Republican hopefuls in the 2012 presidential election are beating the war drums too, sensing that Iran is a bunker-buster issue that could penetrate Obama's strong record on national security. Governor Rick Perry of Texas, a leading candidate, is saying he would fully support a pre-emptive strike on Iran's nuclear installations. Another aspiring commander-in-chief, former senator Rick Santorum, describes Iran as the "enemy". It is campaign-trail nonsense, but it is dangerous nonsense – and it ramps up the pressure on Obama.
A 2006 study produced by the US Army War College, Getting Ready for a Nuclear-Ready Iran, suggested up to 1,000 air sorties might be required to ensure underground sites were eradicated, including possible use of tactical nuclear weapons. Thus a pre-emptive strike would actually mean all out, escalating nuclear war with Iran, military retaliation against Israel, hostilities in neighbouring states, and a global oil shock. This might not look so great as Obama goes before the American people next November to seek a second term.