Start a 8 Year Regional War and Set Iran’s Nukes Back 3 Years

The headline and lead of the story everyone’s buzzing about reads,

Pentagon Finds Perils for U.S. if Israel Were to Strike Iran

A classified war simulation exercise held this month to assess the American military’s capabilities to respond to an Israeli attack on Iran forecast that the strike would lead to a wider regional war, which could draw in the United States and leave hundreds of Americans dead, according to American officials.

That claim that just “hundreds” of Americans would die in a war started next door to where we’ve got 90,000 Americans deployed makes me want to see the full results and the resumés of those who did the war game.

But the headline misses one critical result of the war game.

The initial Israeli attack was assessed to have set back the Iranian nuclear program by roughly a year, and the subsequent American strikes did not slow the Iranian nuclear program by more than an additional two years. However, other Pentagon planners have said that America’s arsenal of long-range bombers, refueling aircraft and precision missiles could do far more damage to the Iranian nuclear program — if President Obama were to decide on a full-scale retaliation.

This regional war Israel might start? A war, presumably, akin to the Iraq war, which started 9 years ago today and only “ended” in December?

All it would do is set Iran’s nuclear program back 3 years.

No word on what this 8 year war to set Iran back 3 years would cost. But don’t worry. I’m sure it’d be as great a value as the war itself.

14 replies
  1. MadDog says:

    “…Internal Look has long been one of Central Command’s most significant planning exercises, and is carried out about twice a year to assess how the headquarters, its staff and command posts in the region would respond to various real-world situations…

    …In December 2002, Gen. Tommy Franks, who was the top officer at Central Command, used Internal Look to test the readiness of his units for the coming invasion of Iraq…”

    If the value of any Internal Look wargame is calculated on the accuracy of its predictive results compared to reality’s actual results, woe unto us!

  2. MadDog says:

    My apologies! I’ve removed this comment since I was really overboard in Fair Use of James Banford’s Wired piece.

    I do know better, so I’ll just say that folks should go read it.

  3. orionATL says:

    cost? in money?

    remember, our presidents and congressmen put all our wars these days on our tab.

    we never pay have to pay when we leave the pub.

  4. orionATL says:

    if israel strikes alone,

    the real peril will be for the israeli nation.

    i doubt it will survive the decade.

    thus the need to rope the americans in while we’re in an election year.

    walt and mersheimer could not have been more prescient.

    since netanyahoo’s visit and obama’s speech to aipac, aka israel’s fifth column in the united states, the war cry had grown weaker.

    but now we have the war-mongering new york times with a story by james risen about recalcitrant, nuke-loving iranian officials.

    we seem to be in a trough of folly from whence we cannot escape.

  5. orionATL says:


    one day, james risen publishes in the nytimes saying iranian officials were talking up nukes.

    next day, marzetti publishes in the nytimes a leak about a war game that suggests an israeli strike on iran might not be good for the health of american soldiers and might start a regional war.

    could these two stories be connected in any way?

    is it dod vs nsa?

    dod vs nsc?

    dod vs cia?

    it is interesting to keep in mind that america’s top military leaders are rarely keen to go to war.

    maybe they know something about war that our war-lovin’ media and their let’s-you-and-him-have-a-fight viewers don’t.

  6. orionATL says:

    the key question for american policy makers and military planners is this:

    if, as a result of an israeli or an american-israeli strike on iran,

    a number of muslim/arab nations decided to march on israel,

    how many muslims from how many nations would the u.s. be willing to kill to protect israel?

    the key question israeli leaders and military planners should be asking themselves is this:

    how many muslims from how many nations would the u.s. be willing to kill to protect israel?

  7. orionATL says:

    oh, and this afterthought:

    iran is a sovereign nation.

    wars of aggression against sovereign nations are illegal

    and command action at the hague.

  8. lysias says:

    I remember reading about a war game the Pentagon held where the initial result was several U.S. capital ships sunk, with thousands of sailors’ lives lost.

    So they stopped the game, changed the assumptions, and only then resumed the game.

    I too wonder about only “hundreds” of Americans’ lives lost.

  9. lysias says:

    @orionATL: According to Fidel Castro’s autobiography (as told to Ignacio Ramonet), the Cuban/Angolan victory over South African forces at Cuito Cuanavale in Angola in 1988 was a major step in the end of apartheid. South African withdrawal from Namibia, the release of Nelson Mandela, and the end of apartheid all followed in short order after that defeat.

    I had never heard of that battle until I read Castro’s autobiography.

  10. Greg Bean (@GregLBean) says:

    “if President Obama were to decide on a full-scale retaliation.”

    How does the word retaliation fit in this story?


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