July 16, 2007

Military Solution For Iran?

The Guardian reports that the Bush administration, led by Dick Cheney, has decided to emphasize the military options in dealing with Iran. This would change the policy from last year's decision to emphasize the diplomatic approaches to ending the Iranian nuclear program, and it apparently comes over the objections of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates:

The balance in the internal White House debate over Iran has shifted back in favour of military action before President George Bush leaves office in 18 months, the Guardian has learned.

The shift follows an internal review involving the White House, the Pentagon and the state department over the last month. Although the Bush administration is in deep trouble over Iraq, it remains focused on Iran. A well-placed source in Washington said: "Bush is not going to leave office with Iran still in limbo." ...

Last year Mr Bush came down in favour of Ms Rice, who along with Britain, France and Germany has been putting a diplomatic squeeze on Iran. But at a meeting of the White House, Pentagon and state department last month, Mr Cheney expressed frustration at the lack of progress and Mr Bush sided with him. "The balance has tilted. There is cause for concern," the source said this week.

Nick Burns, the undersecretary of state responsible for Iran and a career diplomat who is one of the main advocates of negotiation, told the meeting it was likely that diplomatic manoeuvring would still be continuing in January 2009. That assessment went down badly with Mr Cheney and Mr Bush.

First, it's difficult to assess this report. The Guardian doesn't use any named sources for most of its assertions, and it's not as if the Guardian has tremendous access to the Bush administration. In fact, it looks as if the entire story came from a single "Washington source", which makes it somewhat less than compelling.

If true, however, it's a mistake on several levels. One major problem is that we have enough on our plate in Iraq, and opening a second hot war will stretch us in a manner unlike anything we have experienced in recent years. Some might argue that we could use our navy to attack Iran, and we do have three carrier groups in the Persian Gulf. However, the Iranian response would likely come on the ground, against our troops in Iraq, and perhaps against the British in the south. We have our hands full in trying to secure Iraq against internal forces, let alone a full-blown invasion from Iran.

Besides, our raison d'etre in Iraq is to stop a wider war from exploding in the Middle East. Not only would an attack prompt exactly what we hope to avoid, but it would likely radicalize the Iraqi Shi'ites, who would not appreciate the US using Iraq as a military base against their natural allies in Iran. We'd have to pull back to the west in Iraq, and we could lose the use of Iraqi ports on the Gulf as a result.

The radicalization of the Iraqis would be a secondary consideration. An attack on Iran would radicalize the Iranians all over again. Right now they feel an increasing disconnect between themselves and their largely inept leadership. That disconnect will dissipate in an instant if Iran gets attacked by a foreign power. All of our efforts to promote a democratic movement in Iran, which have been too limited by half, will get wasted in an attack. Creating 70 million radicals should be something to avoid, not something to actively pursue.

According to the Guardian, the reason Cheney and Bush have decided on this course is because they don't trust any of their potential successors to deal with Iran properly. As Rick Moran notes, that's a fairly arrogant thought, if true. At the least, their successors would have to inherit a potential military catastrophe if they decide to attack Iran, and apparently they would trust the succession with that much -- so why rush into precipitate action now?

And that assumes we can knock out their nuclear capabilities on the first strike, or even a series of strikes. From what we know, that's very unlikely. They learned from the Israeli strike on Osirak and put everything underground and dispersed their assets. We can set them back with surgical strikes, but we can't know for sure how badly and for how long. With a radicalized populace, they'll have a lot more political breathing room for reconstituting it after we stop bombing them.

We shouldn't discount the military option, of course, but that doesn't mean we should use it in the near future, either. We need to have Iraq stabilized and our forces greatly reduced before we could tackle the much larger nation of Iran. We'd have to have exhausted our diplomatic and economic options. For instance, we had a better setup to take out Kim Jong-Il's nuclear infrastructure over the last few years, but we rightly opted for a multilateral diplomatic approach. We still have time to do this right, in a manner that would create a friendship between liberty-loving Iranians and the West and undercut the mullahcracy.

UPDATE: Jules Crittenden isn't impressed, either -- and Allahpundit compares Bush and Cheney with Martin and Lewis. He finds them less amusing, apparently.

UPDATE II: A couple of commenters accuse me of "growing" as a blogger by opposing military intervention against Iran unless as a last resort. That's rather amusing, as I have always held that position, as a check of my archives would rather quickly confirm. I'm for keeping the option on the table, but only using it if we have no other choice.

Iran is a much more difficult target than Iraq. For one thing, it's three times as large, with three times the population. It's more mountainous, and their military assets are more dispersed. Attacking it in any meaningful manner will require more troops than we have in Iraq. Dropping bombs in Iran will do little to rid ourselves of the mullahcracy, even though it might damage some of their nuclear network -- and we couldn't even confirm that without invading Iran on the ground to find it all. Bombing Iran will only give political support to the current regime, especially with the kind of surgical strikes we would deliver.

And let's not forget that we already have a two-front war (Iraq and Afghanistan). Now's not the time to open a third front, not without a much larger regular military than we have now.

The best way to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of the mullahs is to work to overthrow them. That won't happen through an invasion, as satisfying as military action might be to some.


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Comments (67)

Posted by cali_sun | July 16, 2007 9:53 AM

While I agree on your assessment in general, something has to be done against the proxy war Iran is fighting in Iraq against us such as the 50 launchers found during the weekend. They are killing our soldiers, and as long as they believe they can get away with that, it only becomes a bigger problem.
However, I think the best bet is for Israel to strike, and if needed assistance by our Navy would most likely be a better way. No matter what, to stop Iran from going nuclear is a must, and it will be painful if we do nothing. Europeans won't do anything but talk, and talk some more, all the while they are building the bomb.

Posted by Ned | July 16, 2007 10:03 AM

"We still have time to do this right, in a manner that would create a friendship between liberty-loving Iranians and the West and undercut the mullahcracy."

Hope your right Captain. Myself, I hope the story is true. I think it is time to do like Harry Truman once said he would do if personally attacked. " Stick a pistol up their ass and pull the trigger."
Just think of the massive shit fit the driveby media would suffer if "W" ordered strikes against Iran and started a draft the same day.

Posted by Carol Herman | July 16, 2007 10:13 AM

There's no question that Bush feels the Mideast is his legacy. He's also going to give a speech, soon, that defines, yet again, the palestinian arabs can have their own space. SINCE NO ONE ELSE WANTS THEM! Not the Egyptians. Jordanians. Or Israelis. And, that's the way it is.

Iran is a big threat to Israel. And, to Irak. (Though the Saud's are the biggest threat.)

However, the Saud's aren't adding friends to their list; anymore than the "palestinians" have done.

In Lebanon, the palestinians are not welcomed in as citizens. And, even though they get their terror, delivered by Assad; when Olmert had the chance to remove the giraffe's head; he saw that would only lead to the Saudis getting syria as their turf.

By now Bush is dealing with the same reality with the Saud's, he faced with Ken Lay. Ken Lay learned reality the hard way.

What can the USA do to Iran? My guess is that it won't involve a ground invasion. It will, however, take care of Iran's noo-cue-lar ambitions for some time to come. And, the nut-in-a-dinner-jacket, may suffer consequences, too. Since Iran's economy is tanking. And, the mullahs are NOT liked! That is, by the population, as a whole.

Irak? Oh, I think we're gonna be there for awhile. And, that Maliki will probably be voted out of office, at the next go-round. He's not strong enough to stay inside the palace without holding elections. And, people in Irak aren't gonna suffer anymore than they are now. Courtesy of all the money the Saud's spend on terror. Their "prize" will be the severing of the palestinians from any meaningful economy. A slow process.

Just fasten your seat belts.

Posted by the tapper | July 16, 2007 10:16 AM

A good analysis, however, when is more talk, too much talk and no action. This nation has thumbed it's collective nose at the United States and its close ally, England for thirty years. Now more talk?? Still???yet??? Well, lets talk about it some more. Maybe some selective surgical strikes would do more than" Let's talk about it some more while our Soldiers are still being killed by Iranians and their equipment, and they are still buliding the Big one!!!

Posted by the tapper | July 16, 2007 10:18 AM

A good analysis, however, when is more talk, too much talk and no action. This nation has thumbed it's collective nose at the United States and its close ally, England for thirty years. Now more talk?? Still???yet??? Well, lets talk about it some more. Maybe some selective surgical strikes would do more than" Let's talk about it some more while our Soldiers are still being killed by Iranians and their equipment, and they are still buliding the Big one!!!

Posted by John Steele | July 16, 2007 10:22 AM

So, Cap'n, besides more pointless "negotiations", what is to be done? How much longer does one talk with zero, zero results. There are no measurable, or even imaginary, results of the years oif negotiations. What have we got to show for our efforts and forebearance --- an Iran with an extensive bomb program and their progress continues.

Or is the objective to talk long enough that they get the bomb and action becomes impossible --- or worse the only possible response is nuclear? Once they get the bomb what do we do? And don;t try to sell the argument that it will be decades before they have a deliverable weapon; not all nuclear weapons have to be delivered on the top of an ICBM.

We complain that the Democrats offers objection but no viable alternatives. So, having objected to military action what viable options do you have in mind? The long awaited student uprising; the uprising that has been coming longer than they have been working on the bomb, the uprising that is imminent but for some reason never seems to come.

Posted by Geoffrey Leach | July 16, 2007 10:23 AM

"Besides, our raison d'etre in Iraq is to stop a wider war from exploding in the Middle East." That's funny, I thought it was to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Based on everything that they have said, the time that would elapse between that event and the wider war would be insignificant. Consequently, short of Iran's complete and verifiable abandonment of their weapons program (fat chance) the only question is whether the military option will come before or after the failure of diplomacy.

Posted by MaaddMaaxx | July 16, 2007 10:24 AM

I think isolating iran militarily may be the solution. use air and ground forces to close the border and the navy to blockade their sea route.
The gamble would be if the ground forces could close the border securely enough and long enough for the broken Iranian economy to grind to a halt and bring about the end of the mullacracy.
The other risk is rallying the iranians to the mullahs. I think this is less likely but make no claims to a crystal ball.
As to Bush's logic, I would not trust a Dhimmicrat to handle iran properly. If we get a Dhim President in 2008 Iran WILL get the bomb.
On the other hand, any chance this is an intentional leak by the White House to nudge the Iranians into more cooperation?
Nawwwww, we'd never do that.

Posted by Steve Benton | July 16, 2007 10:31 AM

I disagree with Ed ( as always ). Talking about sanctions hasn't stopped Iran from fighting proxy wars in Lebanon, Iraq, and Gaza. Negotiation never worked with Hitler - it won't work with Iran,either. Whether we accept it or not, we are in a world wide war with ruthless killers hell bent on destroying America and Israel. Now, we either fight them before they have nukes or after... which scenario would you prefer?

Posted by TomTom | July 16, 2007 10:36 AM

Next thing you're gonna do, Cap, is endorse Obama.

Posted by rocketsbrain | July 16, 2007 10:50 AM

We don't have to strike at Iran's nuclear targets. A few well placed grenades or turning a few valves in the last functioning Iranian gas refinery with plausible denial might do the trick to topple the Mullahs' house of cards. Esp if followed by not allowing resupply of gas stocks by sea. Three carrier battle groups should be up to the challenge.

See the Iranian Divestiture Project and this piece from the nvestor's Business Daily on my blog.


Posted by Qwinn | July 16, 2007 10:52 AM

Indeed. I've heard about "growing in office", but this is the first case of "growing in blogging" I've noticed.

Ed fears that Iran will launch a "full ground invasion". That's the best thing that could possibly happen, because we'd kick their ass. Everyone knows this - in conventional warfare, we'd win in a couple of weeks. We're having precisely the problems we are because the enemy refuses to fight via conventional means. The thing we'd have to really fear is that Iran would smuggle jihadists across the border secretly along with weapons an...

Oh, they're doing that already, aren't they?

Well, not much to be afraid of then, is there?


Posted by Bill Copley | July 16, 2007 10:54 AM

I'm just wondering what Israel is supposed to do. Do nothing and hope the US gets it right through negotiations? If the US fails through negotiations it really isn't any skin off it's nose. But Israel would be in a difficult position if Iran gets nukes.

Posted by Kathy | July 16, 2007 10:58 AM

Besides, our raison d'etre in Iraq is to stop a wider war from exploding in the Middle East. Not only would an attack prompt exactly what we hope to avoid, but it would likely radicalize the Iraqi Shi'ites, who would not appreciate the US using Iraq as a military base against their natural allies in Iran.

Perhaps you should consider the possibility that the U.S. does *not* hope to avoid a wider war.

Posted by Ali Mostofi | July 16, 2007 11:00 AM

There plenty of educated modern Iranians in this world to make Iran the civilized Zoroastrian Empire it was at the time of Cyrus the Great.

The people of Iran can be helped to have non violent General Strikes to paralyse the rule of the Seyyeds.

All we need is the world press and leaders of the world to ask the Seyyeds what they would do if there was a General Strike in Iran.

Once the debate begins then the power of silent secular majority will become apparent. So we do not need guns.

Now if you want to destroy Iran because it has too much potential then yeah go ahead, but be bold and say that. Otherwise help us with non violent way.

Posted by Scott Malensek | July 16, 2007 11:00 AM

...and there are HOW MANY carrier battlegroups in striking distance now?




Add in long range bombers from outside the region, strike aircraft that can be launched from Afghanistan and Iraq, and suddenly the air option is wide open.

Invasion? Who cares? Let it go into anarchy. That's the Democratic Party's accepted strategy for Iraq (and Afghanistan as people are now calling for cutting and running from there as well).

So, bomb em, bomb em again, and again, and do it for 10yrs like the US did Saddam. Then three Presidents from now, it's someone else's problem.


Please don't tell me the left supports occupation and reconstruction after bombing. I'd laugh myself silly!

Posted by Ali Mostofi | July 16, 2007 11:02 AM

There plenty of educated modern Iranians in this world to make Iran the civilized Zoroastrian Empire it was at the time of Cyrus the Great.

The people of Iran can be helped to have non violent General Strikes to paralyse the rule of the Seyyeds.

All we need is the world press and leaders of the world to ask the Seyyeds what they would do if there was a General Strike in Iran.

Once the debate begins then the power of silent secular majority will become apparent. So we do not need guns.

Now if you want to destroy Iran because it has too much potential then yeah go ahead, but be bold and say that. Otherwise help us with non violent way.

Posted by bulbasaur | July 16, 2007 11:03 AM

The lesson from Iraq was that the US has lost its capacity for gathering reliable intelligence due to a chain of events that began decades ago. Indeed, the histrionics and antics of the last few years have suggested that the CIA is hostile toward our military chain of command. Therefore, I no longer trust that our sources will deliver reliable strategic planning data, or if they do deliver, I don't trust them to keep it out of the enemy's hands.

I would be skeptical about a new military operation until the treasonous elements were removed from inside our government. Perhaps a strong conservative government could take control in 2008 and get the job done in 2009?

Posted by Captain Ed | July 16, 2007 11:08 AM

Growing in blogging? I've always advocated for non-military solutions to the Iranian problem. Try reading through my archives. I've been pretty consistent on this point.

Posted by biwah [TypeKey Profile Page] | July 16, 2007 11:10 AM

The mullahcracy may be imploding out of sheer economic backwardness. Why galavanize them against the U.S. now?

We could also sell the E.U. on real sanctions, but we are not trying, because of Bush's precondition of diarmament before talks.

Finally, the point about trusting the next admin only to inherit (but not to start) and Iran invasion is painfully on point.

May we sidestep this particular piece of antidemocratic idiocy.

Posted by TomTom | July 16, 2007 11:26 AM

Perhaps growing in blogging is a good thing for us all, Cap. But do try to remember, and reflect on, the words of Will Rogers, which went something like this: "All I know is what I read in the papers, and the only things I read are those I wrote myself."
Perhaps you should also recall that "Consistency is the hobgoblin of foolish minds" ( or something close-RW Emerson, I think).
And do give us a break. Unleash Nicholas Burns on the Iranians, indeed. He'd try to talk 'em to death, though of course they'd not stand for it, and shortly end the conversation with his decapitation.

Posted by john bragg | July 16, 2007 11:29 AM

1. The Mullahcracy has been reforming and/or collapsing Real Soon Now since 1997 when Khatami was first elected. I don't think we should count on the Iranian Revolution coming before the Cuban or North Korean Revolutions.

2. 'We can't tackle Iran's nuclear program until we have Iraq in reasonable shape.' Soooo, all the IRGC has to do is keep Iraq stirred up until they're ready to conduct nuclear tests.

Diplomacy in this context should start from the Harry Truman reference above. STick a pistol up their ass and then negotiate. Start the bombing and then negotiate the conditions for stopping the bombing.

Posted by lexhamfox | July 16, 2007 11:31 AM

I think an attack from the US is exactly what this regime wants in order to shore up its dwindling support at home. I hope the current Admisnistration is not stupid enough to give them that lifeline.

Posted by biwah [TypeKey Profile Page] | July 16, 2007 11:35 AM

reforming and/or collapsing

Interesting conflation.

Posted by Lew | July 16, 2007 11:43 AM

So the Guardian rang up their usual State Department flunkie who's permanently peeved because the administration isn't listening with sufficient obeisance to his wise council, and they regurgitated their jointly held nightmare dujour to scare the peasants. My God, the administration might actually DO SOMETHING? That can't be good!

In the first place, our raison d'etre in Iraq is NOT to prevent a wider war in the Middle East, although that may be one of its side benefits, its to create a state that no longer supports terrorism. In that pursuit, we're trying to establish a representative government in Baghdad that can be responsible for its own policy over its own people in its own territory. Iran's current policy is inimical to that objective and whether they have a nuclear program or not is beside the point.

Secondly, military options range all the way from covert interdiction of Iran's gasoline producing ability to a full scale blockade and containment program with air interdiction. NO ONE that I can see is talking about invading the place except perhaps the peaceniks up in the peanut gallery whose notions of military activity haven't changed much since 1915. And none of these options is mutually exclusive of simultaneous and integrated diplomatic activity.

Thirdly, there are at least two different fundamental strategies available to deal with Iran; directly and indirectly. In other words, Iran can be confronted directly on its own turf or indirectly by confronting its allies and enablers like Syria and Lebanon and Waziristan, eventually isolating it physically and militarily and diplomatically and economically and electronically. War is no longer simply a matter of breaking things and killing people, but a much more complex and integrated multi variant enterprise and therefore has a much wider range of options and combinations of options to offer the executive decision-maker.

Like I've posted here before, sooner or later we are going to have to deal with Iran if we are going to defeat terrorism. They are THE single most blatant supporter of terrorism on earth. We don't have to be blunt or crude or ham fisted about it, and there's absolutely no reason we have to conjure up some huge powerful bogey man that's not there and frighten ourselves unduly. Since we don't have the option of using overwhelming force, we might very quietly begin to exert pressure that widens and deepens the cracks already visible in their situation. They just aren't that powerful in any conventional sense.

Posted by quickjustice | July 16, 2007 11:54 AM

I'd be very surprised if covert operations against Iranian efforts to murder our soldiers in Iraq haven't already begun.

I'd also be surprised if covert operations to accelerate the economic collapse of Iran by further sabotaging their ailing oil and gas production infrastructure haven't begun.

Our military options need not include a full scale invasion. It's sufficient if they result in regime change.

Posted by essucht | July 16, 2007 11:58 AM

As others have pointed out Iran is already attacking American forces in Iraq. It is arguable that Iran's support has been the driving force behind the "insurgency" in the last few years as they have been funding Sadr AND the Sunni militias.

Would they launch a full scale invasion if American began a serious bombing campaign? Maybe, but it seems to me that is exactly a scenario for a quick defeat on Iran part.

And an Iranian invasion is one thing that could increase Iraqi support for their government among both anti-Iranian Shiites and Sunnis.

It seems to me that a bombing campaign that focuses on Iran's military and industrial resources would almost certainly be a net positive. Currently there is no cost to the Mullahs in attacking America in Afghanistan and Iraq since we have refused to respond to their attacks in any meaningful way so far.

As a secondary possibility, Iran has significant ethnic minorites that chafe under hardline Shiite rule. Problematically of course the Baluchis seem to have ties to Sunni terror groups and supporting the Kurds in Iran will make the Turks even more worried then they are now.

Posted by LarryD | July 16, 2007 12:16 PM

Ok, first of all, when we're talking about Iran, we're really taking about the mullahcracy. They're in power, the Iranian President serves them, not the Iranian people. The mullahs aren't in power because they have moral legitimacy, they're in power because the men with guns answer to them. And the mullahs aren't going to yield that power. The only way the Iranian people will ever be rid of them is by force.

The issues for us are the Mullahs "trouble making" (they're the primary patron of insurgents in Iraq, and the patron of Hezbollah) and pursuit of nuclear weapons capability. We simply cannot let them achieve that, and they have no reason to negotiate it a way. Nor are the mullahs going to give up their hegemonic ambitions. Which is why I've been certain the diplomatic route was destined to fail. The last revision to the estimate of how close the mullahs are to getting nukes was downward, ie. they are closer than we've been thinking. I would much rather that Bush (who can't run again anyway) pull the trigger and start dealing with the aftermath than leave the problem for his successor to deal with (like Clinton did with ObL) This can should not be kicked down the road.

We cannot cross our fingers and hope that the Iranian people will somehow be able to depose the mullahs, as long as the mullahs have loyal, armed (and foreign, BTW) troops to keep them in power, that would take a war and the Iranian people are disarmed, untrained, and leaderless. Instigating and supporting an insurrection in Iran is a lot more risky than just doing what we need done ourselves.

Which does not require an invasion and occupation of Iran, the most likely strategy is the "Herman Option", the assets for which are already in place. And execution of the military option might just weaken the mullahs' regime enough (by degrading their ability to oppress and suppress the Iranian people) that regime change becomes possible. But that would be a bonus.

Posted by Russ | July 16, 2007 12:31 PM

I know I'll be called a barbarian for this, but we should be seriously contemplating military options, including invasion, of Iran. Until the military threat is credible, Iran will never fold.

Also, we'll never be in a better position. We have forces on both sides and three carriers in the Gulf. We'll never get a better positional advantage than the one we have now.

Thanks to their support for the insurgency, especially given the importation of EFPs, we are already at war with Iran, whether we want to admit it or not. Maybe it's time to actually fight back.

Posted by patrick neid | July 16, 2007 12:50 PM

a story from the Guardian?

okay, i'll play along with this english rag that gets it right about twice a year.

we are not going to attack iran. what we might do is instigate iran attacking us or a neighbor.

my personal choice, as many of you know, is to clip the leadership and nothing more. targeted executions so that these world leading terrorists pay a personal price. after that let the iranians take care of the rest, either by burning flags in the street or a civil war. whatever. the important thing is to personalize this war on terror. all known state terror leaders would get the message. hello syria and sudan.

wherever it leads is better than the status quo.

Posted by Okonkolo | July 16, 2007 12:54 PM

Some of this discussion is approaching fantasy football-like realms of reality. To advocate a ground invasion of Iran with Iraq in the condition that it is in, and our military in the condition it is in, as well as the lack of American credibility (those WMDs we spoke about at the UN) and severely weakened ability to build coalitions is naive to say the least. The Captain is correct in the limits of airstrikes, and the political fallout from that would strengthen the hand of the mullahs and the most rabid anti-Americans in Iran, discredit the already weak reformers and anyone sympathetic to any American efforts, and make it more difficult for any Arab or Muslim nation to support our larger global efforts. It is not surprise that a lot of Iran talk reflects the confident icy talk about the cakewalk that would be Iraq: a lot of the same players. The country at large isn't going to buy it, and the reason for this is, of course, they have four years of being told certain things about the Iraq war and they have been let down again and again.

Posted by Paul A'Barge | July 16, 2007 1:12 PM

You don't have to bomb Iran.

Just bomb the Iraq-Iran border. Every time they try to ship some military people or material, bomb the living bah-jeez-uz out of them... on the border.

Posted by Tom Holsinger | July 16, 2007 1:14 PM


I have been one of the leading advocates for forcible regime change in Iran - see my The Case for Invading Iran in January 2006.


My argument was based mostly on the apparent merger of the nuclear weapons programs of Iran and North Korea, plus that Iran already had some nukes. Investor's Business Daily has recently agreed that Iran has AT LEAST enough locally enriched weapons-grade U-235 for two weapons.

I contended in January 2006 that Iran's mullah regime was back-filling their nuclear weapons production line as part of a breakout strategy. Note that I accurately predicted, in April 2006, that the most likely date for the first North Korean/Iranian nuclear test would be in October 2006.

American diplomacy with China seems to have done much to eliminate North Korean support for Iran's nuclear weapons program, so I am now in more of a wait and see mode.

The critical indicator of time running out will be further nuclear weapons tests in North Korea or Iran. IMO those will now more likely be in Iran.

At that point we'll have a window of only 60-90 days to conquer Iran before the mullahs have a dozen or more missile-ready implosion-type warheads using U-235 and plutonium triggers.

Posted by Continuum | July 16, 2007 1:17 PM

All those dumb liberals just don't understand.

We have more than enough troops to fight in Iran.

Here's how we do it.

1. Increase the current troop duty time in Iraq from 15 months to 24 months.

2. When they rotate out of Iraq, we merely rotate them to Iran for 12 months.

Thus, the SecDef keeps his promise of a minimum of 12 months outside of Iraqi combat, and we let George have another war.

It's WIN-WIN for everybody (except the troops and the American people).

Posted by Jack is Back! | July 16, 2007 1:34 PM

As long as there was one member of DoS, then it is likely the Guardian has a source "close" to those discussions. Even Condi has to tell someone in DoS or file a report or discuss in a meeting - DoS, like the CIA and to a smaller extent the DoJ/FBI are still sprinkled with a smattering of Clintonista hold-overs. To think that the Bush administration is zippered up from top to bottom is both naive and in this case dangerous for our foreign and military policy.

Posted by Monkei | July 16, 2007 1:41 PM

well gee, why should we stop with Iran? We should also just go right into Pakistan, finish them off like we did Iraq and then stroll on up to North Korea and go for the tri-fecta of the axis of evil.

Captain you surely know how to get the Fighting 101st Keyboardists all worked up and ready!

Posted by viking01 | July 16, 2007 1:49 PM

There is considerable danger in assuming the Iranian leadership will behave rationally particularly on matters of nuclear or biochemical weaponry.

The biggest danger of Liberals on this topic is that too many think that Muzzy fanatics have tours of duty. They relentlessly want to blow themselves up 24h / 7d, 365 days a year. Which makes them nearly as dangerous as Peanut Carter who pulled the rug out from under the Shah thus leading to Jimmah's potential legacy of future nuclear action in the Middle East. That could enable Peanut's legacy on Iran to eclipse Slick's unseemly legacy on Bin Laden. So it goes when top priorities were managing the WH tennis court schedule, brown-nosing Arafat or managing the intern under the desk.

Posted by Russ | July 16, 2007 1:53 PM

Wow monkei, it only took you a few hours to go to the chickenhawk charge!

I did my time in Iraq in 2003. I'll either head there or Afghanistan after I finish up CGSC here in Kansas. I have a family I love and don't want to leave. However, I know that whether or not we have peace with Iran is not up to us, it's up to Iran.

Have you seen what an EFP can do? The insurgents themselves have no access to such sophisticated materials, but the IRG does(Iranian Revolutionary Guards). They're the ones shipping these things to Iraq. And an up-armored HMMWV can't stop an EFP.

Also, we can't just bomb the border. It's too long, mountainous at places, swampy in others, with so much traffic back and forth by local tribes that we'd never be able to tell who was IRG and who was just moving.

Once we withdraw from Iraq, we will never again have such a positional advantage. No future enemy of the US is ever going to be as stupid again as Saddam was and watch us build up forces in front of him before an attack. They'll hit LOCs and ports to prevent any such buildup. A persistent chemical strike on Doha would probably do the trick to at least slow us. From their point of view, what have they to lose with such an attack once it finally becomes clear we're gonna hit them? They'll go down hard in a conventional fight.

Three CSGs in the Gulf, 158,000 troops with logistical support on one side, and 25,000 with the same on the other. It's like staring at checkmate and then resigning your position.

Do I want war with Iran? Of course not, but I also know that regimes like the Iranians do not give unless there is a CREDIBLE military threat, and right now, due to our own mushiness, they know we won't do anything. Therefore, they do not have to change. I'd rather face them now than when they have nukes.

And I fear it'll take an Iranian nuclear strike on a city(Tel Aviv, Ankara, Berlin, etc.) before we get the message. And by then, it'll be way too late.

Posted by The Yell | July 16, 2007 2:07 PM

Bomb it like Albright would?

Or like Lemay would?

Posted by Tom W. | July 16, 2007 2:21 PM

Personally, I'm sick of hearing all this concern for the populace of Iran, which we have to make sure we won't radicalize by destroying the regime they claim holds them hostage.

If the Iranians really wanted to get rid of the mullahs, they'd do what the Romanians did in 1989. The Romanians--unarmed and unorganized--took on a Stalinist regime that fought back with tanks, armored personnel carriers, helicopter gunships, snipers, and special counterterrorism forces. The tanks were actually driven into the crowds, crushing people under the treads.

Yet the Romanians persevered, and they won. They lost 1100 people, but their freedom was worth that price.

I see no such courage in the Iranians. Instead, they tell us that although they hate the mullahs, they'll defend them if we attack, out of a caveman's sense of pride. Well, to hell with them. They're irrational and childish.

People forget that we sank half the Iranian navy in 1988 and occupied their oil platforms, and they didn't retaliate. Their armed forces haven't improved one iota since then, while arms are several orders of magnitude more lethal.

And we mustn't forget that Iranians are killing Americans and Iraqis almost daily. Why don't they worry about their actions radicalizing the American population? I'm feeling pretty radical these days.

I have no doubt whatsoever that we could obliterate their nuclear facilities and their offensive military capabilities with a sustained bombing campaign. We recently created a JDAM three times the size of those used on Baghdad in 2003, and we upgraded the B-2 so that it's essentially a one-aircraft bomber fleet.

Why should Iran be inviolate? No other country is allowed to kill at will, send proxy armies into other countries, openly sponsor terrorism, openly pursue nuclear weapons, and make threats to wipe a neighbor off the map.

If we attack Iran, the world reaction--including the Muslim reaction--will be much more muted than Captain Ed predicts. He still thinks that Iraqis view Iran as a "natural ally," when its clear that the Iraqis have seen with their own eyes the carnage that Iran has wrought in their country.

Posted by Hope Muntz | July 16, 2007 2:50 PM


There's a world of difference between attacking the nuclear installations at Natanz and the full-scale war you envision and object to. However, I gotta say that even if Iran is dumb enough to actually attempt a conventional invasion of basra Province in response, it would actually be far easier to deal with tactically speaking than the present 'insurgency'. Our whole problem in Iraq is that it's an asymmetrical conflict with a civilian-based enemy. That would not be the case with aggressor Iranian forces, whose low-tech weaponry (however recently augmented by the Russians and Chinese) would basically only provide us with target practice. We've already seen the precision of their missiles in northern Israel--an indiscriminate bombardment like that would do more to unify Iraq than any other single thing I can think of. Since we have no actual military need or political desire to set foot inside Iran, I fail to see how it's any way conditional on, rather than contiguous to, our involvement in Iraq. Unless you're arguing that Basra, for instance, is already heavily infiltrated by Revolutionary Guards. Which, if so, pretty much argues for attacking their home bases, IMHO.

Frankly, except for the unforeseen disasters that are always possible in the fog of war, it looks pretty win-win to me. Iran, along with Waziristan, was always the real enemy anyway--it's totally pathetic that it took this adminstration so long to figure it out.

Posted by ET | July 16, 2007 2:56 PM

I would be encouraged if a military option is seriously being considered regarding Iran. I've always assumed there was one, but wondered how serious we were about implementing it.

Negotiations are nice if they work. However, they can't go on forever when there is no progress. Since the DoS never seems to want to proceed beyond negotiations, no matter how unsuccessful they may be, the DoS has effectively given up its right to a vote on the decision to go to a higher level of conflict resolution.

We may soon be able to divert many resources currently tied up in Iraq. Focusing on Iran may actually be the next logical step to resolving problems within Iran and Afghanistan, and would lessen the need for US troops in Iraq. Also, how many Iraqis would be upset if we started confronting Iran? Not many, I'm sure. We would likely see a reduction in Iranian assistance and meddling in Iraqi internal affairs.

One of the major contributing factors in the success of the current "surge" is not just an increase in the numbers of troops, but is the implementation of more realistic and aggressive rules of engagement. Such a marked improvement in our approach to Iran would also be a welcome change.

HOW to execute a military option against Iran will be the most crucial and difficult question, and I have confidence our military and administration leadership is up to the challenge.

Posted by MarkJ | July 16, 2007 3:39 PM

Bomb it like Albright would?

Or like Lemay would?

No, we're going to bomb it "like Bush would." That's what many overlook: an all-out assault on Iran will incorporate electronic, Web, and economic warfare like it ain't ever been done before.

The mullahs have lots of pretty military hardware, but most of it will be only so much immobile scrap iron if all the electronics in it are fried, right?

Iran undoubtedly has significant financial holdings in overseas banks. However, what do you suppose will happen to all that dough if somebody hacks into the accounts and either redirects it someplace else or makes it disappear altogether?

Let's also not forget that Iran's petroleum refining capability ain't all that great. Take that out and we'll effectively give the Iranians a 7th Century lifestyle to match their 7th Century religion.

In short, I can immediately think of various ways to bring Iran to its knees without having to kill a lot of innocent people or totally wipe out its infrastructure. And if I can think of them, imagine what our war-planners are dreaming up even as I type this.....

Posted by jr565 | July 16, 2007 3:51 PM

Russ pegs it with the following:
Do I want war with Iran? Of course not, but I also know that regimes like the Iranians do not give unless there is a CREDIBLE military threat, and right now, due to our own mushiness, they know we won't do anything. Therefore, they do not have to change. I'd rather face them now than when they have nukes.

There has to be at least the threat of force on the table to get some concession from IRan. Saying up front we will not attack you does not in fact deescalate the situation, but in fact makes it more likely to provoke a confrontation. IRan is not going to respond to mushiness but rather use that weakness to refuse to cooperate. Because they've already won the negotiation. If the stumbling block is nuclear weapons, and its in our interest to have them give up on them, it doesn't mean we have to go to war necessarily, but if war is completely off the table even as a possilbity it will mean that we have to give up on trying to reign in IRan's nuclear program. If the world was united on demanding Iran comply (just as if they were united on holding Iraq accountable) it very well mght head off a crisis. Whearas, if everyone keeps saying we shouldn't attack, we can't attack, dont attack, give peace a chance etc etc. Iran is rightfully questiong our will. And that means that they will not comply. Which means this will escalate further.

Posted by abw | July 16, 2007 4:31 PM

Successful regime change in Iran would make things easier in Iraq, Israel, Syria, Lebanon and Afghanistan.

Fighting Saddam in the first Gulf War didn't bolster his support at home, it led to uprisings that he put down by killings a hundred thousand or more Iraqis. If we fight the regime in Iran and support the pro-US Iranian population we could avid repeating such a mistake.

Posted by biwah [TypeKey Profile Page] | July 16, 2007 5:01 PM

Negotiations are nice if they work. However, they can't go on forever when there is no progress.

Good point. But Bush's policy has been: NO direct negotiations with Iran. Negotiations are discredited as being toothless. But we can enter direct, multilateral negotiations with Iran, if we consider what other parties, e.g. E.U. and Russia, want out of the deal. By accomodating E.U./Russia, we can get their support for real economic sanctions - the kind that Iran simply cannot afford right now.

The mullahcracy plays a dangerous game but not an irrational one. By the same token, diplomacy is a sensitive tack, but not a passive one. It does not have to mean a series of empty threats, but a limited set of meaningful ones that will pinch - hard. We cannot deliver on such threats without cooperation from Europe. But Europe is nervous about our John Wayne stance, almost as much ( if not more) as it is about Iranian nukes. We need to see that problem and address it, and we will get far more bang for the buck, as well as regain positive momentum for the U.S. as leader capable of calling the shots in dealing with rogue states. Otherwise, we prejudice the result of an eventual military action vs. Iran, if and when it occurs.

Finally, do the American people unequivocally oppose attacking Iran? Heck no! You don't need to sell the idea that Iran is a hostile nation. What people aren't buying is more war off the cuff. History has shown the value of soft speech and big sticks, and Bush's management of international conflict has shown harmed our capabilities and our dignity on both counts.

Posted by Monkei | July 16, 2007 5:11 PM

Russ, the problem is Bush/GOP/Dems don't REALLY want to fight ... oh yeah, they love to talk the talk and walk the walk, but I will know they are serious when they institute the draft again and ask us to give up and sacrifice here at home ... until then it's just a bunch of rich powerful people sending middle class and lower kids off to fight wars to make sure our SUVs can still gas up and still pay under 5.00 a gallon.

Let me know when people are serious about fighting a war.

Posted by jr565 | July 16, 2007 5:37 PM

Monkei, if they both talk the talk and walk the walk that means they are serious. If the talked the talk but didn't walk the walk it would means they didn't back up their words with action.

But a few points. Which lefty reporter is it who keeps lieakng all our military plans that we're about to attack Iran, and wasn't something else leaked like today in the Guardian about how Cheney is pushing for war in Iran http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,,2127115,00.html

Again, please stick to one narrative. Are the BUshies trying to start a war in IRan or not? Why is the Guardian printing this article? Because they want us to commit to a war in Iran or because they hope that by leaking the info they can prevent it from occuring. And why are all the dems saying dont attack Iran. Don't attack Iran.

Should we be attacking Iran monkei, or is this more of the standard doublesided argument.

Also vis a vis the gripe about sending off poor people to fight, that was VIetnam. The libs were none too happy about a draft in that war, as supposedly all the poor people and minorities got drafted to fight to kill babies I guess. So, are you suggsting that a) if the dems were in power that we should institute a draft, and that dems woudl support it. Woudn't that inordinately affect poor people who presumably would be forced to fight for 5.00 oil.
Also, I know that Conyers (a democrat) instituted the idea of a draft not to get a draft but to undermine the effort. But supposing he were successful and people were on board for the draft. What woudl that mean to all the dems who weren't down with Iraq but would be willing to fight the real war in afghanistan. Wouldn't the draft, which was villified by the left in the 60's and subsequently done away with, bring back the exact same problems that the libs railed against in the first place.(ie that it woudl affect inordinately poor people who would be forced to fight in wars for stuff like 5.00 gas.

Posted by onlineanalyst | July 16, 2007 5:38 PM

I don't remember the source where I read that the mullahcracy, unhappy with Amadaboutjihad (who serves at their pleasure), are thinking of replacing him with a hardliner. (Sorry, I don't recall the name.)The window of opportunity to address Iran before their powers squeeze out the populace with more restrictions and before they terrorize the whole ME with a nuclear arsenal is ever narrowing.

As LarryD said about the role of the mullahcracy, and as Andy McCarthy observed long ago, negotiations have to begin from a position of strength, or there is nothing to negotiate with. For the Islamic hegemonists, their respect is gained through real (and credible) threat of force. There are plenty of options to make the case clear without engaging in invasion.

In fact, many of the options on offer here present a better negotiating posture for the West and for the ME-at-large than full-scale ground war. I think that we can safely assume that the Pentagon is examining all scenarios, strategies, and their possible outcome.

Posted by jr565 | July 16, 2007 5:49 PM

monkei(sorry meant to add one last paragraph)
your call for a draft is at odds with the follow notion in your post "until then it's just a bunch of rich powerful people sending middle class and lower kids off to fight wars ".
Er, ok. so how does this address the problem we have now where rich people/politicians send off poor people to fight in wars. Isn't that the whole purpose of a draft to force people (mostly, in your view poor peopl) to join the army and fight in wars against their will?

Posted by gaffo | July 16, 2007 6:24 PM

I owe you an apology Captain. I unfairly dissmised you as a blowhard - but the above post shows that you are wise in some matters.

my apologies.


there is the butterfly effect to worry about - and not just in the obvious places like Iran shouwl be bomb them, but in other places like Saudi Arabia - where there are many poor and unemployed Saudi citizens who see Osama as a Robin Hood and the House of Saud as the US's bitch. Should we bomb/invade Iran - Saudi Arabia could fall and them the US ecomony would crater when petroluem goes to 20 bucks a gallon.

besides, if (and they could since both men are insane) Buscheney did attack Iran as a "wag the dog" to get us to forget about Iraqnam (like that blue dress and the missle attack on Saddam - familiar?) he would face immediate IMPEACHMENT and maybe Trail for war crimes.

he's mad enough - he may just force the People to fut im away. Too bad it will be after tousands more have to die under this thumb.

maybe the Military men and women if order to do such a mad thing will remeber that their oath is to our Constitution and in no way to the Person of the President of the United States. Germany used to have fealty oaths for soldiers - the Unted States does not.......YET.

Posted by gaffo | July 16, 2007 6:32 PM

one more thing you Neocons:

this PALEOCON says that MAD works. It work in 1950 in 1960, in 1970, sep 10, 2001, and sep 12, 2001 - and today.

We've got 5-10 yrs to talk - war should ALWAYS be the absolute LATE option - not a first one like Iraq was.

5-10 yrs to talk them out of a bomb - maybe pay them some money (yes bribe - like we did NK).

IF they get the bomb - big shit. NK has it now, so does Pakistan.

Mutual Assured Destruction WORKS AS A DETERANT - so enough of this panty twisting.

you think its only a coincidence that we have not had a world war in over 60 yrs?

Posted by gaffo | July 16, 2007 6:46 PM

" targeted executions so that these world leading terrorists pay a personal price. after that let the iranians take care of the rest, either by burning flags in the street or a civil war. whatever. the important thing is to personalize this war on terror. all known state terror leaders would get the message. hello syria and sudan.

wherever it leads is better than the status quo.
Posted by: patrick neid at July 16, 2007 12:50 PM"

World Leaders - including ones you don't like - have diplomatic immunity. It is illegal and against United States policy to assasinate world leaders.

Posted by Pierre Legrand | July 16, 2007 6:51 PM

Sorry Captain but Iran if anything deserved being attacked prior to Iraq. The Shiites have been killing Americans far longer than even the "evil" Wahhabis. Iran killed in one day more marines than even the N.Vietnamese. And we did nothing to avenge them, indeed we retreated. Not that revenge is a motive for attacking a nation but appearing weak with that crowd gets you nothing but more attacks.

Iran must be taken down. What we should do is exactly what we did in Afghanistan. Go in with Special Forces ally with the locals and use our Special Forces on the Ground to tell our guys in the air where the "Locals" want us to bomb. That way we don't piss off the locals and we do away with the Mullahs.

Posted by abw | July 16, 2007 7:02 PM


There are many legitimate reasons not to bomb Iran but saying "it should not be the first option like it was in Iraq" or "I'll know they are serious when they have a draft" shows either profound stupidity or profound ignorance.

Posted by The Yell | July 16, 2007 7:22 PM

This isn't 1950. Nobody can get a million men within a mile of unsuspecting US forces.

We found out in 1991 that a superior force of combat veterans with quality Soviet equipment is mincemeat to the American combined arms approach. And since then our robot-guided munitions are even better. A B-52 can put a 500-lbs bomb in 80 separate city intersections from 12 miles away if need be.

The mountainous terrain works against them--we know they'll be on the road. The Spectre gunship was built for that mission.

Why spare their infrastructure? Nuclear, industrialized Iran is a military threat to our regional allies. A horse-powered Iran is not. Their bunkered reactors wouldn't run so well when they can't bring supplies and equipment in by truck. An Iran without air traffic or rail traffic or barge traffic or truck traffic is only capable of terrorist attacks, and they're committed to that anyhow. When they're forced to choose between fueling a Revolutionary Guards division or feeding a city for a week, we'll see immediate political consequences to the regime too.

We don't have to blacken whole cities like in 1945. But we don't have to forget what cripples military powers either.


MAD destruction does not--did not-- prevent conventional wars of conquest. Additionally, Iran would have to work very hard very long to be competent to destroy the entire United States and until that time the situation would not be "Mutual" at all.

North Korea and Pakistan are not funding assassinations and proxy wars in other countries AKFAIK. Iran is.

And we're obviously talking about changing our policies, not resolving the issue through our current framework. Though I agree killing a few bureaucrats won't do anything but send people into bunkers.

Posted by jaeger51 | July 16, 2007 9:26 PM

Why wait? Secure air supremacy, then just roam around with the bombers and destroy every piece of military hardware, level all the air and army bases, and sink whatever they have for a navy at our leisure. Sure, they'll cry that we are hitting civilians and schools, but with modern targeting anyone who understands will know that if we do it's because they MOVED them onto bases. Don't even THINK about a land invasion...that just gets our troops killed, especially if we feel we have to patrol them after the leadership is removed. The big mistake is always to use soldiers as police. Use military force to make one thing clear...causing trouble for the US is not a good idea if you would like to remain in power. Look at how Khadaffy acted when we went in and removed Saddam. (Bet he's sorry he gave in so fast, now.......) The Mullahs will lose support quickly if they are shown to be powerless. Iranians are growing unhappy with them anyway as their economy tanks. They see themselves as the powerhouse of the Middle East...if we destroy their military power WITHOUT threatening to take over their country they will see the Mullahs as the problem and remove them.

Posted by Ray | July 16, 2007 9:53 PM

Does any one here realize the difference between a discussion to "emphasize the military options", as the Guardian puts it, and actually planning and implementing a military strike on Iran? There's a lot of options available to this administration and it looks like they are discussing them.

It appears to me that the Guardian is merely reporting some of the discussions that the administration is conducting but they are just that, discussions, and no one, including the Guardian's "source," has stated that a military intervention is actually being planned and will soon be implemented.

I believe that the administration is just performing a little verbal saber rattling, which the Guardian is happy to print in full. That makes the Guardian a stooge of Bush, doesn't it? Score one for the Bush administration!

Posted by Charles D Quarles | July 16, 2007 9:59 PM

People, people;

Please do not forget that we have been in a state of war with Iran since they stormed our embassy in 1979, taking and holding hostages 444 days; and that oh so wonderful POTUS at the time, Jimmah Carter handled that one so well that we are still dealing with the aftermath.

Personally, I think that the only things that held St. Ronald Reagan back were the poor state of the military and the intelligence community at the time; and the fact that the House was overwhelmingly Dhimmi.

Posted by Russ | July 16, 2007 10:07 PM

Several points:

1. Those who want to bring back the draft are insane. As an officer, I DO NOT want draftees. Has anyone besides me caught on that we are meeting recruiting and retention goals? We first need Congress to authorize an increase in force levels. And for all his posturing, if the President DID call for a draft, folks like Monkei would be at the front of the protest line.

2. Yes, we swear an oath to defend the Constitution, but maybe some have failed to notice that Article II of that document designates the President as the Commander-in-Chief. The President has the power to do what he wants, w/o congressional micro-management. If Congress feels that strongly, then they should have the balls to do what the Constitution says they can do, and that is stop funding.

3. A lot of folks on here seem to be of the mind that we should just run a few bombers over Iran and that would solve the problem. These are the same kinds of folks that think b/c they saw Hoosiers they can coach a basketball team. Or the folks that want the outcomes force can derive without actually hurting anyone. I got news for you folks - war is messy. It is dirty. And it is violent beyond what most of you, even those who have seen Saving Private Ryan, can comprehend. A few bombers would do nothing more than piss off the Iranians and force them to raise the stakes.

When you go to war, you don't do this half-assed garbage. That has always been a prescription for another fight a few years later. Go in to win. Body slam the enemy and then kick him in the nuts. If we are not going to go in to win, why the hell even commit us?

Additionally, this half in/half out nonsense only gets contemplated when you are the strongest. Our enemies aren't worried they'll piss us off, b/c if they lighten up, they lose. Why do we insist on a fair fight? I don't want a fair fight in war. Fair fights are for movies and the Olympics. When my soldiers and I could die, I want every advantage I can get. If I can destroy the enemy before he even gets to fire a shot, that's even better.

4. MAD works with rational state actors, but Iran is not rational. Ali Khameni said before that he didn't care about any Israeli counter-strike b/c Israel was so small that it could be destroyed, while Iran could probably absorb several HUNDRED nuke hits and survive. These nutballs honestly think such a thing would be good b/c it would aid in bringing about the end of the world. Those who think MAD would work with Iran are fooling themselves.

The only thing that some here would ever pay attention to would be a mushroom cloud in the distance. By then, of course, it would be too late, and those who advised "caution" against someone with whom we are already at war(whether we like it or not) would be able to do nothing but mumble about what a horrible mistake they made.

Posted by harleycon5 | July 16, 2007 11:13 PM

Capt'n, I have to strongly disagree on one point. Our biggest mistake during the Vietnam war was making some areas politically untouchable to our troops or the war effort. In this way, troops were able to retreat and rearm, only to come back and strike at us again and again.

We cannot allow this to happen in Iraq. If we simply allow Iran to attack us and allow the Mahdi Army (and I suspect Al Qaeda as well) to continually find safe haven just within the Iranian border this war IS unwinnable.

The proof of a possible strike on Iran is bolstered by the addition of yet another battle group to the area. I suggest that any action will be coupled with action to ensure that the strait of Hormuz is not blocked.

I agree that we should put as much political pressure as possible on Iran short of a direct attack, such as training Iranian insurgents to attack the inner workings of Iran before we do anything else. This would counter the actions of Iran, as it would be a direct threat to the Mullacracy. I am not sure if this is being done, but if not, it should.

Posted by KW64 | July 16, 2007 11:26 PM

The President said that Iran having nuclear weapons was unacceptable but there is no perceptible action even to support action by the insurgent Iranians whose arms we control in Iraq.

What if we said sending Formed Penetrating bombs to Iraq was unacceptable and then the factory that makes them gets blown up? What if we announce that counterfeiting our currency is unacceptable and if it continues, the sophisticated printers we gave them get blown up? Then maybe someone would care if we said that Iran having nuclear weapons was unacceptable.

The Iranian population may actually understand. Our public has not been radicalized by Iran giving weapons to insurgents in Iraq fighting the US. Maybe the Iranians will not be too enraged if we give weapons to Iranian insurgents. Some might even say it was about time.

Posted by rocketsbrain | July 17, 2007 12:04 AM

I see Scott Malensek commented up thread. We don't need to target the Iranian nuclear targets. Scott and I agree all we really have to do is put a few well placed grenades or turn a few valves in the last functioning Iranian gas refinery. Of course it will help if we stopped any restocking by sea. The two or three carrier battle groups soon to be in the Gulf should be up to the challenge. We can tank the Iranian economy and the Mullahs' house of cards will topple.

Read More:

Cracking Iran, From Inside And Out


The Iranian Divestiture Project



Posted by LenS | July 17, 2007 12:18 AM

This is a war with Islam. You won't win it by fighting one battle at a time. You win it by crushing it everywhere it exists. That means destroying Iran (and Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, Sudan and Syria). If you want peace, then you must destroy your enemies and their entire way of living leaving the survivors a simple choice -- assimilate or die.

Talking is for losers trying to buy time before their inevitable defeat. Either we are losers (as the Dems and Muslims believe) or we are winners. Besides, most of the talking is done by State Dept. appeasers who expect to get well paying jobs from Saudi money after retirement (e.g. Jim Baker). We'd be much safer closing down the State Dept. and using the money to build more nukes.

Finally, waiting on the Iranian people is a fools game. They've had decades. No more. Let them feel the consequences of their cowardly appeasement in their own slavery at the hands of the mullahs.

Posted by Mike | July 17, 2007 1:22 AM

Some assert that we dare not attack Iran lest its population fall into line behind the Mullahs and suddenly engage in the equivalent of human wave, martyrdom attacks against America. Not so. Iran presents military options that play directly into our strengths as a superpower and would allow us to use our firepower and overwhelming technical and tactical superiority to acheive significant goals. We know that Iran is very much afraid of these factors, hence their feverish attempts to hide many of their most significant destructive assets.

If we were merely indiscriminate and engaged in massive bombing of civilian targets, perhaps Iranians would be enraged. But not if we were intelligent in our targeting. We could, within the space of a single day or a few days at most so degrade the military power of Iran as to leave them virtually defenseless and able to do virtually nothing to harm shipping or commerce in the region. Even if we did not completely obliterate their nuclear program, we could certainly set if back considerably, perhaps by years. Should Iran be stupid enough to try to respond in Iraq through conventional military means, again, that plays into our hands. Many don't know, for instance, that we possess the means to destroy entire armoured columns, hundreds of armored vehicles, by dropping just a few of the appropriate bombs carried by one or two aircraft. We can likewise obliterate huge formations of troops with similarly tiny assets. Air attack? Our Air Force has a saying about such things: "If it flys, it dies," and that is factual, not macho bragging. An easily manageable number of smart bombs could also go a long way in decapitating the leaders of the regime.

In the immediate aftermath of such a conventional attack, it might be interesting to clearly tell the Mullahs that any offensive response by them will result in utter obliteration, particularly if we had the will to carry it out and they believed it. You notice that it's not the Mullahs who are anxious to martyr themselves for Islam.

But the Iranians will step up terrorist attacks in Iraq and elsewhere! Been there, done that, know how to handle it. But more American troops may die! Yes. They enlisted knowing that possibility exists, but they are determined to make the terrorists die for their cause. More terrorists? The military calls that a "target rich environment." That's why hearing Dick Durbin and the like professing concern for the welfare of our troops (after likening them to Nazis, etc.) immediately causes a sickening of the stomach of our troops and other honest Americans.

Such attacks would cause little collateral damage (despite the claims of the anti-American left, no nation in history has gone to such lengths to avoid harming innocents) and would mainly kill those the Iran populace recognizes as crazies and the stooges of the Mullahs. And to whatever degree we were successful in killing the mad mullahs and their enforcers, few Iranians would weep.

The result would likely be a greatly weakened regime, weakened, perhaps, to the point that the long suffering Iranian public might finally see a real opportunity to try to take back their nation and return it to the current century. The Iranian's aren't Americans, but they're not as stupid or short sighted as some seem to think. Besides, who can deny that anything we do to degrade Iranian power isn't a net plus for civilization?

Posted by patrick neid | July 17, 2007 7:04 AM

"World Leaders - including ones you don't like - have diplomatic immunity. It is illegal and against United States policy to assasinate world leaders.

Posted by: gaffo at July 16, 2007 6:46 PM

you keep running out this tripe. i told you before that issue was dealt with by reagan vs kaddaffi, not to mention trying to kill hussein on countless occasions.

the top leadership of syria, iran, sudan, hamas, hezzbollah and al sadr should be "cruise missiled" on the same night, at the same time without warning. either we are in a war on terror and the states that sponsor it or we are not. i believe we are or should be.

what i am against is bombing entire countries into the stone age when, for the most part, it is the leadership and their trained puppets that cause all the problems in regards to terrorism. hence the need for a host state--akin to the taliban needing afghanistan.

conventional warfare is for war vs economic states that have harnessed their workforce to wage war. iran, syria and sudan have not done any such thing. instead islamic crime families have basically taken over the countries and terrorize their own as much as they terrorize us. start with the leaders and work down.

Posted by biwah [TypeKey Profile Page] | July 17, 2007 10:13 AM

I'm interested in the difference of opinion between Russ and rocketsbrain.

Is the Iranian government vulnerable to tactical strikes (a la rocketsbrain) against key infrastructure, which would cause economic shock and an inability to mobilize militarily (without exposing further vulnerabiltiies)?

Or is this a pipe dream that would inevitably suck us (a la Russ), half-cocked, into a ground war?