Wargame: Consequences Of Bombing Iran, Pt. II
There aren't enough country clubs around Boca Raton to embrace the generals who will fail in the Mid-East. There are also a lot of interesting stories state-side to share, it's just that they're all eclipsed, if you're cadged for time, by what's going on in The Gulf.
Some genuinely competent and thoughtful analysts have gone on the record saying the US won't attack Iran because it would be economic suicide, and would trigger a worldwide recession. I previously wrote about the nasty blowback US and Coalition ground forces in Iraq would face from escalated and open Iranian involvement in the insurgency there. But guess what? Cheney, the Neocons, the Likudniks, and the Reich Wing have good reason to think the Iranians are cheating, to fear the mushrooming-cloud-thingie, and they are all desperately working to gin up a case for taking out the nascent production facilities, which Iran has every right to have and for all I know could be nothing more than holes drilled deeply into the ground and some cement mixing. However, the Neocons are freaked out over this and have been thinking about it a long time. And unlike us, they've got access to all the free go-juice they want. Iran hasn't attacked anything since 1825, but given their past and present sins in the region, Neocon paranoia is justified. Let's hope renewed Democratic threats under Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's majority to cut the funding for the war are genuine. Meanwhile, though, the train keeps rolling.
This week, with Admiral William Fallon being put in command of the Pentagon's Central Command for Iraq, the Neocons have laid a few more sections of the required track to reach their ultimate goal, to remain the Mid-East's masters. That's right. They put a Navy fly-boy, Vietnam vet, blue-lagoon Pacific Admiral in charge of land-based operations. Whassup? Dudn't make much sense? Well, it do if his main purpose is to mount a sea-based bombing campaign against Iran. Fallon relieves the Special Forces-trained, Lebanese-descended and Arabic-speaking General Abizaid. And the guy who wrote the Army's most recent book on counterinsurgency and had some success in subduing the insurgency in Mosul, Lt. General David Petraeus, takes over from George William Casey, Jr., whose chief claim to fame is that his dad was the most senior military commander to die in Vietnam, in a copter crash when he was Major General commanding the 1st Cavalry Division. Casey is said to be the next Chief of Staff, replacing the Special Forces-trained Peter Schoomaker. When I'm trying to tell the next moves of an organization, I listen less to what they're saying and more to their new hires at the top. It's as good a compass as you get.
The Times says that two Israeli fighter/bomber squadrons are training to attack Iranian production facilities with the nuclear-tipped "bunker-buster" bombs: Israel Plans Nuclear Strike On Iran. Israel, of course, denies this. But I recall a lot of GBU-28 bunker-busters were shipped to Israel through Glasgow last summer, and they weren't used in Lebanon.
This is the part in those old war movies where the klaxons are sounding on the ship, and the announcer says over the loudspeakers, "Now hear this, now hear this!" Any type of attack on Iranian soil will mean severe oil supply disruption for at least three months, with periods of severe disruption continuing for the duration of a conflict. Iran would not only shut its own oil in, it would also be able to completely close the Straits of Hormuz, through which roughly 50% of the world's oil is shipped. Estimates on how long they could keep the Straits closed off vary widely, but it would take a significant amount of time to clear tankers sunk in the very narrow shipping lanes, a great deal of firepower to clear the area of military threats, constant minesweeping and taking of coastal land to prevent sabotage, and the expensive indefinite vigilance of at least a couple of carrier battle groups.
Even if the Straits of Hormuz can be kept clear, it'll be so expensive on top of spreading Damocles in Iraq that the effort is unwinnable--oh, and pardon me for being skeptical of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve being solid for six months' worth of supply, since it was drawn down after Hurricane Katrina shut down at least 11 oil refining, pumping, production, or transfer facilities in the Gulf of Mexico. It is time to go buy some spare gasoline, store up on some food and necessaries, and figure out how to change our energy consumption lives, because it looks like the Neocons are going to change them for us. And for those heavily parked in the stock market, it's time to start moving the car before it's stripped of saleable parts and torched by thieves.
It won't be long now. Either the people trying to stop an attack on Iran (diplomats representing more or less the entire world) will be successful and the Cheneyettes will break and recede, or Iran will be attacked and First World economies will be plunged into disruption, panic, and severe recession. Plunged into history. But the Cheneyettes still control the Pentagon promotions and the mainstream airwaves, so we must conclude they're still running things, however tenuously.