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Since Cheney days and likely long before, war with Iran was the next neocon dream after war with Iraq. Are those days gone, or is the U.S. military and its bipartisan political warrior class (see video below) still hungering for war against the ancient seat of the Persian empire and current seat of Shiite political strength?
So what might a war with Iran look like?
James Baker and Hillary Clinton speaking with Charlie Rose on June 20, 2012, about the need for regime change, and war if necessary, with Iran
A ground war is highly unlikely. Iran has twice the population of Iraq and will not be rolled over the way hapless Iraq was rolled over. If Iraq was a quagmire -- a soft, sucking, muddy wetland -- Iran will be a wetland of gargantuan proportions. Iran is larger than Mongolia, 10 times the size of Texas, and contains a population with a large professional class. The literacy rate is above 80% even for women.
For these reasons the U.S. military would never agree to a ground war, and the political warrior class, our neocons, want regime change, not occupation.
Which leaves us with an air war. What might that look like, and is one likely?
Iran in Ruins
To answer the first question, here's veteran war reporter Eric Margolis writing in Common Dreams:
"The US and Israel will surely avoid a massive, costly land campaign against Iran, a vast, mountainous nation that was willing to suffer a million battle casualties in its eight-year war with Iraq that started in 1980. This gruesome war was instigated by the US, Britain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to overthrow Iran's new popular Islamic government.
"The Pentagon has planned a high-intensity air war against Iran that Israel and the Saudis might very well join. The plan calls for over 2,300 air strikes against Iranian strategic targets: airfields and naval bases, arms and petroleum, oil and lubricant depots, telecommunication nodes, radar, factories, military headquarters, ports, water works, airports, missile bases and units of the Revolutionary Guards.
"Iran's air defenses range from feeble to non-existent. Decades of US-led military and commercial embargos against Iran have left it as decrepit and enfeebled as was Iraq when the US invaded in 2003. The gun barrels of Iran's 70's vintage tanks are warped and can't shoot straight, its old British and Soviet AA missiles are mostly unusable, and its ancient MiG and Chinese fighters ready for the museum, notably its antique US-built F-14 Tomcats, Chinese copies of obsolete MiG-21's, and a handful of barely working F-4 Phantoms of Vietnam War vintage.
"Air combat command is no better. Everything electronic that Iran has will be fried or blown up in the first hours of a US attack. Iran's little navy will be sunk in the opening attacks. Its oil industry may be destroyed or partially preserved depending on US post-war plans for Iran.