I have responses for both Engineer and Q here. While I appreciate the input I have to say that some of what is being said here is a little disturbing
for reasons which I will point out as I go.
Originally posted by Engineer
Bollocks. If Iran makes any moves to cross the border it's pure suicide. This is not North Africa in WW2. The US is watching Iran's every move. You
cannot hide 10 divisions, and there is no such thing as the element of surprise. The US would let them get committed, then the daisy cutters would
start falling like rain. Iran's entire army would be decimated within 48 hours.
The fact that you consider the daisy cutter a decisive weapon reveals a tremendous misunderstanding of warfare. The daisy cutter is no more
revolutionary than the napalm which single handedly destroyed the ability of the North Vietnamese to make war. *heavy on the sarcasm*.
The daisy cutter is bulky and heavy and dropped from a slow and bulky aircraft. It's great for attacking Afghan rebels who have no air defenses and
are hiding in areas with lots of rocks to hide behind. It's good for absolutely nothing against any area protected by even the most primitive of air
As for an invasion of Iraq being suicide- tell me how. American forces are scattered around in local counter-insurgency operations, they do not have
strong lines oriented towards Iran, they do not have as much armor and artillery as you would generally have for a conventional war, and their
opponent has not been prepped for invasion by any amount of airwar. American forces will not have plans and orders in hand and will not be 100% ready.
Iran will be choosing the time and place of battle. Everything favors Iran. Let's not forget that when an American military officer writes a book
about war with North Korea being initiated by North Korea, the scenario almost always involves the Koreans bleeding America badly and driving us back
to Pusan, just like the start of the first war.
Initiative is everything.
Surprise is also still possible. Satellites come over on a regular schedule and look straight down, plus take time to be analyzed and have intel sent
down the chain of command. You probably couldn't hide 10 divisions, but you could hide A LOT about what they were doing- you could even use the
satellite pass-overs as a chance to pose for the camera and decieve the enemy about your intentions.
Observe: The Chinese tell me that they are tracking American sats and that they will be looking down on the position of my reserve forces in a few
hours- I order my reserves to start moving their trucks and to send a large convoy towards my Northern Flank. After the sat has passed I order the
troops on my northern flank to dig extra holes, set up extra tents, and deploy some pre-built wooden vehicles. I then have most of my reserves move to
the Southern flank and occupy covered positions which had been errected previously by those troops but had sat empty. The Sattelites come over again
later- there is extra stuff up North, the reserves are gone, and everything looks the same in the south. The enemy assigns his units in the North
priority call for artillery, so when I attack in oblique order across the whole front, giving most pressure to the South, the enemy artillery is
focusing on the defense of units to the North.
Originally posted by Q
I think there are a few other factors that would come into play here.
Earlier in the thread, the fact that Iran produces their own equipment was touted as a 'pro' for Iran.
But why is it that they do this? Because they've been under sanctions for oh, say, about 30 years. They do make much of their own equipment, only
because they have had little other option. The design of Iranian equipment is largely based on old Russian designs-basically, a lot of the same stuff
Iraq had, or slightly improved versions. These designs are robust, definitely enough to keep any dirthole third-world nation in power over it's
populace and at even odds with any similarly equipped neighbor, but no mach for comparable modern units (this has been undeniably proven).
Reliability of these units and lack of parts to repair the more advanced units they posess makes maintainability of their forces during a prolonged
conflict an uncertain prospect, to say the least.
This is undeniably true, and I will volunteer that you have not mentioned that their lack of funding also ensures a lack of training. Their tank crews
have not fired their cannons in training nearly as many times as American ones because they can't afford to. That is precisely why cooperation with
China was so vital to this scenario- the threat would not exist unless China were involved. If somebody fronts China all the munitions they need, they
can train to 1st world standards for a whole year before going to war. They also need to buy modern weapons to shore up key parts of their strategy
(guidance for cruise missiles, MRBMs, aircraft and air defenses). They can also buy parts and upgrades for their existing hardware and better infantry
weapons (modular armor upgrades for tanks, targeting systems, anti-tank rockets, etc.). Long story short- Iran can't cut it, but they could if they
were tag teaming with the fastest growing economy in the world.
I'm certain there have been advancements made, but pitting the results of Iran's R & D and manufacturing sectors against the US would be a bit
Just a bit? Either California or Texas alone could humiliate Iran in every way if Iran weren't heavily backed from outside. I'm not crazy, i'm just
trying to be fair.
If push comes to shove, the US is chock-full of people who would be more than happy to work 'round the clock to keep fresh top-of-the-line tanks,
aircraft, etc. rolling off of the production lines. Unfortunately, war is profitable, and the US can out-capitalize anyone.
This isn't WWII. Weapons are far more expensive and take longer to produce. It would take a full year to build and crew a sizeable force and another
3-6 months to deploy it. America can't afford 15-18 months under an oil embargo- we would have to fight back immediately.
Also, if we do go long-term like that, the oil crunch means less airconditioning and less driving. If the economy got too bad they might have to
introduce "an alternative minimum wage" in the defense industry to make sure we could keep cranking out weapons too. Nobody would be happy about
this war, nobody would be happy about the draft (which would be necessary if the troops we have in Iraq were suddenly overrun), and a lot of people
would blame the government for getting us needlessly entangled in the middle east and then allowing it to blow up in our face.
The likely possibility of Iran posessing nuclear capabilities are much like a 3-year old with a hand grenade-smart enough to use it, but not wise
enough to understand the danger.
This comes across just a little bit racist. Deterrence is a very simple concept and I assure you that the Iranians understand it. They would hold
their weapons in deterrence and probably not use them, but America would have to make concessions or risk provoking Iran to the point where nuclear
war seemed necessary according to their priorities.
If Iran uses this capability, they sign their own death warrant in opening the door to equal retailiation by the US (and we obviously have the edge in
Forgive me, but I almost detect an attitude of "those dang camel jockies can't hurt us, but we'll show them how white people fight a war!". If the
3 year old pulls the pin on a hand grenade, they will die but they will take everyone in the room down with them! So yeah, Iran will be a smoking
crater, no doubt about it. So will Israel and Turkey, and all American troops in the region will no longer exist. Let's go- lets get 1/3 of the US
military vaporized just so we have an excuse to nuke Iran.
As for any expulsion of the US from the UN for doing so...I'd not count that as a threat either. Half of the US is already chomping at the bit to
ditch the UN anyway, what with the oil for food mess and the apparent inability of the UN to perform it's intended function. If we go, over 20% of
their funding goes, a conservative estimate at half of their military strength goes, and the UN will collapse. (Effectively, if not literally.)
First of all, I'm one of the people who believes America should start playing hardball with the UN and eventually walk out if they dont mend their
ways. I agree that going to war without France is like going hunting without your accordion. I also realize however that while the UN is no good for
America, it could be very bad for us if it were left to the influence of our enemies and used as a coordinating body for economic attacks on us.
Through shrewd manipulation of the UN, China could turn a war like this into the meltdown of all US foreign policy. Israel would disappear, the war on
terror would be over, and China would have far more political leverage over smaller nations than we do, meaning that we'd rarely get our way over
China in anything without resorting to force- and that wouldn't last long before we found ourselves in a serious war against a coalition.
The initial usage of nukes by Iran would, of course, open the can of apocolyptical worms, being that once one nation in that area of the world cuts
loose with the nukes, there's a good chance that every other nutjob nation over there with them will also.
There are two nations on this planet who I believe would launch nukes without being directly launched on. America and Israel. Iran fires, Israel and
America fire back, its a limited exchange, probably less than 10 nukes from each side.
The Iran launches first scenario was highly unlikely and certainly not a good option, unless China has 100% control of Iran and considers Iran
expendable for the purpose of causing a political/economic disaster for America.
Seems to me like there's a real "me too" mentality at work in that area of the world when it comes to nukes. This would be the real wild
card-the response of other nations to this scenario. If everybody cuts loose with the nukes over there, it'll be ugly for all involved.
The itchy trigger finger standings:
1/2. America and Israel (tied). If they can't handle you with conventionals, you're getting a suntan at midnight. It's just that simple. Only
deterrence keeps them honest.
3. North Korea. They will not be taken alive. If America screws with them even a little bit it's on like donkey kong.
4/5. Russia and China (Russia a little more paranoid than China) They would do it preemptively if they had to, and would protect an ally if a
fullscale attack were launched.
6. Pakistan. They might prefer to go to the button before letting India ever mess with them again.
7. India. An invasion by China or a launch by Pakistan would get India to launch.
8. France. France only nukes Tahiti and perhaps Green Peace without the full consent of the UN security council.
Earlier in the thread, it was also postulated that US forces are over-estimated, not having fought a "real" opposing army since WWII. I disagree
with this. While I begrudgingly admit that our military has been understaffed and underfunded at times in the past few decades, it is still top-notch;
all other militaries in the world use ours as a benchmark.
First I'd like to point out that I'm absolutely right about America not having faced a superior armed force since WWII, and not having faced a tough
fight of any kind since Korea.
I will stress that I do not call America a paper tiger. I respect our armed forces and appreciate the advantage which they enjoy as one of the best
drilled and best equiped forces in the world. The US military could be compared to Napolean's forces because of their exceptional training and
organization for combined arms manuever warfare. This certainly does not mean that we can not be dealt with by an able management of defenses. I dont
know if you have read Rifleman Dodd but the Peninsular War makes a descent analogy. The British bought time by skirmishing their way back to a well
prepared position which was all but impregnable, and the French had exhausted themselves and expended great resources only to arrive at a battle they
could not fight.
Improvements have been, and are being made on a continual basis to ensure that we remain top dog. Militarily, we are decades ahead of anything Iran
can throw at us. Case in point: their nuclear intentions. While their biggest aspiration is to fit a North Korean cloned missle with a primitive
(but functional!) warhead, we invented nuclear technology over 50 years ago, and have been improving it ever since. The Mullahs are deluding
themselves in thinking they would have a faint hope of a chance going toe-to-toe all out with the US. If anything, I'd suggest that not only are US
forces underestimated, but Iranian capabilities are overestimated as well.
The Germans were more advanced than us in WWII. We were more advanced than the North Vietnamese.
A nuke is a nuke- if it turns an army into glow-in-the-dark ashes it doesn't matter if its better or worse than ours.
In other fields, they can narrow the gap with acquisitions from China then overcome our advantage by tactics and logistics (not that they have more,
just that we have less in theater and have a long way to move things.)
Insofar as the concern of the Iranian navy being able to decimate, or even deny access the the US navy--don't make me laugh. When you have even a
single, let alone several, carrier groups sitting on your doorstep with you in their sites, your best bet is to find the fastest route to the other
side of the continent and get there with utmost haste. I don't deny that it is a possibility that BM/CM's could inflict some damage, but it would
be the military equivalent of throwing rocks at a hornet's nest. The Iranian navy would have NO chance at besting the US. Zip, zilcho,
Prove your point please. How do we stop them? You say the key is to run away, i say the key is to sink the carriers as fast as possible. That's not
throwing rocks at a hornets nest- that's setting a hornets nest on fire. If you destroy the nest, pretty soon you wont have hornets in your backyard
anymore. Lets not forget, this isn't just somehting I made up. General Van Ripper humiliated the pentagon so badly in wargames that they started
rigging the game against him to give him even less chance to win than Saddam Hussien did. Just google "Van Ripper" + "USS Cole" and i'm sure
you'll find what i'm talking about.
Iran's only hope of pulling out any sort of victory whatsoever (i.e. survival of the regime and/or eventual expulsion of the US) would be to
instigate a war of attrition, likely using guerilla tactics such as are currently being wrestled with in Iraq.
I strongly disagree. The stronger power should desire a war of attrition to wear the enemy down by brute force. The weaker power should desire a war
of maneuver intending to make the larger force impotent by "hitting them where they aren't". Irans primary weapons are the surprise attack against
unprepared forces, the delay of hostilities in every possible way, and the oil embargo which goes hand in hand with the delay of hostilities. Iran's
greatest victrories will not even be on the battlefield. The weapons are only needed for that initial surge into Iraq, and more importantly to
lengthen by several months the preparation time of US forces as well as the number of forces that come into the region (because those forces become
hostages in a sense once they are in range of Iranian nukes).
Seeing as they're the source of a sizable percentage of that as it stands right now anyway, they've already tipped their hand as to what tactics
they're capable of. As time goes on, US forces are adapting to these tactics, making them less and less effective. (Case in point: jamming of IED
You are imagining an occupation. The guerilla war in Iraq is just gravy for Iran- a random chance to take potshots at the infidel and just maybe gain
influence in Iraq. The war we are considering is not like this- it assumes not an American invasion of Iran but a well planned and prepared for
Iranian offensive. If we struck first then things would go much more as you are saying.
I'm not saying it would be an "easy" war, or that there wouldn't be massive casualties incurred on both sides, as well as on civillian
Inflicting massive casualties on America early on is almost a win in and of itself. If Iran can hurt the US economy, hurt US confidence, encourage US
enemies, and possibly necessitate a draft, then in the 25-50-100 years scope of things they are coming out on top even if they lose. All the same, I
think they could win flat out if they played their cards right and we played ours just a little bit wrong.
In Iraq, the US has pushed on with this "kinder, gentler" style of warfare due to various political and PR reasons. If an all-out conflict is to
happen and we take off the proverbial gloves, the outcome of such a conflict would not be in question, IMO. The US will of course always try to
accomplish military goals with a minimum of collateral damage, using things like precision munitions. If it gets down to the real "nitty gritty"
though, we can and will ditch this approach and let the carpet bombing begin. Other countries can underestimate the US military all they want, but
the truth is that we're pulling our punches in many respects.
I should point out that Im a US citizen and former Marine. I dont feel that i underestimate America, but I become frustrated with those who adopt a
dangerous mindset believing that America need not be vigilant for potential threats, even from the least likely places. America got where it is today
as an tough underdog. America will lose what it has today as a vaunted superpower.