Thursday, March 16, 2006

"Sergeant Major, where's my Farsi phrase book?"

I don't have a crystal ball. But you don't need one, if you are a student of government and history, to see what is coming. The signs are everywhere. The miscalculations on both sides are stacking up in front of them until, soon, the antagonists will not be able to see over them for a clear look at the other. There's gonna be a war with Iran.

This thing is starting to take on the look of inevitability that the last two father/son outings on the shores of the Persian Gulf did in 1990 and 2002. Those who study these things, knew we were going to war the morning we saw Iraqi helicopters in the skies over Kuwait on CNN. We in the battle business, watching the World Trade Center towers fall over and over that night on CNN, had no doubt that business was going to be brisk soon; not just in Afghanistan, but in Iraq, and probably Syria and Iran, before it was all over. And it is a long, long way from being over...no matter who controls the American government over the next half century.

While I'm at it, I'll hang my reputation for predictive accuracy a little further out on the limb. The coming donnybrook with Iran will not be the "drive-by" variety that the last two anti-Saddam campaigns were. Whereas Saddam possessed a third-rate military commanded by trustworthy idiots who were forbidden to communicate with each other (they weren't trustworthy enough to keep Saddam from worrying about a coup), the Iranian Mullahs have a second-rate force, a uniting theology (critical; ours is democracy, theirs is theocracy), and (here comes that geography thing again) geographically strategic position. Iran will not allow us to mass an invasion force in the vicinity for six unmolested months prior to receiving our untoward attentions, as Saddam the Stupid did...TWICE. The Iranian navy and air force is quite capable of contesting us for control of the Strait of Hormuz and the Arabian Sea in proximity of their shores. Said contest will be relatively short-lived, but very bloody on both sides. The Iranian ground forces will not melt away as quickly as the regular Iraqi army did. Most of the resistance our forces encountered on the ride to Baghdad three years ago were fanatical Baathist irregulars. Nearly the entire Iranian military is steeped in the tradition of suicidal, human-wave tactics (see for reference their tactics against Iraq 1980-88), the likes of which American forces have not faced since our mid-twentieth century expeditions on the Asian continent and adjacent islands--when you think Iran, think Japan 1941-45, N. Korea (and China) 1950-53, and N. Vietnam 1965-1973.

My educated guess is that my beloved Marine Corps will get to do something they have not done since Inchon in 1950--a real live, large-scale, amphibious assault on a defended coastline. This will be necessary--despite the protestations of my Air Force friends that they can win it all from the air. I was held captive at the mecca of air power zealotry for three years (Marine rep at the Air Command and Staff College) and easily exposed their strategic attack arguments for the "pie in the sky" theorizing that it was--and if this knuckle-head, Ole Miss-educated Marine can figure out the bankruptcy of your ideas, they ain't good ideas. I'm not saying that the zoomies won't make a vital contribution--American airpower is indispensable to our way of warfighting. But my friends in light blue never could explain to me how they could seize the port facilities necessary to introduce the ground forces needed to place the requisite boot heel on the neck of the enemy.

Oh, we'll play "bust the buried bunker" for a while with our latest air delivered deep penetrating high explosive toys. But then my dirty, sweaty, rifle-lugging kind will have to go in and root the hold-outs from the rubble. If you think that we can just bomb the Iranian nuke facilities for a few days and be satisfied, you are sadly mistaken, and sorely misunderestimating (that's a word, my president says so) the Iranian reaction. The ayatollahs are going to react very badly to our attempt at setting back their jihadic timetable for establishment of their long-sought (a least 1200 years and counting) theocratic domination of the world. They won't just shrug their shoulders and go back to suppressing Persian freedom--they will lash out. Their current mullah-puppet and former American hostage-taking president fervently believes in a Koranic prophecy of a cataclysmic, world-ending Islam v. Infidel conflict (Our president, and I, believe in something similar. But, we don't think man can bring on the final battle, like Amindejawhateverhisnameis believes). He will likely go down in history as one of a long line of lunatics whose fanatic megalomania threatened, and often succeeded, to plunge the known world into conflict pandemic--Nebuchanezar, Alexander, Suleman, Wilhelm, Hitler, Johnson..., et. al.

Better get my boots back in shape. I'm not too old to get called back to active duty and I think this is gonna be a biggun.
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