« Pirates Part 2 - Farrell | Main | "Fight 'em there or fight 'em here" »

24 August 2006


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Got A Watch

America will attack Iran because God told President Bush to do it - he has admitted to daily conversation with the deity. If God has ordered it, it will happen. Period. Thus, intelligience becomes irrelevant. How can some analysts or committee over-rule God?


Fortunately, all Iran needs to do moving forward to avoid war is to continue providing responses which split the international community, not responses which actually addresses the "concerns" of the US and/or UK.


Lessons were not learned in the Iraq War and so we have the coming Iran War. In the same way, the lessons that were not learned in Operation Litani in 1978 lead to Israel trying almost the exact same thing in 2006, with entirely predictable results.

The apparent failure of the Israeli Government to clearly articulate the political goals resulted in the military driving the political agenda. It appears that political policy with regard to the overall objectives of Operation Litani was being conceived "on the run" and dictated by events, rather than being the basis of military decision making. The addition of the strategic goal of entering into negotiations with Lebanon, an objective added after the invasion, is a typical example of this. Such errors have a tendency to gain their own momentum, and their ramifications multiply disproportionately. (WHITTING P.26)

Other, more basic lessons such as killing civilians does not endear you to a population and that strategic bombing is less than useless should have been learned 80 years ago.

Jaime Gormley

Like many, I find these deceitful and duplicitous milestones along the route to war riveting and am grateful they're prominently featured. However, if war's to be avoided, the adverse consequences must be so broadly and viscerally comprehended that even its promoters are deterred. That said, I offer the following:

1. 130K US/UK soldiers in desert redux of Chosin/Dien Bien Phu.
2. Collapse of the apostate regimes of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and (nuclear armed) Pakistan.
3. US/UK aircraft carriers & warships in Persian Gulf/Hormuz Straits/Oman Gulf redux of INS Hanit.
4. China & other creditors call in US debt.
5. Hormuz Straits close to commercial traffic.
6. By others....

Re: Lessons Learned TPAjax2, Act 1 (Liban)

Restated in modern terms, the eternal verities revalidated:
4. Although you can, in fact, dig coal and pump oil with bayonets, albeit inefficiently, you must never ever sit on them. http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/009501.php
3. When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.
Dan Gillerman, Israeli Ambassador to the US on "disproportionate force"
LG Dan Halutz, IDF COS on military means & political objectives
2. In war, the moral is to the material as three is to one.
1. Don't fight the war for which you are prepared. Prepare for the war you will fight. No mere "terrorist organization" could prepare for and conduct this war

0. All of which affirms the late Col. Boyd, "Machines don't fight wars. People do, and they use their mind. People, ideas and hardware. In that order"

P.S. With this shameful act of primitive, brutal and inept aggression, Israel's Herut/Likud/Kadima faction and its Labor enablers can count Diaspora Jewry's rank and file among the collateral damage.


Thank you for your succint explanation of "what went wrong in the intelligence community." Your explanation better summarizes the situation in the intel community better than the 9/11 Commission and the WMD Commission.

Green Zone Cafe

Yesterday, I was watching Amb. James Dobbins on C-Span talk about his experience in Afghanistan, and how the Iranians were pretty cooperative in our efforts to oust the Taliban and start the Karzai government there in 2001-2. Video and discussion is here. Dobbins said that proposals by the Iranians on security issues were met with silence from Washington. A friend who was SF in Afghanistan has also told me about the way that US and Iranian special forces were pretty friendly on the local level during the campaign.

Ahmedinajad is crazy, but he's under control by the Council of Guardians and will pass. The links between and common interests of Iran and the USA should lead to friendly relations. Iran is more democratic than most of the Middle East countries we are allied with. They've been willing to talk to us, but we keep insisting on obeisance as a prerequisite for talking. Maybe if they sent Bush a chocolate cake . . . .

This whole campaign against Iran seems insane in the way Pearl Harbor was insane for the Japanese, Barbarossa for the Nazis, or the Somme for the British.

Attacking Iran will lead to a disaster for the US in Iraq and probably throughout the Gulf.

So they want to bomb Iran. When US and UK bases in southern Iraq are overrun and missiles are landing on the US Navy base on Bahrain, on bases in Qatar, Kuwait, and Masiryah, and tankers and US Navy ships are sunk, what will they do then?


"Tne neocons and their academic acolytes are still pushing the idea that the collective judgment of the IC is valueless and that the function of intelligence is to provide justification for policy decisions already reached" - PL

Can the professional career officers in the IC push back without having to resign and worry about paying the bills?

Based on the experience with the lead up to Iraq we know that the Cheney led neo-cons and GWB with support from the Republican-controlled Congress will manipulate the American public through an information operations campaign. This campaign will be extensive and will include many channels from private corporations like the Rendon Group that receive hundreds of millions of dollars worth of taxpayer funded contracts as well as the co-opted corporate media. Lest we forget, the Rendon Group in conjunction with corporate media shills laundered several stories including the bogus uranium claim as well as the Chalabi-Curveball fabrications.

Since there is no effective political opposition in the country or organized counter to the neo-con propaganda campaign, would the professionals in the IC schooled in the art of the "shadows" use their skills to expose the bamboozlement? There seems to be a precedent with professionals in the NSA concerned about the warantless spying on Americans. This has now resulted in a court declaring that the President broke the law and such warantless spying is unconstitutional. Of course, there is a long road in the legal process in this case but the fact that this information is out in the open allowed the court to discount the state secrets argument provided by the DoJ attorneys.


What went wrong in the Intelligence Community? It is now the Department of Propaganda.

John in LA

My DOD contacts express great displeasure at their treatment in Iraq. A phony political predicate; an ill-defined mission; inadequate force levels...and then, to top it off, Condoleeza and other priceless nitwits blaming them (DOD officers and men) for "tactical errors"

Disgusted is too soft a word.

Col. Lang: Cd you give some assessment of how realistic an assault on Iran might be, assuming that the NeoCons/AIPAC get Congress to roll over?

When I look at the map -- well, it's five times the size of California! Population +- 70 million! What could we possibly do, other than blowing up their electrical/telecom grid?

And wouldn't they respond with an all-out assault on the (Sunni Arab) oil facilities across the Gulf?

My Wall St. colleagues tell me that would effectively shut down the US, European and Asian industrial economies and throw global economic growth into reverse for an unknowable period of time


RE: "Ahmedinajad is crazy"

How so? He's a good speaker, well-educated, and very popular. Other than the general condemnation of Isreal that the entire Middle East shares (i.e., European Jews brutalizing the native Palestinians) how is he crazy? Or is this simply FOX NEWS time?


"Is the American public that inattentive that they can be snowed twice in exactly the same manner"

American people:

I mean, of course they are....


The Neocons are just like the Japanese militarists in their world view save one thing. The Japanese were willing to put themselves on the front line for their beliefs whereas the Neocons are willing to put everyone else on front line excluding themselves.

Taki Theodoracopulos has them pegged correctly-- "sofa samuris".

Something is always easy as long as it is someone else who is having to do it.


Col. Lang:

Have you read the Tony Cordesman piece that I gave a link to several weeks ago? I found it unsparing.

Is the military going to be capable of dissuading this administration from attacking Iran?

Happy Jack

Where is the evidence...?

Col, apparently , it now depends on what the meaning of "evidence" is.

Hal Carpenter

Good Day, Col Lang,

I have a question for you and other posters with an understanding of military matters.

There are extended war games going on in many provinces throughout Iran. Are they just sabre rattling or are they reshaping Iranian defences from things learned in Lebanon? If they are reshaping Iran as a defensive battlefield,what exactly does that mean? Would they be building fortifications or moving the position of troops, or what? If Iran does have one or two thousand agents in Iraq and certainly has divisions on the border, could they hold off the American Army, if they took say 1,000 American soldiers prisoner and retreated into a Fortress Iran? Or, are the Israelis just temporarily out of shape?
I guess that is my basic question, knowing what you know now, how would the United States Army do if we have war with Iran? Is Lebanon a message for all large armies or a special case?
Thank you as always, Col Lang and thanks to anyone with the knowledge or ideas on my questions. I'd really like to know if there was any big military lesson in Lebanon, or was that a one shot deal against unprepared Israeli troops?
Thanks, Hal Carpenter

Brent Wiggans

The tired efforts at demonizing opponents and the overt attempts to suborn the intelligence community yet again may be most significant for the fact that all this stuff is perfectly obvious. They don’t care. They are on the brink of losing one or both houses of Congress and it doesn’t really matter. They will have two more years to wield supreme executive power and they have made it very clear that their definition of that is just about anything they can think up to do. If they get us into another war, what is a Democratic Congress going to do, cut of funds for the military? They long ago severed their connection with earthly, secular institutions of legitimacy and patched into higher levels of moral authority. Democracy is for the rubes. To them we are just gesticulating figures on the other side of the glass. They don’t even bother anymore to act like they can’t hear us.


"When US and UK bases in southern Iraq are overrun" - Green Zone Cafe

Its already happening!

BRITISH troops yesterday pulled out of a camp in southern Iraq where a soldier was wounded in a mortar attack on Wednesday, and handed the position over to local forces.
Abu Naji has come under frequent attack, suffering a barrage of 17 mortar rounds the day before the pull-out, leaving one soldier in hospital. He is described as in a "stable condition".

Hat tip Juan Cole

GZC, Ahmadinejad as a crazy man is definitely a meme in the US. But it seems his comment on the zionists being eliminated may not be an accurate translation of his farsi comment.



The Iranians have been running a series of large-scale and complex military exercises for a number of years now. Each time they do so, they unveil at least one new weapons system which US military planners have to factor in to their calculations.

Lebanon was a good live-fire demonstration of a minimal set of options that Iran has at its disposal - particularly the capacity of medium range artillery and missile systems to tie a lot of aerial resources down and successfully disrupt port operations ( Haifa was shut down for the conflict ). These can easily be adapted for use against gulf shipping, some US bases in Iraq, the port of Kuwait and the US logistics platform in the Kuwaiti desert.

The purpose of these exercises is to, hopefully, deter the US militarily and to maintain a high degree of Iranian readiness to respond.

The US army is not going to enter Iran - forces in Iraq are already fully deployed as is and cannot undertake two missions simultaneously - the best that they can do is plan for the possibility of Iranian retaliation and how to respond to Iranian incursions into Iraq. The performance of IDF special forces was less than stellar, and it remains to be seen whether their US counterparts would be more successful.

Furthermore, the disposition of US forces in Iraq is such that they are largely positioned in the centre and west of the country. They're even further away in Afghanistan, where Iran already has achieved some strategic depth in the west of the country.

The only exception in the Iraqi region is Diyala - and the question here would be whether the Iranians attacked US installations there ( battlefield artillery, air assault, ground attack are all options available to Iran and they are probably capable of being integrated ) and whether the US has a sufficiently large force in place to defend the area before reserves can be deployed.

The question that is as yet unanswered is the extent to which the Iranians may have already prepared an Iraqi battlefield. Do they have agreements with the Shia clerical authorities regarding a response to a US attack? Who knows - but we do know that the Iranians have permanent representation in Karbala and Najaf, whilst US officials are, to be blunt, unwelcome. It's also unclear to what extent Iran has already pre-deployed personnel and materiel in Iraq, and whether it could surge personnel on short notice ( IIRC, the Iraqi government allows 6000 Iranians to travel to Najaf daily - and that's before we factor in the numbers who enter unofficially ).

If the US does attack Iran, the only way that the Iranians can shape a satisfactory outcome for themselves is to go on the offensive in Iraq where the US military is in a vulnerable position. If they remain passive in the face of an assault, it will simply lead to further attacks.

Got A Watch

Sorry for my facetious comment, I get nervous when I see a man on TV who says he "Talks to God daily". Especially when he has an aide carrying the "nuclear football" beside him. I just hope God doesn't tell him to launch.

Got A Watch

If you view the Lebanon skirmish as a learning exercise for both sides, then it leads me to wonder what lessons will be drawn for the next round in Iran.

I find it interesting Hizbullah only fired less than 5 of their long range missiles. Testing their accuracy without wasting too many? Monitored by IRG troops and Iranian intelligience? Lesson learned - they work ok, but are not as accurate as they want them to be? They only fired 1 anti-ship misile which hit the target - reputed to be an older Silkworm. Lesson learned - works good, newer "Sunburn" missiles are even better! Fired many Saggers and some Milans and newer Soviet missiles. Lesson learned - most any anti-tank missile can be effective when used properly (fired at side/rear of the AFV from ambush), the newer ones are even better but in a pinch a Sagger is still good. I have read that Iran manufactures their own domestic versions of these Soviet/Chinese designed weapons. It seems Iran's weapons manufacturing is capable, and they probably pay much less per unit than any western army - modern warfare on a budget. I bet the IRG are busily digging bunkers everywhere in Iran.

On the Israeli side, with USAF officers no doubt observing - the air campaign was a failure, many bombs were dropped but no real objectives were achieved, and the populace was inflamed against Israel, a classic "blowback". Lesson (incorrectly) learned for Iran - "we have to hit them harder with bigger bombs!".
I bet the nuclear bunker busters are back on the planning table - except the "blowback" will be 100 times worse if they are used. It seems clear a US/Israel attack on Iran (I don't see any other western or Gulf nations joining in, they are wisely going to stand aside IMHO) will be a "Shock'n'Awe" campaign, with predictable results - infrastructure destroyed, populace aroused, patriotic support for Iranian hardliners soaring. I have read neocons babbling about how bombing Iran will cause the government to fall - much more likely to cause millions to volunteer for "martyrdom operations".

This post is getting long, will post more later. For a timely analysis of recent neocon activity, try:

Green Zone Cafe

Sgt. York, zanzibar, Ahmedinajad is crazy in that he feeds our crazies with material. I know that some of his speeches are mistranslated for effect, but no doubt he's said things which violate the "speak softly . . " rule.

Babak Makkinejad

Green Zone Cafe:

Mr. Ahmadinejad is not crazy.

He has wrapped himself in the mantle of Islam. He effectively has raised the stakes by conflating Iran & Islam-an attack on Iran is the same as an attack on Islam.

Furthermore, in my opinion, large majorities of Muslims are in agreement with his statement on Israel & the Holocaust.

On the Holocaust and Israel, the so-called West has clearly "lost" the Muslim people.

Even the heads of Muslim states and governments are in general agreement with him; they just do not think it "politic" to make their views known.

Got A Watch

Iran's government may look crazy to western neocons, but I fail to believe they are too stupid to understand the principle of MAD. Israel now has 5 ICBM capable "Dolphin" class submarines bought from West Germany (and one third paid for by taxpayers in Germany - guilt over WWII fuels WWIII). These subs can launch nuclear ICBM's from underwater, and have been armed with Israeli and American misiles, both cruise and ballistic. I am sure Iran is well aware of these subs existence, and also the Israeli hardened ICBM silos desigend to withstand a first strike and then launch. Logically, since Israel is reputed to have well over 300 nuclear and hydrogen warheads, any Iranian attack would be met with Israel retaliation which would make Iran into a radioactive parking lot.

So the "threat" from any Iranian nuke is vastly over-stated, given the predictable retaliation which looms over their heads.

A quick look at a map shows Iran is surrounded by nuclear powers on all sides: Pakistan, Russia, USA (bases in Iraq, Afghanistan, other 'Stans, Bahrain, Kuwait etc.) and Israel and India just beyond. If you were Iranian, wouldn't you think you need a nuclear deterrent? I never see anyone mention this in the MSM, though it is obvious. I don't support Iran, but you need to understand what motivates someone before you can decide on a response.

IMHO North Korea will supply Iran with working nuclear weapons at some point soon, rendering the debate about "heavy water" plants in Iran redundant.

Babak Makkinejad

Got A Watch:

Under NPT provisions a state may obtain a functioning nuclear weapon from another state (as far as I know).

Hal Carpenter

Thanks for the post. It cleared a lot of things up. I didn't know Iran was conducting regular large field problems, but it makes sense when they are under such intense observation. The sense of your whole piece chills things down a bit. They are more orderly than I was seeing, and not quite as dangerous at the moment.
I sense a lull in violence in the Mid-East.(of course, the governments are all taking credit for a downturn, not a lull.), and I thought that it was because of Lebanon and Nasrallahs ascent. I wondered if all the players talking and shifting alliances, but that the Muslim movement was still getting ready to punish America and Israel.
Maybe not,Dan, your post limits a lot of options for both sides. It gives me a sense of more structure than I knew existed there.
And President Alphabet from Iran made a truly consilliatory speach, according to the invaluable Juan Cole at Informed Comment... http://www.juancole.com ..
The Press was more than happy to print the mistaken translation about "wiping Israel off the map". I hope they find space for himsaying that the only changes Iran wants to make in Israel are through free elections.
Thanks again Dan, and thanks for the forum ,Col Lang, maybe the war drums do sound a bit quieter today and chaos isn't howling quite so loud.
Hal Carpenter

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Blog powered by Typepad