Monday, September 17, 2007
It's always looming. But has our military learned the right lessons from this one to fight it and win?
By Wesley K. Clark
(Former supreme commander of NATO, led alliance military forces in the Kosovo war in 1999.)
"......Think another war can't happen? Think again. Unchastened by the Iraq fiasco, hawks in Vice President Cheney's office have been pushing the use of force. It isn't hard to foresee the range of military options that policymakers face.
The next war would begin with an intense air and naval campaign. Let's say you're planning the conflict as part of the staff of the Joint Chiefs. Your list of targets isn't that long -- only a few dozen nuclear sites -- but you can't risk retaliation from Tehran. So you allow 21 days for the bombardment, to be safe; you'd aim to strike every command-and-control facility, radar site, missile site, storage site, airfield, ship and base in Iran. To prevent world oil prices from soaring, you'd have to try to protect every oil and gas rig, and the big ports and load points. You'd need to use B-2s and lots of missiles up front, plus many small amphibious task forces to take out particularly tough targets along the coast, with manned and unmanned air reconnaissance. And don't forget the Special Forces, to penetrate deep inside Iran, call in airstrikes and drag the evidence of Tehran's nuclear ambitions out into the open for a world that's understandably skeptical of U.S. assertions that yet another Gulf rogue is on the brink of getting the bomb......."