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Obama's Promise: A "Surgical Strike" Against Iran

In an interview with the Daily Beast, Israel's outgoing defense minister Ehud Barak said the Obama administration presented Israel with "quite sophisticated" plans for a "surgical" operation against Iran's nuclear program.

One question that arises is whether the Obama administration went through this exercise as a means of mollifying Netanyahu to delay a strike, without any real intention of following through, or whether the administration made more concrete assurances to buy more time for sanctions and negotiations. Either way, as Barak states at the end of the interview, the U.S. has put its credibility on the line with the Iranian nuclear program.

Still, the idea that any strike against Iran would be "surgical" is a misnomer, one designed to soften the public's expectations for what a military campaign against Iran would entail. Such a mission may be conceived of as a limited and targeted strike, but if Iran were to retaliate, all bets would be off and things could get messy very quickly.