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13 April 2006

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W. Patrick Lang

lina

The Battle of Gettysburg and a skirmish in Mexico are the same thing if you are in the fight. pl

lina

Ha! You'd know better than I would Colonel.

But if you're going to live to fight another day, it probably makes a difference if you lose 600,000 or 60.

Curious

My worst case scenario. And I think Pentagon analysts will pee in their pants reading this. Because they know they can't answer my scenario.

1. unlimited amount of small packaged high explosive. Iran certainly has the industrial knowledge to do this. Make them cheap, as cheap as hand granades. Distribute it inside Iraq and afghanistan. (this will topple and assasinate ALL functioning government facilities/personels and reduce that two countries into nothing more than Lebanon) Ports, roads, civilian offices, power generators, the entire thing will be gone in less than two weeks. Basically, start weaponizing those guerillas in Iraq with serious amount of high explosive.

2. Launch those ballistic missiles against ALL oil facilities in gulf region. Kuwait, Saudi, Iraq, Emirats. The whole things. No sense sparing any of them. The objective: drive oil price in the range of $200-250/barrel within 2 weeks. The US economy will collapse within 3 months. The military machine (economic support) will collapse within 2 years.

3. attack all tankers passing through the gulf. All of them. Use their subs to start sinking all super tankers near gulf regions.

4. Flood the entire gulf water with empty oil barrels, barrel filled with explossive, mines, chemical weapons, concrete pantoon booby trap, old ships, anything that floats. How much does it cost to shoot an empty oil barrel just making sure it is not a mine? How many man hours does it need to inspect each of those floating garbage?

5. Jet skies. The Iranian will do their combat in persian gulf to pinch the supply line. 5000-6000 navy troops in jet skies will force us flying those expensive heli's to hunt. (how many gallons of fuel is sued to hunt one guy on a jet skies?)

(and we cannot station anybody near the gulf either since the Iranian will blow all those camps with chemical weapons.)

The overall objective?

Go light and all over, make those gas guzzling vehicles move across the vast expanse of desert and mountain passage. Stretch the supply lines. Use nature to fight those heavy equipments.

No border and frontlines. It's war of attritions against supply lines in wide areas...

Extent the entire battle area into Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, ...

Cascade the whole things.

Go mad man opening, then rope a dope attrition.

If Iran can play out their cards in 2-3 years. They win. It's that simple.

We'll have to nuke every buildings in their land to win the battle. But that still means we lost the oil supply.

Curious

My random comments:

"If we launch an attack on Iran with absolutely no warning at all we would achieve tactical surprise in Iran at the cost of exposing a lot of Americans to capture or death. We will have small detachments of Americans with Iraqi Army and police units all over the country and these Badr and Dawa officered units would turn on us in a second. Don't think Tet, think the Indian Mutiny. "

No international support. That will cause a whole lot of pain only after several months. Sure we got to blow up some Iranian buidings and destroy heavy equipments. So what. If they are half smart, they already have a plan fighting in low supply/light infantry mode. What's more We will lost the entire region for next 20 years if we strike first. Think domestic economic collapse and high crime rate as a result. $6/gallon gas and $15 McDonald dinner?


"The Green Zone would come under immediate siege from the Iraqi army and police units in Baghdad while the Mahdi Army would come boiling out of Sadr City to cut all of our supply routes into the city"

Why would anybody defend the green zone is beyond me. There is nothing in there except simply because we set up bases there. There is no Iraq government in there if you ask me. We might as well put a basketball in some random section of Baghdad and defend it. What's the difference?

"Of course we can recapture the bridging sites and put pontoon bridges up as replacements- "

what good does it do? We are trying to cure the symptoms instead of the cause. We don't have a legit Iraq leader/government as a center to all our strategy. We are not protecting the bridge supported by the people. We are just guarding some bridge that nobody else care about. Yes there are facilities/strategic requirement to sustain military operation in Iraq. but WHY are we there? just because to protect some bridges or because we know the political process is worth protecting. Are we trying to prop up sand castle?


"The war heads of the Iraqi RPGs are first generation and have trouble penetrating the armor of our Bradley Fighting vehicles and only seem to do a somewhat better job with the Stryker."

Those Stryker and Bradleys are just cute parading toys. Think about it. What good do they do? Does it stop the growth of light infantry/guerilla? Does it stop people from blowing up mosques to incite civil war? Okay so we shot a couple of brown people while parading those toys... so what? It changes nothing in the big picture. They are just another element in the ensuing chaos.


We cannot answer the very core of Iraq mission. What are we doing in there? what exactly are we protecting?

Answer: political process. The thing that will create sustainable stable government. But we don't know what "political process" means in Iraq. We try to fake it with that election and install bunch of schmos and other bullshit...

but Iraqis are not buying it... the whole thing goes to hell as we can see.

ckrantz

A question. Is this not a case for the so called powell doctrine? To solve the problem of Iraq and the vulnerability there we need a massive number of troops and heavy armour on the ground. Basically do a repeat of the first gulf war and use superior force to take control over the region.

A a civilian i don't know fast the pentagon could move troops into the region or if those troops exist but that is the only way I can see to securly go to war with iran in the current situation. I can't see how any army could operate without a secure base area. If necessary make the political deals in Iraq that we need or can do to work with locals to find the Iranian networks operating. Set out a clear Middle East roadmap that includes a nuclear free zone and force israel to comply. Make it a bipartisan issue if possible and pledge the rest of the Bush Presidency to work for this goal.

I guess what I'm saying is the administration needs to stop trying to do things on the cheap and get serious.

And by the way can the all the kurds be assumed to be friendly? The kurdish areas on the map are marked as stable. I seem to recall they have good Iranian contacts going back to the 60s

Babak Makkinejad

All:

From Yahoo News today:

"You can start a war but it won't be you who finishes it," said General Yahya Rahim Safavi, the head of the Revolutionary Guards and among the regime's most powerful figures.

"The Americans know better than anyone that their troops in the region and in Iraq are vulnerable. I would advise them not to commit such a strategic error," he told reporters on the sidelines of a pro-Palestinian conference in Tehran.

I would advise them to first get out of their quagmire in Iraq before getting into an even bigger one," General Safavi said with a grin.

"We have American forces in the region under total surveillance. For the past two years, we have been ready for any scenario, whether sanctions or an attack."


zanzibar

"We cannot answer the very core of Iraq mission. What are we doing in there? what exactly are we protecting?" - Curious

I remember reading somewhere excerpts from an interview with Prince Faisal the Saudi Foreign Minister. He had asked Cheney why do you want to invade Iraq and the answer was "it's doable".

The simple rationale for invasion was two fold - a) Bush's ego - he became convinced that a "war president" was the hero and the way to be remembered b) Cheney and the neocons wanted to show the world who was boss and their machismo led them to find a "doable" target and enter the easily villained Saddam.

I am convinced after witnessing their performance and competence there was no grand stratagery. It seems pretty clear that these guys are just a bunch of chest-thumping chickenhawks out to prove their "manliness" after having ducked as cowards when they had an opportunity to show real valor in Vietnam.

rpe

ckrantz,

To do all that we'd need at least a million troops and be willing to take tens of thousands of casualties a year for decades. We'd also need the Chinese to lend us 10 trillion dollars or so. Not that victory is a sure thing even in this case.Not gonna happen. They'll try and do it on the cheap with the new Revolution in Military affairs which is nothing but 1950s era, {like Rumsfeld}, "Victory Through Airpower" in a shiny new package. We'll shock and awe em. It worked so well last time.
RPE

W. Patrick Lang

Zanzibar

I think that Polk was a great president. pl

W. Patrick Lang

Babak

"We have American forces in the region under total surveillance. For the past two years."

Worrisome.

Do you live in Iran? pl

Babak Makkinejad

Col. Lang:

No.

Bob

We seem not to have thought of Iranian special forces entering the US through Mexico and Canada.

Eric

Wellington is being interviewd tonight on Hardball by Edward R. Murrow.

Actually, it might be Tommy Franks and Chris Matthews.

Unfortunate all the way around.

irene

Zanzibar,
I believe there was another rationale for the war, related to your point:
a) Bush's ego - he became convinced that a "war president" was the hero and the way to be remembered

They thought a victorious war President was a sure winner in 2004 and that this 'doable' war would provide them with plenty of stirring footage for Bush's re-election campaign. Photo-op on top of photo-op on top of photo-op. 'Mission Accomplished' was just the opening salvo. no pun intended. They didn't quite get the shots they were expecting. oh what the heck.... pun intended.

W. Patrick Lang

Babak

Ok, although I assume you are a Persian. pl

Babak Makkinejad

Col. Lang:

Of course.

lina

"Unfortunate all the way around." Posted by: Eric | 14 April 2006 at 06:54 PM

You can say that again. Although finding a Rummy apologist to interview seems to be getting harder and harder. But not asking "who is accountable for the situation we find ourselves in?" seems amazing even for Chris M.

And if I heard correctly, I believe Franks said there was zero planning for a post-Saddam insurgency. I guess we could figure that out. Thanks General. He also took a moment to dis Gen. Newbold.

He did his shock & awe show, retired, wrote his book, and now it's all someone else's problem.

"To solve the problem of Iraq and the vulnerability there we need a massive number of troops and heavy armour on the ground." (ckrantz)

Didn't Gen. Westmoreland have 500,000 troops at one time? How'd that work out?

lina

Re Iran: Interesting thoughts on where we are with Ahmadinejad posted here

http://billmon.org/archives/002385.html

James Pratt

I think the American people had better be wary of electing another POTUS from Texas of either party. The risks taken and facts ignored for the sake of Big Oil by LBJ and GWB show what a career spent in the political culture of Houston can do. Extractive industries do not doom anyone to obsessive greed and callousness, but they tend to attract those of that bent.

zanzibar

PL, James Polk was a great President not only for his successul negotiation of the Oregon territory but the execution of the Mexican-American war. As my wiki refreshed history suggests he requested and obtained a congressional declaration of war prior to the campaign. From wiki, "Polk set four clearly defined goals for his administration: the re-establishment of the independent treasury, the reduction of tariffs, the settlement of the Oregon boundary dispute, and the acquisition of California from Mexico."

Unfortunately GWB is no James Polk! There are no clearly defined objectives. And we have runaway deficits and debt and a war of choice in a quagmire. But what gets my goat is that Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, et al used every trick in the book to avoid the draft and now want to prove to the world their manly warrior nature at the expense of the lives of many people and a drain on our financial resources.

W. Patrick Lang

Zanzibar

I have always admired Polk. pl

Mac Nayeri

PL:

Not to beat a dead horse, but, yes, naturally we'd have to expect some reaction from elements of the Iraqi Shia populace that heretofore have remained on the fence, onlookers to our efforts in Iraq. But that is a far cry from suggesting that Iran would make war against Kuwait as the author suggested, or lay seige to the Green Zone.

What is lost on many in the West is that Iraqi Shia are Arab, first and foremost; again, I know this will clash with the often presented face of the Iraqi Shia, but as evidence of this one only has to look to the 8 year Iran/Iraq war wherein the Iraqi Shia, for the most part remained loyal to Baghdad - did some take refuge in Iran? sure...but the lionshare saw themselves as Iraqi Arabs and fought their Shia 'brethen' tooth and nail. Of course, that was sometime ago, but I suspect it rings true today.
One last thing - when I worked at VOA one of my duties was to scan the wires each day for content that was appropriate for our audience, namely Iran, while at the same time, listen in on what the state broadcasting agency was feeding people and then assist the senior journalist in crafting stories that up-ended the official line coming out of Tehran. The Erasmus piece was so slanted that it smacked of something I used to hear from the controlled, hardline press loyal to the clerical establishment.

M

angela

Is it true that the Iranians could bring in superior anti armor weapons? It would seem plausible that at a minimum these could seriously threaten the Bradley's and Strykers.

ali

"Where in the spectrum of competence and motivation do the Iranian land forces fall into? Chinese or Eastern European or Indian/Pakistani or African or pre/post-Gulf War I Iraqi?"

That'll all depend on the kind of war.

In a regular war the Iranians aren't particularly competent or threatening, some elements of their forces are well trained and highly motivated but their kit is mostly old. Though from what I hear the demoralized continental European troops in Iraq are no match for Iraqi militia let alone the Iranians. The Iranians would face the US with the finest battlefield Army on the planet and the British whose soldiers and NCOs if not kit and officers are of gold standard Israeli quality. They'd be bloody fools to try it.

In an irregular war the stories a little different, the Iranians have both experience, talent and a record of fighting them by proxy. You'd also have to consider this sort of war is not something most of the US Army was built to do.

The US Army has a logistical genius but as Pat points out is also heavily reliant on these very logistics. Their line of supply seems a rather obvious target for the Iranians and this could create conditions far more threatening than the skirmishes in Al Anbar.

On this topic I was reading:
http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pubs/display.cfm?pubID=650
Which has the interesting notion of the US as not just an ahistorical but astrategic nation. That would explain a lot.

dan

A few other points to consider. There are 6000 Iranians travelling legally to Najaf as pilgrims every day, and there are probably the same number again crossing for other purposes. The capacity for the Iranians to surge large numbers of personnel is indisputable. The Iranians have "normalised" relations with all of their neighbours and Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan et al are permissive environments for Iranian operatives.

With the exception of a contingent in Diyala province, there are no US forces stationed on the border with Iran - the only substantial coalition presence on the border is the MoD, with 8,000 troops in Basra and Maysan. UK commanders have intimated that they cannot hold their position if the Iranians/Iraqi Shia go postal on them.

Whilst the scenario outlined concentrates on the Iraqi theatre, there are numerous other planning options that sit at the Iranians disposal.

These range from the straightforward military options of "feinting" into Diyala, or the Kuwait gambit to knock out the US logistics platform, to leveraging the "political" chaos that unrest in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain can offer, to missile/special forces attacks on US installations in the gulf ( all of which are subject to routine surveillance and, possibly, penetration by Iranian agents ), to the oil card, whereby they convince tanker owners that the war risks exemption clauses in their marine policies are about to be invoked, thereby halting all tanker traffic and 14 mbpd of oil transiting the Straits.

Mac: what percentage of Iraqi Shia have to "sign up" to the scenario for it to be workable? 10%? Considering that the UIA polled nearly 50% of the Iraqi electorate, it's fair to say that if there is a "clerical mandate" for this then the US military is, er, toast.

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