Sunday, August 14, 2005


Double or nothing: Guardian military affairs writer says that war with Iran is on

The military affairs writer for The Guardian, Dan Plesch says that war with Iran is on... and the Poodle is in: US officials have been preparing pre-emptive war since Bush marked Iran out as a member of the "axis of evil" back in 2002. Once again, this war is likely to have British support.... The conventional wisdom is that, even if diplomacy fails, the US is so bogged down in Iraq that it could not take on Iran. However, this misunderstands the capabilities and intentions of the Bush administration. America's devastating air power is not committed in Iraq. Just 120 B52, B1 and B2 bombers could hit 5,000 targets in a single mission. Thousands of other warplanes and missiles are available. The army and marines are heavily committed in Iraq, but enough forces could be found to secure coastal oilfields and to conduct raids into Iran. A US attack is unlikely to be confined to the suspected WMD locations or to involve a ground invasion to occupy the country. The strikes would probably be intended to destroy military, political and (oil excepted) economic infrastructure. A disabled Iran could be further paralysed by civil war. Tehran alleges US support for separatists in the large Azeri population of the north-west, and fighting is increasing in Iranian Kurdistan. Bush is in so deep that double or nothing is probably the only bet he can make.
Considering that General McCaffrey's just come out and said that we can't even maintain the status quo in Iraq, it will be interesting (in the "May you live in interesting times" sense) to see Bush try it.

If Bush thinks he can duplicate Clinton's feat of waging a pure air war, he's crazy. Yugoslavia during the 1990s was just under 40,000 square miles in size -- slightly larger than the state of Maine. Iran, on the other hand, is about 640,000 square miles, or the size of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California all rolled together. And the terrain is, shall we say, a good deal more challenging.

Reminds me: Clinton was forced to fight an air war solely because the Republican Congress of the time wouldn't authorize any serious troop committments to save people from genocidal maniacs, though these folks had no problem in 2002 allowing PNAC to use our troops to help Ahmed Chalabi topple Saddam and deliver Iraq into the hands of the Iranian mullahs -- the avoidance of which outcome was why we spent decades propping up Saddam in the first place. Oh, well.
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