Saturday, June 14, 2014

Why The Conventional Wisdom Is Wrong About The Iraq And Afghan Wars

... it's because no one seems to understand Military Science at all.

Iran is our biggest global threat. Unlike Russia or China who are content to be regional hegemons and are sane enough to eschew the use of nuclear weapons, the Iranians have continually told us, quite explicitly, that they intend to not only obtain nuclear weapons, but make use of them.

In the absence of Air Force bases within range of Iranian targets, strike missions into Iran would have to be carried out by carrier-based aircraft. The only strike aircraft of any note is the FA-18. The FA-18 has a combat radius of 390 miles.

The Iranian Navy and coastal defense system has been designed to defend the Persian Gulf with the goal of sinking American aircraft carriers. Contrary to the opinions of the racists who write for the major newspapers, the Silly, Little, Brown People With Funny Names Who Live Far Away are actually quite sophisticated and good at their jobs. Only an idiot wouldn't expect them to carry out their missions successfully. Unless you had no problem with losing several aircraft carriers, you'd have to launch carrier strike missions from the Indian Ocean.

Now take a look at the map of Iran. (You'll have to click on it and open it in a separate browser window because I'm too lazy to resize my central column to fit a reasonably detailed map.) Notice how the high value targets are the ones farthest away from the Indian Ocean.

Using my fingers on the computer screen because I'm likewise too lazy to install Google Earth on my recently reformatted laptop, it looks to me like the farthest north you'd be able to hit from a reasonably safe Indian Ocean launch point would be Kerman and even that's quite a stretch.

"But we have all those flying, refuely things!" the gay marriage experts who write for the newspapers will wail. Right. And they launch from ... where? And they connect with your FA-18s ... where? We no longer have bases in Saudi Arabia, Iraq or Afghanistan (very soon). Turkey is Islamist and recalcitrant. Pakistan isn't going to stick its neck out for some pusillanimous waffler who draws red lines one day and wanders off to the golf course without doing anything when the lines are crossed the next.

In any case, have you ever seen a KC-135? They're ponderous monsters. You'd have to refuel in Iranian airspace. Good luck with that. Iran has been building air defense systems for quite some time and they can do the same range calculations you can. The Silly, Little, Brown People With Funny Names can be pretty clever once they finish with their rustic, native dances.

Not to worry, the Silly, Little, Brown People With Funny Names will only be able to furiously wave their pointed sticks at our Mighty Jets as they fly overhead. At subsonic speeds. In straight lines. For long distances. Our, big, fat, slow, unmaneuverable, Mighty Jets.
So now look at the map again and imagine trying to solve the problem from the Iranian point of view with lots of American bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. Air Force bases, too. And bases in Pakistan because the Pakistanis know we're a serious nation since we were willing to stick it out for the long haul in both those countries. Until we left Iraq and Afghanistan, the Iranians were totally screwed.

By pulling out of Iraq and Afghanistan, we've completely neutered ourselves with respect to Iran. They are now free to do whatever they want, whether that's turning New York City into a sea of fire or slipping a few nukes to Islamist crazies with only the most nebulous ties back to Tehran so the Islamist crazies can turn New York City into a sea of fire.

Note to any MSM folks who might read this: I apologize for not covering an important topic like gay marriage, racism or social justice in this post. I don't know what I was thinking. I'm sure if you go to your browser's favorites, you can quickly click back to the Huffington Post and calm yourself by reading about how Tea Party Christians are crazy, racist homophobes.


IlĂ­on said...

A good post that I ought to link to.

Anonymous said...

Thus spoke Bigotty McBigot, Highly Decorated Four Star General of the 101st Armchair Division.

K T Cat said...

Anon, try not hitting CTRL-Tab while typing comments. When you do that, you end up leaving non sequiturs instead of rational thought.

Jedi Master Ivyan said...

KT, what about our bombers? I'd think our B-2 might bring mayhem quite handily.

K T Cat said...

Ivyan, you still need to fly through someone's airspace to get there. Just who is going to let you through? Also, there's a limit to what you can do with strategic bombers.

After pondering this post for a while, I realized that I was solving the wrong problem entirely. It's not air power that matters, it's the ability to topple the Iranian government. For that you're going to need to invade them. While the problem of getting ground attack assets into the country is almost impossible without bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, getting a sufficient ground force into the country is totally out of the question.

Looking at the map again, you'd have to perform an amphibious assault in the south, drive all the way north, supplied only from the sea, half a world away.

That's not going to happen in a million years and the Iranians know it. That's why they're sending troops into Iraq now. Thanks to our abandonment of Iraq and Afghanistan, there's nothing we can do about it.

Welcome to the world, post-Pax Americana.