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View Diary: Cheney to Generals: Prepare to Attack Iran (398 comments)

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  •  No land invasion of Iran--but an attack nonethless (3.85)
    There aren't any ground troops, period.

    Cheney reckons he can destabilise the Iranian regime through a combination of aerial and naval bombardment, and a blockade of the primary port of Bandar Abbas, through which 90% of all Iranian goods  (i.e., petroleum) flow.  

    The Iranians do not possess sufficient air defences to ward off an American attack.  The Iranian navy is no match for the American navy, and a single American aircraft carrier can launch 70 first-rate fighter aircraft--whereas a generous estimate of the Iranian air force is that it can put two or three dozen first-rate fighters into the skies.

    A counterattack by the Iranians into Iraq via a land route (i.e., crossing the Iraq-Iran border) would be just what Cheney wants.  Those ground troops would be slaughtered by superior American air power.

    Cheney will act when he thinks it's the best time to act--he won't be rushed.  The fact that Scott Ritter and Seymour Hersh predicted a US aerial attack on Iran in Summer 2005 virtually guarantees that will NOT be the date of the attack.

    But it is coming.  Cheney himself said Iran is "high on the list" of "problems" that need to be "dealt with".  If Iran had nuclear weapons and no oil, like North Korea, it'd be left alone.  

    They have obtained some Russian- and Chinese-supplied fighter aircraft, but even the Iranian Defence Ministry admit that the US has unchallenged air supremacy.  Jane's Defence rarely gets it wrong, and they are distinctly non-partisan in this matter.

    Oil prices going through the roof when the US blockades Bandar Abbas is not a concern for the Cheney Administration.  The Saudis can pump enough to make up for lost Iranian capacity, as can other sources, and higher oil prices benefit the international oil conglomerates to which the Cheney Administration is captive.  Hell, the Cheney Administration IS the oil industry.  A blockade of Bandar Abbas not only screws over the Iranians, but enriches the Saudis and Cheney's other supporters--a definite "twofer".

    As far as a blockade being blatantly illegal and condemned by the world--well, since when did Cheney (who wore a ski park to the 60th Auschwitz Memorial) give a fuck about world opinion?  What's more, many Europeans are secretly worried about the direction of Iran's nuclear programme and may not be as vociferous in their objections as you imagine.

    As far as the Iranians attacking US supply lines--well, that's Cheney's dream.  He WANTS to be able to blame what's wrong in Iraq on the Iranians, and use that as an excuse to draft more troops into the Imperial Legions.

    And by the way--by repeating what I believe to be the delusions of Cheney, et al, I am NOT endorsing these ideas.  I think an attack on Iran is illegal, immoral, and fantastically stupid, but so was the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

    Remember, Cheney WANTS the Arabian Peninsula in turmoil--the better to keep oil prices pumped up and for an excuse to keep US forces in the region.  Would an attack on Iran put mobs of angry Middle Easterners in the streets, denouncing the US?  Yes.  And Cheney wants them to protest in the streets--because the visage of those angry millions will strike fear in the hearts of the American people, and it is through fear that Cheney rules.  Hell, if he's lucky, another 9/11 on US soil will allow him to dispense with the facade of democracy altogether.

    There are three kinds of people: Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.

    by Shadowthief on Fri Jul 22, 2005 at 03:31:22 PM PDT

    •  It's Gratifying to See (none)
      that someone else here finally gets it.

      i.e. the pathetic FACT that BushCo actually believes that all of the oil in the middle east and Caspian region belongs to the U.S./U.S. oil corporations.

      "Remember, Cheney WANTS the Arabian Peninsula in turmoil--the better to keep oil prices pumped up and for an excuse to keep US forces in the region."

      correct. and there's your "twofer" as you stated.

      Iran is "high on the list" precisely because they made the same errors as Hussein. i.e. they are pursuing valuing and selling THEIR oil for Euros, not dollars. their audacity to strike oil and gas deals with other developing nations such as India also means they must be taken down.

      Hussein thought he could make U.S. oil corporations superfluous. now look where he's at. stupidly sitting in a jail cell eating Rioe Krispies and Doritos. his sons murdered Mafioso style by the U.S. military.

      re: blowback. you're overlooking potential sources. I find it hard to believe China and Russia are going to sit back and do nothing should BushCo make another unilateral move such as attacking Iran, nukes or not. given China's recent massive increase in their military forces, I think BushCo and numerous innocent bystanders are in for a HUGE surprise regarding just who is and who is not a world superpower.

      •  Thanks, but China isn't a factor (none)
        China could sell arms to the Iranians--but how is it going to transport them into Iran when there's an American naval blockade?

        China's navy cannot challenge America's--and neither can Russia's navy.  China has made recent steps to improve its ability to project its military power outside its immediate sphere of influence, but the Chinese navy would find itself hard-pressed to do anything other than patrol the mainland's coastal waters and attack Taiwan, if it ever came to that.  

        Cheney's a realpolitik sort, and he's estimated--quite correctly, I think--that the Chinese aren't going to risk starting World War III over an American attack on Iran.  Remember, the Chinese economy is very dependent on the US as a market for its goods--any open hostilities between the two nations would hurt China far more than the United States at this point.

        Cheney is well aware of China's rising power--which is one reason why he has moved now to increase US influence over the global petroleum supply.  China needs petroleum to fuel its growing economy--the only question is, who will have the greatest influence over the world's oil supply.

        Anybody remember a science fiction novel written by Frank Herbert in the 1960s--Dune?  "He who controls the spice controls the universe."

        Well, he who controls the oil controls the world, and Cheney bloody well knows it.

        The only thing I can't work out at this point is whether or not Cheney wants to go after Syria or Iran first.  I lean towards Iran because it is the richer prize and Israel can neutralise the "Syrian threat" if necessary.

        There are three kinds of people: Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.

        by Shadowthief on Fri Jul 22, 2005 at 03:57:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  tech transfer (none)
          China could sell arms to the Iranians--but how is it going to transport them into Iran when there's an American naval blockade?<<

          that's why Iran is buying the technology and making their own simple ICBM. They really don't have to do much, just sink everything that moves in strait of hormuz. (that sea lane isn't too big. 45 miles across and 10 miles at narrowest point)

          Iran also has several thousand of those old french exocets. It's still good for chewing tankers and older/smaller warships.

          •  Good points but-- (none)
            (1) The Iranians will require facilities to manufacture weaponry.  The Americans will target those facilities and destroy them, along with all known caches.

            (2) Cheney WANTS the Iranians to attack American warships--the better to incite the Congress and the public to support US aggression against Iran.

            Close your eyes and picture the front page of the New York Times.  A photograph of a US aircraft carrier with black smoke curdling upwards from it is on the front page above the fold, with the headline:  IRANIAN MISSLE STRIKES USS LINCOLN.  400 AMERICAN SAILORS KILLED.

            Remember the _____ ! (fill in the blank...Alamo, Maine, etc.)

            By the way, I've just accused President Cheney of being a treasonous, murderous bastard who is willing to sacrifice thousands of Iranian lives and hundreds, if not thousands, of American sailors to achieve his political objectives.  Anybody got a problem with that?

            There are three kinds of people: Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.

            by Shadowthief on Fri Jul 22, 2005 at 04:12:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  meh (none)
              making missiles isn't exactly super hightech stuff. (we are talking about anti ship missile and torpedoes here. not anti aircraft or anti ballistic)

              If North Korea can hide several nuclear facilities underground. Iran can do it better. Iran has a lot of mining technology, not under international sanction, boatload of money to burn and more importantly.....has tons of mountain range.

              hiding a missile factory is childs play, people has been doing it since WWII. Nothing terribly high tech.

              •  As I recall... (none)
                ...the German munitions factories got living hell bombed out of them after the Americans and Brits destroyed the Luftwaffe's capability to defend against airstrikes.

                Of course you can't destroy 100% of an enemy's weapons-making capability.  But the United States has been reconnoiterring Iran, and will continue to do so, to identify current caches of weapons and transport routes for weapons.  

                Are you serious about saying that making missiles is not a "high tech" operation?  It's no simple matter to put together either solid- or liquid-fueled rockets, you know.  And the Iranians can only use a missile-launch site once--since they have no air defence effective against American bombardment, the Americans will completely destroy any missile launch site.

                Do not underestimate American air supremacy--in an American attack on Iran, the US Air Force and Navy will own the skies above Iran.

                There are three kinds of people: Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.

                by Shadowthief on Fri Jul 22, 2005 at 04:43:19 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  North Korea case (none)
                  If we can't find out where North korea put their large uranium enrichment facility,

                  we won't be able to find a much smaller missile production facilities in Iran.

                •  Apparently... (none)
                  ... you missed the story about a guy in australia who has made pulse-jet cruise missles for a few thousand a pop in his basement.

                  Missiles are not difficult to manufacture, nor expensive. Obviously you'll need something larger if you want more payload capacity, or elaborate if you want longer range, but if all you're after is short range tactical it's plenty easy.

                  The ability to create and field missiles has little  to do with 'air superiority' except as tools to attain or maintain it. In this theatre, missiles will largely mean SEA SUPERIORITY.

        •  I Disagree (none)

          check the map, friend. China doesn't need to use freaking boats to get to Iran.

          their rather large and well equipped army can march right thru central asia-- Iran is right there on the eastern side of the arab peninsula.

          should they feel threatened because their economy is threatened by lack of oil and decide to march into Iran-- who the fuck will stop them?

          the U.S. military?

          gimme a break.

          •  Ok, so the Chinese march their army (none)
            5,600 kilometres (that's about 3,480 miles to you Yanks) Iran.   Setting aside the significant issue of gaining passage through Afghanistan and the other intermediary nations, and moving a few hundred thousand troops and their equipment through the rugged, mountainous terrain that separates China from Iran....

            Now what?

            The Chinese supply lines will be stretched out from here to the crack o' doom, and easy prey to American air strikes.  The Chinese will be unable to resupply their vast army by air.  

            You are vastly overestimating the Chinese ability to project force beyond its borders.  A Chinese counterstrike via a land route?  The Chinese would have to be mad to do that.  

            China and the United States are not going to fight each other--it would mean World War III.  The old men running affairs in China are not delusional, you know.  

            There are three kinds of people: Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.

            by Shadowthief on Fri Jul 22, 2005 at 04:20:59 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  They don't HAVE to! (none)
              China does NOT need to supply Iran, they only need to give weapon technology and Iran can make their own missiles (eg. JL7..)

              Iran does not need to win all battle, all they have to do is win the suppply line battle in strait of hormuz.

              Aircraft carrier, airplane, etc. are useless... what they gonna do? destroy every buildings seen on photos?

              missiles list.

              short range.

              •  Destroy every building? (none)
                That's the plan.

                A massive American aerial bombardment.

                The United States has the capability to do it.

                The Iranians do not have the capability to defend against it.

                There are three kinds of people: Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.

                by Shadowthief on Fri Jul 22, 2005 at 04:48:05 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  not gonna happen (none)
                  then you are delusional. there is no way we can destroy every military facilities in Iran, cause they know they are in for big air assaults. They scatter their buildings everywhere/underground

                  we have about total 10,000-20,000 rounds of ICBM/tomahawk stuff.

                  •  That would be (none)
                    where the tacnukes come in.
                    •  How many? 10? 100? 500? (none)
                      If there's more than one tacnuke, that red and yellow area of radiation on the map above, where lots of people die, gets proportionately bigger.

                      Do these loonies plan to start a war with India too?

                      Folly is fractal: the closer you look at it, the more of it there is. - TNH

                      by Canadian Reader on Sat Jul 23, 2005 at 02:14:56 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Given the Bush Administration's past performance (none)
                        I'd say "just enough tacnukes so that the fallout kills lots of people in India; not enough tacnukes to actually complete the assigned mission."

                        Gotta get maximum blowback, yo.

                        •  Point appreciated (grin). But seriously... (none)
                          there aren't enough tacnukes in the world to "get the job done."

                          If the United States launched a first nuclear strike against Iran just because it felt like it, it would be officially a rogue nation -- and the principal threat to world peace.

                          No Godwin's law here... the US really would be more dangerous than Hitler. Much more dangerous. The first self-preservation priority of every thinking human being would become regime change in the US -- by force if necessary. I don't suppose you want to see a WW III with the entire civilized world allied against the US, plus a second civil war raging inside your borders.

                          Folly is fractal: the closer you look at it, the more of it there is. - TNH

                          by Canadian Reader on Sat Jul 23, 2005 at 12:26:42 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                  •  Delusional? (none)
                    We don't need to destroy every military facility to defeat Iran militarily.  You can't be serious.  Technology is great but the missiles have to be built and then deployed and then fired and then strike their targets.  A secret hidden facility is great but that is long way from actually shutting down the straight.  Our casualties would be significant, but it is delusional to think we'd be defeated by Iran's missiles.  We'd be defeated if we jump Iran, but not by missiles or their military technology.
        •  You are missing the financial angle --- (none)
          China does not have to attack us or even provide weapons to Iran.  We are currently borrowing money from them. We have borrowed a ton of money from them in the past.

          In fact, due to Bush's budget deficits so he could have tax cuts for the rich, the USA is borrowing 80% of the entire world's savings!  This cannot continue.

          All China has to do is sneeze anywhere near their pile of dollars and the value of the dollar will fold. In February of this year, little old South Korea said something about perhaps "not investing so much" in US dollars and the value fell overnight.

          China could wreck our economy just by dumping a few hundred million dollars on the world market.  THAT is their leverage on us.

          China dependent on us? Well, yes, but they've built up quite a HUGE reserve of dollars at this point. And they can sell their goods to OIL producing countries quite nicely.  Oil is worth something, unlike the US dollar which has been FALLING against the Mexican Peso (for one example), for a over a year, for crying out loud!

          Oh, and besides that, China's army could WALK to Iran, if they felt like it. Sure, it's a long walk, but it has been done. I'm sorta being snarky with this part, but seriously, take a look at the globe.

          •  If China kills the dollar, (none)
            China kills its own economy.  China isn't that foolish.
            •  If China's economy is already dead... (none)
              ...because the vast amounts of oil and gas it gets from Iran are cut off, what do you think the dragon might do?  Jesus Christ, you're calling the Chinese foolish?  They literally own us.

              As for all the macho Rambos out there saying that the U.S. would easily defeat Iran with no negative ramifications to the U.S. homeland, I must point out that we can't even beat a ragtag bunch of dudes with AK-47s and RPGs.  What are we going to do if we ever have to fight a real war with a real country that hasn't been bombed into submission for 12 years?

              And if you think U.S. arms are superior to Russian arms at this stage in the game, you are sadly mistaken.  

              Be civil to all; sociable to many; familiar with few; friend to one; enemy to none. -B. Franklin

              by ChuckLin on Sat Jul 23, 2005 at 08:47:33 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Actually, I don't think (none)
                the Chinese are foolish at all, which is why I don't believe they'd do anything to provoke an attack from us.  Killing our currency might provoke such an attack, you know.

                I think it much more likely they'd have to put up with a short-term crisis while we destroy ourselves in Iran, and then happily pick up the useable pieces afterwards.

        •  You are totally overestimating US naval power (none)
          Or for that matter any naval power in the face of Russian made Sunburn missiles that the Iranians have purchased hundreds of. These are land or navy launched missiles that make their Exocet arsenal redundant. they travel at Mach 3 and are completely unstoppable. They have effectively made the US carrier fleet redundant in the Gulf.

          The Iranians have not had to suffer years of international arms embargoes like Sadam did. They have rearmed and with oil trading at 60 bucks, they can afford to.

          You seem to think that the rest of the world has stopped thinking since Bush started his Iraq misadventure. I am convinced, the Chinese and Russians have also got their contingency plans in place in the event the US is stupid enough to try and attack Iran, their client and Oil producer.

          Putin is not a Bush fan, despite Bush's amusing ability to see his soul. I believe the cold war is not over. It just stalled a while. The US is not the sole megapower it belives it is. A few thousand Iraqi insurgents have proved that.  

          Yes, the USAF is superior to Iraqs, but Iran's air defense promises to be a very differnt prospect.

          Check out Sunburn missiles on google. And then go out and buy oil futures.

          Healthy, happy and liberal.

          by OAS on Sat Jul 23, 2005 at 07:24:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Cold war is over (none)
            I think we are in new phase of 'cold war'. This one is not fought based on ideology, but purely oil/resource and containing Bush madness (by extension the world is reacting to unipolar power)

            Al Qaeda stuff is not even a major factor if you ask me. They are relatively trivial to stop if we are serious about stopping terrorism instead of the way Bush/neocon uses it to attack Iraq and possibly Iran/Syria.

          •  Couldn't have said it better myself. (none)
            And the Sunburn is just one of numerous highly advanced weapons that have entered the market in the past five years.  Check out the SU-37 jet or the Akula subs if you think the U.S. still has the technological edge.  

            Be civil to all; sociable to many; familiar with few; friend to one; enemy to none. -B. Franklin

            by ChuckLin on Sat Jul 23, 2005 at 08:51:22 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  we all get it (none)
        --we just can't believe that cheney can do this openly thru his own office and not thru the president's.  
    •  list (none)
      The Iranians do not possess sufficient air defences to ward off an American attack.  The Iranian navy is no match for the American navy, and a single American aircraft carrier can launch 70 first-rate fighter aircraft--whereas a generous estimate of the Iranian air force is that it can put two or three dozen first-rate fighters into the skies.  <<

      Let's itemize:

      1. strait of Hormuz
      2. Russian SS-2 Sunburn anti ship missiles
      3. about 2K exocets
      4. Russian magnetic mines, zodiacs
      5. ballistic missiles. (shahab 3, scud B)
      6. 2 submarines
      7. biochemical weapons

      which means Iran has the ability to sink US aircraft carriers entering the gulf, stop any supply ship, and destroys ALL US military bases and CIA stations in Iraq and any countries in persian gulf.

      Of course once Bush attack Iran, then continental US is also an open game. Electrical grid, nuclear power plan, ports, airplanes, biochemical attacks. you name it... you get it. It'll make al qaeda terrorism look like a picnic compared.

      I seriously think Bush has this fantasy that Iran is just like Afghanistan or Iraq except slightly bigger. drop smart a coupla smart bombs and it'll be the end of it.

      •  The list is not impressive (none)
        The Iranian military lacks central coordination.  The mullahs running Iran want it that way, to lessen the chances of a military coup.

        The US has developed a counter-system to the Sunburn which is claimed to be 95% effective. I don't think the Iranians would try to destroy an American warship because if they were successful, there would be no stopping the outpouring of rage on the part of the American public.  All limits would be off and the Iranians would suffer horribly from the resulting American retaliation.

        The Iranian submarines (there are actually three, not two, Russian-made Kilo-class submarines in the Iranian navy) are being tracked constantly by American satellites and ships, and can be sunk by the Americans at any time.  Again, not a particular worry to the American navy.  The Kilo-class submarines have a limited operational capability, and could lay mines in the Gulf, which is the most worrisome factor in the equation.

        Biochemical weapons are not a factor because Cheney will not insert ground forces into Iran.  An Iranian ground attack across the Iraq-Iran border would be suicidal, because the Iranians cannot provide proper air cover for their infantry--the Americans would bombard the Iranian forces from the air and annihilate them, as was done during Gulf War I (I know, I was there and I saw it happening, as well as the aftermath of the bombardment).

        The Exocet missiles have a range of about 50 kilometers (about 30 miles for you Yanks).  By the way, the most reliable estimates (again, Jane's Defence) is that Iran has about 300 of these missiles, not the 2,000 you cited--and not all of the 300 may be operational.

        I have provided a link to Iran's estimated ballistic missile capability from

        The second link concerns Iranian naval capability.

        By the way, I am not advocating an attack on Iran as a rational course--just want to make that clear.  I think there will be all sorts of unintended consequences for the United States.  I am merely trying to "read the mind" of Cheney and lay out for you why President Cheney thinks an attack on Iran is necessary and viable.

        There are three kinds of people: Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.

        by Shadowthief on Fri Jul 22, 2005 at 04:38:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  you miss the point. (none)
          They don't have to conduct naval battle.

          1. close up strait of hormuz
          2. blows up every big oil facility in Iraq and neighboring countries
          3. watch oil price choke US economy to death. ($100-$130/ barrel after 3 months?)

          4. then enter Iraq. (lack of supply will render the troop in Iraq useless after 3-4 months)

          Then what? There is nothing Bush can do to stop this scenario short of nuking entire Iran to radioactive glass. Iran has the geography period.
          •  I don't agree with your scenario (none)
            I understood it from the beginning.

            There are two channels of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz, one for inbound traffic and one for outbound traffic.

            Each channel of navigation is about 3 kilometres wide.

            It would take more than a few rusty ships sunk to blockade these channels.  During the Iran-Iraq "tanker war" of 1984-87, when the Iranians and Iraqis started firing upon tankers passing through the Strait of Hormuz, the United States Navy stepped in and secured the naval lanes.

            It could easily do so again.

            As far as using ballistic missiles to destroy targets outside Iran--again, the Iranians had better launch their missiles all at once, because any missile-launch site will be immediately destroyed by American bombardment.

            This "doomsday scenario" of cutting off all traffic in and out of the Persian Gulf requires you to believe that the Iranians are willing to cut their own throats in order to strike at the United States--and besides, the Iranians don't have the capabilities you think they do.  

            The Iranians are badly outmatched vis-a-vis and both the Iranians and the Americans know it.

            There are three kinds of people: Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.

            by Shadowthief on Fri Jul 22, 2005 at 05:00:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  nope (none)
              Look up the map again. see who owns the little island in the choking point.

              During the first persian gulf, even with that patheitcally non existing navy, Iraq wreck havoc and manage to mess up the shipping line.

              Now imagine Iran, who control the entire strait coast, not just the deep end.

              1. The navy has no way to stop sunburn and JL7. Why do you think Clinton went berserk and slap several chinese companies with sanction. (if you know how to stop these two weapons, then better post a link, cause everybody is scratching their head)

              2. Scud B. Remember the persian gulf 1 when it takes us weeks to hunt Saddam's scud? and remember in Serbia how we never really shut down serbians radar?  Now, Iran has far more mountain range and bigger radar system.  The fact that we have to chase around few mobile scud around will cost us enormously. (where ya gonna launch yer fighters from anyway? All neighbooring airstrip has been contaminated with chemical weapons and aircraft carrier can't enter the strait because of sunburn)  The nearest airstrip will be eastern afghanistan. And Afghanistan is compromised country.  You can forget Qatar/Oman. It'll be Iran first biochemical  target.

              Next option will be flying from Israel. (yeah that'll be a wise option geopolitically.)

              3. the choking scenario work, because Iran can hold the pain longer than we do. They can get bomb everyday for 3-6 months, can we sustain regional instability and $130/barrel oil for 4 months? We'll be entering depression before Cheney can say 'cake walk, flower and sweet in Tehran)

              Bottom line, iran can win the war with cheap low tech weapons and their geography. Unless they are extremely incompetent, they have the upper hand in any conventional battle. They win.

              •  And when an attack on Iran was war-gamed, (none)
                didn't the war game show there was no acceptable military option for the U.S.?
                •  As I posted above (none)
                  Marines could capture the port cities and secure Hormuz.  Meanwhile, a strike out of Azerbaijan takes out Tabriz and Tehran.

                  And Iran doesn't really have that great of a ground army.  We'd blast them out of the way.  It wouldn't be as quick and easy as Iraq was because of the terrain.  Of course, the Iranians might try the same "blend away to fight a suburban war later" tactic that Iraq used.

                  Not that I want us to attack Iran, but of course, if we do, I want us to win with few losses.  But

                  •  are ya insane (none)
                    We can't even fend of few scrappy gangs of insurgence and you want to do amphibious landing and take over a port city in Iran.

                    With WHAT marine? We use all our marine in Afghanistan and Iraq.

                    and remember once we open a ground attack, Iraq and Afghanistan are fair game for the Iranian too. (mondo insurgency and guerilla attacks.)

                    Chopper and supply tanker will start popping like cherry in both country. It'll be Russian portable missiles and high power RPG instead of home made IED.

        •  one by one (none)

          -coordination. Why would they need precission coordination? All they have to do is sink everything that moves in strait of hormuz.

          -There is no counter sunburn. (it's an anti ship missile btw, not aircraft) 5-8 of those can sink a carrier.

          -The submarines are refurb and now equipped with new Russian torpedo. (ie. there goes DD22)

          -Biochemical weapon? put it on top of scud B and fire it up into US army bases in Oman, Iraq, afghanistan also into oil facilities. What ya gonna do? detox an oil facility or an army supply depot? good luck

          -Exocets to sink all oil tankers/supply ships. They are cheap and Iran has several thousands of them. Again whatya gonna do? equip every supply ship with anti missile equipments? We'll go bankrupt first before we do any meaningfull supply line.

          •  I am well aware of the Sunburn (none)
            I know it is an anti-ship missile.

            And Raytheon claims to have developed a 95% effective defence against it. It's called SeaRAM and is a drop-in replacement for the current Phalanx anti-missile systems, which have been judged almost wholly ineffective against Sunburn missiles.

            Not much information is available to the public on the SeaRAM system, of course--its precise capabilities are secret, but this much is known:  The RAM missle itself is a mach 2, second generation derivative of the Sidewinder and Stinger missles. It features BOTH infrared and radar based target tracking, allowing for use against future low radar cross section (stealthy) anti-ship missles.

            The effective range of the RAM missile is 17.5 kilometres (11 miles). The CIWS part of the SeaRAM can track multiple targets and fire multiple missles at a single target. Each SeaRAM platform holds 11 RAM missiles.

            That's IF the Iranians choose to use their Sunburns and launch them against American ships--and I'm betting they won't, because the Iranians would bring down the full wrath of the American Air Force and Navy if they did that.

            There are three kinds of people: Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.

            by Shadowthief on Fri Jul 22, 2005 at 05:08:36 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  not happening. (none)

              straight of hormuz is shallower than that. And each ship has to pass that choke point twice. The Iranian  can burn their low budget solid propellant anti ship and mix it with sunburn.

              It'll be the most expensive naval battle we ever do. Their ship is an island! It's unsinkable.

              •  So we'd drop paratroops on it and take it. (none)
                Then it still won't sink, but it'd be OUR unsinkable.

                Where there's a will, there's a way.  Iran doesn't have a chance against us, one way or the other.

                •  where is the troop (none)
                  You seems to be under the impression we have unlimited number of troop.

                  are we going to drop those new recruits who can't shoot straight? or are we pulling marines out of Iraq and afghanistan?

                  Then what will happen to Iraq and afghanistan?

            •'s the old they're too afraid argument (none)
              Come on...  This line of reasoning should be consigned to the junk bin of history by now.  Contrary to popular belief, our enemies aren't soooooooo afraid of us that they won't fight back.  That's just ridiculous.  Iran would launch everything they had at us.  Maybe it would fail, but they would still do it.  

              Why would they hold back?  Because they're "afraid of bringing the full wrath of the US navy down on them"?  What a load of shit.  They're already being attacked, why would they be concerned about being attacked.  

              In Britain they admit to having royalty. In the United States we pretend we don't have any, and then we elect them president.

              by Asak on Fri Jul 22, 2005 at 06:18:58 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  The strikes would be against certain targets (none)
                Military in nature.  Painful to the Iranians, and cause for them to fight back, but there are limits to their retaliation.

                The Iranians know full well that if they sink or badly damage a US naval vessel, President Cheney will stick his hand up George Bush's arse and have him ask Congress for a declaration of war against Iran.

                A formal declaration of war against Iran!  Cheney's wet dream!  The public and the Congress would gladly conscript all the troops Cheney needs to fulfill his dreams of empire-building.

                The American air force and navy are capable of raining terrible destruction upon Iran. The Iranians might feel some satisfaction in sinking a ship of the navy of the Great Satan, but it would be a pyhrric victory--you must understand that in the final analysis, the Iranians are virtually defenceless against American naval and aerial assaults.  Hurling a Sunburn missile at a US warship and damaging or sinking it is like hitting a grizzly bear between the eyes with a large rock and then daring him to come get you.  You'll feel good for a moment that you beaned the bear, but he's going to use you for a chew toy.

                It all comes down to whether or not you believe the Iranian mullahs--not the new president, who hasn't any real power, but the mullahs who have been running the country since the 1979 Revolution--are fools.

                I say they are not fools.  You think they are.  

                We will have to await events and see which of us is right.

                There are three kinds of people: Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.

                by Shadowthief on Fri Jul 22, 2005 at 08:36:37 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Formal declaration of war... (none)
                  You know what? There was actually a time, if you can believe this, when a declaration of war was required before one launched a war. Even an unprovoked aggressive war-crime war, which this attack on Iran we're discussing would definitely be.

                  You seem to be arguing, "We could hit them first, and they wouldn't dare to fight back or anything, because then we'd get really mad." Oh yeah, you've just unloaded a bunch of tacnukes on a country, killed tens of millions of people in a particularly horrible way because you felt like it, and you think nobody's going to fight you over it?

                  Let me tell you, if Cheney does this, Canada would seriously consider whether it should declare war on the US. Sure, it would be a very dumb move and we eventually wouldn't do it, but we'd definitely be thinking hard if there wasn't some way we could do it. And we'd be looking for other ways to cause you grief. Bet Mexico would be going through the same thought processes.

                  You'll have to apply the death penalty to Cheney eventually, you know, if his heart hasn't given out. A pity you couldn't just do it beforehand, so to speak, and save all those lives.

                  But I suppose the sequence does have to be, crime first, then penalty... Isn't there some provision, though, for action in advance to forestall great harm? I'm groping here for the word... what is it... ah, I have it! Preemptive action. Hmmm. Seems to me I've heard that word before somewhere.

                  The mullahs, by the way, have out-thought the Cheney administration from day one. Chalabi was their tool. There's never been a better example in the history of warfare of, "Let's you and him fight." Maybe that's why Cheney is so set on war with Iran now; he has finally realized how he was suckered.

                  Can't you just remind the Army they aren't supposed to go to war on the orders of the vice-president?

                  Folly is fractal: the closer you look at it, the more of it there is. - TNH

                  by Canadian Reader on Sat Jul 23, 2005 at 02:44:29 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Declaration of war? (none)
                  We wouldn't bother.  (We never do any more.)  Shadowthief, you've been batting 1.000 up to this point--now you're just .999.  Still a Hall-of-Famer, though!
    •  So they learned something (none)
      that occupation is too hard.
      or maybe it's just being practicle, since we don't have the forces to occupy Iran.
      And once the ground invasion by Iran starts, well, the US army will have a war to fight again.  And a defensive one at that "Look we're defending the democratic state of Iraq from an invasion by a foriegn power.  Yay us!"  (so what if they are reltailiating fro our airstrikes, they deserved it.)

      Of course the end result will be more young people willing to kill themselves to kill us.

      When all else fails...panic

      by David in Burbank on Fri Jul 22, 2005 at 05:35:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  What the fuck? (none)
      You think that Saudi Arabia can make up for lost production from Iran?  That is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard.  This is the same Saudi Arabia that has been talking about increasing production (and not actually doing so) for months.  The Saudis have no spare capacity and even if they did, they don't have enough to make up for the massive amount of oil that Iran exports.  That is just the most absurd thing I've ever read.  

      You're too optimistic about how an attack on Iran would go.  It would go badly.  Yes, we'd win, I guess that's the argument you're making, but it's a dumb one because it's already a given.  

      An attack on Iran would cripple our economy-- absolutely cripple it.  We'd have $100+ oil and everything would grind to a halt.  

      In Britain they admit to having royalty. In the United States we pretend we don't have any, and then we elect them president.

      by Asak on Fri Jul 22, 2005 at 06:00:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wrong, wrong, and wrong (none)
        Wrong:  Many Europeans are not bothered about Iran's nuclear programme.

        Europeans get tough on Iran amid frustration over engagement
        TEHRAN (AFP) Jun 20, 2004
        The European Union has hardened its position on Iran amid mounting frustration with the fruits of its bid to "engage" the Islamic republic on its nuclear programme, human rights and terrorism, diplomats say.

        It was the European Union's "big three" -- Britain, France and Germany -- who on Friday pushed through a tough resolution at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that blasted Iran for failing to honour its pledge to come clean.

        The EU heavyweights had brokered a deal in October for Iran to cooperate with the UN watchdog, but in a sign of growing impatience have now edged closer to the position of the United States -- which stands by its accusation that Iran's clerical rulers are seeking nuclear weapons and not just electricity.

        The resolution repeats a call by IAEA director general Mohamed ElBaradei "that it is essential for the integrity and credibility of the inspection process to bring these issues to a close within the next few months."

        And it "deplores... that Iran's cooperation has not been as full, timely and proactive as it should have been."

        Iran has responded by toughening its stance, raising the threat of resuming uranium enrichment and accusing the Europeans of betrayal.

        On the human rights issue, relations are not going well either.

        The Irish EU presidency Sunday issued a blistering statement on the regime's record, saying the 25-member bloc remained "gravely concerned" at the persistence of widespread abuses despite several rounds of lengthy talks.

        "The European Union continues to be gravely concerned at the continued and numerous violations of human rights in Iran," said a statement released by the Irish embassy here.

        "These include unequal rights for women; the use of torture in prisons and other places of detention, and a culture of impunity for perpetrators."

        It also pointed to "the lack of an independent judiciary, the use of the death penalty, as well as reports of the continued use of amputations and other cruel punishments; a continuing campaign against journalists and others who seek to exercise their freedom of opinion and expression, a flawed electoral process which impedes the democratic choice of the Iranian people, and discrimination on religious grounds."


        Yes, many European governments are bothered by Iran's nuclear programme, as they mistrust Iran's intentions.  Perhaps the average European in the street isn't bothered, but their governments are concerned.

        Wrong:  The Saudis are pumping at full capacity.

        Saudi Arabia recently increased its production 5% in an attemt to cap crude prices (which have reached $50 or so a barrel).  Saudi Arabia was producing 9.5 million barrels a day and is increasing production to 11 million barrels a day.

        And the world would not be "killed" even by $100 a barrel oil.  Consider this:

        The price of oil is up about 75 percent from a year ago and is already hurting airlines and other big oil consumers.

        Still, adjusting for inflation, today's prices are still more than $30 a barrel below the level reached in 1981 after the Iranian revolution. Economists also point out that the country is more energy efficient than it was two decades ago - due to conservation measures taken after prices skyrocketed and because the industrial sector has shrunk dramatically.


        (The Saudis are also building five new refineries, by the way.)

        Wrong:  Any attack on Iran and the concomitant disruptions in oil supplies will crash the markets.

        Iran exports around 2.5 million barrels of oil per day, with major customers including Japan, China, South Korea, Taiwan, and Europe.  Iran's total exports account for 3.4% of the world's total daily oil production of 72 million barrels, and only accounts for about 1.8% of the world's total oil exports.  Losing 1.8% of the world's oil exports is not going to "crash the market"--other nations such as Venezuela and Saudi Arabia can easily pump enough oil to stabilise the world oil markets.  


        The blockade of Bandar Abbas that I anticipate is not a wholesale shutdown of sea traffic in the Persian Gulf; rather, it is an attempt to starve Iran into submission by denying it access to its primary port.

        There are three kinds of people: Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.

        by Shadowthief on Fri Jul 22, 2005 at 08:44:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You're delusional (none)
          Much as I love my country and want to see it continue as a viable enterprise, I almost hope the nutbags in charge do attack Iran so that you and your ilk can learn a very tough lesson about the pitfalls of hubris.

          Be civil to all; sociable to many; familiar with few; friend to one; enemy to none. -B. Franklin

          by ChuckLin on Sat Jul 23, 2005 at 09:05:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Chuck, I'm not in favor of this (none)
            First, introductions in order.

            I was a captain in the British Army (Desert Rats) during Old Bush's War, aka Gulf War I.  I've retired from service but I was a soldier at one time.  Hence my interest in military matters.

            Second, as you may have guessed, I am not an American, and I'm certainly not one of those "bomb all the Moslem sorts" who seem to have gone straight from the asylum to the halls of Congress in the United States.

            Third, and most importantly, I am NOT in favour of this plan--I think it's murderous, criminal (in every sense of the word), and foolish beyond belief.  Cheney's planned attack on Iran will kill thousands, causing suffering to many times that number, and seriously (and perhaps irreparably) damage America's economic, diplomatic, and military standing in the world.

            I hate to keep repeating this, but I am playing "devil's advocate" and trying to show you how Cheney, Rumsfeld, and the rest of the war chiefs think.

            If I had my way, I would pursue the "European way" of negotiation, diplomacy, and economic incentives for Iran to cooperate with the Western powers.  Cheney doesn't want that; he wants war.

            There are three kinds of people: Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.

            by Shadowthief on Sat Jul 23, 2005 at 12:28:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  W's political situation deteriorates by the day... (none)
              ...if not the hour.  This is the factor in the overall situation, I think, that has Hersh and Ritter so convinced of an imminent attack.  I have a hard time getting my mind around the scope of the endlessly ramifying disaster that would ensue from this.  As indictments near, things are going to be very, very dangerous.

              Shadowthief, your expertise is much appreciated.

    •  you so don't get it (none)
      There's a small flaw in the reasoning here:

      Iran already has it's forces on the ground in Iraq  - which is a highly permissive environment for them to operate in. They don't need to mass troops on the border where they can be mown down by US air power. The nascent Iraqi military is already seeded with Badr Corps members who owe some loyalty to their allies in Teheran; in addition Iran-friendly actors own the South of Iraq - which would enable them to cut the strategically vital US supply lines from Kuwait. I don't know what percentage of the Iraqi Shia need to rise up against the US - 5% perhaps - to ensure the US military presence in Iraq is incapacitated - but once you bear this basic fact in mind, then you see that the US cannot attack Iran without sacrificing itself in Iraq.

      Historically, leaders that lose armies due to this kind of idiocy end up in prison or in front of firing squads or at the end of a noose.

      It's easy to construct scenarios based on what you would like your opponent to do; the problem is that the Iranians have manouvred themselves into a strong position in Iraq and this is an effective brake to US military action. Given the startling tilt towards Teheran that Iraq's new political leaders are showing that should give you some idea of how smart and nimble the Iranians actually are - why do you simply assume that they will be stupid when it suits you?

      No one disputes US military superiority - that doesn't meant that the Iranians will be a military replay of Iraqi stupidity and you underestimate the capacity of determined and adequately equipped opponents to inflict major damage on the US. And Iran does have the hardware to mount serious and lethal opposition to US action.

      Also bear in mind that an unprovoked attack on Iran won't just lead to angry mobs on the streets of Arab capitals - it imperils the very existence of US allies in Bahrain, where there is a crucial naval base for example. The mobs would be global and there would be massive ramifications for both US businesses and citizens - the world would simply become intensely inhospitable for Americans. I can guarantee you that an attack on Iran will produce massive anger globally that would imperil the US position in the world - a nuclear attack would simply condemn the US to international isolation for decades.

      It's also hard to see the Saudis profiting from this if their own Shiite population goes on the rampage in the Eastern oil producing areas where they happen to live. You are underestimating the fallout that such a course of action would produce by many orders of magnitude. Cheney does not want mobs on streets that end up by unseating key strategic allies - that's the definition of a fuck up.

      The Saudis are utterly unable to compensate for the 21/2 million BPD Iranian exports. Any attempted blockade of Iranian oil will send the price into the $150-200 price range. No one wants this - and whilst Cheney is powerful, he is not all-powerful. Few Americans would be happy with this scenario,and the last time I checked, the US economy did not consist solely of oil companies that could profit from this. It's not a zero sum game - it's a largely losing proposition and most people recognise it as such.

      •  Agreed (none)
        That's why Cheney needs a 9/11 type event. Like Hitler needed the Reichstag fire to galvanize support among the German populace. Bush already got one 9/11 and look what he did with it. If he gets another one? And remember this is the administration that is stonewalling on Plame, on the Abu Ghraib photos, on just about everything. They are a take no prisoners government, and the closer things look likely to break against them, the tighter their grip becomes and the more dangerous.

        It is a very mixed blessing to be brought back from the dead.

        by Steven D on Sat Jul 23, 2005 at 07:25:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  won't necessarily work (none)
          There is an equal danger that if there is a second 9/11-type event that the American public will ask themselves why this happened on this administration's watch...again. I'm afraid that it cuts both ways - and having embarked on a less than successful military adventure after one such event, there may be considerable resistance to pursuing a second one - especially if the culprits are Pakistani/Saudi/Arabs who have no connection to Iran.

          I'd also throw in to the ring the consideration of 9/11 as a "black swan" event - and unlikely to be repeatable. It's unlikely that the kind of "cascade failure" that those attacks represented would be easily reproducible. A car bomb or coordinated mass-transit attack that kills tens, or even hundreds, is not going to provoke the same kind of response - it'll likely be understood as part of the post-Iraq landscape, a la London. Bear in mind that no one in Spain or the UK has proposed attacking another country as a result of terrorist attacks. There is plenty of evidence of some kind of Pakistani connection to the London attack - but no one here is even contemplating invading Pakistan or launching an invasion.

          •  Excuse me for saying so, (none)
            but keep telling yourself that until you believe it.  Another 9/11, and 90% of the population will be in the streets screaming for massive revenge and unlimited powers for our protectors in Washington.

            You labor under the delusion that frightened people think rationally, i.e. that they think at all.  Sorry, they don't.  Nice delusion, though, as most delusions are.

            Now before you mention the Spain and UK comparisons, let me dismiss them now by pointing out: Those folks have dealt with terror before, and aren't frightened by it like we are.  (And the Brits don't show any signs of thinking themselves past Tony Blair yet anyway.)

            •  What about the other 10 percent? (none)
              So 90 percent are brainwashed fools.  What about the other 10 percent?  Let's say just 1 percent are fanatical -- now you've got a potentially very pissed off army of 2.7 million.  That's 2.7 million people willing to do all kinds of nasty things that could disrupt our peaceful and prosperous life.  Has anybody factored this in?

              In the beginning of the American Revolution less than one percent of the population was actually stirred up enough to join Washington's ragtag band.  

              Those who do not remember the past... and all that.  

              Another 9/11 and/or attack on Iran = the end of American life as we know it.  

              Be civil to all; sociable to many; familiar with few; friend to one; enemy to none. -B. Franklin

              by ChuckLin on Sat Jul 23, 2005 at 09:14:26 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm sure the other 10% (none)
                would be protesting, writing letters to Senators, and posting on DailyKos.

                The other 90% would hardly notice.

                •  What about the one percent? (none)
                  You underestimate the seething anger in the fanatical underbelly of this nation.  

                  1 percent of U.S. population = 2.75 million people...

                  How many people do you suppose it would take to blow up a few strategic places on the power grid?

                  Another 9/11 plus a disastrous military misadventure would be the spark that would ignite the shitstorm.  Life would not go on as usual.    

                  Be civil to all; sociable to many; familiar with few; friend to one; enemy to none. -B. Franklin

                  by ChuckLin on Sat Jul 23, 2005 at 09:38:23 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You're suggesting we become (none)

                    Not very wise of you to even suggest that.

                    I mean, heck, if the FBI has groups such as the American Friends Service Committee infiltrated and under surveillance, just imagine how many alarms go off in Fatherland Security whenever a suspected-of-being-a-Democrat purchases a BB gun.

      •  US sacrificing itself in Iraq? (none)
        Well, this would save us the problem of having to bring all those soldiers home and paying for their physical and mental rehabilitation.

        I wouldn't put it past the current junta to sacrifice 'em all, actually.

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