T Nation

The War With Iran - Day 1


By Douglas Herman

The war began as planned. The Israeli pilots took off well before dawn and streaked across Lebanon and northern Iraq, high above Kirkuk. Flying US-made F-15 and F-16s, the Israelis separated over the mountains of western Iran, the pilots gesturing a last minute show of confidence in their mission, maintaining radio silence.

Just before the sun rose over Tehran, moments before the Muslim call to prayer, the missiles struck their targets. While US Air Force AWACS planes circled overhead--listening, watching, recording--heavy US bombers followed minutes later. Bunker-busters and mini-nukes fell on dozens of targets while Iranian anti-aircraft missiles sped skyward.

The ironically named Bushehr nuclear power plant crumbled to dust. Russian technicians and foreign nationals scurried for safety. Most did not make it.

Targets in Saghand and Yazd, all of them carefully chosen many months before by Pentagon planners, were destroyed. The uranium enrichment facility in Natanz; a heavy water plant and radioisotope facility in Arak; the Ardekan Nuclear Fuel Unit; the Uranium Conversion Facility and Nuclear Technology Center in Isfahan; were struck simultaneously by USAF and Israeli bomber groups.

The Tehran Nuclear Research Center, the Tehran Molybdenum, Iodine and Xenon Radioisotope Production Facility, the Tehran Jabr Ibn Hayan Multipurpose Laboratories, the Kalaye Electric Company in the Tehran suburbs were destroyed.

Iranian fighter jets rose in scattered groups. At least those Iranian fighter planes that had not been destroyed on the ground by swift and systematic air strikes from US and Israeli missiles. A few Iranian fighters even launched missiles, downing the occasional attacker, but American top guns quickly prevailed in the ensuing dogfights.

The Iranian air force, like the Iranian navy, never really knew what hit them. Like the slumbering US sailors at Pearl Harbor, the pre-dawn, pre-emptive attack wiped out fully half the Iranian defense forces in a matter of hours.

By mid-morning, the second and third wave of US/Israeli raiders screamed over the secondary targets. The only problem now, the surprising effectiveness of the Iranian missile defenses. The element of surprise lost, US and Israeli warplanes began to fall from the skies in considerable numbers to anti-aircraft fire.

At 7:35 AM, Tehran time, the first Iranian anti-ship missile destroyed a Panamanian oil tanker, departing from Kuwait and bound for Houston. Launched from an Iranian fighter plane, the Exocet split the ship in half and set the ship ablaze in the Strait of Hormuz. A second and third tanker followed, black smoke billowing from the broken ships before they blew up and sank. By 8:15 AM, all ship traffic on the Persian Gulf had ceased.

US Navy ships, ordered earlier into the relative safety of the Indian Ocean, south of their base in Bahrain, launched counter strikes. Waves of US fighter planes circled the burning wrecks in the bottleneck of Hormuz but the Iranian fighters had fled.

At 9 AM, Eastern Standard Time, many hours into the war, CNN reported a squadron of suicide Iranian fighter jets attacking the US Navy fleet south of Bahrain. Embedded reporters aboard the ships--sending live feeds directly to a rapt audience of Americans just awakening--reported all of the Iranian jets destroyed, but not before the enemy planes launched dozens of Exocet and Sunburn anti-ship missiles. A US aircraft carrier, cruiser and two destroyers suffered direct hits. The cruiser blew up and sank, killing 600 men. The aircraft carrier sank an hour later.

By mid-morning, every military base in Iran was partially or wholly destroyed. Sirens blared and fires blazed from hundreds of fires. Explosions rocked Tehran and the electrical power failed. The Al Jazeerah news station in Tehran took a direct hit from a satellite bomb, leveling the entire block.

At 9:15 AM, Baghdad time, the first Iranian missile struck the Green Zone. For the next thirty minutes a torrent of missiles landed on GPS coordinates carefully selected by Shiite militiamen with cell phones positioned outside the Green Zone and other permanent US bases. Although US and Israeli bomber pilots had destroyed 90% of the Iranian missiles, enough Shahabs remained to fully destroy the Green Zone, the Baghdad airport, and a US Marine base. Thousands of unsuspecting US soldiers died in the early morning barrage. Not surprisingly, CNN and Fox withheld the great number of casualties from American viewers.

By 9:30 AM, gas stations on the US east coast began to raise their prices. Slowly at first and then altogether in a panic, the prices rose. $4 a gallon, and then $5 and then $6, the prices skyrocketed. Worried motorists, rushing from work, roared into the nearest gas station, radios blaring the latest reports of the pre-emptive attack on Iran. While fistfights broke out in gas stations everywhere, the third Middle Eastern war had begun.

In Washington DC, the spin began minutes after the first missile struck its intended target. The punitive strike--not really a war said the harried White House spokesman--would further democracy and peace in the Middle East. Media pundits mostly followed the party line. By ridding Iran of weapons of mass destruction, Donald Rumsfeld declared confidently on CNN, Iran might follow in the footsteps of Iraq, and enjoy the hard won fruits of freedom.

The president scheduled a speech at 2 PM. Gas prices rose another two dollars before then. China and Japan threatened to dump US dollars. Gold rose $120 an ounce. The dollar plummeted against the Euro.

CNN reported violent, anti-American protests in Paris, London, Rome, Berlin and Dublin. Fast food franchises throughout Europe, carrying American corporate logos, were firebombed.

A violent coup toppled the pro-American Pakistan president. On the New York Stock Exchange, prices fell in a frenzy of trading--except for the major petroleum producers. A single, Iranian Shahab missile struck Tel Aviv, destroying an entire city block. Israel vowed revenge, and threatened a nuclear strike on Tehran, before a hastily called UN General Assembly in New York City eased tensions.

An orange alert in New York City suddenly reddened to a full-scale terror alarm when a package detonated on a Manhattan subway. Mayor Bloomberg declared martial law. Governor Pataki ordered the New York National Guard fully mobilized, mobilizing what few national guardsmen remained in the state.

President Bush looked shaken at 2 PM. The scroll below the TV screen reported Persian Gulf nations halting production of oil until the conflict could be resolved peacefully. Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, announced a freeze in oil deliveries to the US would begin immediately. Tony Blair offered to mediate peace negotiations, between the US and Israel and Iran, but was resoundingly rejected.

By 6 PM, Eastern Standard Time, gas prices had stabilized at just below $10 a gallon. A Citgo station in Texas, near Fort Sam Houston Army base, was firebombed. No one claimed responsibility. Terrorism was not ruled out.

At sunset, the call to prayer--in Tehran, Baghdad, Islamabad, Ankara, Jerusalem, Jakarta, Riyadh--sounded uncannily like the buzzing of enraged bees.


USAF veteran, Douglas Herman correctly predicted the aftermath of the attack on Iraq in his column: Shock & Awe Followed by Block-To-Block. A Rense contributer, he is the author of The Guns of Dallas, available at Amazon.com.


Point is?

Actually, this does show that you simply can't kick the hornet nest. Either wipe it out completely, or stay away. Dammit, this is a fight to the death. We have to obliterate the capability of these countries and terrorists to harm us in any way. Drastic? The alternative is to suffer a much bigger strike than 9/11.

My father, a D-Day vet and survivor of WWII, said how he and the other old timers (meaning they survived to make it to Germany) wanted to simply level the whole country; Turn it into one big cow pasture. Seems like the most viable solution here.


The point is that a war on Iran would ignite a cultural war between America and Israel and many, many Islamic countries (possibly all of them). This would be a war that would be disastrous for America in nearly every way, shape and form. You still don't seem to understand that these wars are not conventional wars like WWII, they will be guerilla wars like Vietnam. And the home team normally wins those games.

You can wipe Iran off the map. But the point is that unless you murder every Arab in the Middle East, you cannot win the war; for they care little about countries...they are figting for their religion. And there's nothing more dangerous than wars over religion.


Do you realize that we would have to "obilterate" every singl moslem in every single moslem country for that strategy to me successful?

They are terrorists-that means that they only need a handful of men, women or children to carry out another terrorist attack.

You are not thinking properly on this one my friend.


The difference is this is a Holy War for them and a spread of ideology and economics to us. If Isreal gets involved this thing will escalate BIG TIME.


Agreed- it could, feasibly, turn into the war that is described in the book of Revelations in the Bible. And though George II and the Zionists would have no problem with that...I do.


It is highly likely that Israel will attack Iran before the recently purchased Russian Anti-Aircraft missles are deployed. Many strategists suggest the action may take place in early 2006. If you have already made the decision to attack you will not wait for the defenses to become more formidable.

They are either going to get a bomb or get a war. It doesn't sound like they are going to blink on this. Even the normally Europeans have given up hope.

If they get the bomb they will use it eventually. Even though their destruction would be assured I do not think it matters to the leaders. The question then becomes do you want to fight a nuclear Iran or a non-nuclear one?

Interesting article. I don't think we would use tactical nukes in the initial attack but who knows. I wouldn't give the Iranian Navy or Air Force more then an hour or two to survive.

Irish- I think if we invaded Iran it would be a very heavy operation, similar to a WW2 battle, but much more lethal and quicker. We choose not to do that in Iraq. I don't think we would in Iran, particularly if they retaliate after the initial attacks.

Those are the tactical considerations. Should we take this action? Ask yourself this. Iranian leadership routinely makes statements to the effect that they want to destroy Israel. They recently said that Muslims are destined to rule the world and "Death to America" is the national motto. They have the desire to become a regional superpower in a very important part of the world. Not just important to us. To the economy of the world. Do you want them to have nuclear weaponsa and does that make us safer or more at risk?

I think the diplomats will try to settle this and that is in everyone's best interest. I just don't see a diplomatic solution.


The sooner we realize that this truly is a fight to the death, the better. Only by demonstrating absolute, smashing power can we prevent further attacks.

Think of it this way: a guy down the block says to you: "I'm going to kill you, your wife, and your children. Nothing you can say, nothing you do, will change my mind. I hate you to the very core of my being." What do you do? Wait around for him to do it? Wait until he has more weapons, more murderous maniacs working for him?

Terrorists use our own moral code as a weapon against us. This is why they surround themselves with women and children. This is why hospitals are above weapons caches.

We need to say to the terrorists: "You will be responsible for anything that happens. A dirty bomb goes off in D.C.? Say goodbye to Teheran. Unleash a plague that kills 100,000 Americans? Say goodbye to Medina. You caused it, you made us do it; may Allah have mercy on your souls."

These are harsh, brutal measures. So were Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Welcome to reality.


Nice post.

On the other hand, you have to wonder how many Iranians are truly loyal to the leaders of their country....if we went to war with them it becomes a war of self-preservation, which would trump everything else. But anytime you have an oppressive regime, you have to wonder how far they are really willing to go to defend that regime...ask the "feared" Republican Guard how hard they fought for Saddam...even they knew a pric when they saw one.

I also think Iran would be a heavy operation, and that their military would be mostly destroyed quickly. However, its the ensuing guerilla war that would negatively affect America. I don't know if we can get into another "pre-emptive war", even if the hierarchy thought it was the right thing to do; the Iraqi situation has destroyed the credibility of the people running things now (you may not think so, but I really would be interested in 1)how they would spin the facts this time and 2) How the country would react to this, regardless of the facts)

Iran may be another enemy on the list of America, but I believe that they understand the same things that the USSR and Saddam knew- if you truly fuck with us on the nuclear level, we will wipe you off the face of the planet. While I think some individual terrorists would not care, the leaders of a soverign nation are smarter than that- regardless of how much we dislike them.


Call the police maybe?

So when they kill innocent people, we then kill more innocent people as payback? Sounds like terrorists vs. terrorists to me.



Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is radical even by radical Muslim standards.

Kohmenhi even thought he was too far out on the fringe and exhiled him to minor posts. His sect believes that the Islamic Messiah will only come when the world is in chaos and lead the faithful to victory. Why do his people support him? Most likely internal secret police keep a lid on things. Patriotism and nationalism. It is a young country, very young. More folks under 30 then over. Perhaps if they saw support for an overthrow they would do it. I am sure it's on the table.

I'll leave the politics of the decision to others.

Insuregency and irregular warfare? Don't discount the fact that the Iranian government supports a lot of this in Iraq. They wouldn't be around anymore. I also wouldn't discount the fact that the US Military would be better prepared to deal with from a lessons learned perspective. The insurgency is tactically anemic in Iraq at this point. I don't think we would let it develop in Iran.


It may be possible to cut the head off of the snake in Iran.

If ever there was a case for attempted surgical strikes to throw the government into disarray, so that alternate factions could organize and compete for control, Iran is the textbook for it.

They won't get any more fanatical, and a civil war is better than an apocalyptic war between Middle East and West.

Iran is the fanatic country that Iraq never was... George should have kept his powder dry. Now he has no credibility and a real problem on his hands.

Short sighted fool.


No kidding


I despise advocating for the United States to go in and change anyone's regime, but even I have to make an exception for this.

From the information that I understand about Iran (not much at this point), it seems like this guy in charge would be more than willing to start a nuclear war on the grounds of destroying Israel.

While I'm no fan of Israel, this is incredibly dangerous to the peace of not only the region, but the world.

Isn't this what the Neocons should've been looking for? A true threat? Now they are strung out for troops, the American public is already tired of war, and Bush's poll numbers are awfully low (Bush might not care about this, but he probably only looks at the picture graphs. Rove, however, is the one who pays attention to this).

It irritates me even more so about George II, because what happens if Iran gets more fiery...and acts on things. They are far larger than Iraq, if I recollect, and far more..insane, as of now.


If we are strung out for troops I say we let France take the first charge, followed by Canada.

We will have no problem doing this. Buck up little sailor and stop getting so sour on our leaders. You should go try and run a country like ours for a while....it would probably change you.


(1) The police can't help you until after a crime has been committed.

(2) Killing innocents is a tragedy of war. Besides, what other options are there? Diplomacy, with murderers? Sanctions, with suicidal maniacs?

Understand: terrorists use our morality as a weapon against us. To fight them, we have to take the gloves off. Tragic, but the other option is death.


Vroom and Irish,

Jack Straw is in the news, suggesting that the situation in Iran will most likely be referred to the UNSC.

Iran has become a major purchaser of Russian technology, including 'defensive weaponry' to the tune of $1 billion. China is emerging as one of Iran's biggest trading partners, particularly in oil.

A likely veto on action against Iran - sanctions or force down the line - will come from Russia or China.

What is your position if the UNSC does not have a resolution to contain Iran because of the vetoes?


So, we're supposed to cut off the head of the snake, with a hostile Iraq next door, instead of Iraq as a base of ops?

Who's the short-sighted fool?



Perhaps you? Iraq was impotent. It was incredibly under wraps.

The condition of Iraq has very little to do with the attitude and danger posed by Iran, obviously.

Surgical strikes are not the same as wide scale invasion and presence as we are now seeing in Iraq. You don't need to be heavily into the country next door to conduct surgical strikes.



I've said many times, and I'll say it again, Iran (or at least the leadership of it) is a country that I truly believe to be a danger.

As much as we love to hate Saddam, he wasn't as big a threat to world peace as the fanatics in Afghanistan or Iran. In those countries you have (or had) the fanatics running the country.

This is a very big difference from simply having fanatics in your country. At this point, I expect most countries have fanatics of one stripe or another.

If the UN isn't able to work together on this, then I'd like to see a real coalition contributing to any actions that occur. I'd hope that many countries would be able to see the danger of Iran, even if vetoes were to hamstring the UN.

Perhaps, for regional stability, this multinational effort could exclude Isreal and include some more moderate Arabic states. Sure, maybe I'm dreaming, but this is what having good diplomatic relations, credibility and trust is good for. Hopefully the appropriate people have already been talking to counterparts overseas about these issues.

I don't know... I honestly haven't put much thought into how to go about solving the issue, who exactly should be involved, how to get them involved or how to mitigate regional risks. The thought of surgical strikes does seem to equate to less risk on behalf of western military personnel though.

If you have ideas for how to solve the issue... I'm all ears.