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

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  •  By your reconning then, the only thing... (none)
    ... standing between the strait being shut down and quick victory is the untested effectiveness of an antimissile system that was originally based on the patriot, which had, if I recall correctly, a 0% effectiveness against BALLISTIC targets a mere 10 years ago.

    Leave aside that 95% is, of course, marketspeak... 5% of a few hundred missiles is still over a dozen. If even just a few of these things hit a target, it'll sink. And if the iranians are smart, they'll make good use of some of the gear their friends have been sending them lately to make life more interesting still.

    This is a winnable scenario how, again? Presume massive aerial bombbardment with nukes will Make Everything A-Ok(tm) and what 'bitter enders' survive to launch every missile in the mountains to be mostly knocked out? Seems pretty tenuous to me.

    •  There are other things besides SeaRAM (4.00)
      As far as a "few hundred" missiles go--the US Navy does have effective countermeasures to Exocets.  The 95% effectiveness ratio is Raytheon's figure for SeaRAM against Sunburn, which is a different class of missile.  You are mixing apples and oranges.

      What's more, there is a total lack of understanding on the part of many commentators here on how missiles are launched, and how easily detectable missile-launching sites are.

      Exocets only have an effective range of 65 kilometres--all the Navy need do is stand outside that 65 kilometre range, or at its periphery, and pick off the missile sites.  The Iranian navy doesn't have the capability to get within 65 kilometres of a US carrier group and that is a fact.  Any Iranian ship approaching the crucial 65 kilometre range would be detected and destroyed.

      Exocets cannot be launched in large groups; the Iranians aren't going to loose 300 missiles simultaneously--even if they had the naval capability to deliver 300 missiles at once, which they do not.  They will have to launch a few at a time, if they can launch any at all, and if the missile sites are not detected via satellite or AWACS surveillance prior to launch, the launch sites themselves will be detected the moment a single missile is set loose.

      That is the Exocet missile threat, which is distinct from the far more dangerous Sunburn missile.  As I've already stated, Raytheon has developed a defence system (SeaRAM) that has a claimed 95% effectiveness--although the only test that is worth a damn is in battle.

      Even if the Navy doesn't trust SeaRAM to defend its surface ships, it does have other countermeasures in place.  And the Sunburn has one fatal weakness--like the Exocet, it must be within range to strike and damage a ship.

      However, the Sunburn does have a weakness. At best, its range is 129 kilometers, and a flight time of under three minutes. For the sunburn to be a threat, the attacking ship needs to get within range. This is going to be very hard to do. The maximum range of U.S. Navy strike aircraft is considerably longer. So is the range of recent versions of the Harpoon (anywhere from 140 to 315 kilometers, depending on the version). The Sunburn that is never launched is a Sunburn that is absolutely no threat at all. The way to stop the Sunburn with the best chance of success is to sink the would-be launching platform.

      http://www.strategypage.com/dls/articles/200552912425.asp

      In other words:  the US Navy can stand off at a distance, out of the effective range of the Sunburns, launch its strike aircraft, and run raid after raid on Iranian targets.

      As for closing down the Strait of Hormuz--well, the US Navy has submarines of its own, and the Sunburn is not an effective weapon against them.

      By the way, in no scenario have I included nuclear strikes on the part of the Americans.  Why people keep addressing that scenario to me, when I have clearly stated that I do not believe they will be used under any circumstance, I can only attribute to the proliferation of comments posted on this diary.

      What I envision is this:  carrier-based strikes against Iranian targets, targeting and destruction of missile-launching sites, and a blockade of Bandar Abbas...or perhaps a bombing run on Bandar Abbas, the Iranian port through which 95% of its oil exports flow.

      The pretext will be that the Iranians are supporting terrorism (tying them into terrorists strikes instead the UK and/or the US, as well as Iraq) and/or developing nuclear weapons.

      And although I have already stated, allow me to reiterate that I am playing "devil's advocate" and attempting to replicate President Cheney's thinking.  If I were advising Cheney, I would counsel against any strike against Iran simply because there are too many variables--too many known unknowns and unknown unknowns, to lift a phrase from Rumsfeld--and the military and political hazards are far too great to risk 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 08:28:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Cheney can manufacture a perceived threat by (none)
        Iran to close down the Straits - that will constitute the reason for attack or invasion of Iran. After all, he's discovered it only takes a forged document or two.

        Now would be a good time, Dick, since the courts and prosecutor are tied up with one major investigation. They wouldn't have time to launch another paper chase and investigation before neocons act.

        Once again,  think about persisting the idea that the Straits are to be shut down by Iran - whether or not Iran can and would is irrelevant.

        This administration has already proven that it acts without direct provocation and without adequate preparation or manpower.
        No reason why we can't do it again, goddamit.

      •  again (none)
        you keep thinking we are going to fight in open water. We are not. The straight of hormuz is the key.

        Look at the size, at narrowest point it's only about 10 miles across, double bank!

        and then Basra terminal is only stone throw away from Iran border. So you can forget Basra seaport once the war begin. (how we gonna supply troop in Iraq?)

        Searam is utterly untested in real combat. for all we know it'll be another 'patriot missile type' a complete design flaw against scud attack.

        Can the searam handles multiple decoy + exocet + sunburn? (of course I don't think the Iranian can pull such elaborate attack. but who knows.

        but the we still has no answer to the worst scenario, how are we going to protect all those oil tanker and supply ship? specially at the choking point. that part is only 10 miles across.

        •  I agree (none)
          Cheney is gambling that SeaRAM will work when the time comes.  I think it's a terrible gamble, myself, as I was trained as an officer to try to minimise casualties.

          But you have to understand how this murderous bastard thinks, along with his henchman, Rumsfeld.

          A Sunburn missile damages or sinks a battleship?  Terrific!  Now Cheney can use that to whip up the Congress and the public further against the Iranians.

          Oh, sure, a few hundred sailors might be dead and more maimed for life, but your sailors and soldiers are naught but pawns in Cheney's Master Scheme.

          And just think of the fat contracts Cheney's friends and supporters in the armaments industry will get rebuilding the damaged/sunken ships and building new weapons systems.

          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 12:35:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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