Sunday, February 12, 2006

US Prepares For Military Options against Iran’s Nuclear Program

For months I have been advocating military options to eliminate Iran’s nuclear program, predominantly in the form of bombing runs so as not to engage ground troops in Iran, and have been told time after time that we have to explore diplomatic routes instead, and that we have time, that we can wait. The US is beginning to realize that time may be shorter than they thought, and are making plans to prevent the situation from escalating. But is the United States too late? It’s a question that I’ve spent some time on in this blog, and a topic which I will continue to revisit until this threat is eliminated, as I think it is perhaps the most important issue facing the West today.

Pentagon strategists are creating plans for “devastating bombing raids backed by submarine-launched ballistic missile attacks against Iran’s nuclear sites” as a “last resort” to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb. Donald Rumsfeld, US Secretary of Defense, is coordinating efforts as central command and strategic planners work together to identify targets, plan weapons needs, and work out logistics for an attack.

"This is more than just the standard military contingency assessment," said a senior Pentagon adviser. "This has taken on much greater urgency in recent months."

Below is a map of potential targets for a US missile strike, as well as a comparison of the United States’ effective weapons arsenal that could be employed for an attack like this, versus the missile defense system recently invested in by Iran. The map also gives a good picture of the region and Iran’s missile arsenal versus distances to strategic targets. Basically, I think this is a very informative map, and well worth opening.

Now the United States still sees an air strike as a last resort, and they believe that it will be two years before Iran has the knowledge to create an atomic bomb, and even longer before they can create a bomb. But recent reports out of Iran say that the timetable is shorter, that they will have the knowledge in 9-15 months. An air strike would most probably include an aerial bombardment by long-distance B2 bombers with 40,000 lbs of precision weapons and bunker-busting devices. While these armaments are in place, only now is the US moving conventional ballistic missiles into their Trident nuclear subs, a process that will take about 2 years.

Britain is against military action, fearing that an attack on Iran would incite more protests (and more violent protests) like the ones we saw this past week over the Mohammed cartoons. Additionally, they worry that an attack will cause more reprisals in the West and that attacks may not prevent Iran from creating a nuclear bomb. Iran has dispersed their nuclear plants, burying some deep underground, and the United States actually is hoping to slow down the nuclear program, as there may be no hope of stopping it.

I’m encouraged to see that the United States is starting to take this seriously. But again, you look at the reasons why Britain is against this strike, and they make a strong case for why we may be past the point where this strike will be effective. We need to find some option to deal with Iran, but I’m not sure what option will be effective at this stage in time. Let’s hope that, by beginning to engage in the process, our brilliant military minds will come up with a solution for this conundrum.

Posted by Scottage at 2:20 AM / | |