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August 14, 2007

Air Force Big Suggests Bombing Iran's Oil Fields

Not to disagree with defense expert Noah Shachtman, but...

1) It's never smart to take options off the table. He seems a little over-surprised by a military guy wargaming possible scenarios. This is news?

2) It's "new" that the Air Force denigrates ground-pounders? Really? Hasn't the Air Force been, in the main, crowing about its capacity to win wars entirely through the air since... well, I think I'm going to have to go back to the Mongolifier brothers on this one. First time a balloon went up the rapidly-created Army Balloon Command announced it should get to control all defense spending as obviously the future of warfare would be determined by non-rigid dirigible "deep interdiction" combat.

This isn't new, Noah. Honestly. The Air Force has had as core doctrine the belief it could win just about any war, anywhere, through "deep interdiction" (that is, bombing the hell out of bridges, supply lines, factories, tank columns, and oil fields... and, uh, cities, too, when necessary) since for-ev-eh. Even when they say of course they need the Army and Marines to hold the ground they've conquered through the air, a lot of them don't mean it. They're just being nice.

The talk about disbanding either the Army and Marines is more interesting, in the way that many bad ideas are very interesting, but even that isn't really new. The question as to whether the Army or Marines are essentially duplicative pops up among (dopey) defense geeks all the time.

Back to the first point: Bombing Iran's oil fields. One could have political objections to such a move, but what is the military objection to it? Would it work or not?

How long could Iran survive without oil?

Noah Shactman responds:

Ace, I'm not trying to imply that these rivalries are anything new. But there has been renewed aggression on both sides, as the wars have slogged on.

Also, there's a difference between a general officer not wanting to take options off of the table -- in response to a pesky reporter's question, say -- and him wondering aloud how loud of a boom Iran's refineries would make. Two different things, no?



If there's "renewed aggression," I defer to you on that. I have no idea if the aggression is renewed or just more of the same service-jockeying we've always had.

As to the second question -- no, I don't think there's much difference. I like lower-level people making, essentially, threats that top-level policymakers aren't permitted to make. A bit of reminding about what we could do if we so chose is never unwelcome.

I don't see the problem. Is there a worry his remarks will drive Iran into being an enemy state?

digg this
posted by Ace at 03:43 PM

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