Originally Posted by franksargent
In order of your replies;
It would be a given that the Iraqi's would have to fend for themselves, have their civil war, whatever.
And we want to do that WHY?
And look at where most of the bases are already located, much closer to the Iranian border than any other border, and the terrain to the Iranian border is relatively flat, not like mountainous Afghanistan at all.
What? The Zagros mountains are flat? Iraq has practically no terrain until you get near the Iranian border and the northeast isn't very suitable terrain for invasion either direction. Not for mechanized forces anyway. There a few reasons Saddam attacked in the south. Marshy but flatter.
A single aircraft carrier has what, 80-90 aircraft/each, and don't forget the support ships, the destroyers and cruisers. And who said anything about being stationed in the Arabian Sea? Obviously, the air strikes would take out pretty much all of the Iranian offensive air capability, that's a necessary given.
A carrier air wing has 75-85 aircraft. 4 squadrons of F18s...about 48 aircraft. Yes, its substantial and was required in OIF for sustained strike but the naval threat was also lower. Yes, cruise missiles is also important on day 0. Neither need to be IN the gulf to do their job.
Parking a carrier battlegroup in the persian gulf when you expect to fight Iran would be risky until you eliminate the silkworm and sunburn sites. Localizing the battlegroup wouldn't be that hard in such a confined space. We have them there now. We might even leave one in there in a war but man, that's not a big piece of water. Typically when we have two we leave one in the Arabian sea and one in the Gulf.
The Iranians are certain to park anti-ship missles on Larak island. Between that and mine deployment by their three kilos the straights should be closable by them for at least a limited period. Giving them a chance at a carrier kill. They could lose their entire Navy and Air Force and come out ahead with one or two lucky hits.
Taking out Iranian offensive air capability is likely but possibly costly. It all depends on how many SA15s and SA 10s they bought off the Russians. While too few the Iranians are rumored to have a few Mig 27s and 31s. How many 29s they have are debatable.
We could likely kill all the aircraft, its the missiles that will be hard to find and eliminate.
Were talking 2008 technologies versus 2003 or 1991 technologies. Better and more precise delivery systems and munitions.
No, we're talking about predominantly 1960-1970 technology (F14, F15, F16, A10, B52, B1) and some 1980-1990s technology (F18, B2 and F117) augmented to 2004-2007 levels. There are danged few F22s around.
Not saying that we don't have a technical advantage but the TOR-M1(SA15) S300 (SA10) are reputed to be tough customers. Likewise if they managed to get AA-10 and AA-11 they would have competent Air to Air missiles for the fighters they have.
It all depends on how many and how well integrated these systems are.
All in all, not a certain cake walk. Nor is the outcome worth the price we'd pay. It would be stupid to attack Iran and theres no casus belli to do so anyway. Not that it stopped Bush in 2003 but its still dumb.
Oh, and of course Iran has a right to self defense. All sovereign nations have the right to self defense. So what? The "war with Iran" is not inevitable. Not even Bush is going to start a war with Iran because it would be the political deathknell of the Republican party for the better part of a decade.