Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Responding to Hugh Hewitt's "Arguments Against Striking Iran" Post

Major Mike

My reply to Hugh's request for thoughts on his post entitled "Arguments Against Striking Iran"...

The Arguments Against the Arguments Against Attacking Iraq

False Assumption #1…The Military is Incapable of doing the job.

Conventional Wisdom…there is more than one way to skin a cat.

Destruction, denial of use, barricade, harassment and interdiction…are all ways to preclude the use of a facility or an operational site. Destruction is not the only way to preclude the Iranians from continuing their development of nuclear material.

Access to and from known sites can be denied through direct air interdiction, air-delivered scatterable mines, continuous harassment, site blockading, and supply vehicle targeting. Eventually a combination of these activities will result in the “virtual” denial of use of the facility; stymieing or halting production of nuclear material. Targeting entrances, ventilation systems, electrical service systems and power generation systems would all have the same…denial of use, result.

The activities listed above also assume that we still have not cracked the nut on deep penetrating conventional munitions. Although I am not privy to any specific weapons programs relating to the development of such weapons, I know enough about the compartmentalization of classified programs to know that such programs would be “black” enough that the likes of Korb and Alter would have no clue about their existence.

And if such programs were viable, simply keeping their existence unconfirmed would be a critical priority. The secrecy of such a program would be critical in building an overconfidence in our enemies about the security of their underground facilities. The more we “fail” at development of penetrating weapons the more secure our enemies feel about the safety of their existing facilities, and the more vulnerable their facilities become to our weapons. This would be the merging of Psychological Operations and Operational Security in order to make the chances for success of an operational attack logarithmically greater. Korb and Alter likely think that most of us were last in our class in some public University, and not capable of complex operational planning, or the devious recombination of weapons, in order to make the seemingly impossible, possible.

Name one military technological problem that we have focused on for over 20 years that we have failed to solve. Just because the program has yet to be leaked to the NYT and Korb, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

Possibilities include… rocket assisted, hyper-sonic penetrators, with time delayed tail fusing systems; sonic systems that target sensitive equipment, Electro-Magnetic Pulse weapons.

False Assumption #2…Striking Iran will cause Iran to strike against our troops in Iran.

Conventional Debating Requirement…Significance is an essential element of an argument.

There is little more that Iran could do in Iraq to support the insurgency than they are already doing. The nature of the insurgency, a semi-guerilla action, necessarily keeps the force levels low for the insurgents. Elevated levels of activity expose their cells to a higher level of detection.

Greater numbers of Iranians in Iraq would require higher levels of food, ammunition, explosives and other supporting equipment. As Napoleon knows, this stuff does not just show up at the right place, at the right times, and in the sufficient quantities without a significant logistical effort. The more significant level of activity, the easier the detection.

For all of you who are about to say…”What about Vietnam?” There is no triple canopy protection. Our sophisticated detection equipment would be able to detect the significant increase in cross-border traffic necessary to significantly ramp up the activity against our forces.

The amount of increased activity against our forces is necessarily limited by the need for the insurgents to avoid detection…it is a natural trade off in this type of conflict and they could not significantly step up their activity.

In debate…no significance to the harm, no argument.

Additionally, their internal political future is not entirely secure…should they weaken their position by fighting outside the country, it is possible that their internal opposition will cause considerable political instability at home…something they have shown little tolerance for, and is potentially risky to their government. They are not likely to get bogged down outside of Iran.

True Assumption #3…An attack on Iran will unleash Iranian-sponsored terrorism around the world.

How would this be significantly different than what is occurring today? We are living under the threat of Iranian-sponsored terrorism everyday…I am in no hurry to face this same threat with a state that has a nuclear weapon.

I see no change in the ultimate threat to the West by denying Iran the opportunity to blackmail us with nuclear weapons. I’d rather fight terrorists that have conventional weapons, than those armed with nukes.

False Assumption #4…America’s position in the world will crumble if we attack Iran.

Conventional Wisdom to my daughter…do the right thing, don’t care what others think.

A diminishing of our status, amongst a zillion no count countries in the world, and the idiots in the EU, would hurt us exactly how?

I am not sure what the idea of “status” has in this debate. There is a country, that everyone acknowledges, will likely use nuclear weapons if they complete the development of them, and ZB is worried about the “status” and prestige of the US in the world? What status will the 200,000 victims of their first strike have? What will be their epitaph? “They died to preserve American status”?

False Assumption #5…There are other ways of deterring Iran’s nuclear program.

Conventional Wisdom…yeah right. UN resolutions? Food for Oil?

No half-hearted measures are going to deter Iran from their goal. They know one thing…if they get a nuke, they have a chip in the big game, and they can bring us, the UN, the EU, the gulf region, and Israel to the table as equals. Be prepared to live the remainder of your life with a nuclear weapon pointed at your head. This is precisely why they want it, and precisely why they will NEVER be deterred, no matter how many times JEC, ZB, Korb, Alter and the rest, visit the Magic Kingdom. They will only be stopped if they are physically prevented from continuing.

The world was changed forever when we dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It became infinitely more complex, and the study of “nuclear” politics became a mind bending conundrum that could turn the most brilliant political scientist into Rainman. But the easiest part to understand about nuclear proliferation and nuclear politics in the modern age is…you CANNOT have crazy people with nuclear weapons. There is no way to escape this reality.

The left, as brilliantly dissected on your (Hugh Hewitt Radio Show) show the other day by Dennis Prager, view the world as a struggle of the weak against the strong, not the right against the wrong, or the good against the evil, so consequently, they will see nothing wrong with letting Iran have “one little nuke” because we have thousands. They will expose themselves as knowing little about international politics in the nuclear age and they will unwittingly put us at risk by their naiveté.


snowonpine said...

Finally, someone with his head screwed on straight!

Red River said...

Lets look at history - Iran lost the Iran-Iraq war when Iraq changed to manuever warfare in 1988 - the Mullahs nearly collapsed and sued for peace. This suggests the Iranian regime is brittle and corrupt.

Iran has a long, trafficable coastline and an interior similar to Nevada with ranges and basins. Its a country made for amphibious assaults and cavalry.

Its oilfields and facilities are near or on the coast.

It has a poor navy, a poor air force, an Army light on armor, and its Air Defense system has no strategic or logistical depth. Iran does have a large Ballistic Missile capability.

It imports most of its gasoline and munitions and food via the Sea.

To the East and West US Air and Ground Forces have relatively secure bases for recon and operations. Major US Logistical bases exist throughout the Gulf and an established LOC exists back to the USA.

The US Navy and Marines are not strategically engaged at this time, nor is the USAF.

Iran cannot win a manueverist battle on land that does not enter the cities. This means its oilfields and facilities cannot be defended, mor can it control any of its LOCs.

Iran cannot prevent the US from gaining Air Supremacy.

Iran cannot prevent the US from blockading its ports.

Iran can shoot Ballistic Missiles, until it runs out. But more than likely the missiles will land on a school full of kids.

The US has several options

1. Blockade
2. Amphibious Operations
3. Air Strikes
4. Combined Arms Operations from Iraq
5. SOF-Air Strike Operations
6. Raids to seize nuke material

Our aims

1. Collapse of the Mullahs and restoration of Iranian Democracy
2. Seizure and removal of all nuke material from Iran.

Chris said...

One other option:

The Iranians depend on their oil industry to fund their nuke program. When the balloon goes up, the smart Pentagon planner will have put on the table a Strategic Bombing Campaign option for his President. Yah, brahs, kill the nuke systems and their ability to fuel it, but you don't really hurt them until you cut off their funding.

That means bombing their refining, storage, and pipeline capabilities and blockading their ports. Our friend, the Persian Fuhrer, is not anticipating this. He assumes that we will always thirst for oil. The Russians would merely ramp up production (as would we, as would other sources worldwide) to compensate. Without oil, the regime crumbles.

Kill their oil, kill the regime's capacity to fund reconstruction of their atomic program.

igout said...

Some questions:
Is it possible Iran already has some blackmarket nukes acquired on the black market, possibly from the Ukraine? So all their fanfare about centrifuges is really about using a nuke to hide more nukes. Under this possibility, is it too late to strike?
Further, Heaven knows why, Russia seems to view Iran as its protege; while China heavily relies on Iran for its oil. Can we assume those two nations will passively sit by while we conduct military operations?
I'm unpleasantly reminded of 1914, where things got out of hand pretty fast.
Your thoughts?

milsimmer said...

Aug1914 is a possibility, one which can be tempered diplomatically. Given the choice up front that the US sees dealing with Iran as a VITAL national security issue, which we will persue up to and including the 1914 scenario, they will back off.

They do not yet have the ability to deal with our military. 20 years from now, things will be different, especially re the ChiComs.

SandyL said...

Iran's nuclear program does not exist in a vacuum. It depends on infrastructure such as electricity and running water. It produces nothing only what it can pump from the ground and is depends on whatever revenue that generates to keep their economy running. If the facilities are as spread out as advertised, then some form of transportation is needed to support them. Thus, it seems to me that any strike that severely weakens any of these parts of Iranian life could have an enormous impact on their nuclear program without ever destroying even one plant. Why, then, must the argument always be about whether the nuclear facilities can be destroyed? Neutralize the military airfields, shut down the oil exports, and darken much of the country by destroying strategic parts of the electrical grid and the country will be in such chaos that building a bomb will be the last thing on the minds of most people.

douglas said...

Lots of good suggestions. Imagine the sorts of ideas you could come up with if you had all the intel and resouces that our planners in the Pentagon have...

One Salient Oversight said...

Hugh Hewitt has omitted one very very strong reason why leftists like myself are opposed to any strike/war with Iran.

Iran does not pose a clear and present danger to the United States nor any other nation.

This argument is based upon reports by US intelligence that Iran cannot possibly make a working nuclear weapon for at least ten years.

It would be good if this particular issue is addressed because it is the left's biggest argument... and Hugh didn't notice.

Major Mike said...

You expose the same puzzle as the Iraq invasion question...if someone claims they are armed and dangerous, should you ignore them until they shoot you? If you put all of the other credible pieces together...threats, active pursuit of weapons, the weapons displays of the past few days, the anti-semitism, the varied mullah plays to stay in can you ignore what they advertise themselves? You are now falling on the opposite side of the question you lefties called Bush on in want him to ignore all of these other factors in favor of what you now call credible intelligence. Believe your eyes...believe your ears...the Iranians intend to kill us, and they WILL pursue nukes to do it. What makes you think for a second you are not in the lethal radius...because you live in Berkley, Portland, or maybe another leftie hotbed...NYC? Don't kid yourself they want to kill Americans...all Americans, and that includes you. Don't believe me...get a visa to Iran, and go for a visit, wear a sign and say "I am an American, but a leftie" and see if they embrace you, or show you the other side of the "religion of peace." Get real.

Stop back by, but bring a clue first.

Mr.Atos said...

Logic to the Left is like chewing rocks for food. Yet, well said again, Mike. But, if I may repeat this quote from a previous post... I think it will amplify what it is you're trying to say to OSO, and the rest of the suicidal Left, who hate the President more than they love life,

"I am sorry...that I will be obliged to save your goddam necks along with mine."

74 said...

Iran's infrastructure is also heavily dependent on a series of pipelines that bring natural gas from the Caspian Sea. Those pipelines would be very easy to interdict.

It amazes me how the press has been reacting to the weapons propaganda the Iranians have been putting out in recent days. The reaction is along the lines of "Oh, they have these souper sekrit weapons, they must be invincible." Give me a break! Bottom line, these people are the ones who couldn't beat Saddam's army on their own turf. The same army WE went through like it wasn't even there!

Anonymous said...

One Salient Oversight said:

Iran does not pose a clear and present danger to the United States nor any other nation.

Really? How about Israel? The president of Iran has stated his wish for the complete destruction of Israel.

Also, how about Iraq? They are currently supporting the insurgency in Iraq, so it appears it has gone beyond threat to reality.

Now look at historical "threats" much of a threat was Germany to the US in 1941? How about Germany in 1916?

An even better example: How about the Taliban on September 10, 2001? Did they pose a threat?

The argument comes down to a simple question: Do we kill them before they kill us, or do wait until they kill us and exact revenge?

Yazhi the liberal coyote said...

One Salient Point has a point - which is that the issue is not quite so immediate. There is a long path between enriching uranium and making a bomb.

On the other hand, this is the same intelligence agency that didn't see the Wall coming down, and did see WMDs in Iraq... so maybe their accuracy isn't what we would like. :)

We don't actually have to fear Iran with a bomb (Israel does, but we don't). We have to fear Iran making a bomb and then _losing_ it to somebody we do fear (like Al-Queda). It's not Iran we fear having a bomb (after all, despite everything, they are a State, and if they used a bomb they know full well it would be the end of their regime): it's Iran's incompetence we have to fear.

Now how do you explain to Iran that we don't fear them, we fear their incompetence? That's not a conversation you can have with _anybody_.

So we all know how know it's going to go down... the way it always does. Israel will do our dirty work for us, and trade it for another decade of blind support.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

A2 said...

Iran does not pose a clear and present danger to the United States nor any other nation.

So why do they keep chanting "Death to America" all the time?

How much will you stake on your assumption that this phrase doesn't actually constitute a threat?

Anonymous said...

k stop being retarded people.
1) A higher percentage of people vote in Iran than in America. Our demo promo campaigns aent the greatest (e.g. Iraq)
2) Alrite so Pakistan has the most A Queda sympathizers in the world...its a statistical fact, so there are more people saying "death to america" there + they have nukes. Yet, we are considered allies.
3) Iran does not have nukes. Let's not play right into the ploy again
4) We will have to invade to actually cause anythign to happen. We cant just do airstrike. We'll need a draft. Drafts are bad!
5) Reducing our "status" in the world will decrease our soft-power. We need this right now to help fight more pressing worldly problems and avert future anti-american sentiment.
6) By your arguement, we should just nuke the whole world, that will definetely keep us safe. I guarantee it.
7) As for "pre-emptive" strikes are good, think about it guys, north Korea is a much bigger threat than Iran in those terms.
8) Israel- Iran cant destroy Israel. Let Islreal defend themselves. They have an army. What are we, Israel's babysitter?
9) War is not justfiable to stop wars. That's counter-intitive