There should be little doubt that the Israeli government is making every effort to jump-start a war against Iran sooner rather than later. Many Israelis not surprisingly believe it is in their interest to convince the United States to attack Iran so that Israel will not have to do it, and they are hell-bent on bringing that about. Unfortunately, their efforts are being aided and abetted by a U.S. mainstream media that is unwilling to ask any hard questions or challenge the assumptions of the Israeli government.
Israeli intellectuals such as Benny Morris have been provided a platform to argue implausibly that a little war is necessary right now to prevent a larger nuclear conflict. The repeated visits to Washington by Israeli Minister of Defense Ehud Barak and Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi to pressure Washington to commit to a military option are generally unreported in the U.S. media, and no one is asking why the United States should be involved in what is clearly a "wag the dog" scenario.
For once, however, some officials in Washington appear to have developed a backbone and are pushing back. A flurry of visits to Israel by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen, and intelligence chiefs Mike McConnell and Michael Hayden have made clear that there is considerable opposition at the Pentagon and in intelligence circles to starting a third war at this time. Israel says that Iran is about to obtain a nuclear weapon while the Pentagon and American intelligence services are providing a more cautious assessment, putting forward the U.S. view that Iran is still far removed from having nuclear capability. Mullen went so far as to tell the Israelis flatly that Washington does not want another war. He even brought up the subject of the USS Liberty, a not-so subtle hint that Washington knows that Israel might try to engineer a Gulf of Tonkin-type surprise to force American involvement. Mullen may have been implying that any incident in the Persian Gulf that might lead to armed conflict will be scrutinized carefully to determine if it is a false flag operation initiated by Tel Aviv.