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13 April 2006


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W. Patrick Lang


As it happens I know a good bit about the Iran-Iraq war from first hand experience.

As I believe I said before the Iraqi Shia were badly divided by that war. It is true that the great majority were quite willing to fight Iran and did so, mant of them willingly, but there were also many who did not want to fight Iran and who constituted the "fifth column" who rose against the Iraqi Government at the end of the Gulf War when they thought Saddam was weak enough to be a good target. In that effort they had the active support of the Iranian Government. pl

James Pratt

The rosy scenario of a bombing campaign inciting an internal revolt in Iran smacks of the same wishful thinking by the
Big Oil political friends, Israel lobby and shady expatriates that brought us the officially unpredicted 'long war' in Iraq.
Iran has a population that overwhelmingly resents US support for the Shah and Israel. They know the US has held India and Israel to a much lower standard of nuclear compliance than they demand of Iran. This is not a regime that has been risking its people in military adventures provoking an American air war as Nazi Germany, militarist Japan and Serbia did. What will the options be for a future administration be if an enraged Iran puts nuclear facilities under a kilometer of granite in the mountains? Another quagmire?


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.

Posted by: angela | 15 April 2006 at 05:27 AM

During the opening of Iraq invasion, we lost an A1M1 Abrams via some new Russian anti tanks weapons. (search the net for news)


I think armored vehicles role in major war is over. Any sufficiently advance nation can drop an anti tank weapon from a robotic plane easy.

W. Patrick Lang


I don't know about the future of armored vehicles but I recall that my dear old mom said much the same thing to me almost fifty years ago when I was considering taking a comission in Armor. pl


Mr. Mac Nayeri,
That horse you keep beating is, indeed, quite dead. As dead as the parrot in the famous Monty Python sketch. Its time to bury it. “ How Bad Could it Get?” isn’t quite a worse case scenario, things actually could get worse than this, but it is pretty, damn, close. The scenario I outlined is not a probable outcome it is simply a possible outcome.
The Shia of southern Iraq have been divided at times in the past but anyone thinking there wouldn’t be a profound reaction against us if we bomb Iran is clearly delusional. There are credible reports that the Shia community is already calling our, so far, failed efforts to bring a secular government into being “ The Second Betrayal”. We are neither loved nor liked by most of the Shia in Iraq and are on the verge of being barely tolerated. If their religious leadership, the Marja, issues fatwas calling for Jihad against us, the Shia will rise en masse. Under Shia practice, people are free to pick any Ayatollah as their spiritual guide and some Iraqi Shia follow Iranian Ayatollahs who, rest assured, will declare Jihad against America. When these people are combined with Sadr’s boys, Dawas followers, and Sciri’s thugs we would find ourselves in, to use a phrase from my youth, “ a world of Hurt”. It would be good to keep in mind that Ayatollah Sistani is an Iranian who has refused to accept Iraqi citizenship. He might take umbrage at us bombing his native country and killing his kith and kin.
As for making war on Kuwait, as long as Kuwait plays host to any American forces it is a legitimate military target for the Iranians, if America attacks Iran. Any country in the world hosting American forces becomes a legitimate target.
As for your remarks about the Iranian broadcasting service and your previous remarks about Iranian teenagers it smacks of the sort of vicious, unprovoked, and deeply, childish ad hominem attacks that have been the hallmark of so much of what passes for chickenhawk/neocon thought. Shooting the messenger adds nothing to the debate.


Erasmus is right to point out that there is a worst case analysis. However, it's the task of our armed forces to insure that such an outcome can never materialise, and I'm confident that they and their weapons are up to the job -- okay not without some unpleasant losses. Remember that the Brits lost 20,000 dead before breakfast on the first day of the battle of the Somme.
If the end is worth fighting for you have to be prepared to take losses, else you have to walk away from conflict. The political decisision is yours, but please don't change your mind half way through.
Many of the negative factors identified by Erasmus could have applied equally to the defense that Sadam might have set up. During our invasion of Iraq we were similarly vulnerable to interdiction of our supply lines and the whole thrust could have been blunted by Iraqi blowing up of bridges and by suicide attacks by troops with light machine gun against fuel tanker vehicles.
But the worst case didn't happen then, and it won't happen in the future if we are forced to take out an Iranian nuclear threat -- though there will, unfortunately, price to pay.

W. Patrick Lang


Inspiring. Thanks. Ever done any of this?


Mac Nayeri


My remarks are in rebuttal to your article - and are from the point of view that Iran would not react in the ways u suggested (attacking Kuwait/laying seige to the Greeen Zone).

As to my own words, I'm quite sure you'd understand them not to be taken literally, that is to say, I have no doubt that you're not a "a bright-eyed, comic book collecting, adolescent Iranian teenager." Needless to say, I was writing metaphorically. In common parlance the word 'metaphor' describes a figure of speech used to paint one concept with the attributes normally associated with another. I hope this speaks for itself.

While it is easy to support freedom of speech for those one agrees with, one's true commitment to the principle is in how one respects the right of free speech for those they do not agree with. Clearly, we have fundamentally different perspectives on this subject. From your response, it's clear you believe my remarks impugned on your right to those opinions. Nothing could he further from the purpose of my remarks and I unreservedly support your right to your own opinions. Indeed, I am glad that they are on the record. As for my own thoughts, I second PL's analysis to the extent that attacking Iran by air will trigger SOME backlash amongst Shia Iraqi's but nothing close to the catastrophic picture you painted.

I look forward to reading more of your expert analysis.


Mac Naveri,

It is not your opinions I object to. Its your manners.

Charlie Green

Two more opinions on this subject.

First, I think one of Curious's premises is wrong. We don't want Iran's oil; we just don't want China to get it. Which means China isn't likely to bankroll this adventure.

And I have a sneaking suspicion that our Wild Weasel radar smacking aircraft may have a higher mortality rate this go round. This will make those bombing runs much riskier.

But I could be wrong. This may be a cakewalk, just like last time.


Freely associating by way of war porn woodys, am I wrong about Victor Davis Hanson: is he a decent historian?

W. Patrick Lang


"I look forward to reading more of your expert analysis."

We don't mock each other here. pl


Mac -
The Iraqi Shia may have fought their Iranian coreligionists fiercely - and with regret - but this time the enemy wouldn't be Arab or even Muslim. It's doubtful their nationalist sentiment is strong enough for them to side with the US against Tehran. First get rid of the interlopers, then sort out the details after they're gone.



the new fangled embassy rat hole that the bush crowd are pouring a ton-o-cash on/into, needs to be addressed.

iraq isn't post-wwii germany, nor anything close to it. and it seems that the bush crowd is looking at the mideast thru such a viewing prism - european, instead of mideastern. the sands of mideast time have poured their grains upon previous 'invaders', soooz....the embassy rat hole is a chunk-o-change that could be better spent -- elsewhere.

Mac Nayeri


Having read the article, I'd be the first to bow to the fact Erasmus IS an expert in military affairs. That was sincerely offered.



the new fangled embassy rat hole that the bush crowd are pouring a ton-o-cash on/into, needs to be addressed.

Posted by: J | 15 April 2006 at 11:24 PM

What I want to know, who is the genius with the bright idea putting multibillion dolar facility in the middle of war zone.

Is it some sort of exercise of absudity? Amazing.

They could have at least build in Kuwait. (but then again, not even the Kuwaitis are that stupid wanting such problematic facility in their area)


I don't know about the future of armored vehicles but I recall that my dear old mom said much the same thing to me almost fifty years ago when I was considering taking a comission in Armor. pl

Posted by: W. Patrick Lang | 15 April 2006 at 10:47 AM

well, think about it. Look at the trend of armored vehicles.

It answers the "armored" part by going ever bigger. It means far more complicated logistic. The next generation armored vehicles will need a specialized new transporter to move it anywhere. Remembr how we got into trouble with Turkey and had to route the tanks around? Tanks has become costlier, more expensive to move around and give diminishing return.

In the meantime, armor penetrating weaponry has become smaller and cheaper. Combined with small UAV any semi advance country can create cheap and effective anti tank strategy.

Maybe the answer is going robotic tank. Just toss out all those useless armor, get rid of personel, and make the tank extremely cheap/disposable, go really fast and light.. but that is too futuristic.

The biggest problem with tank of course. It lites up sattelite imagery like a nintendo screen. Everybody has sattelite nowadays. ya might as well give the opponent the entire battle plan. They can count how many tanks, how they move, where, time, location, trajectory, back calculate the supply line, attack pattern, the whole thing...

If I have to say why Iranian is developing the sahab with specific black box dimension, it's to fit their homemade micro sattelite. It's not for nuke head.

W. Patrick Lang





No. Not by any stretch of the imagination. He wrote one amusing and even somewhat useful book about Greek Phalanx warfare and then ruined it with his idiotic conclusion that the Greeks invented face to face combat with edged weapons, which then spread to the other “Western” (read that as White) peoples. Now my Irish, English, and Iroquois ancestors, along with a lot of other peoples, had been killing each other in face to face combat for thousands of years before the Dorians immigrated into Greece and ruined the place. Much of his writing since then has been a breathtaking ill-informed advocacy of various neo con projects to civilize the “lesser breeds that know not the Law”. Hanson was trained as a scholar of Classical Greece and has absorbed the classical Greek hatred and fear of the Persians. For him, it’s always a good day to march on Persepolis. Xerxes, Darius, Ahmadinejad – what’s the difference? Once a Mede, always a Mede. A very entertaining writer who calls himself “the War Nerd” wrote a vicious piece on Hanson for an online magazine called The Exile. You might find it interesting.


Sy Hersh has written a second article at the http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/060417fa_fact>The New Yorker

Lord help the coalition forces in Iraq, if what he strongly suspects becomes a reality. Sadly, I do believe what Hersh has written.

This administration isolates itself and doesn't listen to experts that don't agree with their opinions. They have now convinced themselves they have the powers to declare war without the sanction of Congress. I expect they will give little or no notice to Congress before they launch their plans.


I predict if nuclear weapons are used against Iran by the United States, there will be very few allies in this mission.


What I should have said was Hersh's article was confirmed by:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/14/AR2006041401907.html>William M. Arkin


It's over.

$70/barrel oil? Hold it another 2 weeks, we gonna have deep recession instead of shallow recession.

By summer people will go rioting on the street because there is no job/economy hard landing.

John Howley

Editorial in The Forward, leading U.S. Jewish paper, points to disastrous consequences of Iran attack:
The Risks of War.

Tom Griffin

I was interested that you discounted the threat to the US navy in the gulf in the previous LOC thread, as I've seen a number of reports that Iran possesses supersonic 'sunburn' missiles against which the navy has no effective defence. Is it just hype?

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