Jeffery Goldberg‘s Point of No Return article in September’s Atlantic Monthly continues to stir up debate.

Tom Ricks, Center for a New American Security (CNAS) senior fellow, adds his take to the list of disastrous scenarios which could follow an Israeli attack on Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program.

On his Foreign Policy blog, The Best Defense, Ricks reflects on a note received from (ret.) Col. Peter Mansoor–Gen. David Petraeus’ executive officer from February 2007 to May 2008–in which Mansoor outlines the potential fallout from an Israeli strike and, rather ominously, describes such an attack as “a likely scenario”. Ricks had been coming to the conclusion that, “…the more Israeli officials chat with journalists about [bombing Iran], the less likely I think it is to happen,” but Mansoor’s note appears to be giving him second thoughts.

The note, reposted on Ricks’ blog, reads:

“Whether it is Israel or the United States that attacks Iranian nuclear facilities, the Iranians will respond by trying to close the Straits of Hormuz and unleashing terror attacks in the ME and around the world. In the event of an attack, the United States will have to destroy Iran’s capacity to close the straits, which means destroying their anti-ship missile batteries, submarines, aircraft, and the assortment of small boats and mine layers that can wreak havoc on  Gulf shipping. Israel will no doubt have to invade southern Lebanon again to suppress the inevitable barrage of missiles from Hezbollah. The West will have to go on high alert against terror attacks. The oil shock alone will no doubt spiral the West into a double dip recession/depression.

Not a pretty picture to contemplate, but a likely scenario. Despite the crowd of academics in the United States that says we can live with an Iranian bomb, Israel will not allow the Iranians to go nuclear — at least, not while a Holocaust denier who has made pointed threats against the Jewish state remains in power.”