Sunday, April 16, 2006

Target: Iran

Endgame: The Blueprint for Victory in the War on Terror (Hardcover)Thomas McInerney, co-author of an excellent book on terrorism ("Endgame"), ruminates on a possible strike against Iran's despotic regime. Why would such a preemptive attack be necessary?

Iran's "President" Ahmadinejad has already promised to destroy the U.K., U.S., and Israel. Apparently, sanctions aren't sufficient for the Mullahs... he simply wants to wipe these countries off the face of the Earth.

Ahmadinejad is also a certifiable nutcase with messianic delusions. He frequently mentions the Twelfth Imam (Mahdi) in his speeches. That figure vanished in the year 941 and his return will herald "the end of days". Ahmadinejad even mentioned the Mahdi in his September speech at the UN. And he frequently discusses realignment of Iran's government to prepare for (yes, you guessed it) judgment day.

Amir Taheri, writing in the Telegraph, puts it this way:

Ahmadinejad ... boasts that the [Mahdi] gave him the presidency for a single task: provoking a "clash of civilisations" in which the Muslim world, led by Iran, takes on the "infidel" West, led by the United States, and defeats it in a slow but prolonged contest that, in military jargon, sounds like a low intensity, asymmetrical war.

...[he believes] President George W Bush is an aberration, an exception to a rule under which all American presidents since Truman, when faced with serious setbacks abroad, have "run away". Iran's current strategy, therefore, is to wait Bush out. And that, by "divine coincidence", corresponds to the time Iran needs to develop its nuclear arsenal, thus matching the only advantage that the infidel enjoys.

...The Iranian plan is simple: playing the diplomatic game for another two years until Bush becomes a "lame-duck", unable to take military action against the mullahs, while continuing to develop nuclear weapons.

Also writing in the Weekly Standard, Reuehl Marc Gerecht puts it even more bluntly:

Deterrence theory may well work against the clerical regime, but it ought to be admitted that we have never before confronted a regime where anti-Americanism, violence, terrorism, and God's writ have been so intermarried.

So let's do the arithmetic: take a fascist dictator with delusions of messianic grandeur, add in a burgeoning nuclear weapons capability, fling in plenty of apologists in the West, and then toss in a heaping dollop of hatred for all infidels (Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, and Jews). The result? A recipe only Adolf Hitler could love.

So... what would an attack on Iran look like?

It would consist of a powerful air campaign led by 60 stealth aircraft (B-2s, F-117s, F-22s) and more than 400 nonstealth strike aircraft, including B-52s, B-1s, F-15s, F-16s, Tornados, and F-18s. Roughly 150 refueling tankers and other support aircraft would be deployed, along with 100 unmanned aerial vehicles for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, and 500 cruise missiles. In other words, overwhelming force would be used.

The objective would be, first and foremost, to destroy or severely damage Iran's nuclear development and production facilities and put them out of commission for at least five years. Another aim would be to destroy the Iranian air defense system, significantly damage its air force, naval forces, and Shahab-3 offensive missile forces. This would prevent Iran from projecting force outside the country and retaliating militarily. The air campaign would also wipe out or neutralize Iran's command and control capabilities...

Read the whole thing.

Weekly Standard: Target: Iran

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