Beating The War Drums

National Security Advisor John Bolton still thinks that the Iraq war was a good idea. He has never met a war he didn’t like or a treaty that he did. Now, as Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor, he has a great deal of power to make war against Iran. Bolton has given speeches for the MEK, a cultish organization that wants regime change in Iran.

Trump pulled the United States out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, Iran deal) a year ago, under the fiction that his great deal-making skills and “maximum pressure” would force Iran into a deal where they would change their government, stop supporting Hamas, end all nuclear work, and, probably, build a Trump Tower Tehran. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has listed twelve points that Iran must meet to become a good world citizen in his eyes. Presumably, as in the case of North Korea, Iran must meet all those points before sanctions will be removed.

The JCPOA covers the possibility of Iran’s making nuclear weapons in full detail. Iran is complying with the agreement. But that’s not enough for a faction in the United States and Israel who opposed the JCPOA from the beginning and have continued to agitate for withdrawal from it.

Trump’s strategy for getting attention is to break something, worsen the situation, and then go back to something like before he broke it, to his own self-congratulations and often those of the media. Unfortunately, that earlier state is available only in a degraded form.

Trump broke the JCPOA a year ago. Pompeo regularly refers to regime change in Iran. Bolton publicized a routine movement of ships to the Persian Gulf like a move toward war. Although Iran ended its nuclear weapons program in 2007, the devotees of war will not accept less than inspection of every inch of every military base in Iran. Their lies are moving into mainstream media and administration discourse.

The other parties to the JCPOA – the UK, France, Germany, China, Russia, the EU, and Iran – are trying to hold things together. But the US has imposed heavy economic sanctions on Iran and secondary sanctions on countries doing business there, in contravention of the JCPOA’s promises. Iran has responded with a threat to increase its uranium enrichment and heavy water accumulation, actions that can easily be reversed.

It’s possible that maximum economic pressure works on contractors in the New York real estate scene. Nations respond differently. External pressure brings people together and increases their determination. That seems to be happening in Iran. The idea of a comprehensive agreement turning Iran into the country that Donald Trump wants it to be is a fantasy.

Trump has no idea how much work goes into an enforceable treaty. He seems to believe that handshakes between leaders and nice words for the media are sufficient. The JCPOA required the work of hundreds of experts over two years.

Over the weekend, Trump plaintively asked Iran to call him. His patience is short; probably he thought that the sanctions, along with his bluster and that of others would bring Iran around. There are many ways that the US could reach out to Iran. But Trump’s idea of dominance doesn’t allow for that. Iran must call him. His bluster has opened the way for Bolton to move toward war. Can he call it back?

Vague rumors of planned actions by Iran surfaced a few days ago, given to the media by one or a very few anonymous sources, which the media did not bother to confirm. Now come attacks on Saudi oil tankers in the UAE and on a Saudi Arabian pipeline. Iran can easily be blamed for these, and that blaming is already starting. However,

(More detail here.)

The military have plans for Iran. It is the military’s job to plan for many things. John Bolton’s publicizing those plans adds to the tension. It is possible that handing this plan to Trump and his people is the military’s way of warning against war, as may be anonymous sources’ speaking to the media. And now Trump seems to be walking this back.

Meanwhile, Iran can play the peacemaker. Trump never fails to hand the high ground to his adversary.

Lyndon Johnson lied about a supposed attack in the Gulf of Tonkin to justify expanding the Vietnam war. George W. Bush lied about yellowcake and aluminum tubes to justify the war against Iraq. Robin Wright collects other examples of presidents lying the US into war. The same tactics are being used now to justify a war against Iran, which would be far worse than the Iraq war.

Today, a new idea: The rulers of Iran and Saudi Arabia should talk to each other. It is this rivalry that drives much of the hostility toward Iran. A responsible American government would work to bring the two together.

This is going to continue for a while. It’s not clear at this point whether it will fade out as have recent concerns about North Korea and Venezuela or if Bolton will get his war. And news keeps rolling in as Trump continues his word salad.

 

Cross-posted to Nuclear Diner.






144 replies
  1. 1
    TenguPhule says:

    Trump’s strategy for getting attention is to break something, worsen the situation, and then go back to something like before he broke it, to his own self-congratulations and often those of the media. Unfortunately, that earlier state is available only in a degraded form.

    And sometimes you can’t put humpty dumpty back together again.

    ReplyReply
  2. 2
    TenguPhule says:

    The rulers of Iran and Saudi Arabia should talk to each other.

    I hate to say this, but Iran has absolutely no reason to trust the absolutely untrustworthy Saudis.

    ReplyReply
  3. 3
    TenguPhule says:

    The military have plans for Iran.

    Most of those plans begin with and end with “Fuck no.”

    ReplyReply
  4. 4
    Sebastian says:

    @TenguPhule:

    The Saudis are the last people to trust with anything.

    Do we even have enough troops to attack Iran?

    ReplyReply
  5. 5
    CliosFanBoy says:

    Lyndon Johnson lied about a supposed attack in the Gulf of Tonkin to justify expanding the Vietnam war.

    Sigh, the first attack DID happen. He lied about the reasons behind it, and he lied about the second attack.

    ReplyReply
  6. 6
    TenguPhule says:

    @Sebastian:

    Do we even have enough troops to attack Iran?

    if you’re talking numbers on paper.

    120,000.

    If you’re talking actual combat ready troops.

    Maybe 12,000. After about 3 weeks of redeployment.

    Iran of course has somewhere close to three quarters of a million troops and militia all at home.

    ReplyReply
  7. 7

    TenguPhule, cool it. Let others comment.

    ReplyReply
  8. 8
    catclub says:

    The other parties to the JCPOA – the UK, France, Germany, China, Russia, the EU, and Iran – are trying to hold things together. But the US has imposed heavy economic sanctions on Iran and secondary sanctions on countries doing business there, in contravention of the JCPOA’s promises. Iran has responded with a threat to increase its uranium enrichment and heavy water accumulation, actions that can easily be reversed.

    It’s possible that maximum economic pressure works on contractors in the New York real estate scene. Nations respond differently. External pressure brings people together and increases their determination.

    I wish that the other parties were a whole lot more aggressive in countering the US sanctions by setting up international banking systems that aren’t subject to US whim, because we control dollar transactions. I think they have done very little more than zero, because Iran would not be a big enough customer to make it worth their effort.

    ReplyReply
  9. 9
    raven says:

    Fuck LBJ

    ReplyReply
  10. 10
    catclub says:

    @Sebastian:

    The Saudis are the last people to trust with anything.

    That is not true! You can trust them to say – “You go first Yankee, kill those Iranians!” Onward Christian Soldiers.

    ReplyReply
  11. 11
    chopper says:

    republicans talk about iran the way incels talk about women. it’s just nuts.

    ReplyReply
  12. 12
    Cermet says:

    Military power isn’t a linear function; Iran is about three times as big (if memory serves) as Iraqi population wise but can field an army far larger (due to the vastly larger number of older teens to early twenties) and significantly larger and more powerful economy callable of better supporting war material. All in all, Iran isn’t three times as powerful as Iraqi but more like a factor of five to ten times in overall military power. Also, unlike Iraqi soldiers, Iran’s are very zealous and willing to endure terrible casualties that Iraqi solders couldn’t handle. All in all, such a war is far beyond our tolerance for casualties. Rather, better to let the Iranians take care of our real, most current enemy of late – Israel.

    ReplyReply
  13. 13
    skerry says:

    National Security Advisor John Bolton still thinks that the Iraq war was a good idea. He has never met a war he didn’t like (after avoiding Vietnam) or a treaty that he did.

    Fixed it

    ReplyReply
  14. 14
    BC in Illinois says:

    Top British General in Iraq, Christopher Ghika: “No there’s been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria.”

    Does Trump think that he can simply decree a war — “Let there be war!” — and it will be so? Without allies? Without a “coalition”?

    People are throwing around the number of 120,000 troops. Are they available? Ready? Equipped? Will [insert the name of uncertain ally here] be willing to transport the troops and provide the bases for them to operate from? Where does Iraq fit in? The Saudis? The UK? Does Theresa May want this on her plate? Emmanuel Macron? Angela Merkel?

    If there is no coalition-of-the-somewhat-willing, then there is no war.

    Is there no one left, who can tell Trump?

    ReplyReply
  15. 15
    tokyokie says:

    Will somebody please show John Fucking Bolton a map and ask him from whence an invasion of Iran could be staged? And trying to subdue Iran by means of air power means bringing a carrier group within range of Iranian anti-ship missiles. Which means no more flattop.

    I don’t know whether these assholes or more vile than stupid or vice versa, but they’re plenty of both.

    ReplyReply
  16. 16
    TenguPhule says:

    @tokyokie:

    I don’t know whether these assholes or more vile than stupid or vice versa,

    Pretty sure the answer is, Yes.

    ReplyReply
  17. 17
    TenguPhule says:

    @BC in Illinois:

    People are throwing around the number of 120,000 troops. Are they available? Ready? Equipped?

    No. No. And no.

    But you have to admit, 120,000 troops sounds good on paper. Which is all the acting Defense Secretary has to offer.

    ReplyReply
  18. 18
  19. 19
    tokyokie says:

    @TenguPhule: Pourquoi pas les deux?

    ReplyReply
  20. 20
    TenguPhule says:

    @Cermet:

    Rather, better to let the Iranians take care of our real, most current enemy of late – Israel.

    Or we could try the sane option of nobody shooting at anyone other then the Saudis.

    JFC, Iran vs Israel is one of those “nobody wins” scenarios.

    ReplyReply
  21. 21
    rp says:

    That can’t be right. Greenwald assured us that Trump was against US imperialism and militarism.

    ReplyReply
  22. 22
    rp says:

    Rather, better to let the Iranians take care of our real, most current enemy of late – Israel.

    That’s a pretty f*cking obnoxious thing to say.

    ReplyReply
  23. 23
    TenguPhule says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I did not know we had run out of Special Ops forces to deploy.

    That’s…..a lot of missions.

    ReplyReply
  24. 24
    Brachiator says:

    @Sebastian:

    Do we even have enough troops to attack Iran?

    We can attack Iran. We could likely convincingly defeat Iranian forces. Then the fun begins.

    This is not the same thing as winning a war against Iran. And Trump would likely do something stupid like trying to seize Iranian oil was war booty.

    The US would become a rogue nation and invite the enmity of much of the Muslim world.

    ReplyReply
  25. 25

    Shut it down, TenguPhule.

    ReplyReply
  26. 26
    Mike in NC says:

    Bibi and Bolton are pining for a war with Iran. They just need to keep whispering “it’ll be a cakewalk” in Fat Bastard’s ear.

    Apparently he got upset when his worthless bluster didn’t cause a coup in Venezuela. Sad!

    ReplyReply
  27. 27
    Kent says:

    Look at a map. Tehran is about 1000 km from the Persian Gulf via existing highways. That’s like landing in New York and pushing your supply line all the way to Chicago, except through MUCH MUCH more rugged and mountainous country.

    It would take a several million man invasion force to pull that sort of thing off.

    These are the Zagros mountains you need to cross to get to Tehran: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zagros_Mountains#/media/File:Dena2.jpg

    ReplyReply
  28. 28
    Renie says:

    The scariest part is that if these a$$holes want to start a war, who is going to stop then.

    ReplyReply
  29. 29
    TenguPhule says:

    @Brachiator:

    We could likely convincingly defeat Iranian forces.

    No, no we couldn’t.

    We could hurt Iran with an air campaign. But in return our naval forces in the gulf would be pounded with everything Iran could throw at it.

    From all reports the Iranian ground forces are too spread out and have way too many places to hide that an air campaign would not be able to kill more then a fraction of them.

    And we have nowhere near enough troops or armor units left to deploy which could sustain any ground invasion.

    The country is a buzzsaw. And Bolton wants to stick our dick in it.

    ReplyReply
  30. 30
    Cacti says:

    I can’t help but notice that all of the “attacks” on KSA these days seem to have the side effect of raising the price of crude in the commodities markets.

    Total coincidence, I’m sure. ;-)

    ReplyReply
  31. 31
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @TenguPhule: Over 140 countries. They’re everywhere you want to be. That entire section is largely an update of a front page post I did here a year before delineating this whole personnel issue:
    https://www.balloon-juice.com/2017/05/09/we-are-not-escalating-operation-freedoms-sentinel-or-much-of-anything-else-despite-the-clickbait-headlines/

    ReplyReply
  32. 32

    Trump’s strategy for getting attention is to break something, worsen the situation, and then go back to something like before he broke it, to his own self-congratulations and often those of the media. Unfortunately, that earlier state is available only in a degraded form.

    And one of the things that is degraded every time is US credibility . Unlike the constant refrain that refusing to blow stuff up destroys our credibility, regularly reneging on our promises really does damage our credibility as serious negotiating partners.

    ReplyReply
  33. 33
    J R in WV says:

    @raven:

    Fuck LBJ

    QFT, bro. Glad you’re home with the critters and Princess. Your beach adventure was amazing, hope you’re feeling better already!

    ReplyReply
  34. 34
    TenguPhule says:

    Donald Trump Jr. agrees to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee again

    Speaking of upcoming train wrecks…..

    ReplyReply
  35. 35
    Kent says:

    @Brachiator:

    We could likely convincingly defeat Iranian forces.

    Sure, if you lined them all up in the Saudi Arabian desert or something.

    Not so much if they are playing defense on their home turf. Iran is a country of 81 million that covers an area the size of France, Germany, and Spain combined.

    ReplyReply
  36. 36
    Cermet says:

    @TenguPhule: That was a joke based on Israel making the U.S. fight its wars the last decade. I wasn’t seriously hoping they and Iran fight a war.

    Silverman: Thanks for the interesting article.

    ReplyReply
  37. 37
    Steve in the ATL says:

    Had dinner tonight with a lovely couple who live in Dubai. We were discussing various issues in the Middle East and, on every issue discussed, their conclusion was “Saudi is the worst for that.” Kuwait and Qatar placed and showed.

    The wife is originally from Kenya. I told her we were afraid to travel there because of ongoing tensions between the Kikuyu and Mao Mao. They were both amused and impressed, while my wife gave me her usual “what the hell is wrong with you?” Look.

    ReplyReply
  38. 38

    @BC in Illinois: Republicans believe that we can “Shock and Awe” them into submission with air power alone.

    ReplyReply
  39. 39
    Sebastian says:

    @Brachiator:

    See, I doubt that we can do even that hence my question. We would need at least 100k combat troops to even think of invading and Adam answered it with his link (and previous discussions around here which I remember faintly): we are barely able to keep the lights on.

    Looks like imperial overstretch to me. This is not going to end well.

    ReplyReply
  40. 40

    @TenguPhule: Nuke ’em, easy peasy.

    ReplyReply
  41. 41
    TenguPhule says:

    @Cermet:

    That was a joke based on Israel making the U.S. fight its wars the last decade. I wasn’t seriously hoping they and Iran fight a war.

    Please use // for those kind of jokes. Poe’s law is in full effect.

    ReplyReply
  42. 42

    @Roger Moore: Exactly. One of the problems with the administration’s claims is that nobody can believe them.

    ReplyReply
  43. 43
    Mike Adamson says:

    Great idea!

    ReplyReply
  44. 44
    Cermet says:

    @rp: Get another on-line site if your feelings are so easily hurt. Last I check, their interest and ours aren’t the same nor should we further waste our soldiers lives defending their interests.

    ReplyReply
  45. 45
    Kent says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:

    @BC in Illinois: Republicans believe that we can “Shock and Awe” them into submission with air power alone.

    Remind me when was the last time that worked since perhaps Hiroshima?

    ReplyReply
  46. 46
    Cermet says:

    @Kent: Don’t give them any idea’s – cheney the war criminal already did suggest that path to bush-wack once.

    ReplyReply
  47. 47
    Sebastian says:

    @Kent:

    Anyone who has researched or even played a simulation of Alexander’s campaigns knows those mountains are a serious PITA to any military effort.

    ReplyReply
  48. 48

    @Kent: I think you just answered your question. Trump said when he came into office, “Why have nukes if you can’t use them”.

    ReplyReply
  49. 49

    @Sebastian: Or the Roman Empire’s campaigns.

    ReplyReply
  50. 50

    ReplyReply
  51. 51
    BC in Illinois says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    . . . then United States policy is asking of strategy that which the strategy cannot provide: an achievable end state.

    In 2003, as the Iraq war was about to begin, I was in a position where I couldn’t speak freely about things political. (I needed to be on speaking terms with people on many sides of most questions — or most sides of many questions.) So, when asked what I thought about the start of the war, I confined myself to one (two-part) comment: I said that there was no doubt that we could defeat Saddam. I also said that I wasn’t sure that we had a clear plan for what happened next.

    Trump doesn’t even have as much of a team as W had, in planning for what happens next. It’s probably not even correct — from his vantage point — to speak of a “team.” W thought of himself as the “Decider” in the process; that at least put him in touch with people who brought him decisions to make. Trump sees himself as the “Leader.” If he says it, it will be so. (And who can tell him “no”?)

    Planning for what happens next — an achievable end state — is someone else’s problem.

    ReplyReply
  52. 52
    lynno says:

    120,000 troops plus 50,000 contractors. Where would you base them in the ME? Iraq green zone? That many boots on the ground is nothing but a target. We would have ISIS 2.0 within weeks

    ReplyReply
  53. 53
    Cermet says:

    @TenguPhule: I have no idea what Poe’s law is so that might be useful to state. But next time, I’ll add a lol or something like that so this does not happen again. Still, Israel pushing the U.S. to a war with Iran does make them a serious threat to our country (assuming we are that stupid … wait, this is the orange fart cloud. Uh-Oh.)

    ReplyReply
  54. 54
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Mike in NC:

    Bibi and Bolton are pining for a war with Iran.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Bolton’s first words right out of the womb were “Let’s bomb the shit out of Iran!”

    He’s had a boner for war with Iran for a LONG time. I say he and Dump and Dump’s shitpile kids can go first. Oh, and take Rudy, Rush and Newt for “reinforcements.”

    ReplyReply
  55. 55
    Mike in NC says:

    We can probably take some solace in the fact that Trump is a callow coward, notwithstanding there are no adults left in the West Wing to try to check his dumb notions.

    ReplyReply
  56. 56
    Brachiator says:

    @TenguPhule:

    @Kent:

    Not so much if they are playing defense on their home turf. Iran is a country of 81 million that covers an area the size of France, Germany, and Spain combined.

    Fair enough. But my larger point is that I don’t see the US winning a war against Iran in the medium to long term.

    I also think that Trump is a coward, especially when it comes to going to war. But I guess that Bolton is trying hard to goad Trump into doing something stupid.

    ReplyReply
  57. 57
    J R in WV says:

    @rp:

    Rather, better to let the Iranians take care of our real, most current enemy of late – Israel.

    That’s a pretty f*cking obnoxious thing to say.

    Actually, I’ve regarded Israel as no longer an ally ever since they attacked the unarmed USN ship the USS LIberty, and killed [34 men] or wounded [171 men] most of the crew.

    There was a war on, but when did Israel need to seriously fear a naval attack…

    ReplyReply
  58. 58
    trollhattan says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:
    So we’ve gone from Inherent Resolve to Acquired Resolve? Great!

    Speaking of things UK, Teresa May must have just had the stitches removed from the last time, ’cause here we go, again.

    Downing Street said this was “imperative” if the UK was to leave the EU before MPs’ summer recess.

    The government also said talks with Labour would continue on Wednesday in an attempt to agree a way through the Brexit impasse.

    Attempts to find a cross-party compromise began after the PM’s Brexit deal was rejected three times by MPs.

    A Labour spokesman said Jeremy Corbyn had raised concerns “about the prime minister’s ability to deliver on any compromise agreement”.

    ReplyReply
  59. 59
    trollhattan says:

    @mrmoshpotato:
    They’re all pissed at Bush 2 for knocking off the only Axis of Evil member possible to knock off. “Ah whont mah waarrrr!”

    ReplyReply
  60. 60
    TenguPhule says:

    @Cermet:

    I have no idea what Poe’s law is so that might be useful to state.

    Essentially reality has become so crazy that what you may intend to be a parody or a joke looks genuine to others reading you because its too close to the real thing..

    ReplyReply
  61. 61
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:

    Nuke ’em, easy peasy.

    And radiation sickness makes me feel queasy (and like I’m slowly dying from cancer).

    Because you know Donald “The destruction to me is very important” Dump would go, “That was cool! I’m a tremendous bigly manchild! Let drop more nukes! *claps like a fucking seal and goes Art! Art!*”

    So welcome to nuclear winter, humanity.

    ReplyReply
  62. 62
    Plato says:

    The question is how long putin, the puppeteer, will tolerate his stupid puppet’s stupid sabre rattling?

    ReplyReply
  63. 63
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @trollhattan: Agreed.

    ReplyReply
  64. 64
    tokyokie says:

    @Cermet: I argue that the Air Force, ever since becoming a separate military branch, has consistently overstated its capabilities. I’d like to see the USAF once again under the auspices of the Army (as the Marines are to the Navy). If that were the case, the A-10 Warthog would still be the military’s primary ground-attack plane rather than being phased out because it wasn’t cool to fly.

    ReplyReply
  65. 65
    debbie says:

    Does anyone know if Stephen Miller is involved with Iran policy? He has seemed eerily quiet lately.

    ReplyReply
  66. 66
    trollhattan says:

    @tokyokie:
    LGM’s Robert Farley agrees, and even wrote a book.

    ReplyReply
  67. 67

    @Plato:
    Why would Putin object to us getting in a war with Iran? It would drive the price of oil through the roof, which would be very good for oil exporters not affected by the war, like Russia. It would also put Putin personally in a great position to step in as peacemaker, since he would have credibility with both sides. Also, it would reduce the American presence in Europe, which would put him in a much better position to threaten NATO. It would really be a big win for him.

    ReplyReply
  68. 68
    trollhattan says:

    @debbie:
    Would like to think he’s on sabbatical, off somewhere pulling the legs from spiders, but we all know better.

    ReplyReply
  69. 69
    Gravenstone says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: A man sees what he wants to see, and disregards the rest.

    ReplyReply
  70. 70
    rp says:

    @Cermet: GFY. Joking about a country “taking care of” another country is awful.

    ReplyReply
  71. 71
    Sebastian says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:

    That was the exact thought that crossed my mind when I wrote that.

    Edit: responded to the wrong comment (thought it was imperial overstretch). Yes, unless you are Alexander or Genghis Khan you chances to get out alive are slim

    ReplyReply
  72. 72
    rp says:

    @J R in WV: It’s not the “enemy” comment. It’s “let the Iranians take care of” them.

    ReplyReply
  73. 73
    japa21 says:

    I have said before, Bush the Younger blew it after 9/11. Iran came to us and offered assistance in getting bin Laden. Bush turned them down.

    Iran, in many ways, would have been a natural ally for us in the ME. Highly educated, good economy, more liberal in many ways than other Muslim countries. Yes, based on history we would have had to work at it gradually, but we could have gotten there.

    Instead, Bush labeled them as part of the Axis of Evil, demonized them even more than they demonized us, practically gave them Iraq, strengthened their resolve. It is a miracle, IMO, that Obama was able to engineer, along with other countries, the JCPOA.

    It says a lot about Iran that they are still holding to the agreement.

    Unfortunately, if any politician were to try to suggest that we could work with Iran on anything, public sentiment has been too poisoned.

    ReplyReply
  74. 74
    Gravenstone says:

    @Brachiator: If Bolton does goad Trump into a conflict, at the first significant setback that puts heat on Trump, Bolton might become that mythical 5th Avenue shooting victim.

    ReplyReply
  75. 75
    Barbara says:

    @Plato: I wonder about that too. Russia long ago made its peace with Iran.

    ReplyReply
  76. 76
    rikyrah says:

    @Sebastian:
    No. We don’t

    ReplyReply
  77. 77
    rikyrah says:

    Jonathan Easley (@JonEasley) Tweeted:
    BREAKING: Donald Trump Jr. has struck a deal to comply with the subpoena from the Senate Intelligence Committee. Trump Jr. will meet with the panel in mid-June for between two and four hours, with the scope limited to five topics. https://twitter.com/JonEasley/status/1128407625526317059?s=17

    ReplyReply
  78. 78
    lumpkin says:

    @tokyokie:
    >>>from whence an invasion of Iran could be staged?<<<

    Amphibious troops from the Caspian Sea. Easy peasy.

    ReplyReply
  79. 79

    @japa21:

    Iran, in many ways, would have been a natural ally for us in the ME. Highly educated, good economy, more liberal in many ways than other Muslim countries. Yes, based on history we would have had to work at it gradually, but we could have gotten there.

    Not to mention that Iran is, if not what we could consider to be a proper democracy, at least a lot closer than their Arab neighbors. They are too restrictive on who is allowed to run for office, but they still have contested elections with results that matter, and that puts them well on the road to democracy.

    ReplyReply
  80. 80
    FelonyGovt says:

    I’m really sick of Trump acting like our military is just pieces on a game board for him to move around.

    ReplyReply
  81. 81
    raven says:

    @J R in WV: Just a little beat up

    ReplyReply
  82. 82
    trollhattan says:

    @rikyrah:

    with the scope limited to five topics.

    1. How awesome dad is.
    2. How awesome sis is (not Tiffany, the other one!).
    3. How awesome I am.
    4. How awesome guns and killing exotic critters are.
    5. Boobies!

    ReplyReply
  83. 83
    trollhattan says:

    @lumpkin:
    Riding the backs of sturgeon. “Make it so.”

    ReplyReply
  84. 84
    Jay says:

    “Spain pulls out

    U.S. ally Spain has temporarily pulled out a frigate that was part of a fleet in the area while tensions mount.

    The Spanish Ministry of Defence says the Mendez Nunez frigate,with 215 sailors on board, will not cross the Strait of Hormuz into the Gulf together with the fleet headed by the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier.”

    Snip,

    “The Spanish vessel was the only non-American vessel in the fleet, and Spanish media reported the decision was made to avoid having the country being drawn into a conflict between the U.S. and its longtime antagonist Iran.”

    ReplyReply
  85. 85
    chris says:

    120,000 troops and an aircraft carrier? Has Bolton ever heard of Wikipedia?

    ReplyReply
  86. 86
    TenguPhule says:

    @Gravenstone: Stop teasing me. //

    ReplyReply
  87. 87
    Bill Arnold says:

    This shit is making me nervous. Too many players, too many of them warmongers.
    Meanwhile, the ghouls are warily eyeballing potential ghoul-food:
    Oil Market’s Perceived Iranian Risk Premium Won’t Provide Lasting Bullish Support (Gaurav Sharma, May 14, 2019)

    A few links that caught my eye today:
    What we know about the ‘sabotage’ attacks off UAE’s coast (Zaheena Rasheed, 14 May 2019) (Just a short summary.)
    U.S. lawmakers lament: ‘All of us are in the dark over here’ on Iran (Patricia Zengerle, May 14, 2019)

    Members of the U.S. Congress complained on Tuesday that President Donald Trump’s administration has not shared enough information with them as tensions flared with Iran, with even some Republicans saying they have been left in the dark.

    [1] Not complaining about the writer, who seems fine; just the people who try to make money off of perceptions of fluctuations in war risks. And worse, people who actively manipulate those risks or perceptions of them to make money. (And worse… :-)

    ReplyReply
  88. 88
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Kent: And the terrain fucking sucks for mechanized military operations. Big time.

    Bolton needs to be removed. He is not sane, he has no fucking clue…and neither does Pompeo, who is out of his league at anything above platoon level.

    ReplyReply
  89. 89
    Mike in DC says:

    If we go to war with Iran, we effectively go to war with Iraq and Syria as well. Our troops won’t be safe there. Defeating Iran conventionally isn’t necessarily too difficult, but an occupation would be a bigger nightmare than Iraq was–3x as many people, 3x the land area and likely more capable insurgent forces as well. It is an extraordinary stupid idea. So, right up Trump’s alley.

    ReplyReply
  90. 90
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Plato:

    The question is how long putin, the puppeteer, will tolerate his stupid puppet’s stupid sabre rattling?

    Russia is a petrostate, that would directly gain from ME oil troubles. (Short of nuclear war.)

    ReplyReply
  91. 91
    JaySinWA says:

    Trump has said he thought Bolton/Pompeo was trying to maneuver him into a war. I doubt it’s what he wants, he just wants to swagger and bully. But if Bolton/Pompeo can pull the levers, I suspect Trump will try and use a nuclear option at the first sign of things going south. As others have asked, where is Steve Miller on this. It looks like he can get Trump to fire people. Maybe he will see this as a distraction and resource drain from his salami tactic ethnic cleansing plan and pull the plug on one or both. OTOH he probably is fine with blowing up that part of the world.

    ReplyReply
  92. 92
    TenguPhule says:

    @Mike in DC:

    Defeating Iran conventionally isn’t necessarily too difficult

    As Silverman has pointed out and almost all of us agree, our conventional military is literally unable to muster up the numbers for this kind of war.

    All we have left is airpower and even that is whiffy due to the sheer number of combat missions so many of our fighters and bombers have had to fly in the region.

    Don’t have the troops, don’t have the equipment and damn sure we don’t have the logistics for it.

    ReplyReply
  93. 93
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @trollhattan: I’d laugh if that list weren’t most definitely true.

    ReplyReply
  94. 94
    chris says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: IMHO Pompeo’s not sane either.

    Pompeo adheres to a fervent brand of evangelical Christianity and once characterized politics as “a never-ending struggle … until the rapture.”

    Link

    ReplyReply
  95. 95
    Mike in DC says:

    @TenguPhule: I’m sure that’s probably true. My comment is predicated on the assumption we could muster forces similar to those used in 2003. If we have less than that, then yes, it would be more difficult to achieve a decisive victory on the ground. But even greater difficult to occupy the place. We’d wind up igniting a civil war after we left, and millions could potentially die.

    ReplyReply
  96. 96

    @rikyrah: Well, it’s great to know that if you get a subpoena from a committee
    of the US Senate that you can “strike deals” with them about what all gets discussed. I’ll remember that if I ever get called up to appear.

    ReplyReply
  97. 97
    JaySinWA says:

    @mrmoshpotato: I had the thought this morning that McConnell’s line about a happy ending was a hint that Jr. could cleanup his testimony a bit and avoid potential perjury charges. Would five topics be enough for that?

    ReplyReply
  98. 98
    Dan B says:

    O/T Jackson State killings May 14, 1970

    MSM coverage was pitiful.

    ReplyReply
  99. 99

    @JaySinWA: I agree that it looks like Trump doesn’t want a war, but he does love to bully and swagger. Unfortunately, Bolton can use that bullying and swaggering to bring the war closer. It doesn’t help that you can find support for anything in Trump’s word salad, and Bolton is an expert in cherry-picking. So he can go to the Department of Defense and say “Trump says we need options for war” or “Trump wants bolder options” and he’s not wrong.

    I think Stephen Miller is totally consumed with the immigration question and is probably holed up reworking the “Shock and Awe” plan for ICE raids across the country, to be unrolled when Trump needs a distraction from Iran.

    ReplyReply
  100. 100
    HinTN says:

    @japa21:

    Iran, in many ways, would have been a natural ally for us in the ME. Highly educated, good economy, more liberal in many ways than other Muslim countries. Yes, based on history we would have had to work at it gradually, but we could have gotten there.

    Also young and very engaged in the world, which is heavily influenced by Americans.

    ReplyReply
  101. 101
    Another Scott says:

    @tokyokie: There are good reasons to phase out the A-10.

    The A-10 is a siting duck.

    The downing of a Russian Su-25 over the weekend highlights the dangers facing the US’ beloved A-10 Warthog in Syria, and possibly even Afghanistan.

    An Su-25 was shot down over Syria’s Idlib province on Saturday by rebels using what Russian authorities say was a MANPAD. The pilot safely ejected, but got into a firefight with rebels on the ground before blowing himself up with a grenade to avoid being captured.

    Su-25s are the Russian counterpart to the American A-10s.

    They’re both heavily-armored aircrafts capable of delivering a variety of bombs and missiles. Both are also armed with a 30mm guns and often used for supporting ground troops at low-altitudes.

    […]

    The A-10 has a lot of drawbacks, and it’s not the only way to do close air support.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

    ReplyReply
  102. 102
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Dan B: Blah. The MSM can only be compelled to cover massacres of white students.

    ReplyReply
  103. 103
    Dev Null says:

    I’ve read in various places over the years that Iran’s Trump card, so to speak, would be to shut down tanker traffic in the Gulf. Supposedly easy to do because geography. Not seeing how that benefits the US in any way; perhaps it benefits Russia, since Russia’s spending depends on oil revenues (hence on oil prices).

    But I have no independent knowledge that that’s the case. Closing the Gulf, I mean. Seems plausible to this non-combatant, but YMMV.

    ReplyReply
  104. 104
    Jay says:


    “I think it’s fake news, OK? Now, would I do that? Absolutely. But we have not planned for that. Hopefully we’re not going to have to plan for that. And if we did that, we’d send a hell of a lot more troops than that,” Trump told reporters at the White House.”

    https://www.google.ca/amp/s/mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKCN1SK1YM

    ReplyReply
  105. 105
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Dev Null: Well, it’s a sure way to piss off the EU. Which Donald has no problems doing, as NATO is “obsolete” because Donald faces all sorts of regulatory barriers to building his motherfucking golf courses.

    ReplyReply
  106. 106

    ReplyReply
  107. 107

    ReplyReply
  108. 108
    Mike in NC says:

    120,000 troops is what Trump wants for his July 4th vanity parade down Constitution Avenue.

    ReplyReply
  109. 109
    catclub says:

    @Kent:

    Remind me when was the last time that worked since perhaps Hiroshima?

    Grenada! Panama! You people are such debbie downers Serbia is another candidate for a win.

    ReplyReply
  110. 110
    Dan B says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: I believe the reporting described them as radical students, which was sorta true in the way that seeing the root of problems is radical. It was a smear but scared whites into believing they were in imminent danger.

    ReplyReply
  111. 111
    Jay says:

    @Another Scott:

    A-10’s have been hit with MANPADs, SA-3 missiles, SA-6 missiles, SA-16 missiles and HMG’s.

    5 A-10’s have been shot down in Combat, with 2 Pilot deaths,

    2 A-10’s were badly damaged, crashed on landing.

    9 A-10’s were badly damaged, returned to base and were scrapped.

    17 A-10’s were significantly hit, returned to base, and were repaired.

    That’s in all the US’s wars since the A-10 was introduced.

    The US has lost more F-16’s in combat.

    Despite having combat “hours” significantly lower than the A-10, 128 SU-24 Frogfoot aircraft have been lost in combat.

    ReplyReply
  112. 112
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Dan B: “Where are the white women at?” All you need to do to scare the descendants of slaveowners into a panic.

    ReplyReply
  113. 113
    catclub says:

    @Roger Moore:

    but they still have contested elections with results that matter

    but that is after the religious authorities have struck any objectionable candidates.

    ReplyReply
  114. 114
    Procopius says:

    Here’s an interesting article from Huffpost in 2011. I don’t consider Huffpost a very reliable source, but I remember other articles mentioning almost all the neoconservative warmongers as well as several senators and congresspersons. Many of them were people you would not expect to be taking money from a terrorist organization. Oh, wait. This terrorist organization was (after 2003) committing terrorist acts against one of our adversaries. That makes it OK, even though they had to wait for Hillary to remove it from the list of terrorist organizations.

    ReplyReply
  115. 115

    […] Cross-posted to Balloon Juice. […]

  116. 116
    Jay says:

    @Dev Null:

    Since the Tanker War of the 1980’s, Iran has focused a large amount of it’s Defense budget, technology, training and tactics on being able to use “swarming attacks” to neutralize USN and it’s allies operations in the Persian Gulf.

    These swarming attacks would include missiles, small craft, shallow water submarines, drones, coastal defence guns, mines and airstrikes.

    The strategy is to “push” the USN out of the Gulf and into the Arabian Sea, which makes USN support for ground operations more difficult.

    Since the US loss in Dubya Dubya Me Too, Iran has focused effort on guided ballistic missiles to target USN Carrier Groups in the Arabian Sea.

    In the event of a US/Iran War, commercial traffic will end in the Gulf. Fishing, food and goods transport, oil. The US and what ever “allies” it can scrape together, ( Tonga?) have neither the Naval Power, nor the ability, ( because of Iran’s new weapons and tactics, and Iran not being in a life or death struggle with Saddam) to safely escort shipping.

    ReplyReply
  117. 117
    Dev Null says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: My impression, which is free and worth every penny you pay for it, is that plugging up the Gulf would tank the world economy.

    Yes, piss off the EU, which is less a hindrance to the Trump Admin than it would have been to previous American Admins, but I’m guessing the Gulf States wouldn’t be too happy either. Not sure how the Gulf States factor into the equation, but the UAE seems to have some sway with the current Admin.

    According to a recent Statista chart, 77% of American oil consumption is satisfied by domestic production; only 19% of oil consumed is imported, so you / I might be tempted to say, hey, no biggie! Won’t affect US’ns.

    I’ve read that the problem with drawing economic conclusions based on numbers like these is that oil consumption is inelastic: either there’s enough, and everything is hunky-dory, or there isn’t enough, in which case oil prices go through the roof, and the economy falls on the floor.

    I dunno… again, seems plausible, but if I’m ignorant about military strategy, my ignorance about economics is bottomless.

    ReplyReply
  118. 118

    @Jay:
    This is an important point about the A-10. The designers knew it was going to be flying in places where it would be a prime target for ground fire, so they designed it to be highly survivable. For example, they located the engines in their unusual location high on the fuselage so the tailplane would obscure the exhaust from heat seeking SAMs, which is what most MANPADS are. They also located the engines far enough apart that if one were hit the other would probably survive and let the plane limp home. It’s a remarkably well designed plane.

    ReplyReply
  119. 119
    Dev Null says:

    @catclub:

    Grenada! Panama! You people are such debbie downers Serbia is another candidate for a win.

    er, you left out Iraq.

    Oversight?

    (I’ll go with snark.)

    ReplyReply
  120. 120

    @catclub:

    but that is after the religious authorities have struck any objectionable candidates.

    I did say that they’re too restrictive on who is allowed to run for office to be considered a true democracy. That said, my impression is that the religious authorities are more concerned with whether candidates are sufficiently Islamic than they are with their other political opinions, so voters are presented with a real choice. It’s not like elections in Communist countries, where the vote is just rubber stamping what the party has already decided. It makes a real difference whether voters pick a “liberal” or “conservative” candidate, even if the restrictions on who is allowed to run mean that there is nobody who would classify as a social liberal by our standards.

    ReplyReply
  121. 121
    Jay says:

    @Dev Null:

    Partbof the reason the US and even Sawdi Arabia import oil, is that:

    – not all oil is the same
    – certain oils produce specific refined products and byproducts,
    – specific refineries handle specific oils

    Shutting down the Gulf will tank the global economy in two ways, one by driving oil prices and their products skyward. $25 a barrel oil hit over $200 a barrel during Dubya Dubya Me Too, with just Iraq’s oil off the market.

    The second way, is that specialist oils, their refined products and byproducts will become unavailable. Lubricants, additives, plastics, solvents, epoxies, resins, stabilizers.

    ReplyReply
  122. 122
    Dev Null says:

    @Jay: Yep.

    I wasn’t aware of Iran’s swarming tactics, but the Gulf is narrow and shallow (<300 ft), and has a natural (geographic) choke point in the Straits of Hormuz.

    Sink a supertanker (or US aircraft carrier) in the right place, and passage by large ships becomes impossible, even without swarming tactics.

    There's also Millennium Challenge 2002 (which has been mentioned in comments here many times over the years), which Iran might have heard of, but Trump almost certainly hasn’t. Nice quote in the Army Times report (working from Fred Kaplan in Slate, because the Army Times link he gives doesn’t work):

    “What he’s done is, he’s made himself an expert in playing Red, and he’s real obnoxious about it,” the officer said. “He will insist on being able to play Red as freely as possible and as imaginatively and creatively, within the bounds of the framework of the game and the technology horizons and all that, as possible. He can be a real pain in the ass, but that’s good. … He’s a great patriot and he’s doing all those things for the right reasons.”

    Seems likely that the Iranian commander might be just as much a pain in the ass as Van Riper. (I know, I know … work with me here …)

    Dubya Dubya Me Too

    This means “the Cheney-Dubya Gulf War”?

    ReplyReply
  123. 123
    Dev Null says:

    @Jay:

    Shutting down the Gulf will tank the global economy in two ways, one by driving oil prices and their products skyward. $25 a barrel oil hit over $200 a barrel during Dubya Dubya Me Too, with just Iraq’s oil off the market.

    That’s what I meant by “inelastic”.

    The second way, is that specialist oils, their refined products and byproducts will become unavailable. Lubricants, additives, plastics, solvents, epoxies, resins, stabilizers.

    I’m aware that there are differences, but I thought that the consequences of those differences was the cost of refining, not (as I think you’re suggesting) unavailability of various petroleum-based goods.

    Sounds rather like rare earth metals which really are rare and essential in certain products.

    Have a link? SciAm quality is good enough for me.

    Tx

    ReplyReply
  124. 124
    Jay says:

    @Dev Null:

    Yup. Origionally name Operation Iraqi Liberation, but the initials made the purpose of the war too obvious.

    And even while the Sawdi’s and other Gulf States promised to overproduce to keep the price of oil at $25-26, they couldn’t do it.

    65.36% of the global oil supply comes out of the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea,

    If oil prices spiked from $25bbl to over $200bbl when Iraq’s 5% ( Sanctions) was taken off the market, what happens when 65.36% is?

    ReplyReply
  125. 125

    @Dev Null:

    I’m aware that there are differences, but I thought that the consequences of those differences was the cost of refining, not (as I think you’re suggesting) unavailability of various petroleum-based goods.

    It’s possible to refine petroleum in all kinds of different ways, but changing the output of a specific refinery to produce different products, or to produce the same products but from a different petroleum source, is expensive and time consuming. If you take a bunch of petroleum production off-line, it will definitely disrupt supplies around the world for quite a while.

    ReplyReply
  126. 126
    Jay says:

    @Dev Null:

    I’ll take a look around, see if I can find an article on it.

    ReplyReply
  127. 127
    Another Scott says:

    @Roger Moore: BreakingDefense (from 2013):

    First and foremost, retiring the entire A-10 fleet would save the Air Force $3.7 billion from 2015 to 2019. Retiring just some or even most of the A-10s wouldn’t reap nearly the same savings, because there are fixed costs in training and maintenance you can’t get rid off as long as you keep any planes.

    Second, thanks to the wonder of smart bombs, most of the A-10’s mission can be done by other, less specialized aircraft. That wasn’t technologically possible when the A-10 first entered service in 1975. But in Afghanistan and Iraq, precision-guided munitions from faster-flying fighters and even heavy bombers have actually provided the overwhelming majority — 80 percent — of close air support.

    Third, we’re not the only people with smart weapons. The Taliban and the Iraqi insurgents had at most a handful of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles — known in the trade as Man-portable Air Defense Systems, or MANPADS — but an unknown number of MANPADS were smuggled out of Libya after Qaddafi fell, and the missiles on the black market are getting more sophisticated all the time.

    That’s why the Air Force has planned for at least the last 15 years to replace the A-10s with the F-35A, its version of the JSF, which will reach initial operational capability (IOC) by the end of 2016. The F-35A will not only carry smart bombs but also have new, sophisticated sensors to guide them to ground targets — and it will fly much faster and higher than the A-10 can, making it a much harder target. While the JSF can’t carry the Warthog’s massive 30 mm gun, it does have a highly accurate 25 mm gun and 182 rounds of ammunition. (I asked Gen. Robin Rand, head of the Air Force’s Air Education and Training Command, last Friday if the F-35 carried enough ammunition to do the CAS mission. He said yes.)

    The B and C F-35 models can be fitted with a gun pod that carries 220 rounds but the pod disrupts the plane’s stealthy profile.

    The Air Force has a long history of appearing to want to abandon the Close Air Support mission and stick with fighters and bombers, though there is no sign of that from the current Air Force leaders or their immediate predecessors. This unfortunate history means many observers still distrust the Air Force rationales for shutting down the A-10 fleet.

    Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh and his colleagues argue that in these days of declining budgets and the demands of enormous theaters such as the Pacific they must buy multi-role aircraft like the F-35 and the new Long Range Strike system. Single-mission aircraft, no matter how well suited they are to that mission, are just too expensive and limited.

    It’s a reasonable argument.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

    ReplyReply
  128. 128
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Another Scott: Dear god. You may want to explain why everyone who has ever called for air support has wanted A-10s to show up to provide it? An F-16 will show up drop some ordinance in the general vicinity of the target and then the pilot will want to go away and do fun fighter pilot shit. An A-10 will circle around a few times and makes sure that the target is actually hit and made combat ineffective.

    I still say that, if the Air Force doesn’t want it, the army will be happy to take it off of their hands.

    ReplyReply
  129. 129
    Dev Null says:

    @Jay:

    And even while the Sawdi’s and other Gulf States promised to overproduce to keep the price of oil at $25-26, they couldn’t do it.

    I gather that there simply isn’t much idle capacity. More or less what Peak Oil is about… even if fracking delayed the arrival of Peak Oil.

    65.36% of the global oil supply comes out of the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea,

    If oil prices spiked from $25bbl to over $200bbl when Iraq’s 5% ( Sanctions) was taken off the market, what happens when 65.36% is?

    I’ve been hoping that Cheryl and/or Adam (or anyone else, for that matter) would tell us. /snark

    In any case I’m pretty sure that we’re talking Peak Economic Disruption … which is why I called blocking the Gulf Iran’s Trump card. Wouldn’t make matters much worse for Iran, but sure would cause almost everyone else to ratchet up pressure on the Trump Admin.

    ReplyReply
  130. 130
    Another Scott says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Keep reading. #127. ;-)

    Seriously, it costs money to have single-mission planes. It costs money to fly planes for training, to do maintenance on planes, etc., etc. It’s easy to have a Reaper patrol over some area, also too.

    Time marches on.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

    ReplyReply
  131. 131
    Jay says:

    @Another Scott:

    The AirForce has never wanted the A-10 and continually through out it’s career, has tried to kill it off.

    https://www.google.ca/amp/s/defenseissues.net/2013/03/23/why-usaf-hates-a-10-and-why-it-cant-be-replaced/amp/

    https://warisboring.com/the-u-s-air-force-has-loathed-close-air-support-since-the-beginning/

    https://www.pogo.org/investigation/2018/04/air-force-leaders-deliberately-slow-rolling-10-refurbishment/

    The A-10 fleet is in the middle of a $103 million program to upgrade the remaining portion of the fleet with new wings and other upgrades, which will keep them flying into 2045 or later.

    https://www.google.ca/amp/s/taskandpurpose.com/a-10-warthog-rewinging-proposal/amp/

    The USAF never wanted the A-10, and has been trying to retire it since 1992.

    Basically, everything the USAF brass says about the A-10 is bs.

    ReplyReply
  132. 132
    Dev Null says:

    @Roger Moore:

    It’s possible to refine petroleum in all kinds of different ways, but changing the output of a specific refinery to produce different products, or to produce the same products but from a different petroleum source, is expensive and time consuming. If you take a bunch of petroleum production off-line, it will definitely disrupt supplies around the world for quite a while.

    Sure, that’s common sense… but I thought that Jay was making a different argument: that “different oils” could be used to make “different products”, which is intrinsically interesting if true.

    Petroleum refining being yet another area in which my ignorance is unbounded, I’m happy to peruse a link.

    ReplyReply
  133. 133
    Dev Null says:

    @Jay: Wasn’t there a recent USAF scandal relating to the A-10?

    Ah yes, here ’tis: Fallows writing in The Atlantic in 2015.

    Reminds me of Daniel Davis’ deservedly famous blog post “The Two Minute MBA”, but I’m out of edit window.

    ReplyReply
  134. 134
    Jay says:

    @Dev Null:

    Iran’s Plan A is to force the USN and what ever allies it’s got out of the Gulf, then crush any attempts at a ground invasion. Then use the Shia minorities and majorities in the Gulf to cut ground supply routes to US Forces and threaten the Arab Regimes.

    Plan B, would be economic warfare against US’s Arab allies, (Tanker War II),

    Plan C would be to block the Straights with mines, sunk and scuttled ships.

    It would take about 2 years to clear the Straights and reopen them to commercial shipping once there was peace.

    ReplyReply
  135. 135
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Another Scott:

    Seriously, it costs money to have single-mission planes. It costs money to fly planes for training, to do maintenance on planes, etc., etc. It’s easy to have a Reaper patrol over some area, also too.

    Of course it costs money. Sometimes money is well spent. Digging through my closet to find and put on my old field artillery officer hat, I and the vast majority of my colleagues want the A-10 providing CAS. Part of it is that A-10 pilots don’t feel like they are doing something beneath them when they are providing CAS, but fighter pilots do.

    ReplyReply
  136. 136
    Jay says:

    @Dev Null:

    Think of it as “terroir”, like with grapes and wine.

    Every oil deposit has different composition.

    Refining is ususally tailored to one or two “types” of oil. The highly specialized process tries to get everything “useable” out of the oil, all the chemical compounds. As an example, tar sands refining has as a “byproduct”, an extremely pure platinum, that goes directly to Chip Manufacturers. Southern Alberta Heavy Crude’s process produces cobalt for batteries and medical grade sulfur, amongst others. But uou can’t get those from Tar Sands.

    One of the Sawdi deposits, is imported into Canada and refined, not because it’s just cheap to refine, but because it’s the only oil source from which you can refine a series of extreme low tempurature lubricants. Even Russia imports it for the same reasons.

    ReplyReply
  137. 137
    Jay says:

    @Another Scott:

    There is a shortage of Reaper pilots.

    Apparently, playing a video game that actually kills people, and the reduced situational awareness that winds up getting people killed, or being unable to provide ground support for a mission, because the Predator can’t fly through the weather, yet still hearing the cries for support, causes a lot of PTSD.

    ReplyReply
  138. 138
    Sherparick says:

    @CliosFanBoy: The CIA & ARVN were launching small commando raids on the North Vietnam coast. The destroyers were covering the raids. Initial engagement involved NVN patrol boats attacking the first destroyer to intercept the raids. Hence, the U.S. definitely provoked Gulf of Tonkin incident.

    ReplyReply
  139. 139
    Dev Null says:

    @Jay:

    Iran’s Plan A is to force the USN and what ever allies it’s got out of the Gulf

    I’m surprised that there is (or was) a US task force in the Gulf. Seems like it would be next to impossible to defend… shows what I know.

    Incidentally, a quick online search turned up this article in Foreign Affairs about the incident in which the USS Vincennes blew up an Iranian passenger air liner.

    I have no idea who Jeremy Hammond is, nor how credible he is, so YMMV.

    But Fred Kaplan is (AFAIK) generally regarded as credible, and his version of the incident isn’t much prettier.

    Either the Vincennes had sufficient information to determine that the Iranian aircraft was a commercial airflight yet shot it down anyway; or alternatively the Vincennes had insufficient lead time to determine that the Iranian aircraft was not a threat, so took defensive action and shot down a passenger aircraft.

    I had remembered that the latter was true, and thought that this was evidence that the Persian Gulf was too small for USN operations …

    … but according to Fred Kaplan, that’s not the whole story:

    One more shocking bit, which I didn’t know until just now: In 1992, four years after the event (and shortly after I moved on to a different beat), Adm. Crowe admitted on ABC’s Nightline that the Vincennes was in Iranian waters at the time it shot down the plane. Back in 1988, he and others had said that the ship was in international waters. It also came out that some other Navy officers had regarded Rogers as “aggressive” and found it strange that he was moving his Aegis cruiser into those waters to pursue Iranian patrol boats—overkill at best, asking for trouble in any case.

    ie the Vincennes was operating near the Iranian coast, so my “proof” (that the Persian Gulf isn’t safe for USN operations) falls apart.

    Never mind.

    This quote (also from Kaplan’s article) is a bit ominous:

    … things like this happen when the zones of war and normal life intersect. Best to avoid mingling the two or, if it can’t be helped, to hold the reins tight, as they slip out of control too easily.

    Thinking the Trump Admin might be happy to hold the reins loosely and hope for another incident.

    Anyway, your Plans A/B/C sound plausible as Iran’s strategic objectives.

    ReplyReply
  140. 140
    Dev Null says:

    @Jay:

    Think of it as “terroir”, like with grapes and wine.

    Every oil deposit has different composition.

    At the risk of sounding like a know-it-all, I grok the concept. I’m not surprised that different fields produce crude with different “contaminants”. And fracking (as best I can tell) produces exceptionally dirty crude.

    I am somewhat surprised that the concentration of contaminants would be high enough to be usable, but OK … I’m ignorant. No surprise there.

    Nonetheless, I’d be curious to see a peer-reviewed article (at the SciAm level) that covers details.

    ReplyReply
  141. 141
    Jay says:

    @Dev Null:

    When you are talking about millions of barrels, you’ld be surprised at how the little things add up.

    Since the British Empire withdrawl, the USN has always operated fleets in the Persian Gulf.

    During the Iran-Iraq War they even intervened on the Iraqi side during the Tanker War phase and destroyed the Iranian Navy,

    But that was an embargoed post-Revolution Iran, engaged in a life or death struggle against Saddam, who despite sanctions, was getting arms and chemicals from almost everybody.

    It will be a completely different battle this time.

    ReplyReply
  142. 142
    Another Scott says:

    @Dev Null: TheOilDrum is still up (though (I think) no longer updated). It covers lots and lots of stuff like this (from the perspective of experts in the industry).

    Cheers,
    Scott.

    ReplyReply
  143. 143
    Dev Null says:

    @Jay: I was away for a day, so responding late even though no one will ever see my response. (Or so I assume, anyway. If I’m wrong, please let me know, because the knowledge that threads aren’t dead within 24 hours might affect my future posting.)

    Anyway …

    When you are talking about millions of barrels, you’ld be surprised at how the little things add up.

    Sure… a gazillion times a small number can produce a moderately interesting number. One of my high school buds consulted on the JDS+Uniphase merger. Relatively small consulting fees compared to the net worth of the entities involved, but I gather that he did quite well. A small tap on a very big pipeline, etc.

    I’d just never heard that the economics worked for specialty products derived from specific oil fields.

    Put slightly differently, I’m not doubting you; I’m just surprised that different oil fields would have different contaminants in quantities large enough to be economically interesting.

    Since the British Empire withdrawl, the USN has always operated fleets in the Persian Gulf.

    During the Iran-Iraq War they even intervened on the Iraqi side during the Tanker War phase and destroyed the Iranian Navy,

    But that was an embargoed post-Revolution Iran, engaged in a life or death struggle against Saddam, who despite sanctions, was getting arms and chemicals from almost everybody.

    My contention, which might or might not be correct (I don’t know, and welcome correction if I’m wrong), is that precision munitions completely change the picture. Stationing hundred-billion-$ hardware in the Persian Gulf in time of war makes sense only if the adversary’s cost to defeat said hardware is prohibitive. Pre-1990 (give or take a decade or two), the primary threat was from enemy aircraft … which could be intercepted. Post-1990, I wouldn’t think there’s sufficient time to detect and counter a volley of precision guided missiles fired at (relatively) close range.

    It will be a completely different battle this time.

    No doubt… which is why I was surprised that the USN has / had a carrier in the Gulf.

    I mean, srsly, if the Admin has hard evidence that Iran intends to attack US assets, a carrier is a fairly significant asset to put at risk.

    ReplyReply
  144. 144
    Dev Null says:

    @Another Scott:

    TheOilDrum is still up (though (I think) no longer updated). It covers lots and lots of stuff like this (from the perspective of experts in the industry).

    Righto, thanks! Added to my reading list. It’s been a while since I paid even cursory attention to the oil industry, other than its role in climate change.

    ReplyReply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Cross-posted to Balloon Juice. […]

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *