WHAT "BOMB IRAN" REALLY TAKES
So you want to bomb Iran if they insist upon building their own nuclear
weapons? That is certainly a possibility, but there are many factors to
consider. Here are a few from Ralph Peters...
/s/ LeRoy Collins, Jr.
WHAT 'BOMB IRAN' REALLY TAKES
By RALPH PETERS
July 17, 2008 --
MY greatest worry on Iran's nuclear threat to civilization isn't the
military option. It's trying that option on the cheap.
If there's any way to block Tehran's pursuit of nukes short of warfare, I'm
all for it. Maybe yesterday's dispatch of the No. 3 US diplomat to observe
the European Union's talks with the mullahs about their nukes will work a
miracle (don't hold your breath).
Military strikes must be the last resort. Even a successful attack would
panic oil markets, interrupt supplies to an unknown degree and make enemies
of the Iranian people for another generation.
But the fanatics in Tehran may leave us no peaceful alternative. In that
case, the most disastrous thing we could do would be to launch an
If forced to strike, we have to do it right. When safe-at-home ideologues
bluster, "Just bomb 'em," they haven't a clue how complex this problem is.
Nor is there any chance that the Israelis could handle Iran on their own
(their recent air-force exercise was psychological warfare). As skilled as
their pilots and planners may be, the Israelis lack the capacity to sustain
a strategic offensive against Iran - or to deal with the inevitable mess
they'd leave behind in the Persian Gulf. Israel's aircraft could do serious
damage to Iran's nuke program, but the US military would face the
potentially catastrophic aftermath.
Without compromising any secrets - the Iranians already know what we'd need
to do - here are the basic requirements for smacking down Iran's nuke
* Take out Iran's air-defense and intelligence network to protect our
* Take down its national communications network to degrade its military
* Strike dozens of dispersed nuclear-related targets - some of them in
hardened underground facilities, with others purposely placed in populated
* Hit every anti-ship-missile installation along Iran's Persian Gulf coast
and the Straits of Hormuz. The reflexive Iranian response to an attack would
be to launch sea-skimmer missiles against oil tankers and Western warships.
The Iranians know that oil's now the world's Achilles heel.
* Destroy Iran's naval capacity, including small craft, in the first 24
hours to prevent attacks on shipping (expect suicide attacks, too).
* Immediately take out all of Iran's long-range and intermediate-range
missiles - not just those that could strike Israel, but those that could hit
Saudi, gulf-state or Iraqi oil refineries, pipelines, port facilities and
oil fields . . . or our installations in the region.
* Hit the military's key command centers in Tehran, as well as regional
headquarters, with special attention to the Revolutionary Guards'
* Expect three to six weeks of intense air and naval fighting, followed by
months of skirmishing and asymmetrical warfare. And Iraq will heat back up,
Screw up the effort, and today's oil prices will double or triple, with
severe downstream shortages showing up in a matter of weeks - every oil
tanker's insurance will be canceled immediately, even if the Straits of
Hormuz remain open (unlikely).
And we'll be in the global doghouse.
Gimme-my-war chumps of the sort who believed "dissident" Ahmed Chalabi on
Iraq insist that, if we weaken the Tehran regime by attacking, the Iranian
people will overthrow it.
Yes, many Iranians detest their killer-bumpkin president. But plenty of
Americans despise our president - yet, if our homeland were attacked
tomorrow, most would rally behind him. And we'd fight back. The Iranians
would respond the same way.
If a war did spark regime change, the new government might well be even
harder-line. Nobody likes to be bombed - and serious attacks on Iran's
nuclear program would kill a lot of Iranians.
Yet it'd be even worse if we tried to hit Iran on the cheap, in some
think-tank-concocted Shock and Awe Part II. "Precision" attacks - limited to
air-defense sites and nuclear facilities - would draw a swift and painful
Iranian response against the Gulf's oil exports.
And one last worry: If we decide we have no choice but to attack, we're so
casualty-averse that our civilian leadership is apt to put critical targets
off-limits to spare Iranian lives. We still want to win wars without hurting
anybody, by just breaking the other guy's toys. And that's never going to
If we have to fight, we have to fight to win.
Take down Iran's nuke program? I'm damned certain of one thing: If we start
this one, we'd better get it right from the first shot.
Ralph Peters' new book is "Looking for Trouble: Adventures in a Broken
/s/ LeRoy Collins, Jr.