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Iran, Russia and the Battle of the big bombs
Posted by: McQ on Friday, September 14, 2007

Russia announced yesterday it had developed the mother of all conventional bombs.

Au contrair says LTG James McInerney, back to the drawing board Ruskies. The U.S. has a 14-ton super bomb more destructive than the vacuum bomb just tested by Russia:
McInerney said the U.S. has "a new massive ordnance penetrator that's 30,000 pounds, that really penetrates ... Ahmadinejad has nothing in Iran that we can't penetrate."

He also said the new Russian bomb was not a "penetrator."
Speaking of Ahmadinejad and Iran, McInerney outlined how an attack on Iran, if pursued, would most likely be carried out:
McInerney described some possible military campaign scenarios and said: "The one I favor the most, of course, is an air campaign," he continued.

He said that bombing would be launched by 65-70 stealth bombers and 400 bombers of other types.

"Forty-eight hours duration, hitting 2500 aimed points to take out their [Iranian] nuclear facilities, their air defense facilities, their air force, their navy, their Shahab-3 retaliatory missiles, and finally their command and control. And then let the Iranian people take their country back," the general said describing the campaign, adding it would be "easy."
Uh, huh. I'm afraid it would be anything but "easy". Not with the IRGC surviving such an attack.

I'd also point out that McInerney is a retired Air Force general (so it should come as no surprise he favors an air attack - and frankly, that would be my preference as well were we to actually carry out an attack). What he describes, however, is a pretty standard scenario and one we've proven we can carry out without much of a problem (see Gulf War I and Iraq invasion).

The first targets would be the Iranian air defenses and airforce. Once those are destroyed and we had air supremacy, we'd take out their missile forces and navy while simultaneously hitting their nuclear facilities and command and control nodes.

As I said, this would be a no-sweat deal for our air forces. However the reaction of the Iranian people to such an attack is not at all predictable (cue the law of unintended consequences). Nor would the regional reaction to an attack on another Islamic country at this time.

While it may be what we'd like to do, it certainly, in my opinion, wouldn't be the smart thing to do. And as I understand it there is no support for this sort of a strike (or any strike whatsoever) among the uniformed military at this time either. Not while so much is unresolved and at stake in Iraq (I think Petraeus made that clear under questioning from Sen. Lieberman). We might see some 'hot pursuit' strikes in the near future (and I even doubt that, honestly), but hopefully not the McInerney scenario anytime soon.
 
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Oh my Lord McQ - now you’ve done it. It will be a tour de force of the Cowardly Crusaders, because you mentioned bombing Iran. You even quoted a general that said it would be easy. [cue Darth Vader music here]

Sheesh! Are you purposely trying to bait them? Do y’all really need the traffic that badly?
 
Written By: Warrior Needs Food Badly
URL: http://
I couldn’t agree more. There’s no critical mass for a liberalizing revolt against the mullahs and an air strike isn’t going to create one. Far more likely the opposite.

I’ll go even a step further. I think we should let them have their bomb, with qualifications like limiting the type of deployment. Knowing the history of the regime, I think there’s at least a slim chance they’d blow their own arms off with the damn thing.

If an explosion were to magically happen that would scatter nuclear material while destroying one of their centrifuge farms, then that would be the best of all worlds. IYKWIMAITYD.
 
Written By: spongeworthy
URL: http://
Touching Iran gives them cause to openly fight us in Iraq. It would be foolish to give them that opening. And who would condemn them internationally? No one. Creating open warfare with Iran in Iraq is not where we want to go.
 
Written By: josh b
URL: http://
Touching Iran gives them cause to openly fight us in Iraq.
That means we can kill them openly, too. I can’t swear that doesn’t look like a good tradeoff.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://tomdperkins.blogspot.com/
McQ writes:
While it may be what we’d like to do, it certainly, in my opinion, wouldn’t be the smart thing to do. And as I understand it there is no support for this sort of a strike (or any strike whatsoever) among the uniformed military at this time either. Not while so much is unresolved and at stake in Iraq (I think Petraeus made that clear under questioning from Sen. Lieberman). We might see some ’hot pursuit’ strikes in the near future (and I even doubt that, honestly), but hopefully not the McInerney scenario anytime soon.
There are no good options for dealing with Iran. There is the bad option and the horrible option.

Under no circumstance can Iran be allowed to have nuclear weapons, and one would hope that the uniformed military understands that. If they don’t, then they need to get hold of one of those famous $50 thousand screwdrivers and start making some adjustments.

The "McInerney scenario" can be scaled back to nuclear facilities and whatever gets in the way of getting to them.

Let the Iranian people know that the regime and its weapons program is the target.

The Iranian regime has been outsourcing terrorism for TWENTY-EIGHT YEARS. It makes no sense to sit around waiting to see if one of their weapons turns up in a harbor somewhere in Europe or the U.S. and then spend months if not years on the usual equivocations and blame-shifting and/or exercise the horrible option, which engages the field pioneered by Edward Teller.

The bad option for dealing with them is so much more preferable to the horrible option that if we exercised it tomorrow I would have no objection whatsoever.

We’re far beyond the point where Iran needed to be dealt with, and Iraq should not be used as an excuse for failing to do it now. We’ve gotten to the point, again, where we intentionally restrain ourselves in the face of rather imminent threats. We ought to take them on their word and their record, and with serious regard for what they are cooking up, and settle the situation before we have to settle the score.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Under no circumstance can Iran be allowed to have nuclear weapons, and one would hope that the uniformed military understands that. If they don’t, then they need to get hold of one of those famous $50 thousand screwdrivers and start making some adjustments.
However, it doesn’t matter if the military understands that or not. It does matter if this administration and the next understand what it means.

And what it means is arguable.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Touching Iran gives them cause to openly fight us in Iraq.
That means we can kill them openly, too. I can’t swear that doesn’t look like a good tradeoff.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
I would agree, except that id rather get things settled in Iraq. Gain some international support and then look to Iran. Don’t get me wrong, I would not personally object to fighting Iran tomorrow. I just think its in out interest to try and stem the US hatred a bit if possible. Perhaps work through Israel to attack Iran. As long as its not the USA, Iran has no cause to openly enter Iraq. That way we get what we want, and the world cant hate the Israeli’s any more than they already do, they got nothing to lose :) We should sell them bombs on the cheap.
 
Written By: josh b
URL: http://
First, McInerney is right. It would be a relatively simple air campaign. I do not think 48 hours would be sufficient for 2500 targets but within 4 days, fairly easy.

Second, if the intent is to:
"And then let the Iranian people take their country back."
I don’t think this would be the vehicle to incite this kind of action. In spite of my desire for payback for what the Iranians have exported to the rest of the world over the last 20+ years, I believe the results of such an air campaign would be the reverse - the Iranian people would rally round the banner of the mullahs.

Third, given the above I only see the possible recourse is the continuation if not acceleration of sanctions against Iran. I realize Germany has already opted out of any potential move like that but give it time. It will not change the hearts and minds of the mullahs or Allonmydinnerjacket and those like him - but it might continue to influence the people.

Fourth, along with the establishment of a missile defence shield in Europe, we may want to consider such a shield in Israel. The Iranians will no doubt be looking to improve their capability to deliver their new nuclear toy so lets put a deterent in place for that express purpose - deter their desire for aggression.

Fifth, make it abundantly clear to the Iranians that any nuclear device used anywhere in the world that originates from Iran will get the full wrath and fury of our own nuclear arsenal. If they want to sow those kinds of seeds, then they should be prepared to reap the whirlwind.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Fifth, make it abundantly clear to the Iranians that any nuclear device used anywhere in the world that originates from Iran will get the full wrath and fury of our own nuclear arsenal. If they want to sow those kinds of seeds, then they should be prepared to reap the whirlwind.
I pretty much agree with your points and analysis.

I’d point to the last as what I’d suggest is the unequivocal trigger point to an attack such as McInerney outlines. We say to Iran, "You produce the nuke, we react overwhelmingly to destroy your nuclear capability at the time it is discovered to exist."

And, if ever deployed in any manner whether by Iran or a proxy, Iran will cease to exist.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Gain some international support and then look to Iran.
Look to Germany for how easily international support is built towards this endeavour. They like the Mullah’s money too much.
I just think its in out interest to try and stem the US hatred a bit if possible.
If being effective in curbing the Islamists from attacking us—and in Iraq beginning to poison the wells AlQaeda draws from—if these activities make us more hated in the world this is unimportant, it is superfluous hatred. The steps you say are making us more hated will in fact work and end the Islamic threat, where what we had done for the last 40 years will not.
As long as its not the USA, Iran has no cause to openly enter Iraq.
And if we are not there to counter-balance Iran, Iran will have what it wants from Iraq without openly entering it. Or Saudi Arabia will fill the void we leave—itself creating quite a large number of problems.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://tomdperkins.blogspot.com/
Doesn’t the idea of having to deter a nuclear Iran strike anyone as a little more deterrence than we ought to be doing?

The Soviets we had to deter, and that was 40 years of agony.

But Iran? Going through how many iterations of its millenarian theology? For how long? Just take a look at what Islam is able to extort for itself in Europe simply on the basis of threatening to riot or having killed a few people who were found offensive.

Iran must not have nuclear weapons.

The Russians don’t care because they’re already three-quarters in the tomb and have a death wish.

The Europeans will simply die after lunch one day. They can be summed up in one word: Belgium.

And the rest of the Middle East is caught between an urban legend and a homicidal impulse.

Think that’s a crazy view of the world? Take another look at what happened between 1920 and 1940 among supposedly advanced countries. Now vision up Japan and Germany developing nukes circa 1935.

Is someone willing to suggest that having nuclear weapons will sober the Iranians up and make them more mature? I think it will foam their blood lust over the edge of the vat.

So conventional bombs that penetrate underground facilities and leave craters strike me as the safest bet on the board. And let those chips fall where they may. The bad option doesn’t mean that the horrible option isn’t still available. It just means we tried to be reasonable about the whole thing.

Do it next week.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Look to Germany for how easily international support is built towards this endeavour. They like the Mullah’s money too much.
I guess support is the wrong idea, more like "less hatred" cause we never gonna get support :) Those ladies in Europe have never been willing to lay down the law until the enemy is running tanks through the town square, then perhaps they might shake a fist at them about crushing the flowers.
If being effective in curbing the Islamists from attacking us—and in Iraq beginning to poison the wells AlQaeda draws from—if these activities make us more hated in the world this is unimportant, it is superfluous hatred. The steps you say are making us more hated will in fact work and end the Islamic threat, where what we had done for the last 40 years will not.
Your right, the hatred would be have no real teeth as it is now, but i don’t think the American public has the will to tell the world to shut their traps. This is my main issue, i want a solution that the public will support, otherwise our leaders will not support it.
 
Written By: josh b
URL: http://
Martin, the Iranian people want a nuke so they cannot be invaded. The mullahs want a nuke to they can continue to operate with impunity in the Middle East. The delivery system required to satisfy one of those requirements is different than the one they’d need to do the other. Since Iran is ass-deep in domestic problems the mullahs tend to consider the desires of the reformists to some degree.

If we allow Iran a defensive nuke, with all the caveats above regarding retaliation, and insist upon inspections to monitor the deployment and capacity of their missiles, we may be able to expect their reformists and the most pragmatic of the mullahs to agree. In my opinion, this is far preferable to striking Iran and basically ending the reformist movement there.
 
Written By: spongeworthy
URL: http://
sponge wrote:
If we allow Iran a defensive nuke, with all the caveats above regarding retaliation, and insist upon inspections to monitor the deployment and capacity of their missiles, we may be able to expect their reformists and the most pragmatic of the mullahs to agree. In my opinion, this is far preferable to striking Iran and basically ending the reformist movement there.
A defensive nuke for Iran? Is that the defensive nuke that defends against everything but an American insistence that they surrender enough of their sovereignty for us to monitor their missiles?

That has not got the remotest chance of working out. You can’t finesse a nest of vipers.

Besides, Iran’s specialty is outsourced terrorism, so they won’t need missiles to do what they do. And I don’t want to lay deterrence of those crazy bastards onto the next five generations of Americans. The line needs to be drawn before somebody really gets hurt, and I’m thinking of innocent Iranians as well as Americans or Westerners. Now is the time to do it.

As for spoiling the reform movement in Iran, they can bloody well find a way to "reform" without nuclear weapons.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
If we could get, say Saudi Arabia and maybe Turkey to support us and maybe do some bombing themselves, would that take a bite of the West against Islam angle?
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
ChrisB writes:
If we could get, say Saudi Arabia and maybe Turkey to support us and maybe do some bombing themselves, would that take a bite of the West against Islam angle?
The Turkish military wouldn’t participate because from time to time it has to overthrow the government and doesn’t need to alienate the hard core Turkish Muslims. And the Saudis, well, they themselves are already pretty well despised throughout the Arab world because they’re so filthy rich with oil money. That’s why they bribe everyone to leave them alone.

Nah. I don’t think we need any fancy pants Muslims helping out with Iran. Just as I certainly don’t think that anyone in the Islamic world is terribly enthusiastic about Iran having nuclear weapons. I don’t think that is anything anyone is looking forward to besides Iran, and perhaps North Korea. (As I said earlier, the Russians are nearly dead so they probably just don’t care. "Not so bad, not so good.")

Yes, the Muslim world will explode with indignation over the bombing of Iran, especially Muslims in that part of the Muslim world called Western Europe. They might even start burning cars in the suburbs of Paris.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
I’m quickly coming to the conclusion that nuclear war in the Middle East is inevitable. I don’t see how anyone thinks any type of conventional strike against Iran’s nuclear assets could do anything more than slow them down a bit.

And don’t doubt for a minute that the powers that be— from China to Russia to Germany to Canada— know this. It doesn’t bother them because they’re all waiting for Israel to preemptively nuke Iran. We all know that the millisecond Israel detects a threat to it’s existence from Iran they’re going to let loose with the big one. All of us it seems except the government of Iran. Iran is simply betting that while Israel has been quick to the conventional trigger in such circumstances, such as they did against Hussein’s Osirik, they will balk at deploying the nuclear weapons required to harm Iran’s fortified facilities. Apparently the mullahs and Ahmadinejad horribly underestimate what "never again" means to Israel. So the west is content to whistle past the mass graves while Iran flirts with oblivion. Bush is just hoping it doesn’t happen before he leaves office, thus all the slow-walking diplomatic initiatives, but make no mistake he’s no different than any other western leader in being perfectly content to let Israel do the dirty work.

yours/
peter.
 
Written By: peter jackson
URL: www.liberalcapitalist.com
"McInerney said the U.S. has "a new massive ordnance penetrator that’s 30,000 pounds, that really penetrates..."

This is all getting a little too tacky. "Mine is bigger than yours" is bad enough, but this "Mine penetrates better than yours" is going a little too far.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Iran is going to get a nuclear weapon and there is very little we can do to stop them. I also think that if we had not attacked Iraq, that we would have ended up hearing arguments like, "Iraq needs WMD’s to counter Iran’s" as a reason the sanctions regime should be lifted.

We have already tried the best shot of diplomacy with the EU-3 (and obvious hints that any deal would have the USA come in as well.) Those have failed. I don’t think there is a war option short of an eminent nuclear attack on Israel with ironclad intel. Even then I’d think we’d simply hesitate in this climate.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
but make no mistake he’s no different than any other western leader in being perfectly content to let Israel do the dirty work.
.

As much as it sucks to say it, i think this is a time we really do need them to do our dirty work. I think we could get away with openly supporting them, but sending our planes into Iran would be a public relations nightmare in America, and will make things worse in Iraq. Stabilization of Iraq would go a long way to helping the region, i consider it a top priority.
 
Written By: josh b
URL: http://
Chris B:
If we could get, say Saudi Arabia and maybe Turkey to support us and maybe do some bombing themselves, would that take a bite of the West against Islam angle?
Then it would merely be portrayed as "the West coercing their fake-Sunni-Muslim cronies to oppress us minority Persian Shi’a." Iran is defined by a different ethnic group and religion than those countries (which might make things worse regionally,) and in any case the mean West v weak Islam thing is already set in stone and inescapable. We can’t make those who believe it stop believing it anymore than they can convince us that OBL is a heroic freedom fighter.

Keep in mind that we did do something kind of like this in ’91; I do believe that Kuwait City was liberated first by a pan-Arab coalition. Despite that, I believe Desert Storm is still regarded by some as big bad USA crushing the ’great Arab hope, the next Nasser.’ Some rhetorical battles just can’t be won.

Martin McPhillips:
Besides, Iran’s specialty is outsourced terrorism, so they won’t need missiles to do what they do. And I don’t want to lay deterrence of those crazy bastards onto the next five generations of Americans. The line needs to be drawn before somebody really gets hurt, and I’m thinking of innocent Iranians as well as Americans or Westerners. Now is the time to do it.
This may be true; but it seems that their primary target is Israel, not Western civilization at large (with the exception of the Beirut truck bomb on the Marines; but a suicide bomb to a military target in the region is a world of difference from an overseas civilian target. Not any more justified, but I think it exposes a difference between Iranian objectives versus al-Qaeda’s objectives.) An Iranian nuke is bad for everyone (as is any proliferation); but given that the target is far more likely to be Tel Aviv than NYC, I don’t think it’s totally unfair to expect Israel to shoulder a good part of the military burden.
 
Written By: James O
URL: http://
I think that Iran is the head of the snake. I just wish that we would stop needing oil and start building nuclear reactors in the US, switch to hydrogen for the cars and let those people drown in their oil.
 
Written By: Jeff in Miami
URL: http://
I’m afraid to smash you back to reality but I have to destroy some dangerous assumptions.
First - the iranian army is not an easy victim like the iraqi army. It is fitted with a lot of modern weapon systems like the russian S-300 (NATO: SA-10) anti-aircraft missile, comperable if not superior to the western Patriot system. If an attack starts then many USAF wives will get bad letters.
Do not forget that even an aged SA-2 missile was able to down a "stealth" F-117 when combined with some "extras". Joyful we saw serbian girls dance on the wings of the broken "wonder-aircraft".
Next is the unbeaten russian anti-ship missile SS-22 "sunburn". Your navy acknowldeged that it had no defense against this missile, neither the Aegis system nor the Phallanx can compete with this missile. And the chinese navy proved the accuracy of this missile some time ago. And don’t forget the loss of the HMS Sheffield due to an argentinian exocet or your cut-in-half USS Stark, staked by an Iraqui Exocet.
And remember your lousy performance in Scud hunting - and now you’re looking for missiles in mountains and not in the open desert!
Personally as a diver I won’t say no to some sunken american aircraft carriers (would become THE attraction for divers! And the Thistlegone is vanishing...), but I’m afraid that the nuclear reactor may be a thread.
 
Written By: Rudi
URL: http://
A couple of points Rudi - other than command and control, the Iranian army will sit out what’s being talked about.
First - the iranian army is not an easy victim like the iraqi army. It is fitted with a lot of modern weapon systems like the russian S-300 (NATO: SA-10) anti-aircraft missile, comperable if not superior to the western Patriot system.
Hate to break it to you but there are tactics which will overwhelm and take out any fixed site missile defense system.
Next is the unbeaten russian anti-ship missile SS-22 "sunburn".
Gotta be able to launch them first Rudi, and that would be the point of a surprise attack ... to deny that ability. Not a difficult task.
And remember your lousy performance in Scud hunting - and now you’re looking for missiles in mountains and not in the open desert!
And with all the problems that makes for deploying them in the mountains as well. Not to mention that SCUDS and limited range mobile missiles aren’t the targets of such an attack anyway.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://qando.net
You didn’t got the point. The glorious USAF failed to be a real thread to Scud launchers in the desert. So it should be a thread to missile launchers in mountains? Or have a look at the yugoslawian war; the yugoslawien army tricked the US with cheap decoys which costs only 1/100 of the missile fired at them.
And how many guys are on an aircraft carrier? 5000? Would become the biggest water party ever known!
IMHO it’s time that the world will get rid of the US military-industrial complex. And the world is awaking; russia had made itself free, China is raising and has the US economy "at the balls" (they can crush your whole economy by a wink), Chavez is the front-runner of a free south america.
I predict that an agression against Iran will trigger the economic collapse of the US.
The world will be different but a better, more peaceful place.
 
Written By: Rudi
URL: http://
Apparently it is you who don’t get the point. What threat are SCUDS to the airforce?
So it should be a thread to missile launchers in mountains? Or have a look at the yugoslawian war; the yugoslawien army tricked the US with cheap decoys which costs only 1/100 of the missile fired at them.
Yup ... but then those were decoys of vehicles. That’s not the subject of the potential raids, is it? Radar systems, however, emit signals don’t they Rudy? And fixed sites are fixed sites easily observed and monitored by satellite.
IMHO it’s time that the world will get rid of the US military-industrial complex. And the world is awaking; russia had made itself free, China is raising and has the US economy "at the balls" (they can crush your whole economy by a wink), Chavez is the front-runner of a free south america.
I see you know as much about economics as you do the military. Keep on believing Rudy. It is, at least, entertaining.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://qando.net
 
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