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Let's examine two different scenarios here regarding a possible American war on Iran in late 2006.
First off, what's the potential upside to a very brief war with Iran, if positively everything about it goes our way? What's the possible aftermath of a 'perfect' war lasting only days, with zero US casualties, and no significant impact on world oil flow?
A. We maybe delay Iran getting nuclear weapons by a few years? That's what I've heard Bush say. Hmm. I don't know about this one. Because being attacked by a nuclear power seems like it'd make getting your own nuclear power a still more urgent priority than before. There's already Muslim scientists in Pakistan who've proven they can build nukes. Mightn't they decide to help Iran after America pounds on the nation? And the boss of Pakistan itself is already on shaky ground, survival-wise. Might an attack on Iran cause his own people to throw him out, and allow the country to be taken over by the Taliban? Or even al Qaeda?
What would we do then? With the Bush Administration, I believe they'd feel compelled to attack Pakistan immediately, to try to seize the nukes before the new rulers had full control. There's been articles written up saying just this. So about all the new bosses of Pakistan might be able to do in response is flee the country with whatever live nukes they could, while simply pushing the button on those left behind.
And where are all Pakistan's nukes presently programmed to strike? India, most likely. Which is also a nuclear power. And almost certainly would at least lob several nukes back at Pakistan. Maybe just as our own strike teams were landing.
This would create one awful mess, with possible nuclear fallout causing the effects to spread far beyond the borders of Pakistan and India. Lots more countries than those two would be alarmed by such events.
The effects of an American war on Iran could open up other cans of worms too. Like China deciding to conquer Taiwan while America was too busy to do anything about it. Within days Taiwan could be over-run, and the only thing America could do about it would be to threaten China with war too. But as China's capital flows are as vital to us as oil (maybe more so), we wouldn't dare speak to China that way. So Taiwan as independent entity would simply be no more.
B. We'd greatly encourage the Iranian people to throw their preachers out of government, and shed their religious ways? Hmm. Usually a war forced upon them by a foreign power tends to make a people rally against that foreign power, rather than do what it wants. So it seems unlikely attacking Iran would persuade the people there America is less their enemy than their own government. I can't think of a single case in history where such a plan worked, without an occupying power sticking around to force it down the people's throats. And we definitely don't have the troops available to occupy Iran this way.
C. We'd diminish Iran's influence in the region? And so the potential threat to Israel? Hmm. I don't know. If I was an Iranian or other middle-eastern Muslim, knowing how Israel and America are in bed together, I think I'd just hate both more after the bombing. And so I believe attacking Iran will only increase the dangers to both Israel and America.
Plus, wasn't the point of Israel's attack on Hezbollah in Lebanon supposed to achieve the same thing? Only with Hezbollah rather than Iran? The jury's still out on that one. Indeed, many observers (even inside Israel itself) believe the battle only increased respect for Hezbollah in the region.
OK. Now that we've got the war scenario as seen through rose-colored glasses out of the way (holy crap!), let's try getting more realistic.
Virtually everyone figures America would primarily use its massive air power to try destroying much of Iran's infrastructure like Israel did to Lebanon. That is, from afar. With unmanned missiles and drones and artillery as much as possible, and high flying manned jets where necessary. For we sure can't stand the casualties a massive ground attack would likely bring.
Plus, we just don't have the manpower for a ground action, having tied our army down in Iraq. It's presently straining us badly just to keep our soldiers where they are.
But just because Bush doesn't want a ground war doesn't mean Iran won't give him one. After all, practically the entire combat core of our whole current army is sitting in Iraq like one big juicy target. At least 130,000 folks or so, from what I hear. And what's to keep Iran from sending 1,000,000 soldiers to attack them? Very little. Our army in Iraq is also hurting equipment-wise, due to our machinery getting chewed up pretty bad the last several years there. And our supply lines are very thin, and run through very hostile territory. So US soldiers might suddenly find themselves outnumbered roughly ten to one, and perhaps even outgunned, if Iran surges over the border in force in response to an American air attack.
In Lebanon recently the Israelis actually enjoyed maybe the opposite situation in quantity, by outnumbering their guerilla foes by perhaps ten to one or more. And the Israelis are regarded pretty much worldwide to be the epitome of what American weapons, strategies and tactics can mean in war. For the Israelis take all that American stuff and test it in battle far more often and realistically than we do ourselves. Then they tweak it all in ways we frequently regard as superior to our current ideas, and afterwards integrate into our own systems.
But in Lebanon those outnumbered guerillas with their lower quality weapons systems actually fought the Israelis to a standstill. In maybe an historic first.
And who trained and armed those guerillas? Bush says the Iranians and Syrians did.
Indeed, some sources say Bush urged Israel to attack Lebanon when they did in order to reduce the potential trouble Lebanon might cause Israel if America attacked Iran. For Bush may expect Israel to attack Syria the same time Bush attacks Iran. Or else attack Syria with American air power help, in concert with a war on Iran. A still potent Lebanon though might make everything more complicated.
And yet Lebanon forces don't seem to have been quite as degraded by Israel as Bush might have hoped.
So America and Israel may still face the possibility of having to deal not just with Iran and Syria, but a still fiesty Lebanon too, should they start a fresh war.
And what about Iraq? And Afghanistan? As of late September 2006, both countries are offering alarming levels of native resistance against their US and US ally occupiers. But as yet are not going all out to destroy the foreign troops.
But if America attacks Iran, all that could change. In both countries the troops of America and its allies could be quickly pushed back to huddle within a few isolated bases, and there laid seige, with all re-supply indefinitely cut off.
Sure, America would try to send in air power to help. But when? And how much? Remember, we'll already have everything committed to bombing Iran and Syria, and trying to protect not only our warships but crude oil supertankers in the gulf, too.
And we'd also have to be trying to stave off attacks on oil refineries in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and elsewhere around the gulf.
Even if we're smart enough to avoid damaging Iran's own oil fields, the Iranians could put them out of commission themselves anyway, just to hurt us worse. For any news of damaged oil fields during the war will push gas prices up higher for everyone.
And you can bet that Iran will be doing everything it can to stop the oil flow from the gulf. Tankers, oil refineries, pipelines-- they'll all be targets. The more successful Iran is at reducing the flow, the more the world will turn against the US in the conflict.
For remember: the Iranians will be acting in self-defense. Plus, they'll be seen as the underdog. AGH!
And both the poor of the world-- and the Muslims-- will likely be rooting for Iran. Which will put pressure on many governments to avoid aligning with America-- and maybe even actively resist it with economic sanctions or other moves.
But any lengthy oil shortage will be the 800 pound gorilla in the room.
So how long would US troops beseiged in Iraq and Afghanistan have to wait for relief? Well, they'd probably get token air support all along. Maybe not enough to actually help, but enough so Bush can assure the soldiers' families 'he's doing all he can' with a few videos from jets showing some sporadic strafing or bombing of enemy positions.
Perhaps the most important thing air power will be able to do for our trapped troops will be to drop them some fresh food and ammo on occasion, while the main US moves continue elsewhere.
But all that predicament for US troops could stem merely from the existing native forces in Iraq and Afghanistan attacking the troops with everything they can muster. What happens when one million Iranian soldiers show up in Iraq? And another 100,000 in Afghanistan? With far better weapons and training than the Iraqi and Afghani irregulars who already had the American troops in retreat and surrounded?
Yeah, America will still likely have hundreds or even a couple thousand commandos of one kind or another running around inside Iran during all this, helping guide in missiles and air strikes, and sabotage things. But Iran will still have many tens of thousands of guards to deal with those (if they can find the hiding commandos), even after sending a million soldiers into Iraq and 100,000 troops into Afghanistan.
And the US simply won't have any reserve troops to send in force into Iran itself to reinforce the commandos. Everything that's left of the American army will be trapped in Iraq and Afghanistan, and under intense fire.
If America doesn't immediately and unconditionally cease its attacks on Syria and Iran to try saving the army with everything it's got, the world just might witness the worst American defeat in history. With virtually its entire standing army killed or captured. And the prisoners spirited away into a thousand different secret spots in the middle-east, to be held for months, years, or even decades.
Personally, I believe Bush and Cheney would leave the troops to fend for themselves until the two of them were satisfied with the destruction wrought in Iran. And so there's a good chance we'd lose our army. And Bush and Cheney suddenly find themselves in a most awkward position.
What would Bush and Cheney do in the face of such an imminent and humiliating defeat?
My guess is they'd nuke both Iran and Syria. That sure wouldn't help our captured troops any. Or the world's oil flow situation. But it would unify the whole world against us in a perhaps irrevocable fashion. And the 2006 US elections might be suspended indefinitely, if Bush and Cheney weren't sure they had sufficient voting machines rigged nationwide to win in the face of massive voter displeasure.
The UN might be dissolved entirely, so that a new world body dominated by Europe, Russia, China, Japan, and India could be formed, with its very first business being a discussion of what to do about the now obviously rogue USA. Various economic sanctions and barriers could be thrown up against America, and overt military measures taken to guarantee oil flows to just about everyone but the US.
The world could hurt America badly via financial measures alone. Americans could see inflation suddenly go to 500% or higher. Critical shortages of many items could suddenly arise (recall America makes few of the things it uses these days). The stock markets would almost certainly crash. Maybe multiple times, if there were attempts to re-open them without much improvement in the political situation.
Under these circumstances Bush and Cheney might try to invade and conquer Mexico, Canada, and Venezula among other nearby oil sources. But they'd be hampered by the lack of a ground army. So the full-blown draft would be brought back to America.
Only this time wouldn't be like the 1960s. For there'd be martial law in the US, and enormous prison camps for dissenters, and a massive surveillance system in place that pre-empts any attempts at wide-scale resistance or organization on the part of citizens.
(Bush and Cheney have already set up the apparatus for this contingency.)
America most certainly would descend into a deep economic depression (maybe dragging the rest of the world down with it), and war would become a constant background setting, much as described in Orwell's 1984...and humanity might never ever recover from the new dark age which descends upon the world....
Unless of course certain Americans in critical positions of government and business stop this madness early on-- like before Bush attacks Iran or Syria at all. I'm talking maybe as quick as October 2006.
Yes. It's possible we don't have very much time at all.
And there's plenty of other wild cards out there. That could help increase the chances of bad consequences from such a war.
For instance, Russia and China could also work some mischief here. Just for fun. Or to test some of their latest technologies on US systems when the US is too distracted with everything else to do much about it. Or to simply make the US look bad, or dumb(er). Incompetent. Foolish. It'd be relatively easy.
American soldiers could find their GPS navigation systems no longer work. Satellites could be blinded, or silenced. Planes could have their communications disrupted. Or even fall out of the sky completely, if certain available technologies were used against them.
Another possibility would be Iran being far more creative and resourceful than we expect. Pulling tricks like those demonstrated in 2002 by retired Lieutenant General Paul Van Riper in US wargames regarding the possible Iraq war against Hussein. Or better.
-- Wake-up call by Julian Borger; September 6, 2002
What if besides destroying our army, the Iranians also managed to sink major chunks of our navy, and shoot down quite a few of our planes, too?
It could take a pretty hefty chunk of American warships and fighter aircraft in the Gulf to keep oil flowing through the Strait of Hormuz during a war with Iran. Especially since Iran will know that disrupting that flow will be key to creating world pressures on the US to stop its attack.
And yet the nearer to the action the warships get, the more likely they'll be sunk. But keeping the oil spigot open will be extremely important to Bush. No matter how many sunken ships and dead crews it takes.
Yes. It could happen. A world perception of defeat. Even annihilation. Of the greatest war machine on Earth. The same way it did to Nazi Germany's in WWII, when its deranged leader insisted on over-stretching Germany's military to try to prove Germany's supremacy over the world....
How would $5.00 a gallon gas sound to Americans? How about $10 a gallon? How about rationing?
Or how about we pay only $2.00 a gallon, but suffer 16% unemployment?
What about the idea of having 50,000 American troops held hostage indefinitely in hidden places all over the Middle-east, after having been captured in Iraq during a war with Iran? Then the US and Israel neither one could bomb other countries in the region without the possibility of killing hidden American troops too.
How does having the whole world suddenly see America as a 21st century Nazi Germany sound?
Can the other Republican leaders in the US not see what Bush and Cheney and the neocons are doing to our country? Are they blind? Foolish? On drugs? Mentally impaired? Or is it just greed? Trying to keep the citizens distracted with war and religious hot button issues as they loot the Treasury and our retirement funds?
I voted against every Republican I could in 2004. But I was out-voted by lemmings. Will the lemmings in America still command the vote in 2006? We'll soon find out (if our voting machines can be trusted: but the Republicans control those, too).
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