The Human Geography Trap: War with Iran

Last week The Modern War Institute at the US Military Academy West Point (West Point/The Point) published an article about the need to plan for an occupation of Iran. That article got a lot of buzz, especially so because a lot of the buzz had to do with the title, not with the actual substance of the article. The author, Joe Karle, argued that even though occupying Iran would be a very, very bad idea, given the recent political rhetoric, the President’s withdrawal of the US from the JCPOA, and the possibilities of events occurring that simply override the ability to prevent what would be an unfortunate event – an escalation to military engagement with Iran – that the Department of Defense needs to plan for a post conflict occupation. Even though such an occupation would be a very, very, very bad idea. I initially thought about doing a response to the article here, but instead decided to reach out to the appropriate folks at The Modern War Institute. And look what happened!

Right now the US military does not have personnel with deep specialization in conducting or overseeing the type of occupation that Karle argues is an unfortunate necessity of being prepared for all possibilities. It is also not clear who the United States would seek to empower as a legitimate alternative to the current Iranian government—both the popularly elected facade and the largely opaque theocracy that runs in the background. Or how the United States would go about doing so successfully. Karle is arguing that, no matter how inconceivable it might be, the Department of Defense must begin to plan now for how to not just achieve battlefield success, but also properly manage the post war termination transition in order to secure the peace. And while he is right to argue that having a plan and a strategy is always better than not having either, if the United States’ policy is to eliminate Iran’s nuclear weapons development program and remove the theocratic Iranian government, then United States policy is asking of strategy that which the strategy cannot provide: an achievable end state.

You can click across for the rest if you like. Including the nifty map I put together.

Open thread!

 






192 replies
  1. 1

    Hey! Good for you, Adam! I don’t have time to read these now, but jeez. After Iraq.

  2. 2
    lollipopguild says:

    Something,something about “Do not fight a land war in Asia, or Iran.”.

  3. 3
    Timurid says:

    Operation Iranian Freedom: For all the fans who were bummed out about the World War II season finale with that silly “atomic bomb” plot twist, and wanted to find out how the invasion of the Japanese Home Islands turned out.

  4. 4
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Yep. The hardest thing, given that I’ve done a post here and at my previous place on this topic from this angle, written a report on Iran and Hezbullah for OSD-Policy that included this issue within the report, and done a 1/2 a dozen briefings on it for a number of operational 3 star headquarters (Army corps), was not plagiarizing myself.

  5. 5
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @lollipopguild: Iran is in Asia.

  6. 6
  7. 7
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Timurid:

    Operation Iranian Freedumbom

    Fixed that for you.

  8. 8
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Thanks. I appreciate your assistance.

  9. 9
    Anonymous At Work says:

    @Adam L Silverman: The human geography problems of Iraq, the actual geography of Afghanistan. What’s not to love?

  10. 10
    MattF says:

    How about a demonstration that a ‘successful’ occupation of Iran is impossible? It’s not just a technical question, there is always a political component.

  11. 11
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Anonymous At Work: And a general officer who is, arguably, the best strategist produced by any of the countries in the region.

  12. 12
    Anonymous At Work says:

    @Adam L Silverman: And it’s not like the US military not only conducted war games in how Iran could inflict maximum damage on the US Navy, and then, in a fit of stunned pique, conducted a new set of war games in how Iran should NOT defend itself.

  13. 13
    MattF says:

    Many years ago, I witnessed a lunch-time argument over Afghanistan. The guy making the ‘we have to prevent the Russians from… XYZ’ was insisting that the Russians could make a seaborne invasion from the south. Ignoring, e.g., the fact that Afghanistan is land-locked. Soured me on waving-hands-at-a-map types of arguments.

  14. 14
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    So the only thing worse than going to war with Iran is winning the shooting match and getting stranded in the aftermath? I wonder if there’s some recent experience in the Middle East that the US could have drawn a lesson from …

  15. 15
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Anonymous At Work: They’re more like guidelines really…

  16. 16
    Yutsano says:

    @Anonymous At Work:

    The human geography problems of Iraq

    Add in a proud culture that has existed for thousand of years. Iranians will not bend to a foreign power willingly. It was part of the reason why the 1953 Mossadegh coup resentment still runs deep. Iran will fight tooth and nail any invasion from anywhere. It’s a futile effort and the pacification will never happen.

  17. 17
    catclub says:

    @Major Major Major Major: what map? where? I must be missing an obvious link

  18. 18
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @MattF: I’m not following, that was pretty much the whole point of the article I wrote and am referencing above. Which is similar to a post I did here on the same topic back when the President pulled us out of the JCPOA.

  19. 19
    Jeffro says:

    Two words: FUCK. NO.

    There is no reason to attack Iran, even less reason to invade Iran, and negative eleventy-billion reasons to attack, invade, and occupy Iran. Is there a form letter than 4 million American service men and women can use to resign en masse at that point, just to get the point across to Donnie, Dense, and Bolton?

  20. 20
  21. 21
    mad citizen says:

    Yes, kudos to you Adam, a very informative piece. A few questions popped into my head, as a peacenik who sometimes vacillates to “Kill ’em all”:

    Q1: The US spends upwards of $ 600 billion annually and it seems we don’t have enough capability. We spend as much as the next 7 or 8 nations combined, depending on which google response one looks at. Do we need to spend more or take a break from perpetual war-making? I hope the answer isn’t spend more–guns v butter and all that.

    Q2: If we were really serious about it, could we bring back a draft have enough people for the occupation?

    Q3: I was wondering the other day how exactly Germany could have occupied and subdued the US (not to mention Canada and Mexico). What nations would be easy for another nation to subdue and occupy? If there are candidates, maybe you should forward their names to the great orange turd in DC.

    You don’t have to respond, I’m just ranting. This whole invade other countries and get to an achievable end state seems so 20th Century to me (and 19th, 18th, …)

  22. 22
    MattF says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I’m not disagreeing with you. Maybe I just sound argumentative but that’s a habit one gets around here.

  23. 23
    Marcopolo says:

    From the article which you included (and which I heartily encourage everyone to read) about shortfalls in our own military’s readiness:

    The three–carrier group show of force off the coast of the DPRK between November and December 2017 burned through an entire year’s worth of maintenance, training, and operational resources in a three-week period.

    Thanks Donald!

    In regards to the discussion of our military’s current Civil Affairs planning & logistic capability–my father was a bird colonel in a US Army Reserve Civil Affairs unit up until he retired in the 90’s. When we invaded Iraq he pretty much tore his hair out over the postwar occupation plans.

  24. 24
    kindness says:

    I understand that the right wing here in the US hates Iran because 1) they overthrew our puppet the Sha and 2) they are primarily Muslim and 3) they are middle eastern, but most of it is the overthrow of the Sha and the 400+ days of hostage holding with US diplomatic personnel after the overthrow.

    It’s the same kind of chip on their shoulder the right carries around that we see in Robert Bork losing his vote to be a Supreme Court Justice. It doesn’t matter that Iran was right to toss a dictator or that Bork was voted on and lost. Apparently that makes it OK for every future interaction regarding 1) Iran and 2) Democratically nominated Justices needs to be fought against because of what happened in the 80’s.

    The right is a bunch of children and the leaders of the right like it that way.

  25. 25
    Jeffro says:

    PS Twitter Dick Nixon is openly, and oh-so-cleverly taunting Dolt45 about not being a team player…naturally, he’ll never ‘get’ the message…but still…

  26. 26
  27. 27
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Yutsano:

    Iranians will not bend to a foreign power willingly.

    Ah, but would they bend willingly to someone who can destroy mountains with their bare hands and is nigh invulnerable? //

  28. 28
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @catclub: At the article I wrote for MWI. It’s in the tweet, but if you go here, you’ll see it.
    https://mwi.usma.edu/irans-human-geography-wicked-problem-people-places-things-complicates-us-strategy/

  29. 29
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Major Major Major Major: That’s why I thanked you for your assistance.

  30. 30
    catclub says:

    @catclub: never mind.
    found it.

  31. 31
    trollhattan says:

    @Timurid:
    We all know full well it’s to be entitled “Operation You’re Fired! And you, and you* and you!”

    *Thou mayest not have thy Oxford comma.

    Thanks for the link Adam, will read soon when I have the constitution to contemplate an Iranian war. In the meantime, do you have a staffer to help curate your CV? Mine over an equivalent period would be about twenty words.

  32. 32
    wvng says:

    What a fine and sensible analysis that the Orange smear will never ever read.

  33. 33
    Marcopolo says:

    @Marcopolo: Actually I should clarify that last part. According to my father there were actually well-thoughtout plans for a postwar occupation of Iraq but Rumsfeld pretty much threw them out the window in his desire to show…um…something…

  34. 34
    A Ghost To Most says:

    Thanks, Adam. I really think their only objective is to steal whatever they can steal, and wreck what they can’t steal. There is not enough rope on the planet.

  35. 35
    The Moar You Know says:

    The three–carrier group show of force off the coast of the DPRK between November and December 2017 burned through an entire year’s worth of maintenance, training, and operational resources in a three-week period.

    @Marcopolo: For all the money we spend, it’s not nearly enough for the equipment and personnel we have and what we’re trying to do. The Navy’s shortstaffing and lack of resources has been in the back pages of the news for years now. It’s causing serious, career-ending accidents and massive burnout. It’ll cause worse than that at some point. I have to assume the other services are in no better shape. That we still can’t fly the F-22 in combat is a tell. That we can’t fly it over 20,000 feet because it chokes pilots out, something that seemingly can’t be fixed, is a bigger one.

    Trump said he would get us out of Afghanistan and Iraq. I can’t help but notice that is not happening. I think until we get a president who has been in the armed forces, with experience enough to push back, someone who will not allow themselves to be rolled by the officers the same way Obama and Trump were, we’re going to be bleeding money down a drain without cease. We need to get out of the Middle East, period.

  36. 36

    @Adam L Silverman: ah! My snark detector is off today.

  37. 37
    Marcopolo says:

    @kindness: Think you are dropping an h in your comment: Shah of Iran.

  38. 38
    dr. bloor says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: We’re sending them Alex Jones?

  39. 39
    catclub says:

    @mad citizen:

    What nations would be easy for another nation to subdue and occupy?

    Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia jump to mind. There might be some in the Balkans that are small, but I suspect the geography is less welcoming.

    I bet Brazil could take Uruguay in an unfair fight.
    ETA: NOT on the football pitch, in other words.

  40. 40
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @mad citizen: Let’s take these in order:
    Q1: The US spends upwards of $ 600 billion annually and it seems we don’t have enough capability. We spend as much as the next 7 or 8 nations combined, depending on which google response one looks at. Do we need to spend more or take a break from perpetual war-making? I hope the answer isn’t spend more–guns v butter and all that.
    ALS: The issue is what are we buying, leasing, and renting for that $600 to $700 billion a year plus Overseas Contingency Operations spending. A lot is going to health care, especially for folks still serving who have ongoing physical and/or mental issues related to their service in Iraq, Afghanistan, and/or elsewhere.

    The other real question is that the US military is expeditionary. But I’m not sure anyone has provided a good answer as to what it means to be expeditionary in the 21st Century. While our allies and partners do pay for a good chunk of our expeditionary costs, having Special Ops Forces deployed in between 80 and 140 countries (depending on which reporting you’re referencing), having the Navy and the Marines constantly afloat, having the Air Force be at war for over 25 years straight, and rotating a fresh Corps and a division and an air wing and a Marine Expeditionary Unit into Iraq every year all takes a toll.

    Q2: If we were really serious about it, could we bring back a draft have enough people for the occupation?
    ALS: There is no way, given the politics in the US, that a draft could be conducted. It would never happen. I’m not even sure we could create a mandatory service requirement, which would also include service in a variety of capacities, not just the military.

    Q3: I was wondering the other day how exactly Germany could have occupied and subdued the US (not to mention Canada and Mexico). What nations would be easy for another nation to subdue and occupy? If there are candidates, maybe you should forward their names to the great orange turd in DC.
    ALS: If you go to Karle’s article, which mine is a response to, he references a study of occupations, which demonstrates just how hard it is to successfully occupy another country.

  41. 41
    Brachiator says:

    Karle is arguing that, no matter how inconceivable it might be, the Department of Defense must begin to plan now for how to not just achieve battlefield success, but also properly manage the post war termination transition in order to secure the peace.

    This is insane.

    Have we secured the peace in Iraq and Afghanistan?

  42. 42
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @MattF: I didn’t think you were disagreeing with me. I wasn’t sure what you were talking about.

  43. 43
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    The sad thing is that the US is currently led by a man fool who disdains learning out of a belief in his personal exceptionalism, and refuses to benefit from others’ experience.

  44. 44
    Marcopolo says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: Um, Superman, the Hulk, Chuck Norris? But I think Norris may be retired now.

  45. 45
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    The Navy’s shortstaffing and lack of resources has been in the back pages of the news for years now. It’s causing serious, career-ending accidents and massive burnout. It’ll cause worse than that at some point. I have to assume the other services are in no better shape.

    That’s nothing a little bit of Support the Troops chanting, jet flyovers, and saluting soldiers in uniform for the Star Spangled Banner can’t solve!

  46. 46
    Hitlesswonder says:

    I’m amazed that we won’t do anything to prepare for the catastrophe of climate change, and yet we must prepare to create another pointless castrophe because of the inexorable politics of our country.

  47. 47
    catclub says:

    @Marcopolo:

    According to my father there were actually well-thoughtout plans for a postwar occupation of Iraq but Rumsfeld pretty much threw them out the window in his desire to show…um…something…

    Yep, this has been pretty well established. Rumsfeld forbade cooperation with/listening to a State department planning group.

  48. 48
    Geoboy says:

    Given that Republican presidents (see Bush, George W.) and politicians (see Cheney, Dick) don’t believe in that namby pamby occupation stuff, why bother?

  49. 49
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Marcopolo: I have been working with my professional cousins in Civil Affairs for almost a decade. I was involved in helping to conceptualize the military support to governance initiative. I am in regular contact with the point of contact who has no hair to tear out on how to move that initiative forward.

  50. 50
    Lee says:

    @mad citizen:

    I can answer Q1.

    The best/cheapest solution is to take a break from the war making and let us go back to a normal maintenance cycle for our equipment. This would also require us not to have a toddler in chief that orders our Navy to burn through a year’s worth of budget in under a month.

    I work in IT and it is the same with the military ‘with enough money, anything is possible’. So we probably could spend our way out of this hole….

  51. 51
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @The Moar You Know: That’s the F35, not the F22.

  52. 52
    Mary G says:

    I’ve only read the Karle article so far, but I wanted to thank you for linking to it. I had only read Twitter/MSM summaries implying it was kind of a Rumsfeldian “occupations are easy and simple to win” propaganda piece and it’s much more of a “if you wing it again, it’s going to be a disaster, and even if you do plan it, it’s still likely to be a disaster” sober warning. Also not full of acronyms that either require digressions to translate or make my eyes glaze over and send me back to Twitter.

  53. 53
    JPL says:

    @Amir Khalid: Adam could use some type of powerpoint presentation for the president. I assuming that he’d also need pretty maps and colored posters set up around the room. Definitely no blue posters though.

  54. 54
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @catclub: I’ve seen good descriptions of Estonia’s plans should Putin try. I would not want to be the Russian army – either conventional or special operations forces.

  55. 55
    Marcopolo says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: Also too, don’t forget having a gosh darned god blessed soviet style military parade down the streets of Washington, DC for fixing preparedness issues!

    Maybe later this year!

  56. 56
    Brachiator says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I was wondering the other day how exactly Germany could have occupied and subdued the US (not to mention Canada and Mexico).

    This is the subject of a lot of alternative history. I think it would have been difficult, but would involve ruthlessly destroying the opposition and propping up a friendly puppet regime.

  57. 57
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Brachiator: No, we haven’t secured the peace anywhere, as I’ve written about here, since the end of World War II. We have no idea how to do it. Or, rather, those that have an idea aren’t in any position to influence the strategy and planning.

  58. 58
    Lee says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    That we can’t fly it over 20,000 feet because it chokes pilots out, something that seemingly can’t be fixed, is a bigger one.

    Holy shit, that really is still a problem? I first heard about that …a decade ago? WTF!

  59. 59
    Amir Khalid says:

    @mad citizen:

    I was wondering the other day how exactly Germany could have occupied and subdued the US (not to mention Canada and Mexico).

    I doubt the Third Reich ever gave that any serious thought. The question almost certainly never even occurred to the corporal who was giving the orders.

  60. 60
    Cacti says:

    Didn’t the Pentagon reject the initial results of the Millennium Challenge 2002 Iran war games simulation, because it predicted a bloody and costly invasion rather than a quick and easy one?

  61. 61
    Ruckus says:

    @kindness:
    You think the republican leaders aren’t children?
    I don’t see that they are in any way adults. They are no less petulant children than their followers

  62. 62
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    South Korea, technically?

  63. 63
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mary G: MWI’s style guide is anti acronym. They even made me write out United States instead of using US.

  64. 64
    Lee says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    So both the F35 & the F22 had/have an airflow problem?

  65. 65
    Amir Khalid says:

    @JPL:
    You mean, like what’s on the walls in a second grade classroom?

  66. 66
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @JPL: I have an entire briefing on this with maps. Plenty of images.

  67. 67
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Brachiator:

    I think it would have been difficult, but would involve ruthlessly destroying the opposition and propping up a friendly puppet regime.

    That clearly could never happen in the US… Er, um… Fuck!

  68. 68
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: The ROK is sort of a strange edge case. Basically the Korean War isn’t over, we are simply in a prolonged state of ceasefire under an armistice agreement. So while the ROK has flourished, the war technically is not over, and we have not secured the peace.

  69. 69
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Lee: The F35 is just a mess. I didn’t realize/know that the F 22 had that problem. I sit corrected.

  70. 70
    catclub says:

    @Adam L Silverman: You are probably right, but I still would favor France’s chances of not being invaded over Estonia’s.

  71. 71
    mad citizen says:

    Thanks Adam as always for answers. I would really like to hear prominent Democrats develop and promote a two year mandatory service requirement (military or otherwise) for the youth. At least we should have the debate. Maybe people would be more apt to vote after they gave two years to their nation. Maybe for immigrants, include a community service component.

  72. 72
    lollipopguild says:

    @Adam L Silverman: You are correct sir, but a lot of people think “Asia’ is Japan and China.

  73. 73
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    As I have learned from YouTube, no country with a fifth-generation fighter project has really suceeded at it, so far.

  74. 74
    hells littlest angel says:

    You’re just another spoilsport trying to take the fun out of Trump’s presidency. War is easy!

  75. 75
    Brachiator says:

    @Marcopolo:

    Actually I should clarify that last part. According to my father there were actually well-thoughtout plans for a postwar occupation of Iraq but Rumsfeld pretty much threw them out the window in his desire to show…um…something…

    Man, I would really like to see some of these plans. The illegal war was so destructive in and of itself that any postwar plans would be little more than idle fantasies.

  76. 76
    Ruckus says:

    @Hitlesswonder:
    Amazing isn’t it?
    Of course with a political party in charge (man do I crack myself up) that would like to return to a time that never existed in our history, and make everything worse than could possibly understand, you were expecting better?

  77. 77
    Jeffro says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    No, we haven’t secured the peace anywhere, as I’ve written about here, since the end of World War II.

    Not through force of arms, or at least not for any appreciable length of time, or at least not by force of arms/occupation alone.

  78. 78
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    I thought the F-22 had a cash-flow problem as well: even the most generously funded air force in the world can’t afford it.

  79. 79
    p.a. says:

    Paging Dan Senor. Dan Senor please pick up the nearest Trump Courtesy Phone.

  80. 80
    smintheus says:

    We can’t occupy Iran. We can however have $7/gal. gas prices and a couple fewer aircraft carriers riding the waves.

  81. 81
    The Moar You Know says:

    That’s the F35, not the F22.

    @Adam L Silverman: Eh, turns out we’re both right.

    I’d far rather be wrong.

  82. 82
    p.a. says:

    War is easy!

    And like tax cuts, pays for itself…

  83. 83
    Amir Khalid says:

    @mad citizen:
    Just wait. All the right-wing snowflakes will denounce any such national service programme as a “Democrat” plan to deprive them of their liberty, and loudly refuse to serve in such a commie scheme.

  84. 84
    Jeffro says:

    @hells littlest angel:

    You’re just another spoilsport trying to take the fun out of Trump’s presidency. War is easy!

    No no no…trade wars are easy…actual wars are even easier! Fire and fury and all that. Good times!

  85. 85
    smintheus says:

    @mad citizen: Maybe we could just have civic classes in school instead? Except for nations with very small populations, countries that have mandatory military service in peacetime find that their defense capability is not boosted appreciably and all they’ve achieved is wasting a few years of young people’s lives – the best years of their lives.

  86. 86
    Ruckus says:

    @Amir Khalid:
    You know them all too well.

  87. 87
    Ruckus says:

    @Amir Khalid:
    Although that does sound better than bone spurs.

  88. 88
    Mary G says:

    @Adam L Silverman: It cracks me up that the first thing in your reply is an acronym! Seriously, though, I’ve now read your response and while it’s a simplified version of the much more detailed posts you have favored us with, it is still heartening to see it at such a prestigious site. One of my greatest fears is that Twitler’s going to fire all the grownups at the Pentagon and replace them with yes-men, MAGAts, and Gorkas. This is reassurance on that front. Bookmarked the MWI for further reading.

  89. 89
    Marcopolo says:

    @Brachiator: Well, iirc you have to start with the idea that sober minded folks at the time (Colin Powell, Eric Shinseki) believed you needed a roughly 500K sized ground force to fight the war in the first place–much larger than what Rumsfeld used. That alone might have solved a few of the problems from the get go (while also creating a political climate back home that would have made it a lot more difficult to just hang out there and bungle through the occupation year after year).

  90. 90
    jl says:

    I thought ‘achievable end state’ was for beta cucks. Can you make off with some loot: alpha winners!

  91. 91

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: The Republic of Korea was/is an ally, we’re(ROK and the UN) is still at war with DPRK. So Adam’s right.

  92. 92
    p.a. says:

    Iran war talk is just an attempt to bring Bill Kristol back into the fold.

  93. 93

    @Adam L Silverman: Including flattering pictures of Trump?

  94. 94
    Ocotillo says:

    One of the reasons our military is so expensive in relation to others I would think is our humanity. Hang with me for a sec.

    Adam mentioned healthcare costs for current troops and that is where I am going. We invest in so much hardware and weaponary that is used from a distance. Think drones, Tomahawk missiles, jet fighters and bombers.

    We don’t have the manpower that a North Korea or China might have because as a society, war has to be sanitized to a degree to make it palatable to the masses. The less casualties, the more tolerance the general populace has for military misadventures. The less people required to staff the military operations, the less invested most Americans are because they don’t have literal skin in the game.

    And oh yeah, that military industrial complex loves them some tax dollars.

  95. 95
    mad citizen says:

    @smintheus: I’m good with civics classes, but if we had all the youth building some kickass national (or rather completing the ones already in the works) hiking and biking trails, etc., before I hit retirement, that would be great as well.

  96. 96
    JPL says:

    @Amir Khalid: I have an artsy friend who used to do bulletin boards for second grade, so she could help.

  97. 97
    rikyrah says:

    Mess with the Persians if you want to. It will NOT end well.

  98. 98
    VOR says:

    @catclub: Hey Rumsfeld had a plan. We take Bagdad, put Ahmed Chalabi in charge, he recognizes Israel, and that solves all Middle East problems. Okay, the plan was worthy of the Underpants Gnomes, but who needs a real plan?

    Re: F-22. There were problems with oxygen flow to pilots identified in 2011. This is discussed on the Wikipedia page for the F-22 with links to documents. I have no idea of the current state of affairs.

  99. 99
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    And a general officer who is, arguably, the best strategist produced by any of the countries in the region.

    As you know perfectly well Adam that in the eyes of the Post-Factuals in the White House that level of expertise on the subject invalidates this general’s opinion in thier minds.

    Trump won’t pay attention to the planing because it’s BORING, as for the occupation it will be “Trust me, it will go well and I am the top occupier in the world. I’ve occupied countless countries in the world” followed by “Look at the mess Obama dumped on me. The Democrats better get to work fixing their mess in Iran. Trust me, I will hold Democrats to account for their badly thought threw invasion of Iran. SAD”

  100. 100
    rikyrah says:

    I honestly am so tired of right wingers, who should have been forever shunned out of the marketplace of ideas after they lied us into TWO wars in the Middle East.

  101. 101
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    Great, considering this is the Trump administration, what are the chances this Iran War will end up being an attack on something like Costa Rica because they can’t read a map in the White House?

    I can see the press briefing now “The President believes Costa Rica to be in a secret alliance with Iran, that’s why all the baby terrorists”

  102. 102
    Jon Marcus says:

    Copy/paste-ish error in MWI’s tweet? It (reasonably) skips the reference to NK, but then says “War with Iran would be a campaign of catastrophe because both are human geography traps“. Without the reference to NK the “both” and the plural “traps” read wrong.

  103. 103
    TS (the original) says:

    Thank you so much Adam for writing this article in a language that most (trump excluded) can understand. Growing up in Australia we learned the geography of our country, the US and Europe, the rest of the world was a mystery and it has taken many years to overcome (not very successfully) my lack of knowledge of other regions. Your paper is very succinct in its explanations – also horrifying that anyone would consider invading Iran, but nothing about the current US administration approaches the norms of understanding.

  104. 104
    Nettoyeur says:

    @mad citizen: Remember also that for WWII,the US and its allies mobilized thousands if not millions of their citizens with language and cultural knowledge of Germany, France, Italy, and Japan by virtue of descent from immigrants, missionaries etc and long term training. We even broke the Japanese codes before Pearl Harbor, no mean feat. The demonization by the GOP of immigrants generally and those from Islamic countries in particular, coupled with pathetic language programs in schools and universities leaves us much weakened (at one point, the State Dept’s Russia sanctions team had not a single Russian speaker). To boot, Iran, unlike the patchwork tribal Iraq or Afghanistan, is real civilization with several millenia of history. The only thing worse than losing a military face off with Iran is winning it and having to occupy and govern it. It would be (Vietnam + Soviet Aghanistan + Iraq) squared.

  105. 105
    Jay says:

    @Cacti:

    Yes, and no. The wargame was to secure the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea in a replay of The Tanker War, not invade Iran.

    The Red Team threw away the script and proved it couldn’t be done, and then were forced to adhere to the script where it was a quick and easy win for the US.

  106. 106
    JAFD says:

    Meanwhile…

    I’m walking home from the supermarket, 4 PM today, Aug 1st (didn’t bring phone with camera today, sorry), on Chestnut Street at McCarter Hwy (NJ 21), south of downtown Newark, north of the port, airport, and Turnpike interchange. Is about 90 F and 90% humidity… Look up at passing traffic, and…

    Going by, southbound on 21, was a ‘bulldozer carrier’ loaded with a Panzerkampfwagon VI – Tiger I. Was painted prodominantly olive-drab, ‘231’ on turret in white outlined in black. Followed with ‘Oversize Load’ warning pickup and Newark police car. Gobsmacked was I

    Anyone with more info on this ?

  107. 107
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @Brachiator: And in these times, preparing for insane actions is merely prudent

  108. 108
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: And, of course, military parades.

  109. 109
    The Midnight Lurker says:

    @Anonymous At Work: They fired the Admiral who commanded the ‘Iranians’ in that exercise because he kicked ‘our side’s’ ass. He lodged a ‘formal complaint’ over it. It was pretty entertaining reading.

  110. 110
    brisket says:

    Good stuff, Adam.
    I think there’s a further complicating factor. (Bear in mind I’m speaking from outside the US.)
    If the US invaded Iran without extremely good reason, the blowback from existing allies would be intense. Sure, the Saudis and the Israelis would probably be delighted, but it would be the cold shoulder from everyone else. I would expect a complete withdrawal of cooperation from European allies, and possibly even sanctions. There would be riots at US embassies around the world. After failing to persuade the US that Iraq was a bad idea last time round, I think the democracies of the world would probably try and “starve the beast” by withdrawing economically (and if govts weren’t willing to do it formally, citizens would). Try funding that oversized, overstretched army with a collapsing economy and a collapsing dollar and no willing lenders.

  111. 111
    Captain C says:

    @Marcopolo:

    According to my father there were actually well-thoughtout plans for a postwar occupation of Iraq but Rumsfeld pretty much threw them out the window in his desire to show…um…something… get in on the looting of the country.

    FTFY

  112. 112
    The Midnight Lurker says:

    @smintheus: Ahhhh, I remember Civics Class. Wow, that takes me back.

  113. 113
    Mike in NC says:

    We could use the new US Space Corps to occupy Iran.

  114. 114
    JLowe says:

    O God, did we learn so little from Iraq 2.0 that someone felt the need to write an analysis of this horrifyingly similar though currently hypothetical scenario? I look forward to reading it (I analyze horrifying but hypothetical scenarios for my day job).

  115. 115
    Cermetr says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques: You do realize something very much did occur under ray-gun the stupid? The invasion of Grenada was total BS (and the after investigation proved it) done all in an attempt to prove to the Russians/Cubans/Nicaraguans that the US could handle them.

    The life cost (if its bugs are worked out) of the F-35 is more than the life costs of five nuclear carrier, fully equipped, complete battle groups with manpower costs (nearly twenty years.) How we intend to afford that even without tax cuts is beyond me. Add to it, the F-35 really adds no extra performance compared to F-22’s and carrier battle groups. Insanity is now the US’s only exceptional quality, now.

  116. 116
    rikyrah says:

    Thanks for the info Silverman.

  117. 117
    Brachiator says:

    @brisket:

    If the US invaded Iran without extremely good reason, the blowback from existing allies would be intense.

    That’s just it. I can’t imagine what a good reason might be. Nor any that would not anger Iranians.

  118. 118
    The Moar You Know says:

    The author, Joe Karle, argued that even though occupying Iran would be a very, very bad idea, given the recent political rhetoric, the President’s withdrawal of the US from the JCPOA, and the possibilities of events occurring that simply override the ability to prevent what would be an unfortunate event – an escalation to military engagement with Iran – that the Department of Defense needs to plan for a post conflict occupation. Even though such an occupation would be a very, very, very bad idea.

    Still gotta plan for possibilities, no matter how awful. The DoD routinely does this and should.

    Almost 30 years ago, they angered a lot of the “conservatives” by gaming out plans for global climate change and sea level rise. Well, here we are. Turns out making that plan was a damn good idea.

  119. 119
    trollhattan says:

    @JAFD:
    Angela Merkel is taking not one scrap more shit from Trump!

  120. 120
    Woodrow/Asim says:

    @Brachiator:

    Man, I would really like to see some of these plans.

    Check out Battle Ready by Gen. Zinni (Ret.) and (yes, really) Tom Clancy, published in ’04.

    It’s been over a decade since I read it, but as I recall Zinni goes into some detail on Iraqi Invasion Plans “on the table” at the end of the book — and then trashes the then-extant actual Invasion.

  121. 121
    raven says:

    @JLowe: This motherfucker could do anything to save his ass.

  122. 122
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mary G: just checking to make sure you’re awake!

  123. 123
    Geoboy says:

    @Nettoyeur: I thought we broke the Japanese codes between Pearl Harbor and Midway (partially as the result of the band form a sunken battleship needing something to do), which enabled the US to turn the tables on Japan (in terms of surprise) at Midway.

  124. 124

    @trollhattan: Either that or the heat making JAFD see things. As the kids say*, “pics or it didn’t happen”.

    *The kid actually said this about my encounter with a baby rattler.

  125. 125
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: does photoshop count?

  126. 126
    Mike in NC says:

    I was on active duty back when the glorious invasion of Grenada took place. I’m not exaggerating when I say half the Atlantic Fleet was sent to support operations.

  127. 127

    @Adam L Silverman: It depends. I use Photoshop quite alot, but mainly for blending different exposures, IR color correction, and adding longer exposure foregrounds to Milky Way pics.

  128. 128
    L85NJGT says:

    @Ocotillo:

    It’s also a function of being old demographically. Iran has a large and young population (median age is about decade behind us). The media in this country does a lot of virility fluffing of old white men, but they are not of much use militarily. The Germans were conscripting “old men & boys” at the end of WWII, and the UK ran out of men and started eliminating units in ’44.

    You can paper over staffing issues with mercs and colonials, but those come with their own set of problems (and Trump’s coalition of the willing would be…????). Ultimately demographics drive force size.

  129. 129
    JAFD says:

    @mad citizen: In my reading of history – YMMV – drafts / conscription / ‘universal service’ work under two conditions:
    1 – like Europe in the 19th Century, or the US in the 1950’s; boys finish secondary education, go off for a year or two of ‘Advanced Boy Scouts’, come home as Recognized Adults
    2 – in Wars of Existential Survival; which also mean raw-material allocation, 90% top tax rates, and a couple of GI’s carrying Sewall Avery out of his office.

    A repeat of ’65-’70, in which about half the eligible men got called up, and some of the draftees became infantry in the Nam and others were in safe duties – not going to happen again

    Secondly, going back twenty years ago, about 4 million babies were born in the USA in 1998, about half of whom were boys. There are now about one-and-a-half million active duty servicepeople in the US armed forces, about 3/4 milllion in the reserves. For the US to adopt Universal Military Training would require an effective end to US deployments in the MidEast and reassigning these troops as basic-training drill sargents.

  130. 130
    John Fremont says:

    @The Midnight Lurker: I thought it was a Marine General, Paul Van Riper who did that. The only reason I remember that name is because he inspected my M16 at Parris Island back in 86. Our final inspection during boot camp.

  131. 131
    Sherparick says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Occupation of Germany & Japan are somewhat unique. First, these populations after six years of terrible war were profoundly war weary & shocked by defeat. There was a lot of chaos the first year, which local elites sharing an interest with occupation authorities in re-establishing order. Finally, the emerging Cold War gave the U.S., Great Britain, & ruling elites in West Germany & Japan a common cause to unite around.

  132. 132
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @brisket: Yep, but outside the scope of what I was writing to.

  133. 133
    No One of Consequence says:

    @p.a.: Where can I deliver your Internets, sir?

    And does your newsletter have any advertisers that supply keyboard-cleaning kits?

    – NOoC

  134. 134
    Brachiator says:

    @Woodrow/Asim:

    Check out Battle Ready by Gen. Zinni (Ret.) and (yes, really) Tom Clancy, published in ’04.

    Thanks. I will take a look.

  135. 135
    The Midnight Lurker says:

    @John Fremont: YOU ARE RIGHT, SIR! I was working from that old 8088 machine I call a brain. It WAS Riper! I remember now because I couldn’t help drawing parallels with that exercise and Dr. Strangelove!

  136. 136

    @The Midnight Lurker: You have an IBM PC as a brain?

    ETA: Does it have a cassette port?

  137. 137
    azlib says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Occupation was never really on Hitler’s mind. What he wanted to do with the Soviet Union was to obliterate Leningrad and Moscow and probably a lot of the other Soviet cities along with their populations and then repopulate the empty lands with good Germans.
    Basically any country they occupied, they simply stripped of anything valuable and left the rest of the population starve. There was an incredible amount of sufffering and death, but this strategy was no way to subdue a population. You could not kill or starve everybody. That task was far to large and frankly ghastly to carry out.

  138. 138
  139. 139
    Yutsano says:

    @rikyrah: I, for one, welcome our new Persian overlords.

  140. 140
    The Midnight Lurker says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: 8-track. And YES – I believe technology peaked with the 8-track! Go ahead, make your damn millennial jokes.

  141. 141
    Mike in NC says:

    @Sherparick: I finally got around to reading “Endkampf: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Death of the Third Reich” by Stephen Fritz. By March and April of 1945, the Allies knew the end was near, but there was a lot of concern that the most fanatical Nazis (Waffen SS, Hitler Youth, etc.) would refuse to surrender and wage guerilla war from strongpoints in the mountains of Bavaria. That was one reason the US forces entering Germany turned south rather than liberate Berlin: Eisenhower and his staff wanted to take no chances of it coming to pass.

  142. 142

    Okay, I’m back and I’ve read both pieces. This is significant.

    Joe Karle is a PhD Student studying International Affairs at Virginia Tech University. His research focuses on military occupations, counterinsurgency, and US policy in the Middle East. He is a former paratrooper with the 3/509th Parachute Infantry Regiment. He served in Afghanistan in 2011-2012.

    I’ve seen stuff like this from graduate students with military backgrounds before. They write a paper for a class, and the professor says yes I think you should try to publish that. It’s a reasonable thing for the professor to do – give the student a publication for his resume and some experience dealing with the responses. The guys with military backgrounds tend to be VERY self-confident, very can-do about the military’s ability to do whatever.

    As Adam points out, the article isn’t quite as bad as the title, but still. The military has all sorts of contingency plans stocked away, probably including one for the occupation of Iran. And that’s all that’s needed. Check the box. Don’t get all churned up that we all need to be aware that This Man’s Can-Do Military can handle anything.

    It’s okay to say this is a bad idea, let’s not do it. Hopefully Joe Karle will learn that as he works through his graduate education.

    But it’s always a good idea to smack stuff like this down, so thanks, Adam.

  143. 143
    MomSense says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    The problem is that in order to draw a lesson from something you have to want to learn from it.

  144. 144
    ruemara says:

    I honestly can’t process this. It’s yet another giant case of stupid that will either happen or it won’t. Woe betide us if it does & it’s not like we won’t be busy fighting domestic battles if it doesn’t. I just hate all these people.

    In other news, no writing fellowship for me. They sure took a while but the last fucking day of July they finally got the semifinalists out. So, I guess I can figure out what else can happen for the rest of the year.

  145. 145
    smedley the uncertain says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Thanks Adam. These citations and your analysis will bring into focus some the other doctrinal analyses I have been perusing.

  146. 146
    Roger Moore says:

    @Geoboy:

    I thought we broke the Japanese codes between Pearl Harbor and Midway (partially as the result of the band form a sunken battleship needing something to do), which enabled the US to turn the tables on Japan (in terms of surprise) at Midway.

    We had already broken the Japanese diplomatic cipher before the war. This didn’t give the US warning of the Pearl Harbor attack because the Japanese government didn’t send the formal declaration of war to their ambassador until just before the attack. They had originally planned on delivering the formal declaration of war just a few minutes before the attack, but they were slow in decrypting the message (IIRC the US was actually faster) and didn’t deliver the declaration of war until after the attack was over. You’re right that we only cracked their naval cypher after the war started, but that was largely because there just weren’t enough encrypted messages to work on.

  147. 147

    @The Midnight Lurker:

    Go ahead, make your damn millennial jokes.

    I owned an original IBM PC, I bought it my first year of grad school.

  148. 148
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: I tried to be as gentle as possible.

  149. 149
    The Midnight Lurker says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Like a friend of mine says, “If you want to impress a millennial, don’t tell em’ how old you are, tell em’ how many orbits you’ve made around the sun.”

  150. 150
    MisterForkbeard says:

    Since it’s an open thread, has anyone seen this yet? https://abcnews.go.com/US/special-counsel-mueller-president-obstruction-justice-sources/story?id=56973384

    Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office wants to ask President Donald Trump about obstruction of justice, sources close to the White House tell ABC News. According to sources, the president learned within the last day that the special counsel will limit the scope of questioning and would like to ask questions both orally and written for the President to respond to.

    According to the article, this request was what triggered this morning’s insane twitter rant and obstructive tweets to DOJ.

  151. 151
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Modern fighters and other cockpit-military aircraft no longer use oxygen bottles to provide oxygen for the pilots and other aircrew since they’re hazardous to handle for aircrews, limited in capacity which can limit operational flying times in a world of refuelling-in-flight mission durations rated in tens of hours and they can fail in interesting ways (like not being filled properly to start with, or leaking etc.)

    Instead they use a ruggedised variant of the sort of oxygen concentrators available to people with breathing difficulties. They filter out nitrogen from an air stream leaving nearly-pure oxygen for consumption by the crews at altitude and have no effective capacity limits unlike oxygen obttles. A number of US military aircraft have suffered from problems with these oxygen generators, not just the F-35 but those problems are not endemic or intrinsic to the F-35’s design.

  152. 152
    Roger Moore says:

    @azlib:

    Basically any country they occupied, they simply stripped of anything valuable and left the rest of the population starve. There was an incredible amount of sufffering and death, but this strategy was no way to subdue a population. You could not kill or starve everybody. That task was far to large and frankly ghastly to carry out.

    I think the plan was more to enslave all of the inferior races, with the possible exception of some like Jews and Gypsies (and non-racial groups like Communists and gays) who would be exterminated. Of course enslavement during the war was effectively a sentence to slow death through overwork and malnutrition, and it’s entirely possible the same would have been true if the Nazis had won.

  153. 153
    Elizabelle says:

    @ruemara: I’m sorry you did not get this fellowship, but I admire that you applied, and hope there is one in your future. Keep on keeping on.

    @MisterForkbeard: WaPost had very short story on that topic. Cannot decide if Mueller’s aim is to rattle or pacify Trump. The interview negotiations opening again signals, to me: hey, we’re really close. We’re in the house.

  154. 154
    Nettoyeur says:

    @Geoboy: We broke the Japanese diplomatic and navy codes b4 Pearl Harbor and had serious code teams in Hawaii and DC. Watch Tora Tora Tora again (mostly acccurate). The key guys had attended Japanese War College (!!!) in the late 1920s!!! B4 Midway, we tricked the Japanese into revealing their target by spinning a false story of water shortages and finding traces of code words in their (decoded by us) traffic. The US military had done due diligence on Japan. Which is why the controversy over Pearl Harbor continues even now. Curiously, the key officers leading code breaking were transferred to unrelated duties despite their success. You can Google up a lot on this.

  155. 155
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Cermetr:

    You do realize something very much did occur under ray-gun the stupid? The invasion of Grenada was total BS (and the after investigation proved it) done all in an attempt to prove to the Russians/Cubans/Nicaraguans that the US could handle them.

    That was the First Step on the Road Back to Cuba! But Grenada did get me thinking of Costa Rica.. Then again, this is Donald Trump and I maybe over thinking it, and Trump may just go full Reagan in the Dark Knight Returns and attack Corto Maltese

    Why the that would be perfect Trump, thinks of the tweets

    Real Donald Trump@ “I’ve just order our magnificent military, the best military in the world to bomb Corto Maltese. It will be the best bombing ever. Trust me, I bomb all the time.”

    Spokesperson Joint Cheifs Staff US Mil.Gov@ “All we can say is as of now we can not find Corto Maltese on any map.”

    Real Donald Trump@ “The military tells me sad little Corto Maltese no longer exists. Take that Iran”

  156. 156
    Elizabelle says:

    The whole of the WaPost’s item, by Carol Leonnig.

    Mueller offers to limit investigators’ questions for Trump in special counsel’s latest effort to secure presidential interview

    Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III indicated this week that he is willing to reduce the number of questions his investigators would pose to President Trump in an interview, renewing negotiations with Trump’s lawyers about a presidential sit-down after an extended stand-off, according to two people briefed on the negotiations.

    The latest proposal by the special counsel comes as Trump has stepped up his attacks on his investigation and Mueller personally.

    Cue the Jaws music. Dum dum dum dum dum….

  157. 157
    Schlemazel says:

    Adam, I don’t see how you can argue that not having a post invasion plan for Iran is a bad thing. We had no plan for post invasion Iraq & that turned out perfectly

  158. 158
    Mary G says:

    @ruemara: Their loss.

  159. 159
    rikyrah says:

    Political Happy Hour (@PoliHappyHour) Tweeted:
    @AliVelshi and @SRuhle just destroyed @DanKEberhart on #VelshiAndRuhle. #TrumpLiesSixteenTimesADay https://t.co/hoiYJE7Nv2 https://twitter.com/PoliHappyHour/status/1024684727242960896?s=17

  160. 160
    Jay says:

    @Roger Moore:

    “The Generalplan Ost (German pronunciation: [ɡenəˈʁaːlˌplaːn ˈɔst]; English: Master Plan for the East), abbreviated GPO, was the German government’s plan for the genocide and ethnic cleansing on a vast scale, and colonization of Central and Eastern Europe by Germans. It was to be undertaken in territories occupied by Germany during World War II. The plan was partially realized during the war, resulting indirectly and directly in millions of deaths of ethnic Slavs by starvation, disease, or extermination through labor. But its full implementation was not considered practicable during the major military operations, and was prevented by Germany’s defeat.[1][2]”

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generalplan_Ost

  161. 161
    Jay says:

    @Elizabelle:

    It’s the White House leaking again, don’t believe it.

  162. 162
    Miss Bianca says:

    Looks like a fascinating article, Adam, – just skimmed thru’ and I look forward to reading it in depth when I get home!

  163. 163
    smedley the uncertain says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques: I believe Adam is referring to an Iranian General.

  164. 164
    Yarrow says:

    CNN has a story saying the TSA is considering eliminating security screening at small and some medium sized airports that operate commercial planes with 60 seats or fewer. They say if they arrive at a larger airport the passengers and bags would then be screened. That just seems dumb. So connecting passengers would have to go through security at the larger airport? It’s bad enough with international connecting flights where you have to do that. Can’t imagine adding in domestic flights.

  165. 165
    The Midnight Lurker says:

    @The Midnight Lurker: As I recall now, Riper killed all electronic communication, used messengers instead, which rendered most, if not all of our ‘eavesdropping capabilities’ useless. Then he used suicide bombers in rubber dingys. Wound up sinking one of our aircraft carriers and that’s when the trouble started. Sorry I confused him with a swabbie. Owe you a beer, Marine.

  166. 166
    Elizabelle says:

    @Yarrow: Yeah, that sounds ridiculous. I did not click on the story, because it sounded so preposterous.

    ETA: What is is, anyway? TSA doesn’t have enough funds?

  167. 167
    Suffragettecity says:

    Thanks for the article link. Congrats!
    And also for the education.

  168. 168
    The Midnight Lurker says:

    @John Fremont: Hey, John. Comment 165 is for you. I sent it to myself because I have a good brain. It’s huge.

  169. 169
    TenguPhule says:

    then United States policy is asking of strategy that which the strategy cannot provide

    The Unified Pony Theorem!

  170. 170
    TenguPhule says:

    @Yarrow:

    That just seems dumb.

    Therefore plausible.

    I hate that this is becoming the new normal.

  171. 171
    Barbara says:

    @Yarrow: On the other hand, if you have flown through some of these airports you can definitely understand the incredible expense associated with maintaining that high level of security. I flew into Rutland, Vermont, which has two flights coming and two flights going every day, all in an 8 seat plane. There were four TSA agents handling security. There was one employee doing everything else, including staffing the rental car desk. So that’s four TSA employees for a maximum of 16 passengers a day. Of course, having to get screened at Logan (where all the plans go in and out of) could be a nightmare.

  172. 172
    TenguPhule says:

    @The Midnight Lurker:

    Then he used suicide bombers in rubber dingys. Wound up sinking one of our aircraft carriers and that’s when the trouble started.

    Suicide bombers with one shot portable missile launchers in speed boats.

    Thereby demonstrating that our blue water ships are almost ass naked against close in assaults, except for the occasional 50 mm machine gun mount on the escorts.

  173. 173
    TenguPhule says:

    @ruemara:

    It’s yet another giant case of stupid that will either happen or it won’t.

    But all possibilities remain equal until the cat is removed from the box.

  174. 174
    Barbara says:

    @ruemara: Hey, I am sorry. That’s disappointing.

  175. 175
    Yarrow says:

    @Elizabelle: I saw the segment on TV. Apparently it’s a real thing. TSA just said that the regulations that established TSA do not require screening below a certain level but when CNN asked for the actual regulation the TSA didn’t respond.

  176. 176
    The Midnight Lurker says:

    @TenguPhule: ‘ass naked’ – pardon me, your your slip is showing. And in close contact combat, the ol’ Browning works just fine.

  177. 177
    TenguPhule says:

    @The Midnight Lurker:

    And in close contact combat, the ol’ Browning works just fine.

    Sure, for the portion of the boat (typically the front) where its mounted on. Modern carriers don’t even have them anymore IIRC because the designers figured nothing was supposed to get through the escorts to get that close.

  178. 178
    joel hanes says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Back in 1968-1969, the national high school debate question of the year was:
    “Resolved: that the United States should a program of compulsory national service by all citizens”

    The preprinted citation card decks for the PRO side were provided, gratis, by The Ripon Society, aka the Republican Party

    My how times have changed.

  179. 179
    The Midnight Lurker says:

    @TenguPhule: You might know… so please check my math on this. But didn’t the Bismarck’s AA guns have an automatic setting so that you could dial in speed setting of the attacking aircraft. And if memory serves, the Swordfish’s top speed was 10 miles BELOW the lowest setting?
    Yeah… technology. That’s what the Germans had.

  180. 180
    John Fremont says:

    @The Midnight Lurker: @The Midnight Lurker: If your ever in the Denver area, sure thing. I couldn’t make the last Denver meetup because of work, but I made the one earlier this year and met a few of the jackals. The Balloon Juoce page come to life.

  181. 181
    TenguPhule says:

    @The Midnight Lurker: Modern nuclear carriers don’t use the old style AA guns and the AA phalanx isn’t designed to aim at targets close in, they can’t shoot downwards or even track targets under the minimum range. the 50 mm mounted on destroyers and our cruisers don’t have 360 coverage, most of them are limited to 180 at best some of them 120 degree or less depending on the mount. So there are big holes in close assault flak coverage on the water at the best of times.

  182. 182
    HinTN says:

    @Cermetr: The Flying Swiss Army Knife, h/t Mr Pierce, is supposed to replace the A-10, F-16, F-15, F-14, and other “legacy” aircraft that are expensive to maintain. All those saved costs make the Lightning pay for itself. Uh huh

  183. 183
    Another Scott says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: +1.

    The Pentagon plans for all sorts of things, at various degrees of intensity and seriousness. E.g. War Plan Red – Let’s Go to War with the UK!

    and similarly

    Defense Scheme No. 1 – Canada’s Plans to Invade the USA!

    It seems clear to me, for some of the reasons Adam has outlined here and over the years, and for other reasons, that we’re not going to invade Iran. We don’t have the people or equipment or casus belli or even a hypothetical consistent story about what political aims would be accomplished. It’s Trump and his minions trying to do a few things:

    1) Distract the press and others from his ties to Vlad
    2) Distract the press and others from his policy failures and incompetence
    3) Distract the press and others from his legal jeopardy
    4) Distract the press and others from the successes of the Democratic party
    5) Try to goad Iran into doing something stupid that would “justify” a missile strike to pump up his ratings with his base and make Bibi and the KSA oligarchs happy.
    6) Try to repeat his “success” with Kim in the DPRK but this time with Iran. I.e. threaten nuclear war, quickly agree to a meeting, have a photo-op, declare success, then move on to some other photo-op bit of “diplomacy”.

    There may be military actions – and make no mistake, those would be extremely dangerous and fool-hardy given the situation as it stands now. But we’re not going to War with Iran, and we’re not going to invade Iran.

    96 days to go. Eyes on the prize.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  184. 184
    evodevo says:

    @The Midnight Lurker: Yeah, I remember reading that lol – typical military thinking, the kind that has gotten our ass kicked in a LOT of engagements over the last 60 years … “But, but, but .. you’re not fighting FAIR!!!”

  185. 185
    Dan B says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques: The Ticos will send them into the tall grass with sandals (Ticos wear snake boots and Fer de Lance are grrrumpy). And swimming in streams will be highly revommended (No, those aren’t salt water crocodiles. They’re tame.) The rest will be occupied with the legal sex tourism and volcano sacrifices. So much winning!

  186. 186
    Dan B says:

    @Cermetr: I could imagine us prevailing in battle if we sent an army and air force of crazed fanatics but it might be a better movie from The Onion’s horror division. Or we just con them into paying for the F-35. They would beg for total surrender./

    Genius, I know.

  187. 187
    Dan B says:

    @Woodrow/Asim: I had a wonderful Iraqi friend who has since moved to Stanford. She felt that disbanding the one million strong Iraqi military was the worst aspect of the occupation. It left one million men without income or a shred of respect in a society based upon “face”.

    She really wanted Saddam gone because she’d been forced to oerform surgeries on his foes, cutting off ears and worse.

    I miss her.

  188. 188
    J R in WV says:

    @Cacti:

    Didn’t the Pentagon reject the initial results of the Didn’t the Pentagon reject the initial results of the Millennium Challenge 2002 Iran war games simulation, because it predicted a bloody and costly invasion rather than a quick and easy one? Iran war games simulation, because it predicted a bloody and costly invasion rather than a quick and easy one?

    No, they rejected it because the Iranian forces being commanded by retired Marine Corps Lieutenant General Paul K. Van Riper, adopted an asymmetric strategy, in particular, using old methods to evade Blue’s sophisticated electronic surveillance network. Van Riper used motorcycle messengers to transmit orders to front-line troops and World-War-II-style light signals to launch airplanes without radio communications. [Wikipedia article, which see]

    The Iranian forces in the war games completely destroyed the US forces, sinking the Navy fleets, the Marine expeditionary forces, ruining the American military for probably the next decade, leaving Europe vulnerable and SE Asia up for grabs. So the horrified generals witnessing this US debacle ordered the Iranian forces to do things no asymmetrical war fighting general would do. Because we can’t lose to a secondary war power, what did we spend all that money on? Plus our general staff and the Joint Chiefs seem nearly as incompetent as President Trump.

    Adam,

    Good job on your well placed article. Obvious that the West Point based journal was glad to have a well written article to contrast and compare with the article suggesting that with the proper strategery we can invade Iran and make it a peaceful Christian nation, subject to our will. HAHAHA. Thanks for all you do for our poor nation!

  189. 189
    Dan B says:

    @rikyrah: I need a nap.

    I read that as Velshi and Ruhle destroy Dank Eberhardt on 16 Candles. Who would name their child “Dank”?

    The Onion in my brain.. is my brain?

  190. 190
    J R in WV says:

    @TenguPhule:

    “…the occasional 50 mm machine gun mount on the escorts.”

    You mean .50 caliber – 50mm is 2 inches, would be an autofire cannon. Ma Deuce is .50 caliber, half an inch diameter, several hundred rounds a minute, range of a kilometer or so. Can take small craft to pieces, aircraft carriers don’t have such a tool.

  191. 191
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @J R in WV: J R in WV is an ammunition pedant. Dossier updated!

  192. 192
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @HinTN: They need replacing anyway, many of those airframes are going to be over sixty years old by the 2030s having been worked hard and long over the past couple of decades — there’s a move on to extend the flying hours limit of some fighter-attack aircraft beyond 10,000 hours with some creative paperwork which is really pushing it, especially carrier ops aircraft which take a lot of physical abuse on takeoffs and landings (they should really retire after 8,000 hours or so, isn’t happening).

    The F-35 seems to be a good plane according to a lot of the pilots operating them today — about 300 aircraft are in front-line squadrons around the world, working up for operations. It’s a 21-century plane, it takes a lot of the processing workload off the middle-manager in the cockpit and allows her to get on with her job instead of micromanaging a lot of itsy-bitsy stuff. Planes like the F-14 were designed in the 1960s and despite upgrades and patches layered on patches they’re still a typewriters-and-account-books 1960s design. The F-35 should be going out of service some time in the 2060s.

    Pretty much every aircraft ever introduced has been denigrated as not as good as the previous generation of aircraft which were perfect from the day they came off the drafting parchment according to rose-tinted memory. The F-35, despite its detractors, has achieved front-line service without killing a single pilot or even suffering a complete airframe loss accident in testing and development (there’s one of three F-35 accidents where engine damage might cost 50 million to repair but that’s it, that particular airframe may not be fixed as it’s effectively Block 1). No ejections at all which is impressive. That is not something you’d expect from a bad plane.

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