry Welch, a former Air Force chief of staff, to lead an independent inquiry into the implications of the incident. That is in addition to the existing Air Force investigation headed by Maj. Gen. Douglas Raaberg, director of air and space operations at Air Combat Command, which is responsible for all Air Force bombers and fighters. The questions that must be answered: 1 Why, and for what ostensible purpose, were these nuclear weapons taken to Barksdale? 2 How long was it before the error was discovered? 3 How many mistakes and errors were made, and how many needed to be made, for this to happen? 4 How many and which security protocols were overlooked? 5 How many and which safety procedures were bypassed or ignored? 6 How many other nuclear command and control non-observations of procedure have there been? 7 What is Congress going to do to better oversee U.S. nuclear command and control? 8 How does this incident relate to concern for reliability of control over nuclear weapons and nuclear materials in Russia, Pakistan and elsewhere?9 Does the Bush administration, as some news reports suggest, have plans to attack Iran with nuclear weapons?10 If this was an accident, have we degraded our military to a point where we are now making critical mistakes with our nuclear arsenal? If so, how do we correct this?Yes, heads must roll and careers will end. But let’s make sure that this includes the ranks from general officers to noncommissioned ones.Or is this to be the Air Force version of the Abu Ghraib investigation?

http://www.star-telegram.com/245/v-print/story/259201.html

Navy veteran questions why six nuclear missiles were flown on combat aircraft to staging area for Middle East

Navy veteran questions why six nuclear missiles were flown on combat aircraft to staging area for Middle East

10/08/2007 @ 5:52 pm

Filed by John Byrne

A retired lieutenant commander in the Navy Reserve who served with the Navy’s Supervisor of Salvage questioned in a little-noticed editorial Sunday why six active nuclear armed cruise missiles were being transferred to an active bomber base that “just happens to be the staging area for Middle Eastern operations.”

Click Here

“The United States also does not transport nuclear weapons meant for elimination attached to their launch vehicles under the wings of a combat aircraft,” Navy veteran Robert Stormer wrote in the Texas-based Star-Telegram. “The procedure is to separate the warhead from the missile, encase the warhead and transport it by military cargo aircraft to a repository — not an operational bomber base that just happens to be the staging area for Middle Eastern operations.”

Six nuclear W80 nuclear-armed cruise missiles were flown to Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota to Barksdale AFB in Louisiana where they sat for ten hours undetected.

“Press reports initially cited the Air Force mistake of flying nuclear weapons over the United States in violation of Air Force standing orders and international treaties, while completely missing the more important major issues, such as how six nuclear cruise missiles got loose to begin with,” writes Stormer.

“Let me be very clear here: We are not talking about paintball cartridges or pellet gun ammo. We are talking nuclear weapons.”

Stormer doesn’t buy reports that the missiles were simply lost. The title of his piece is “Nuke transportation story has explosive implications.”

“There is a strict chain of custody for all such weapons,” he said. “Nuclear weapons handling is spelled out in great detail in Air Force regulations, to the credit of that service. Every person who orders the movement of these weapons, handles them, breaks seals or moves any nuclear weapon must sign off for tracking purposes.”

“All security forces assigned are authorized “to use deadly force to protect the weapons from any threat. Nor does anyone quickly move a 1-ton cruise missile — or forget about six of them, as reported by some news outlets, especially cruise missiles loaded with high explosives.

“This is about how six nuclear advanced cruise missiles got out of their bunkers and onto a combat aircraft without notice of the wing commander, squadron commander, munitions maintenance squadron (MMS), the B-52H’s crew chief and command pilot and onto another Air Force base tarmac without notice of that air base’s chain of command — for 10 hours.”

At the end of his editorial, he poses the following questions.

The questions that must be answered:

1 Why, and for what ostensible purpose, were these nuclear weapons taken to Barksdale?

2 How long was it before the error was discovered?

3 How many mistakes and errors were made, and how many needed to be made, for this to happen?

4 How many and which security protocols were overlooked?

5 How many and which safety procedures were bypassed or ignored?

6 How many other nuclear command and control non-observations of procedure have there been?

7 What is Congress going to do to better oversee U.S. nuclear command and control?

8 How does this incident relate to concern for reliability of control over nuclear weapons and nuclear materials in Russia, Pakistan and elsewhere?

9 Does the Bush administration, as some news reports suggest, have plans to attack Iran with nuclear weapons?

10 If this was an accident, have we degraded our military to a point where we are now making critical mistakes with our nuclear arsenal? If so, how do we correct this?

http://rawstory.com/news/2007/Navy_veteran_questions_why_six_nuclear_1008.html