"Sweet Tammy" should open Nov.17. Our daughter-in-law's bakery - focusing on cup and wedding cakes - has a Victorian decor and will offer superb tasting specialty baked goods. She has been baking out of their home for several years and opening a focused bakery has been a life long dream after getting her masters degree in international event planning.
Sweet Tammy will eventually hire some 5 or 6 people and if things go as hoped for she will expand to a larger facility and go national via the internet. Their web site will be embellished and upgraded in the coming months.
Start ups are fraught with risk and particularly in the current economic environment but Tammy has received raves and their community seems anxious to have access to her extraordinary baking talents. Go girl!
A little redneck humor to start the day off!
1. You let your 14-year-old daughter smoke at the dinner table in front of her kids.
2. The Blue Book value of your truck goes up and down depending on how much gas is in it.
3. You 've been married three times and still have the same in-laws.
4. You think a woman who is out of your league bowls on a different night.
5. You wonder how service stations keep their rest-rooms so clean.
6. Someone in your family died right after saying, ' Hey, guys, watch this. '
7. You think Dom Perignon is a Mafia leader.
8. Your wife's hairdo was once ruined by a ceiling fan.
9. Your junior prom offered day care.
10. You think the last words of the Star-Spangled Banner are ' Gentlemen, start your engines. '
11. You lit a match in the bathroom and your house exploded right off its wheels.
12. The Halloween pumpkin on your porch has more teeth than your spouse.
13. You have to go outside to get something from the fridge.
14. One of your kids was born on a pool table.
15. You need one more hole punched in your card to get a freebie at the House of Tattoos.
16. You can't get married to your sweetheart because there's a law against it.
17. You think loading the dishwasher means getting your wife drunk.
Hamas welcomes better relations with Obama. I suspect Hamas will be disappointed because I believe Obama will be tougher than they assume. Americans vote not Palestinians and Obama knows he cannot give away the store though he might make more concessions. Obama will proceed cautiously. Peggy Noonan suggests Obama is likely to find out who he really is after assuming office .(See 1 and 1a below.)
Hamas has GW to thank for the elections which brought them to power.(See 2 below.)
Barak bends Rice's ear regarding Iran's nuclear program. DUH! (See 3 below.)
Freedom of Speech is alive but not well on U.S. campuses and in other venues. It is my experience far too many liberals, and extremists in general, get testy when their precious views are challenged. I always invite the exchange of ideas and frequently learn from and am often influenced by them. (See 4 below.)
I believe it is inconceivable that Israel will take any precipitous action against Iran prior to Obama being sworn in as president. Why would Israel want to sour relations with the new president and/or make his job tougher than it already will be?
Even if he ever once had thoughts of doing so, I doubt GW will now rock the boat. Iran will, in all probability, be allowed to achieve nuclear status because the West (Britain, France and Germany) blew their opportunity, GW gave them too much time and waited too long.(See 5 below.)
A dear friend and brilliant economist in his own right, who personally knows many of those on Obama's team, is enthusiastic about their understanding of the economy. He also wrote that Obama is entitled to more time than a honeymoon implies.
I responded honeymoons can last a long time. The issue is whether the press, media, foreign leaders and events will end Obama's honeymoon. I suspect America's corporate beggar demands are also likely to help end Obama's honeymoon, ie. GM, Ford, airline etc.
Probably one of the biggest problems facing Obama is the high cost of labor and the fact that auto companies and other corporate titans caved under the pressure of union demands and pro union legislation decades ago. The bill for this behaviour is now being presented and may cost these companies their very survival. It certianly is costing Americans their jobs and is decimating the American Dream of middle class' growth.
Since there are no free lunches there is always a price to pay - sometimes delayed but nevertheless inevitable.
President elect Obama does not seem to understand this but he soon will. Based on his press conference today if he gets his way with his tax program and stimulus it will backfire because it will simply prolong the problem. Cutting the size, waste and expenditures of government is far more important in re-balancing our way out of our whacked financial system and beats giving handouts to non tax payers but then neither would it buy votes. Obviously Obama does not consider reducing government, eliminating many of its needless and useless functions and costs a priority.
On another note when GW told us the defeat of terrorism would take a long time, not be easy and we should be patient we yawned. Obama pretty much asked the same of our country today regarding the economic mess. It will be interesting to see how long the American voters will give him should the recession still be around next year as I suspect it will.
Finally, Obama also muttered the words we need to come together in a bi=partisan spirit. GW sought the same and was rebuffed repeatedly. Had GW received more support maybe Medvedev might not have threatened to challenge Obama so quickly by placing missiles opposite Poland. Outward and constant contempt by Democrats for GW, no doubt, had hidden repercussions because it sent signals to our enemies they could act with greater freedom because we were "The Disunited States." History will eventually record the disrespect and hatred towards GW did not serve our nation well though it certainly helped the Democrats to win back the presidency - the determined and long sought goal of Dean, Pelosi and Reid.
Europe now has the president they wanted and deemed worthy for us. Let's see how much co-operation we get from them should Obama beseech them to do some of the heavy lifting.
1) The Children Are Watching: America makes history, but the mandate is for moderation
By PEGGY NOONAN
You're lucky to live through big history. And you're living through it.
The explosion of joy in large pockets of the country Tuesday night was beautiful to see, and moving. For me, at the end of the evening, looking at live shots of the throngs in Chicago's Grant Park, I flashed back to 1960 and how it felt, as a child, to see that the grown-ups had elected a Catholic president. I can't say we stood taller—we were Irish, we already stood tall—but yes, there was a wave of feeling: "What a country," "What a development!" The other day, when I said that to the writer Henry Louis Gates, head of African American studies at Harvard, he told me he'd grown up in a Catholic neighborhood and had celebrated that night with his neighbors because he thought he was one of them. That struck me as a very American anecdote.
It is a matter of profound importance that everyone in a nation know that with whatever facts they start their life, there is a clear and open route to rise. It is a less great country in which routes, and heights, are closed off or limited by things that, if you some day get to heaven, you will look back on and realize were silly, stupid: class, color, condition. That country will be greatest that offers its citizens the most possibilities in which to find happiness. There is power to be had in the full unleashing of human capital. So: a great night for America. I've yet to meet up with a conservative, a Republican or a McCain voter not aware of and moved by this aspect of the election's outcome.
I add one thing. The phrase I often worriedly think of when I see, on television, gross violence, cruelty, a vulgarity of character, erectile dysfunction ads, news reports that reflect a mean and cynical attitude toward America, and still-menacing if increasingly antique rappers is: The children are watching. They're absorbing and understanding life via this darkness. Well, Tuesday at 11 p.m., as an old barrier that was rotting and waiting to fall, fell, I got to think it happily: The children are watching. And absorbing a better, deeper understanding of life in America.
Some wonder if Barack Obama is a hard leftist or more a pragmatic politician who simply rose in leftist precincts (that would be you, Hyde Park, Chicago). A less charged way to put the question would be: Is he a strict modern liberal, or possibly a man of some considerable moderate instincts? The obvious answer is: We're about to find out. But I think the more interesting answer is: He's about to find out. In the presidency, daily decisions become patterns become pictures become, in time, full-length portraits. In the Oval Office you meet yourself every day. It is going to be very interesting to see Mr. Obama meet himself in this way.
His biggest challenge? Not demoralized and reorganizing Republicans on the Hill but his own party, with a hunger for innovation and a head of steam built up and about to burst. And the incredible sense of expectation his supporters hold. When you think someone's Moses, you expect him to part the seas.
Americans want change, and they just voted for it, but in times of high-stakes history they appreciate stability. And while we love drama in our movie stars and on our television sets, we don't love unneeded drama in our government and among our govern-ors. This is already a dramatic time—two wars, economic collapse—and people are rattled. "Moderation in all things." It should be noted here that the split in the popular vote was 53% to 46%. That is a solid seven-point win for the new president elect, but it also means more than 56 million voters went for John McCain in a year when all the stars were aligned against the Republicans. (Though it is also true that many of the indices for the GOP are dreadful, especially that they lost the vote of two-thirds of those aged 18 to 29. They lost a generation! If that continues in coming years, it will be a rolling wave of doom.)
Mr. Obama has a significant portion of the nation to win over. He acknowledged this in his sterling victory speech, when he spoke of "those whose support I have yet to earn." He does have yet to earn it. Hint: They want peace, progress in the economy and nothing socially extreme. And they want to respect their president. Forget "they want to have a beer with you." That was yesterday, when beer was cheaper. They want to respect you and look up to you; they want you to be a positive, not negative, role model for their children; they want to know you can lead as you ran, capable, Cool Hand Luke.
And they want you to handle whatever history sends over the transom, and that will be plenty dramatic enough, as everyone knows.
In that connection, an early word on appointments. Rahn Emanuel as chief of staff strikes many people as the choice of a jarringly partisan figure. It seems an unusual choice for Mr. Obama. He hasn't staffed his campaign with fierce gut fighters but benign-seeming smoothies, the best kind of smoothie to be. And yet if you know you're going to have to handle obstreperous congresspersons of your own party, you just might go for a known leader and discipliner of congressional Democrats. At any rate, props to Paul Begala for once calling Mr. Emanuel's leadership style as "a cross between a hemorrhoid and a toothache." During the Democratic Convention in August, Mr. Emanuel told me he goes once a week to a grocery store and talks to normal people about how they're seeing things. That's a good sign. So is the fact that he recruited candidates who were relatively moderate on the social issues in 2006.
It's an old saying that personnel is policy, but it's old because there's some truth in it. The New York Times quoted a Democrat close to Mr. Obama's appointments process as saying, "This can't look like Clinton 3. He's got to put his own stamp on it." This struck me as a strange thing to fear. First, Mr. Obama has a way of putting his own stamp on everything, have we not noticed? His campaign staff was a reflection of him and answered to him; his campaign was what he wanted it to be. Second, would the American people so terribly mind something that looked a little like Clinton 3? They remember Bill Clinton's years, holiday from history and all, as a relatively secure and prosperous era.
Can Mr. Obama claim a mandate? The answer: a firm no-yes. This was not 1980, with a landslide 10-point, 44-state win and the will of a clear majority firmly revealed. And yet of course it's a mandate—a clean win, a new beginning, a solid Democratic victory in the House and Senate. A friend noted the other night that George W. Bush from the beginning governed as if he had a mandate, and he'd lost the popular vote in 2000. Presidents are presidents and claim what they claim. Mr. Obama won it the old-fashioned way: he earned it. He confounded history to get it. And because he replaces a president whose unpopularity has impeded his ability to govern, he is, in a way, president from day one.
What a thing this is going to be to see. What luck to observe it.
1a) President Obama's First Test
By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY
Geopolitics: Joe Biden said Barack Obama would have his inexperience tested within his first six months. The Russians waited all of two hours before vowing to target our missile defense sites in Poland. Let the testing begin.
In his first state of the nation address, Russian President Dimitri Medvedev announced that Moscow would deploy SS-26 Iskander missiles in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad situated between our NATO allies Poland and Lithuania.
Their purpose is to target our missile interceptors that are scheduled to be based there to defend against Iranian missiles. "The Iskander missile system will be deployed in Kaliningrad to neutralize, when necessary, the missile shield," Medvedev said.
Russia's SS-26 short-range ballistic missile is designed to defeat Western ballistic missile defenses, especially the Patriot Advanced Capability low-to-high-altitude air-defense system, according to Uzi Rubin, former director of Israel's Missile Defense Agency.
The road-mobile Iskander-E is equipped with "stealth" technology and the capacity for variable flight trajectory, making it much harder for ballistic missile defense to shoot down. Current Iskanders can deliver a conventional warhead up to 280 kilometers, but an updated version to be deployed as early as 2009 could reach targets 500 kilometers (300 miles) away.
Medvedev also announced the cancellation of plans to dissolve three ICBM regiments. "We earlier planned to take three missile regiments within the missile division stationed in Kozelsk off combat duty and discontinue the division itself by 2010," he said. "I have decided to refrain from these plans."
Current U.S. plans are to station 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a missile-tracking radar site in the Czech Republic by 2011-2013. That time frame could be met if construction started tomorrow and the project was fully funded. But it has met resistance from a Democratic Congress and a president-elect that has opposed "unproven" missile defense. The Russians know this.
Also looming on the horizon is a plot to return Vladimir Putin to power as president in 2009. As reported by the newspaper Vedomosti, Medvedev on Wednesday proposed increasing the presidential term to six years from four as part of the plan.
Medvedev would then resign, citing changes to the constitution, and new elections would be called. Putin then could be elected to two more nonconsecutive terms, serving from 2009 to 2021. Could Putin be sensing an opportunistic moment of U.S. weakness?
A resurgent Russia, like its Soviet predecessor, is quite willing to test what it considers an inexperienced U.S. leader. In June of 1961, a young and ambitious President Kennedy met with Nikita Khruschev in Vienna to discuss Cold War issues, particularly the situation in Berlin.
Khruschev came away unimpressed, convinced our new leader could be had. By August 1961, the Berlin Wall was being built, and by the following spring the Soviet leader was making plans for installing offensive nuclear missiles in Cuba.
Kennedy, to whom Obama has been compared, quickly learned that "aggressive personal diplomacy" and a willingness to meet without preconditions with the world's tyrants were not enough. After appearing naive and weak in Vienna, the world stood on the brink of nuclear war for two weeks in October 1962 as JFK was forced to respond with a naval blockade of Cuba.
A more experienced Ronald Reagan left quite a different impression when he met with Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev in Reykjavik, Iceland, in October 1986. Reagan launched the Strategic Defense Initiative in 1983 and refused to negotiate it away. He opposed the nuclear freeze and put Pershing missiles in Europe to counter the Soviet SS-20 threat. He put America's security in the hands of American technology, not the good will of its enemies.
It has not been lost on the Russians that Obama's initial response to Moscow's invasion of the Republic of Georgia was to advise Georgia to show restraint in responding to its invaders. As we speak, a Russian naval task force led by the nuclear missile cruiser Peter the Great is on its way to America's backyard the Caribbean.
The testing of Barack Obama has only just begun.
2) Hamas praises Obama, hopes for 'new page' in relations with U.S.
By Yoav Stern
Hamas strongman Mahmoud Zahar says he hopes the election victory of Barack Obama will open a new page in relations between the U.S. and the Muslim world.
However, Zahar says he does not expect immediate change in U.S policy toward Hamas. The Bush administration is boycotting the Islamic militants, along with most of the international community.
Hamas refuses to renounce violence or recognize Israel. Last year, Hamas
seized Gaza by force, and Zahar was instrumental in the takeover.
He said Friday that "we hope, we hope, that Obama opens a new page with the world, including the Muslim world." But citing what he believes is undue Israeli influence on U.S. policy, he said he doesn't expect Obama to talk to Hamas, at least at the start of his presidency.
Meanwhile, a Syrian analyst on Friday said Syria would be prepared to restrain the militant activities of Hezbollah and Hamas if a U.S. administration led by President-elect Barack Obama shifts its policy toward Damascus.
In an article published on Friday on the Asia Times Web site, Syrian analyst Sami Mubayed called on Obama to endorse the renewed peace talks with Israel to ensure their success.
Mubayed, whose analyses are considered the official standpoint of the Syrian government, urged Obama to "normalize" relations between Washington and Damascus.
Such "normalization" of ties would include dispatching a new U.S. ambassador to Damascus, the first since the deterioration of the states' ties in 2005.
Syria would also demand that the economic sanctions against it be dropped, a change in Western rhetoric toward Damascus and compensation for the recent deadly U.S. air strike in which eight Syrians were killed.
Damascus also seeks a further role in matters regarding Iraq. "Obama must recognize that no problem can be solved in the Middle East without Syria," Mubayed wrote.
In exchange for U.S. implementation of these demands, Syria would be ready to use its weight in the region against the militant activities of Hezbollah and Hamas, and would work in tandem with Western powers to find a solution to the Iranian nuclear issue.
Mubayed said that Syria has nicknamed Obama "Abu Hussein" - in reference to the president-elect's middle name.
"When all this is done, Syria will be ready to open its arms to Abu Hussein and to accept him maybe as an honored guest in Damascus, as we did with Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton," wrote Mubayad.
3) Barak to Rice: Israel convinced Iran working on nuclear arms
By Barak Ravid
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Friday that Israel was convinced Iran is working toward creating an atomic bomb while simultaneously deceiving the world by negotiating over supervision of its contentious nuclear program.
In a meeting with visiting U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Barak also said Israel maintained its stance that options were on the table for dealing with this threat, including military action.
"Israel is convinced Iran is trying to build a nuclear bomb," Barak told Rice," adding that Jerusalem "is not taking any option off the table, and we don't recommend that others take any option off the table."
During their talks, Barak referred to U.S. President-elect Barack Obama's declaration that he would be prepared to engage in dialogue with Iran.
Rice also visited the West Bank of Ramallah on later on Friday, where she met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. During their meeting she stressed that Israeli-Palestinian negotiations launched a year ago are
vibrant, vital and will eventually lead to a Palestinian state.
Rice has acknowledged that a year-end target for an agreement was no longer realistic, but insisted the talks have not failed.
"The distance to that peace has been narrowed, although the peace has not yet been achieved," Rice said.
"We knew ... that if that agreement was not reached by the end of the year, that there would be those who would say that the Annapolis process, the negotiations, had failed."
"In fact, it is quite the opposite. The Annapolis process has laid the
foundations for the eventual establishment of the state of Palestine," she said. "The Annapolis process ... is vital, it is vibrant, and it is continuing, and I am quite certain that carried to its conclusion, it will produce a state of Palestine."
Livni says disagrees with Obama over dialogue with Iran
Foreign Minister and Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni said on Thursday that Obama's stated readiness to talk to Iran could be seen in the Middle East as a sign of weakness in efforts to persuade Tehran to curb its nuclear program.
"We live in a neighborhood in which sometimes dialogue - in a situation where you have brought sanctions, and you then shift to dialogue - is liable to be interpreted as weakness," Livni said when asked on Israel Radio about policy change toward Tehran in an Obama administration.
Her remarks sounded the first note of dissonance with Obama by a senior member of the Israeli government since the Democrat's sweeping victory over Republican candidate John McCain in the U.S. presidential election on Tuesday.
Asked if she supported any U.S. dialogue with Iran, Livni replied: "The answer is no."
Later in the day, Livni described Obama's election as a source of inspiration to millions around the world as she stood next to visiting U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at a joint press conference in the home of the American ambassador to Israel.
"I would of course like to congratulate President-elect Barack Obama on his historic victory, a man who has impressed Israelis during his visits here and throughout the campaign by what he represents," she said. "I would like to also express our appreciation to Senator John McCain for his leadership and long-standing friendship."
Then she returned to the subject of Iran.
"We need to fight extremism, Livni said. We need to continue the pressure on Iran and I believe that the idea of continuing the pressure comes with more intense and effective sanctions on the Iranians."
Livni, leading the centrist Kadima party in the February 10 parliamentary election, also said "the bottom line" was that the United States, under Obama, "is also not willing to accept a nuclear Iran."
Obama has said he would harden sanctions on Iran but has also held out the possibility of direct talks with U.S. adversaries to resolve problems, including the dispute over Tehran's nuclear ambitions.
The West believes Iran's nuclear enrichment program is aimed at building atomic weapons, an allegation the Islamic Republic denies.
Israel, believed to have the Middle East's only atomic arsenal, has repeatedly said Iran's nuclear program is a threat to its existence and that it was keeping all options on the table to stop it.
4) What happened to free expression?
By Peter B. Martin
Where has liberty of expression gone? Was it slain at Stanford? Was it harried away at Harvard? Crucified in church? Condemned by Conservative pressure groups? Struck down in the street? Tolerance appears to be a forgotten virtue; are we back in the era when the world was flat?
It is deplorable to read ever more frequently, about people being upbraided for speaking their minds. During this last election campaign anyone who dared speak their mind risked being hauled over the coals; it is like the inquisition all over again. And it is not just conservatives who risk harassment.
A good example is what happened to this top-grade gunsmith. Dan Cooper, founder of Cooper Arms of Montana, long-time member of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and staunch Republican was sacked for supporting Obama after thousands of irate emails and phone calls engulfed the office threatening to never buy the company's guns again. Things have gone too far when citizens are criticized (read censured) for their political beliefs; one could expect that in Zimbabwe or under Muslim rule but not in the United States.
Not everyone is herd orientated; some prefer to follow their own thinking. To be reviled for disloyalty to one's party seems totally unwarranted. Why does one have to be slavishly loyal to his or her party? Why can't one vote as one wishes and not as one is expected? Isn't it far better in the long run to be loyal to one's country's interests, rather than loyal to some party interest? That may be the advantage of being an Independent, one can vote any way one wishes without being unfaithful to a political party.
This narrow-mindedness among neo-political henchmen and the bigotry, so often based on ambiguous, rather than empirical evidence that it breeds, is sickening our society, creating a plague of hate over the land. When party supporters hostile to an opposition candidate cry, "Kill the traitor, kill the terrorist" without restraint, all human decorum, all decency vanishes and mob conduct threatens to prevail that could well lead to physical violence. It is one thing to engage the public, another to enrage it. That sort of conduct has in the past bred such carnage as Kristallnact of 1938 (the prelude to the holocaust) and the more recent Tutsi massacre of Rwanda.
The sharp edge of cynicism has penetrated our society so deeply that individuals don't recognize any longer how their liberty is being threatened by the silent encroachment of such obsessive views as the Politically Correct movement, environmental fanatics, extremist groups, anti-whatever lobbyists and other pressure groups who hold real power to disrupt one's life by way of modern communications. Awareness is the first defense against extremism. It is time to make use of it to heal the wounds against freedom of expression.
The following quotes, relative to this issue, are worth contemplation:
"Let me now warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of the party."
"There is no grievance that is a fit object of redress by mob law."
"There are two good things in life, freedom of thought and freedom of action."
"Like all weak men he laid an exaggerated stress on not changing one's mind."
The first one is by George Washington; the next is by Abraham Lincoln and the last two by William Somerset Maugham.
5) Might Israel strike at Iran before Obama takes over?
By YAAKOV LAPPIN
On December 8, 1988, under the cover of night, IDF warplanes, helicopters, guided-missile frigates and an elite force of Flotilla 13 naval commandos and Golani Brigade reconnaissance fighters infiltrated Lebanon.
Their target was a cave-based headquarters 20 km. south of Beirut, serving the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, headed by Ahmed Jibril.
The raid, code-named Operation Blue and Brown, involved the first known use of the IDF's secretive Oketz K9 dog unit.
Four soldiers found themselves left behind, forcing the air force to conduct a dramatic helicopter rescue. The soldiers clung to the helicopters' railings as they choppers took off, with Palestinian gunmen in pursuit.
Lt.-Col. Amir Meital, commander of Golani reconnaissance unit, was killed by enemy fire during the raid.
The operation took place one month after US President George H. Bush was voted into office, and a month before he was sworn in, replacing the popular Ronald Reagan, a leader widely viewed as a staunch ally of Israel.
Operation Blue and Brown says nothing about the likelihood of an Israeli strike on Iran today. But it does show that IDF operations have been ordered in the interim period between the election of a new American president and his inauguration.
And it is this same period in 2008/09 that provides an "attractive date" for Israel to strike Iran's nuclear program, according to historian Benny Morris.
In June, Morris wrote an op-ed for The New York Times in which he theorized that Israel would likely strike Iran between November 5 and January 19, the day before Obama is sworn in.
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post this week, Morris said he continued to believe that time period was a "reasonable" one for Israeli action.
"There is certainly a friendly president in the White House until January 20. There is no certainty over what will happen after that, in which direction the wind will blow.
The second thing is the advancement by the Iranians in creating the bomb," Morris said, speaking from his home in Li'on, southwest of Beit Shemesh. Morris said the Iranian regime was guided by messianic clerics who could not be trusted to act logically in a state of mutually assured destruction (MAD).
"These men are not rational like the men who ruled America and Russia during the Cold War. When [President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad talks about destroying Israel and denies the Holocaust, we hear no contrary voices from the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei saying that Ahmadinejad is crazy," Morris said.
"So long as Iran makes progress, we are under pressure, if we plan on doing something. Iran is supposed to purchase advanced anti-aircraft guns from Russia at the start of 2009. All of these point to the fact that if the US provides support, an Israeli strike is reasonable," he said.
Acknowledging the lame-duck nature of the Olmert administration, Morris said the difficulties posed by a weak government could be overcome by notifying the leaders of the major political parties in advance of the attack. He even raised the possibility that a date had already been chosen.
But Morris's views were challenged by a number of Israeli defense experts, such as Maj.-Gen. (res.) Giora Eiland, former national security adviser and former head of the IDF's Planning and Operation branches.
"I don't agree that Bush has given us a green light to attack in the next three months. Israel can't attack without US approval, which is vital both tactically and strategically. At the moment, we don't have that approval," he said.
Eiland provided an alternative forecast, according to which Obama will spend some months assembling an international front aimed at applying real pressure on Teheran to ends its nuclear program, something Bush had so far failed to do.
"To make the pressure on Iran effective, you have to cooperate with states like Russia. But the Russians say, 'Our main problem is that you [the Americans] are deliberately harming our interests by criticizing our internal policies, our actions in Chechnya, and with your attempts to drag neighbors like Georgia and Ukraine into NATO. So long as that's the case, don't expect us to help on Iran.'"
Noting that Russia is continuing to supply Teheran with nuclear technology and economic ties, Eiland said it would be impossible to isolate Iran without Russian assistance. This was all the more true in light of the fact that China and India had signaled that they would follow Russia's guidance over Iran, Eiland added.
"So I assume that the Obama government will correctly recognize the Iranian threat, but it will try to construct an international front," he said.
If, however, that policy failed, Obama could seriously consider using force, or support an Israeli strike several months from now, Eiland said.
Col. (res.) Ephraim Kam, formerly of Military Intelligence's Research Division and currently the deputy head of Tel Aviv University's Institute for National Security Studies, said a number of questions needed to be answered before determining whether a strike could go ahead.
"We don't know what Bush wants. In order to know whether the time is right for an attack, the government must know the stance of the Americans, and the state of our intelligence. Do we have the precise information that we need? What is the evaluation of an Iranian response? Is the Iranian threat existential?" Kam asked.
The government did not have those answers at this time, "hence the decision to attack cannot be made," he said.
Dr. Emily Landau, director of the Arms Control and Regional Security Project at the Institute for National Security Studies, said that aside from the diplomatic situation that altered with Obama's election, she could see no changes in "terms of the pros and cons of Israel taking some kind of action."
"Iran is advancing its program all the time. Where is the exact window of opportunity? I don't think the timing can be so fine-tuned as to give an exact date. It all boils down to the larger question of what you want to gain through military action. And this is the situation we've been faced with for the past few years," she said.
Landau said military action would likely not stop Iran's nuclear program, or even delay it significantly. Much of the talk of a strike formed part of an attempt to pressure Iran, and to keep it thinking that "there was a credible threat there. And the purpose of that is to get Iran to finally negotiate seriously," she said.
"Even if military action was used, it would ultimately have to lead to some kind of negotiation to get a deal," Landau said.