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Foreign Entanglements: All Iran Bombing, All the Time

[ 61 ] February 26, 2012 |

Duss take on Helle Dale of the Heritage Foundation on the subject of bombing Iran to Freedom:

Comments (61)

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  1. c u n d gulag says:

    I see that McLame and his BFF and Mini-me, Linseed, will be on CNN’s “State of the Union” later on today to discuss this very topic.

    When will someone on one of the Sunday bloviation fests ask them, “Well, how different are your claims about Iran getting a nuclear weapon in two years, any different from the same ‘Iran’s two years away from a nuclear weapon’ claims we heard from the neocons and others in 2008, 2006, 2004, 1998, 1996, 1992, 1988, 1986, 1984, and 1982?”

    SATSQ:
    NEVER!

    Crying “WOLF!” IOKIYAR…

    Also left unasked will be, “And how do you intend to pay for a war with Iran, Senators?”

    • SpectCon says:

      Basically, only senile people watch those anymore, they’re bad for your health.

      In all seriousness, an average high school forensics debate is far more insightful and thoughtful.

      Sunday political shows, it seems to me, are only useful if you haven’t figured out how archaic propaganda worked in the US prior to the advent of the net.

      Blogs defeated the think tanks, imo.

    • rea says:

      how do you intend to pay for a war with Iran

      War? What war? We’ll bomb the hell out of them, the Iranian government will resign, and our occupying troops will be greeted with flowers! [/neocon]

      • c u n d gulag says:

        You’re right – silly ol’ me…

        And we’ll have some old guy from Tehran on TV, his voice rising to lift each word to greater prominence, saying “Democracy. “Whiskey. And sexy!”

        And then our American Taliban will call for him to be beaten to death for uttering the last two words.

        Democracy’s fine.
        But NO booze.
        And absolutely NO SEX! Outside of church sanctioned marriages between a male and a female – even if one of the two is a 1st cousin,uncle/aunt, sibling, or parent.

      • Anonymous says:

        What are you talking about? The liberated oil revenue will pay for the war and a corvette in every driveway.

    • Mike Schilling says:

      And they’re on;t thirty years away from controlled fusion!

    • Warren Terra says:

      I remember reading somewhere – maybe in nonfiction, maybe in fiction, I can’t remember which – about a people that believed certain prayers had to be said for the sun to rise in the morning and a new day to begin. Our culture’s version is McCain appearing on a Sunday News Panel show, without which the new week cannot begin and our whole world risks being rent asunder.

      Well, it’s a theory, anyhow. There must be some reason he’s in such demand on the Sunday News Panel Shows.

  2. SpectCon says:

    To paraphrase Ms. Dale’s two silly points:

    1. Duss failed to adequately format his article with sufficient hyperlinks to the quotes of war advocates. (Which appears to be an imply Duss is deceitful.)

    2. Ok Duss, you called my bluff, I can’t substantiate my claims, but, regardless, we still should bomb Iran because we’re morally obligated to blow-up the evil oppression out of them.

    Brilliant! I was against this whole war with Iran thing until I heard this…now, I’m on board. Good job Ms. corded phone!

  3. owlbear1 says:

    D.C. is literally buried in Think Tanks, why not air drop a few of ‘em into Iran?

    I’m pretty sure i read somewhere that the “Heritage Foundation Think Tank” has already volunteered.
    Well, at least volunteering others

    • SpectCon says:

      They are employers though… All those bad academics would be at the lectern if not for them. …Actually, they just go on leave and return, never mind.

    • c u n d gulag says:

      It appears that after all of their repeated viewings of George C. Scott as Gen. George S. Patton, our Conservative “heroes” still didn’t learn the right lesson. When Patton said:

      “The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.”

      They heard:
      “The object of war is not to die for your country but to make some other, poorer, bastard die for yours.”

      And they’re fine with having some skin in the game – as long as it’s not their skin.

  4. joe from Lowell says:

    Assuming Israel isn’t stupid enough to try to launch some pointless air strikes: does the American right’s hyperventilating over this issue disappear after election day, like their hyperventilating over the “Ground Zero Mosque?”

    • c u n d gulag says:

      I’m sure they’ll pound the drums of war again in time for the ’14 and ’16 elections.

      “Iran’s two years away from a nuclear weapon,” has been a good one for the Republicans for over 20 years now.
      And they never let something good like this go to waste. Stupid shit is the only thing they believe should be recycled.

      • joe from Lowell says:

        Iran actually getting nuclear weapons capacity and nothing skeery happening as a result would make that rallying cry a lot less effective.

        Sort of like the opposition to gay marriage. What if a nuclear Iran proceeds to go about its business exactly as before, with no discernible effect on Israel or the United States?

        • c u n d gulag says:

          Which is, almost assuredly, exactly what would happen – N-O-T-H-I-N-G.

          But not in the Conservative, neocon, mind.

          Oh no!
          In their minds, the minute after Iran puts a couple of nukes on a couple of missile, they’ll decide fire them off to Jerusalem and NY City.
          After all, it’s a well accepted fact that all Muslims are suicide bombers, bent on bagging their quota of 72 virgins from Mohammed.

          I wonder what would happen to the neocons if the MSM finally came to its senses, and didn’t let them cry “WOLF!” every f*cking day?
          Yeah – like that day will ever come…

          • Ed Marshall says:

            Yeah, but something *will* happen. Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt will build their own arsenal. You will have moved from a unipolar nuclear hegemon in the region in the form of Israel, to a multipolar nuclear arena in the Middle East among players who all distrust and dislike each other with piss poor, immature command and control systems.

            For what it’s worth, I don’t think Iran wants a bomb, I think they want to inhabit a space where they can breakout if needed. This is the same grey area that Brazil hangs out in and no one cares.

            • c u n d gulag says:

              I think you’re exactly right on all points.

              On a rational planet, we would be working on nuclear disarmament and stopping global warming – since those are the two things that might cause our own extinction in the immediate future.

              But, then, we don’t live on a rational planet, now do we?

              There’s money in “black gold.” And where there’s money, weapons are sure to follow.
              Hence, a Nuclear Middle East may well be inevitable – especially without said world-wide disarmament.

              Years ago, we should have also started a world-wide, or at least nationwide, “Manhattan Project” to get us off of fossil fuels.

              But, then, we… Ah, you know the rest…

            • Murc says:

              For what it’s worth, I don’t think Iran wants a bomb

              To be more precise, Iran wants to be in a position where it can tell superpowers to go fuck themselves without any risk of invasion or attack, and also to immunize itself against meddling in its internal affairs due to either the consequences of its own actions or the policy considerations of other nations.

              It just so happens that having a nuclear weapon happens to be the easiest route to both of those conditions. If there were other routes, they’d explore those instead.

              The situation isn’t too analogous to Brazil, I don’t think; there’s a superficial similarity but Brazil has much more cordial relations with the international community than Iran and doesn’t occupy the same ‘Scary revolutionary regime’ mindspace in the west that Iran does.

              • Ed Marshall says:

                Right, but it’s a tough sell. “Israel? What nukes?”, “India? 123 agreement to allow you to divert your fuel cycle into your weapons program!” “Brazil? Meh, don’t sign the additional protocol, you are cool, bro.” “Iran? THEY HAVE ENRICHMENT CAPABILITY! TURN THEM INTO GLASS NOW!!”

              • Ed Marshall says:

                I would also say that if Iran is calculating this way about the value of a nuclear deterrent, it’s an incorrect calculation. They would become incredibly isolated. People seem to have some idea that Russia is interested in being an ally to a nuclear armed Iran. I don’t believe that is true at all. They are fully aware of how destabilizing that scenario is, Iran would find itself completely alone.

                • Holden Pattern says:

                  Why are you so sure that their calculation is wrong?

                  If they have nukes, but (like almost every other country on the planet), don’t use them, why would that isolate them more than they’re already isolated?

                • Ed Marshall says:

                  Because Iran doesn’t exist in a vacuum. An Iranian nuclear test would reshape the entire systemic order of the Middle East in ways that no one in the P-5 (or really anyone) would want to see. It’s a prescription for a Mid East arms race that would almost certainly end in some sort of nuclear war and burn up the world’s gas station.

                • Ed Marshall says:

                  with a non-zero possibility of the thing spilling over and making it a global nuclear war.

                • joe from Lowell says:

                  Hold on.

                  It’s “almost a certainty” that Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Egypt (or some combination thereof) would end up in a nuclear war if they had weapons capabilities?

                  I don’t know, Ed. They’ve managed not to go to war with each other with their big ol’ conventional armies. I don’t see why going nuclear would make war more likely, and certainly not a near-certainty.

                • R Johnston says:

                  Joe, Iran et al. going nuclear would almost certainly result in nuclear war because that’s the assumption Ed needs to justify his ridiculous foreign policy decision. The assumption comes after the decision, not before.

                  When a lunatic pretends to be engaged in reasoning and seems to be following the forms, post-hoc rationalization and egregious confirmation bias are almost certainly at work.

                • Ed Marshall says:

                  Nuclear game theory has different calculations than conventional weapons game theory.

                  You have very little margin for error, very little time to make decisions and nuclear powers with limited arsenals are presented with a menu of options that are more scary than large arsenals. A small arsenal can conceivably be taken out in a first strike. When tensions arise (and they will here), there is a very rational pressure to move yourself into first strike position before the other player does.

                  This is just laying out the intentional use of nuclear weapons in this scenario. More likely, their ability to correctly identify threats will be sub-par and a false positive (which can be produced by weather, birds, miscommunication, etc..) will lead to a misinterpretation of a first strike from an adversary.

                • joe from Lowell says:

                  R Johnson,

                  that’s the assumption Ed needs to justify his ridiculous foreign policy decision

                  What foreign policy decision?

                  Do you mean the one he was mocking?

                • joe from Lowell says:

                  Ed,

                  Then why hasn’t there been a nuclear exchange…ever?

                • Ed Marshall says:

                  Meh, Iraq (among a million other things) managed to turn non-proliferation into some sort of neocon proposition that people should avoid.

                  It’s managed to sell otherwise well meaning liberals on the utility of deterrence (and that isn’t *completely* wrong), but it’s not the magic bullet that it’s imagined to be and handing out nuclear weapons to everyone with a flag doesn’t actually lead to a conflict free future. On a long enough time line (what isn’t impossible is mandatory), a fuckload of nuclear conflicts.

                • Ed Marshall says:

                  increased integration of economies, they don’t actually have any military purpose, we got lucky about 90 times during the cold war, etc..

                  As a thought experiment give everyone nukes pre-WWI. I suppose it’s possible that WWI never happened, but I think it’s incredibly more likely they just would have fought the thing with nuclear weapons and sterilized Europe.

                • R Johnston says:

                  JfL: What foreign policy decision?

                  That doesn’t really matter. What’s clear is that the pants-wetting about Iran is post-hoc rationaliztion conjured out of nothingness.

                  In a world in which North Korea has nukes and Pakistan and India have nukes, pants-wetting about Iran maybe possibly getting nukes someday is pointless. Even if you believe that it’s better that Iran not get nukes than that it does, it’s simply impossible for anyone to believe that an Iran with nukes is anywhere near as dangerous as the dangers with which we already live.

                • Ed Marshall says:

                  This was the U.S. and Russia: A Polaris was launching a satellite from the Netherlands and the data wasn’t channeled to the right people in the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces.

                  They took the football out and handed it to Yeltsin and told him that the country was under a nuclear attack. Amazingly, Yeltsin wasn’t drunk and refused to believe everyone around him telling him that a MIRVed weapon was on flight to Moscow.

                  That was luck, but imagine how shitty the info is going to be in Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, or Israel.

                • Ed Marshall says:

                  If it helps clarify what I’m saying:

                  East Asia: DPRK (maybe China) vs. USA. Bipolar system with an a degree of clarity. Dangerous.

                  South Asia: Bipolar system between Pakistan and Iran with a good degree of clarity.

                  Middle East: Multipolar system with everyone out to play “screw your neighbor”. Obvious tinderbox waiting to be drown in nuclear hellfire.

                • joe from Lowell says:

                  What’s clear is that the pants-wetting about Iran is post-hoc rationaliztion conjured out of nothingness.

                  You’ll have to forgive me, but since you can’t even seem to get his actual policy right, I’m not exactly inclined to take your word for what’s “clear.”

                  You’ve decided that he must be ideologically unacceptable because he agrees with the UN weapons inspectors on the factual question of whether the Middle Eastern country has a weapons program. Congratulations, you’re now the neocons circa 2002.

                • Murc says:

                  I see I touched off a shitstorm, but to move back a bit…

                  They would become incredibly isolated. People seem to have some idea that Russia is interested in being an ally to a nuclear armed Iran.

                  I don’t have this idea at all. I have the idea that Russia is interested in being an ally and a patron to a Middle Eastern nation because it is useful to have influence in that region, and that because of historical ties and geographic proximity, Iran is an excellent and ongoing choice to receive Russia’s patronage.

                  I don’t think Moscow would be HAPPY for Iran to have nukes, because that reduces their leverage, but cutting them off? To what end? Moscow deals with things AS THEY ARE. What’s the upside of cutting off a nuclear-armed Iran? You get NOTHING.

                  There’s an argument to be made that being entangled with a nuclear-armed regime viewed as a rogue state has high costs in international diplomacy, but I would remind people that Beijing has close ties with Pyongyang, and rather than costing them, this has reaped them handsome dividends; the entire world comes running to them whenever the North Koreans need dealing with.

                • Ed Marshall says:

                  I don’t see where China reaped any rewards at all from being DPRK’s protector in the international order.

                  I see their position being stuck as their apologist as extremely similar to the U.S. position of having to wipe Israel’s ass. Having to play special pleading to a rouge client state who doesn’t actually benefit you isn’t an advantage.

                • Ed Marshall says:

                  Joe, I’m not even in agreement with the IAEA. Worse, I think they are being abused by elements within American intelligence agencies who can’t get their own departments to sign off on their conclusions.

                  Pace a bunch of people here I *don’t* think that an Iranian bomb is about to get coughed out of the woodwork. My disagreement is about the benign nature of the fallout if it does.

                • Ed Marshall says:

                  and I’m not scared of the skeery muslim’s going on a suicide mission. I’m scared of a bunch of extremely rational people trained in modern security studies adding it all up and making relative power calculations.

                • R Johnston says:

                  I don’t think Moscow would be HAPPY for Iran to have nukes, To what end? Moscow deals with things AS THEY ARE. What’s the upside of cutting off a nuclear-armed Iran? You get NOTHING.

                  True. It’s against Russia’s interests, all things being equal, for Iran to acquire nukes, but it’s hardly the kind of thing that counts as a reason for Russia to cut off Iran.

                  Perhaps more importantly, although it’s against Russia’s interests, all things being equal, for Iran to acquire nukes, all things are not equal. At some point a nuclear armed Iran is less of a threat to Russian interests than a U.S. that completely fails to reign in Israel and that threatens every four years or more frequently to destabilize Iran for shits and giggles.

                  Aggressive U.S. paranoia about Iran, the U.S.’s actions in Iraq, relative U.S. meekness towards North Korea, and outright U.S. obsequiousness towards Pakistan function in combination as a foreign policy that teaches everyone, including Russia, that a nuclear armed Iran is a more stable Iran.

                  If the U.S. doesn’t curb aggressive rhetoric towards Iran and cut off Israel at the knees if Israel launches a “preemptive” strike then one of these days Russia will decide that helping Iran acquire nukes is the way to make the best of a bad lot.

                • Murc says:

                  I don’t see where China reaped any rewards at all from being DPRK’s protector in the international order.

                  Well, it seems rather obvious to me. The US, as well as South Korea, Japan, and a number of other nations, often has things it would like North Korea to do. We lack leverage to make them do these things, force is off the table because NK has a pair of powerful deterrents (nuclear weapons and the ability to launch a devastating conventional strike on one of the densest urban areas in the world), so we turn to the people who DO have leverage with NK… China. This is a benefit China reaps of being NKs patron, to the extent it still is.

                  However, that’s a bit off-topic from my main point. You claimed that going nuclear would isolate Iran from Russia. Why? How? The Russians will still want influence in the region, Iran will still be willing to peddle that influence in exchange for patronage. Cutting them off gets Russia a news cycle worth of positive coverage in western nations at the cost of losing a long term semi-client. That’s a shitty trade.

        • Spud says:

          What if a nuclear Iran proceeds to go about its business exactly as before, with no discernible effect on Israel or the United States?

          I know I will get flak for this, but I still think Iran is just pulling off a big bluff.

          The US and Israel know this and all 3 countries are using the manufactured tensions for domestic political advantage.

          -The Mullahs get to whip up support for the regime by claiming a real threat is on the horizon

          -Obama gets to like the rational diplomatic type without actually having to do much.

          -The right wing Israeli government gets to claim their political opponents are weak in the face of a potential threat.

          Everybody “wins” and we all go nuts in the process.

          I really don’t see anything coming of it. It will die down and restart again a few years later. Manufacturing a conflict is still cheaper right now than making nuclear weapons.

          If we are talking about airstrikes, it kinda defeats the purpose. These things are best done as a surprise.

          We all seem to act like Iranians don’t have access to CNN, the internet or a few thousand SAM’s.

          If we are talking about it this openly, wouldn’t Iran be preparing for this sort of thing? Doesn’t that make the job of destroying these important and obvious facilities much more difficult?

          • Ed Marshall says:

            We have the capability to knock out the IADS. It’s a big fucking deal, but it’s doable. Once you have done that you had better destroy the Iranian navy before they turn the oil infrastructure in the Gulf into a smoking trash and shut down the Hormuz straight with mines. Also doable, and also a big deal.

            Then you can go try and knock out their enrichment facilities (no one really knows if we have non-nuclear capability to do this), you hope that the Iranians don’t have hidden sites that we don’t know about. This buys you a couple years to deal with a now enraged Iranian regime that no one is sure what to do with before it’s time to mow the grass again.

          • joe from Lowell says:

            What you’re saying is possible, but I don’t think it’s likely.

            If Iran wanted to provoke a fight with the West for domestic political consumption, the expensive, years-long, dangerous process of nuclear development seems to be an awfully long way around.

            And the logic of Iran wanting a nuclear deterrent is inarguable.

            • Spud says:

              But the thing is, people are yammering like chimpanzees about Israel doing this by themselves. Its not going to happen.

              They lack stealth planes, friendly skies to send their forces over and the logistical ability to send anything more than a small force over Iran. Without US (and possibly Arab) involvement, they can’t do anything worth the effort.

              • Ed Marshall says:

                Well, they *can*. There is a way to thread the needle using about 25 F-15Is armed with a mix of BLU-113 and BLU-109s and more or less ruin Iran’s nuclear program. The weapons are GPS guided and can be delivered at altitudes that Iran’s air defenses can’t function at.

                What you have done if you do this is leave Iran intact in all the ways that allow them to engage in some extremely expensive retaliation.

  5. c u n d gulag says:

    Just to further brighten everyone’s Sunday morning:

    With the coming Global Warming/Weirding crisis, these “Oil Wars” may be nothing compared to the coming “Water Wars.”

    The number of environmental refugees will dwarf the WWII number.

  6. SpectCon says:

    I think there is reason to be worried about a needless war for the following reasons.

    A. Iran, in my opinion, is seeking a bomb. They have little to lose and lots to gain. Iran, for lots of reasons internally and externally, probably couldn’t befriend the US/Israel and go the route of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, or Pakistan.
    -Once you accept this premise, it becomes easy to see they have much to gain by getting a bomb and only risk war or attempted coups in exchange–something they probably figure is a risk regardless of what they do. If they manage to get a bomb, they become a North Korea with oil, that is, too dangerous to fight and powerful enough to force concessions internationally.

    B. Preemptive war probably would be easy and one-sided provided the West didn’t intend on occupation. The West could fight an air and naval war with almost no human casualties due to vastly superior war technology.

    C. War with Iran might actually be beneficial to Western economies even in the short term. As Krugman has said, even fighting imaginary E.T.’s, might be a big help in Keynesian terms.

    D. It might be a significant boost to Obama as neocon’s would support him, and wars typically drive-up poll numbers for at least the short term. This may prove very appealing given the Israelis appear to be forcing the issue anyway.

    E. The US would probably not have to fire the first shot, but could simply come to the defense of the Israelis. See Israeli “war” vs. Lebanon a couple years back–almost ANY incident can be manipulated as an “attack.”

    F. Long-term, established war against Iran lobbies exist in important positions in the defense establishment. The US even has Iranian refugees who fled after 79 who could be put “back” in power if regime change actually were sought.

    G. We have Iran surrounded and have been more aggressively imposing economic warfare already. In addition, it’s widely be reported that the US regularly undertakes clandestine military operations INSIDE Iran, and has done so for years now.

    H. Oil.

    I. US’s closest ally is saber rattling more than ever. What’s more, they are probably right that Iran is pursuing a bomb.

    So, the real question is why hasn’t this happened yet?

    I suspect it was planned for but Iraq turned into a quagmire. Iran is 70 million people, they do have a military and they are supported by Russia (and China to some extent). Also, the one-sided nature of casualties is likely to mean a horrendous loss of life for the Iranians, and, ultimately, we can’t realistically occupy Iran as we did Iraq.

    I am concerned. This potential war has far too many benefits for the West. I think we’ll be very fortunate if this works out peacefully (either by allowing Iran to have bombs, or Iran agreeing to give them up).

    • Ed Marshall says:

      Iran’s deterrent capability involves driving oil to $1000/barrel for possibly Iran’s deterrent capability involves driving oil to $1000/barrel for possibly years. This *isn’t* going to help the U.S. economy.

      I was at a conference last week that included the Iranian negotiator. Take this for what it’s worth, but what they say they want on the table is a series of reciprocated moves that end with a normalization of relations between Iran and the U.S.

      They move to 5%, sign the additional protocol, “make concrete commitments to fight terrorism under the framework of U.N 1373 (whatever that may mean), the U.S. gives a security guarantee, drops international sanctions, and eventually drops unilateral sanctions and reestablishes diplomatic ties.

      Now, that is light years from anything the U.S. will accept, but it sounds much more beneficial to Iran than being a highly isolated nuclear power.

      • c u n d gulag says:

        We didn’t learn that sanctions are a double-edged sword with Cuba, since that’s been going on for 50 years, and I doubt we’ll learn it with Iran.

        Normalization of relations will do more to hurt the Mullah’s than all of the sanctions in the world.
        But instead, we bang on the war drums, and sanction the hell out of them, unifying people with the very Mullah’s we’d like to see lose power.

        • Ed Marshall says:

          The Iranians understand that getting the U.S. Congress to remove sanctions will be politically difficult and would give a pass on that.

          The real hangup is a legalistic, arcane argument over what the NPT allows and doesn’t allow. What the U.S. wants is for Iran to shutdown the centrifuges until the IAEA says that Iran’s program is for peaceful purposes. The Iranians (probably correctly) think that the day Herman Nackaerts’ IAEA does this is when hell freezes over.

      • SpectCon says:

        Undoubtedly, fear of an oil-shock has prevented Iran from being invaded/bombed. I should have mentioned it, but I guess it seems self-evident to me.

        Your point is well taken. …yet, I still think there is enough that argues in favor of military action to be rationally concerned about the possibility.

    • joe from Lowell says:

      We have Iran surrounded

      Though it’s a minor point, and doesn’t really go to your thesis, I’m going to make it anyway, because it makes me happy:

      We do NOT have Iran surrounded anymore. We did, for years, and then we vacated Iraq. We could no more launch a front from Iraq into Iran as launch a front from Turkey into Iraq.

      • SpectCon says:

        I remember reading of four rather large permanent bases we were building (built?) in Iraq.

        Still, it appears true that we have a much smaller foot print in Iraq. The bigger point is that we have a ridiculous amount of military in the region and logistically could begin an air war with little issue.

        A ground war would be insane, and we don’t appear ready or able to do that.

        • joe from Lowell says:

          Yup, we built those bases, with the full intention of position forces there “to project power in the region.”

          And then we turned them over to the Iraqis, loaded up the trucks, and left.

          Iraq was where we were supposed to position our ground forces, since Bush pulled out our ground units from their Saudi bases at the request of his best buddies.

    • Ian says:

      B. Preemptive war probably would be easy and one-sided provided the West didn’t intend on occupation. The West could fight an air and naval war with almost no human casualties due to vastly superior war technology.

      A couple paragraphs later you mention the recent Israel-Lebanon war. Israel has a larger technological edge over Hezbollah than the US does over Iran, yet the attack was not at all bloodless for the Israelis. Also, determined bombing failed to eliminate Hezbollah’s ability to lob missiles into Israel.

      • SpectCon says:

        I can’t believe the “war” took place nearly six years ago. At any rate a check of Wikipedia, shows deaths as roughly 170 Israelis compared to about 1700 Lebanese.

        Two major points.

        The thing I think most people forget is that air and naval wars are basically about effective range–and it’s this area where the US is so far ahead. Our bombers can fly undetected, or simply fire from distances outside the range of other forces. And those are the manned attacks rather than the UAVs and cruise missiles which expose no soldiers to harm.

        The second point is that the US wouldn’t be in the same position of vulnerability as the Israelis were with their close ground proximity. If the US were to try to invade on land, the casualties would be more similar to those suffered by the Israelis.

        I think Iran’s capabilities are more of a concern for regional neighbors and the oil markets more than posing much worry from a US air and naval war.

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