What would war with Iran look like? For the U.S., it would be entirely an aerial campaign. We don't have an army to go marching into Iran. We've got an army, but it's deployed all over the world. We don't have a surplus army to send into Iran.
So, we would just have to bomb them relentlessly, and Trump has even alluded to bombing their cultural sites, which would be an unequivocal war crime. Have you watched Seinfeld? Trump is the Kramer of Presidents.
I'm sure his people would rein him in on that, but we would bomb everything in Iran that could be construed as a military site, and then, we would be done. There would be nothing else that we could do. Meanwhile, I suspect the Iranians would start by attacking the minuscule U.S. forces in Iraq. We only have 5000 troops there. Iran could send in a 100,000 or 200,000 easily, who would be welcomed and supported by the majority Shiite population in Iraq. And look how close they would be to their supply line.
Would Iran bomb Israel? I think it would be a terrible mistake if they did. For one, Israel would retaliate, and for two, I don't see it helping Iran to do that. No, I think they would stick to ousting the U.S. from Iraq, and they would also probably attack U.S. naval ships in the Gulf and elsewhere.
And remember that Iran, unlike Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003, has considerable air defenses. It wouldn't be as easy for us. Our pilots would be at serious risk of being shot down. And remember that today, wars are sold to the American people on the basis of low American casualties. We fight them with that consideration a foremost concern. So, although bombing Afghanistan and Iraq was like a turkey shoot, that would not be the case in Iran.
So, what would we do if war broke out, and we bombed their military targets, and then what? Again, we don't have boots on the ground to send into Iran. So, how would we continue after that?
I suspect that we would start bombing civilian targets but just say that they're military. But, the fear I have is that if it was looking bad for us, would we use nuclear weapons against Iran? And think about the irony of that because this whole conflict began over nuclear weapons, the fear that Iran would get them and use them. The U.S. which twice nuked civilian population centers in Japan just to show off our power, considers itself the policeman of the world concerning nuclear weapons. How ironic would it be if our campaign to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons led to us using them? And I wouldn't put it past Trump, who is mentally incompetent. Look at the the rhetoric he has used against North Korea and Afghanistan, with his thinly veiled threats to use nuclear weapons against them. And my fear is that if it came down to a choice between losing a war with Iran for all the world to see or using nuclear weapons, that he would do the latter.
And frankly, it is very disappointing to me that the anti-war movement in this country against the post 9/11 wars has been so small. But, if they ever tried to reinstate the draft to get the manpower needed for another war, then I think you would see it surface bigtime.
And all these realities make the recent killing of Suleimani so stupid. As we speak, protests continue in Iraq demanding that the U.S. get the hell out.
What the hell did we get by killing Suleimani? Iran quickly appointed a new general to replace him, and he sounds more bellicose than Suleimani. Supposedly, we did it to protect Americans in the region, but now 64 Americans have brain damage from the Iranian response. And just yesterday, an Americans general said that we'll be taking care of the injured Americans for years. Imagine if it had happened unprovoked, if Iran had just done it? And Iran actually warned the Iraqi government beforehand so that precautions could be taken, by them and by us, to limit and prevent casualties. But obviously, if they had done it unprovoked, a fierce aerial response by the U.S. would have followed. So, why didn't we retaliate under the existing circumstance? Is it because even we realize how aggressive and barbaric the attack on Suleimani and the others was? And did we even consider the consequences of it beyond the high-5ing we were going to do?
And of course, some of the consequences were completely unpredictable, such as 60 Iranians being trampled to death in a stampede of people at Suleimani's funeral, and 170 being killed when Iran accidentally shot down a Ukrainian airliner. Even though those specific things could not have been predicted, we should have known that the instability that followed that brazen action could lead to disasters.
But, we didn't care about those risks. We never do. The insanity of America's foreign policy has existed for a very long time. It certainly didn't start with Trump. And I doubt it will be any different after Trump. It might be if someone like Bernie Sanders were elected President. But, that isn't going to happen.