February 6, 2006


Hawks have warplanes ready if the nuclear diplomacy fails (Richard Beeston, 2/07/06, Times of London)

IT IS the option of last resort with consequences too hideous to contemplate. [...]

Experts agree that America has the military capability to destroy Iran’s dozen known atomic sites. US forces virtually surround Iran with military air bases to the west in Afghanistan, to the east in Iraq, Turkey and Qatar and the south in Oman and Diego Garcia. The US Navy also has a carrier group in the Gulf, armed with attack aircraft and Tomahawk cruise missiles. B2 stealth bombers flying from mainland America could also be used.

The air campaign would not be easy. The Iranians have been preparing for an attack. Key sites are ringed with air defences and buried underground. Sensitive parts of the Natanz facility are concealed 18 meters (60ft) underground and protected by reinforced concrete two meters thick. Similar protection has been built around the uranium conversion site at Esfahan.

“American air strikes on Iran would vastly exceed the scope of the 1981 Israeli attack on the Osiraq centre in Iraq, and would more resemble the opening days of the 2003 air campaign against Iraq,” said the Global Security consultantcy.

Lieutenant-Colonel Sam Gardiner, a former US Air Force officer, predicted that knocking out nuclear sites could be over in less than a week.

It's easy enough to pretend that such attacks are a worst-case scenario, but it's not at all clear that position is justified. Why wouldn't a large-scale military response to nuclear proliferation be the very best thing we could do to show that we're serious?

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 6, 2006 10:45 PM

OK, how long do you think it will be before some editor, somewhere, realizes that Afghanistan is, er, EAST of Iran, and Iraq and Turkey are to the WEST? Also, minor point, but Quatar belongs in the "to the south" category. Sheesh.

Posted by: HT at February 6, 2006 11:18 PM

Let's roll!

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at February 7, 2006 12:27 AM

At some point you have to use the big stick, just to prove it exists. And after that, the rest of 'em will listen.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at February 7, 2006 1:40 AM

Time is of the essence.

Posted by: Milton Sand at February 7, 2006 1:59 AM

It is hard to imagine any more incompetent diplomacy than what we've seen on this one over the past year. What percentage of the population even dimly suspects there may be war very soon? There is going to be a price to pay for all those ridiculous disavowels of force.

Posted by: Peter B at February 7, 2006 8:16 AM

Actually, I've been astonished how quickly Iran has come out of nowhere to front and center in the public consciousness. According to Rasmussen 53% of likely voters thinks that war with Iran is somewhat or very likely.

Posted by: David Cohen at February 7, 2006 8:36 AM

pay attention prc, this ones for your eddification.

Posted by: toe at February 7, 2006 8:56 AM


Why surprised? I bet 50%+ still think we'd be taking out Ayatollah Khomeini.

Posted by: oj at February 7, 2006 9:16 AM

I'm with David - surprised but pleased - the Bush administration seems to have been spooked by the Iraq experience and is now waiting for the world to come to them asking them to do something about Iran - I think they've gotten as far with that as they're going to get, and now's the time to incite a war.

On the article, what kind of idiot thinks using conventional weapons to blow up nukes is a "last resort with consequences too hideous to contemplate"? I would think it's a prudent early resort, something shy of regime change that gains a little time and slightly shifts the balance of power.

Posted by: pj at February 7, 2006 9:59 AM

Nice catch HT.

This wouldn't really be war, it could be considered housekeeping.

We need some time to ensure our backs in Iraq; Sadr's already assurred Iran he's backing them in this and Assad's willing to hold his coat.

When you see our troops withdrawing from the population centers to Kurdistan and to along the Syrian border you'll know something's up. I like the plan the pentagon has for this one and it will be a nice drill for N. Korea.

Realistically though, this may be all talk on all sides.

Posted by: Genecis at February 7, 2006 10:41 AM

It would only take a few B-2s, with their large load of independently targetable precision munitions to make every one of those sites reminiscent of waffles.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at February 7, 2006 11:58 AM

Jeff, that's what we said about Saddam's Bagdhad bunker. It's still there. I agree with the chap who said it would take about a week, following which we would fly in crop sprayes with the salt.

Posted by: Genecis at February 7, 2006 12:29 PM

I think logistics precludes a large scale invasion of Iran for the time being. Not only would we need to assemble and stage the forces needed, Iran is fairly mountainous making the quick thrusts we're used to in Iraq more difficult. Lastly, oil production would be delayed or destroyed in such a war, and prices would rise.

The public may think Iran is a threat, but probably envisions an air strike, not an invasion. They are not prepared for the sacrifices necessary to accomplish it.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at February 7, 2006 1:28 PM

Why fight Iranians when we want the same thing they do--a changed regime?

Posted by: oj at February 7, 2006 1:44 PM

You dumb ass Americans. Did history (or the bible) didn't teach you anything: You live by the sword, you'll die by the sword. And who the hell are you (USA) to disarm people when your the ones making and selling them to every creep in the world (Saddam/ Bin Laden etc.). You f-en hypocrits. Give the world and humanity a break and keep your plastic culture and hypocritical values to yourselve. The world is in no need for your fat/ pollution/ arms and porno b.s.
Stop judging people (with arms) when your just as, or even more guilty then the accused.
Put a beard and a filthy cloth on Bush and see if you can spot the difference. You can't cause they act, talk and drop bombs on innocent people in the same inhumane way. America; have respect for yourself and grow up.

Posted by: Tony at February 7, 2006 4:24 PM


Of course we're hypocrites. We get nukes and our enemies don't. Indeed, we get to decide the standards your regime has to conform to. Pretty simple.

Posted by: oj at February 7, 2006 4:42 PM

Foresta, is that you????

--Sadr's already assurred Iran he's backing them in this and Assad's willing to hold his coat.--

and has the limeys on the run. He's going to be a problem, should have taken him out a long time ago.

Posted by: Sandy p at February 7, 2006 5:08 PM

tony, what contribution to humanity has your country made ? using only those things invented in your country, what kind of life would you have ?

Posted by: toe at February 7, 2006 6:59 PM

I hope Tony isn't a product of our public school system because if he is, we're in worse trouble than I thought.

Posted by: erp at February 7, 2006 8:50 PM

Ton'y probably a Democratic precinct committeeman from Mahoning County who spends three hours a day posting to DailyKos . . . though they're usually more articulate than that.

Posted by: Mike Morley at February 7, 2006 9:25 PM

Well in answer to your comments. I'm a Dutch citizen ( you know, the country that isn't part of Amsterdam). And of course the whole world has benefited from progress made by industrialisation. But stop laying out rules that you yourself as a country don't live by. Stop being hypocrite. If you want to promote democracy, do it everywhere, not just in the places where the regime isn't in your pocket. For example; Pakistan, Guatemala, Saudi Arabia etc. You (USA) don't have any credibility when measuring with double standards.
OJ, that attitude is why other regimes spend money on building bombs, instead of building futures. You'll reap what you sow

Posted by: Tony at February 19, 2006 5:07 PM


We made Guatemala a democracy already. Saudi Arabia has begun democratizing anmd Pakistan will at our behest.

Posted by: oj at February 19, 2006 5:14 PM