I have a technical question for the militarily informed on this list. There has been some discussion here already about the Israeli government’s warning that if, during an American campaign against the Baath in Iraq, Israel were struck by Iraqi scuds or missiles, it would retaliate.
This is being represented as a change in policy from the Gulf War, where Israel sat it out at the request of the US. I believe the press reporting on this matter to show a lack of historical memory, since I clearly recall then PM Shamir demanding from Bush senior the codes that would allow Israeli jets to fly safely in the war zone, and being refused.
That is, the lack of the proper codes was the real reason for Israeli inaction the last time. What I recollect is that Shamir was extremely angry over the rebuff.
If that is the case, then how could it be brought off this time? As I understand it, US planes signal to each other that they are on the same side by broadcasting a particular code. Aircraft not sending out the code might well be shot down as the enemy. If Sharon sent Israeli jets over Baghdad without the codes, the likelihood is that the US pilots would shoot first and ask questions later.
If what is being referred to is not dispatching jets or bombers, but rather sending missiles on Baghdad, then surely that would put at risk US soldiers fighting on the ground there?
Has the military technology changed, or do I not understand it properly, or is Sharon simply willing to risk US-Israeli dogfights over Iraq?
[I'll post the substance of any response I get].