Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

The USA is Going to Attack Iran

with 3 comments

Another week gone by, another week spent perusing the news in the faint hope of gleaning some truth from a mass of lies, distortions, and misinformation. Another week of raving at the injustice of it all. Another week of struggling to put into words my alleged insights about this fascinating spinning hunk of rock we’re trapped on. Another week of cursed reruns on TV, record oil prices, and feline drama. Yes, another normal week at Doug’s Darkworld.

And this week’s insight: Bush is indeed going to attack Iran, either directly or through his Israeli proxies. (Though some might reasonably claim it is we who are Israeli proxies.) I know it’s a ghastly idea and a million things can go wrong, but that didn’t stop Bush from invading Iraq now, did it? The reason I have come to this morbid conclusion is the observation that the Bush administration still seems to think that they are in control, and that any failures of their plans are due to the machinations of others. In other words dear readers, it’s all Iran’s fault that Bush’s glorious freedom revolution is stalled in Iraq and Afghanistan. So if we just topple this one last obstacle to success, the forces of evil will be in disarray, America’s losses will be justified, and Bush’s glorious democratic values will sweep all before them. Bush’s legacy will be secure, his critics confounded, and he can pass the baton to McCain and let that old warhorse enjoy the spoils of Bush’s victory. Sound of the Star Spangle Banner playing softly in the background…roll credits over pics of smiling Iranian children throwing flowers at our troops.

Back in reality, who the hell knows what will happen if we attack Iran. Someone asked me how many US soldiers would die in event of a US attack on Iran, and for fun I ran a few scenarios:

  • Limited USA attack, limited Iranian response. They fire a bunch of scuds at our bases in Iraq, we blow up their suspected nuclear facilities. A few dozen, maybe even a few hundred GIs die.
  • The USA launches waves of attacks/conducts a serious air war like the recent Israeli attack on Lebanon. Huge numbers of Iranian missiles are fired at our bases in Iraq, they fire sunburn missiles at our carriers. A few dozen GIs die, maybe a few hundred, maybe even several thousand if a sunburn hits a carrier.
  • The USA launches a nuclear war, invades, or in some other fashion the attack escalates to a total war. Who the hell knows. Tens of thousands of American troops would be in harm’s way. Maybe Iran already has a few nukes squirrelled away. Maybe Russia gives them nukes to fight back with. Maybe WW3 breaks out. Maybe something else no one ever expected too horrible to contemplate happens. Reality is a bitch.

Short answer: 90% likelihood of American losses being in the 0-500 dead range. 9% chance of up to ten thousand dead. 1% chance of some figure over ten thousand. Of course there are many people who simply cannot accept the idea that any war America launches could go catastrophically wrong for America. I mean, the good guys can’t lose, can they? What kind of Hollywood movie would that make?

Well, this was going to be a Through Thick and Thin post but too late for that now. Have I mentioned the sunburn missile? The Russians are maybe a decade ahead of the US in the design of anti-ship missiles, and since none of them has been used in combat yet, it’s not really known how dangerous they are. Many analysts are very concerned though. The sunburn travels at over 3500kph (2000 mph) at 5m (15 feet) above the waves! As it approaches the target the missile does violent zig zags to defeat USA anti-missile defences. The sunburn has a range of over one hundred miles, which means that when fired at a ship there would only be minutes (at most) to react, and only a few seconds for the ship’s anti-missile systems to fire.

Yes, the USA is working on systems to defeat the sunburn, but theory and practise are two different things. In theory the Iraqis were going to greet us with flowers, in practise they have allied themselves with Iran and asked us to leave. That’s gratitude for you.

Have a great weekend everyone.

(The above image is public domain under US copyright law, it was taken by a federal employee during the course of his duties. Credit: Official U.S. Navy photograph taken by a combat cameraman aboard USS Kalinin Bay (CVE-68.) This is the Escort Carrier USS St Lo exploding after being struck by a Kamikaze attack in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, it sank less than an hour later, over 150 Americans died. I chose it to illustrate the unpredictability of war, and the real costs associated with same. The St Lo was sunk by a Japanese attack in the later days of World War Two at a time when the US had concluded the Japanese were not capable of launching a major attack, using a weapon the USA had neither known about nor anticipated.)

Written by unitedcats

July 11, 2008 at 7:33 am

Posted in Bush, History, War

3 Responses

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  1. For the sake of world peace – or the tatters of what is left of it – let’s hope you are wrong. This is more than just an ideal for me. India is not that far from Iran.

    Its not just physical & material safety. As a child, I read about the beautiful rose gardens in Iran. I even live in a city – Chennai – which the Pallavas (Indo-Iranian Kings) ruled. There are Persepolis-like ruins around me. I wish to see the real Persepolis someday.

    Priya Raju

    July 13, 2008 at 4:48 am

  2. The Bush and Cheney folks will have to go borrow some more money to fight this war with Iran.

    Oh, but wait, the two biggest government backed mortgage companies on the planet just went bankrupt! Thats only 5 trillion dollars.
    Our ‘Rome’ is burning and the elite are saying ‘hey, look over there!’

    Sadly the average American cant see we are in the Great Depression of our generation.

    No doubt the US can kill a lot of Iranians. What will that prove?

    Q: What is the Iranians manage to sink a major ship or carrier?
    A: A loss of prestige so great that it will diminish the US ability to climb out of its great depression of (2007-????). If only our military is backing our currency, it does not pay to make a mistake.

    Perception of power is better than power itself. Once shown vulnerable, bad things will happen.


    July 13, 2008 at 9:50 am

  3. […] boy, if I was wrong about an attack on Iran, I’m happy to be wrong. It would certainly prove my oft repeated points about how difficult […]

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