Friday, April 21, 2006

To Bomb, or not to Bomb

This is the title of an extraordinary piece on Iran by the consistently excellent Reuel Marc Gerecht.

His key point:

We can't guarantee the results. But what we can do is demonstrate, to the mullahs and to others elsewhere, that even with these uncertainties, in a post-9/11 world the United States has red lines that will compel it to act. And one nonnegotiable red line is that we will not sit idly and watch a virulently anti-American terrorist-supporting rogue state obtain nukes. We will not be intimidated by threats of terrorism, oil-price spikes, or hostile world opinion. If the ruling clerical elite wants a head-on collision with a determined superpower, then that's their choice.

There is a price to pay, of course, but the urgency is nicely conveyed in his closing paragraph:

So we will all have to wait for President Bush to decide whether nuclear weapons in the hands of Khamenei, Rafsanjani, Ahmadinejad, and the Revolutionary Guards Corps are something we can live with. Given the Islamic Republic's dark history, the burden of proof ought to be on those who favor accommodating a nuclear Iran. Those who are unwilling to accommodate it, however, need to be honest and admit that diplomacy and sanctions and covert operations probably won't succeed, and that we may have to fight a war--perhaps sooner rather than later--to stop such evil men from obtaining the worst weapons we know.

An absolute Must-Read.


Blogger ivan grosny said...

To Mr. Reuel Marc Gerecht


the problem is by the way he attacked Iraq Mr. Bush made it almost impossible for him to attack Iran - which is potentially the much more dangerous enemy .

First: try to imagine an US-secretary of state who appears in front of an UN security council meeting and states the US government has irrefutable evidence for the existance of an iranian nuclear weapons program. The representatives of the other member states would laugh her/him in the face.

Second: Iran - unlike Iraq - is a montainous country and about 3/4 of its terrain can not be controlled by large unit forces like mechanized infantry or tank brigades. This simple fact makes an invasion with ground forces nearly impossible ore at least very costly. Not to mention that nobody in the USA nowadays wants to find out how many GIs would die in house-to-house fighting to conquer AND secure Tehran and the other Iranian centers.

Third: that leaves an air attack with cruise missiles, fighters and stealth bombers. But to what end? To stop the enrichment process or the whole nuclear fuel circle?
The Iranian government has to be VERY stupid if by now they donĀ“t have hidden the important parts of there nuclear program. Therefore you would have to attack how many: 300 / 500 / 1000 targets at once - or simply every factory building in the country big enough to house a centrifuge.

Think again.

ivan grosny

Berlin / Germany

8:48 AM  
Blogger Franklin D. Rosenfeld said...

I absolutely agree that the best scenario, and indeed the only scenario, is an intensive air attack using US Air Force and US Navy assets, certainly including carrier-based F/A-18s and elements of the Bomber Force, with the B2 prominent among those, and possibly complemented by cruise missiles fired from ships and submarines. An actual occupation of the country is absolutely impossible, in terms of likelihood as of success.

And of course this will be a costly enterprise. As you correctly pointed out, we have hundreds of targets, requiring special weapons such as bunker-busting munitions, and their sheer number means that two carrier groups, 20 land-based bombers and 200 fighers can be considered a minimum.

And yet, compared to the cost of inaction, that could prove to be the bargain of the century.

3:53 PM  

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