Telegraph: North Korea helping Iran to prepare for nuke test

posted at 10:56 am on January 24, 2007 by Allahpundit

A day without the nuke thumbnail just isn’t a day worth blogging.

Take this one with a (small) grain of salt. The Telegraph’s a great paper, but some of Con Coughlin’s stories about Iran are so spectacular as to border on the incredible.

Or not so incredible, as the case may be. Like See-Dub says, if you believe the Telegraph, then our intel estimates about when Iran should have the bomb would be off by a factor of ten. Which, alas, is only too plausible.

“The Iranians are working closely with the North Koreans to study the results of last year’s North Korean nuclear bomb test,” said the European defence official.”We have identified increased activity at all of Iran’s nuclear facilities since the turn of the year,” he said.

“All the indications are that the Iranians are working hard to prepare for their own underground nuclear test.”…

Intelligence estimates vary about how long it could take Teheran to produce a nuclear warhead. But defence officials monitoring the growing co-operation between North Korea and Iran believe the Iranians could be in a position to test fire a low-grade device — less than half a kiloton — within 12 months

The Iranians are reported to have been encouraged by the fact that no punitive action was taken against North Korea, despite the international outcry that greeted the underground firing.

Well, there was punitive action taken. Meaningless punitive action, but still. It also goes without saying that if the Telegraph’s story is true, then Chosun Ilbo’s blockbuster isn’t.

Amir Taheri, no stranger to spectacular/incredible stories himself, says Iran is playing its usual game of good cop/bad cop. Good cop is offering us a grand bargain through back channelsl. Bad cop is killing American soldiers in Iraq:

The Khomeinist leaders have also decided to test the Americans in Iraq. The latest attacks killed U.S. and U.K. soldiers in Karbala and Basra, two Shiite cities that had been calm for the past two years. This was a message to Washington that the Islamic Republic’s clients in Iraq could open dozens of new fronts against the U.S.-led multinational force.

Tehran has also ordered the Mahdi Army militia, led by Muqtada al-Sadr, to disperse its forces throughout central and southern provinces. Hundreds of Iranian-controlled gunmen are moving out of Baghdad, heading for Diwaniyah, Nasseriah, Karbala and Najaf – partly to escape the expected U.S. attack on their stronghold, the Baghdad suburb of Sadr City, but also to prepare new positions for anti-U.S. operations.

Ahmadinejad’s counting on the fact, says Taheri, that Bush won’t have the stones to launch a truly damaging attack. Hmmm.

Update: Commenter “NPP” has experience in this field and calls the Telegraph’s article nonsense. Scroll down to see why.

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Please say you are taping the View! Please..sorry to go off topic but I just witnessed the beginning of the end of Rosie..she chose to take on Walters!

Sorry, but it was worth you blogging!

Pam on January 24, 2007 at 11:11 AM

Birds of a feather. . .

Troy Rasmussen on January 24, 2007 at 11:14 AM

Can we turn Israel loose on Iran now? Huh? Huh? Pretty please?

MarineDad on January 24, 2007 at 11:16 AM

I think the Iranian freeze on inspectors makes it more likely this story is true. Then again, maybe the Norks and the Iranians are the ones playing good cop, bad cop. One promises to renounce nukes while the other works feverishly to complete one. As the story suggests, they are clearly cooperating.

Hard to believe Ahmadinejad would kick the inspectors out if his bomb was a full 12 months away. That’s an awfully long time and it gives us (and the Israelis) a lot of provocation. I’m just guessing, but 3-6 months sounds more plausible.

John on January 24, 2007 at 11:29 AM

Is the Iranian nuke going to be similar to that pop gun those idiot Norks “set off” in their underground “research facility” or whatever?

Color me singularly unimpressed. Daisy cutters have more military application, deliverability and knock down power than whatever it was the Norks lit in that hole.

Or am I very wrong? I thought that whatever it was the Norks blew up didn’t exactly frighten us with its potential to upset the balance of power in the Korean penninsula. Would a similar stunt by the Iranians change anyone’s calculus dramatically and overnight? Do the Israelis fuel up the jets and launch immediately (or reasonably soon thereafter) if the Iranians do this, or is this just one more turn of the ratchet in terms of pressure?

Fred on January 24, 2007 at 11:37 AM

It is the ‘short-of-war’ ROE that he is operating under. Just like the North Atlantic in 41. FDR’s hands were tied by a skeptical public. FDR knew the best course was to attack but had to wait for the American public to wake up.
I believe GWB has the stones. I also believe the American public does not. Yet. The one and only ‘point’ in his SOTU speech was the build-up of 90,000 additional combat troops. He knows we will need them, and put the enemy on notice that we will.

While the leadership of Iran is in a dream world the military of Iran is not. There is not a single pilot in their air force who believes he will be alive longer then 6 hours if the U.S decides to attack. There is not a single armored vehicle crew who doesn’t know that the magnetic signature of their vehicle will cause hell fire to desend on them. Iran’s only hope is the bomb. George knows it. Israel knows it. Britian knows it. War is coming. The Iranian military will see to it that they have it regardless of what the ‘opposition’ in Iran does. It is their only hope of living to old age.

Limerick on January 24, 2007 at 11:42 AM

Wasn’t it just yesterday we were talking about the NKs backing off their nuclear program? We just can’t stand good news it appears.

Best news not yet contradicted: the Iranians seem to be having enough of shorty, rebuking him for his nuclear rhetoric and for ratcheting up the anti-West talk. We’ll see. Hope springs eternal I guess.

honora on January 24, 2007 at 12:02 PM

How long will we wait? How much interest will accure in blood while we sit on our hands trying to stop evil without destroying it?

Tim Burton on January 24, 2007 at 12:13 PM

If the United States is serious about bringing a change in Iranian policies, it needs to realize that the impetus for change has to come from within. A better strategy, therefore, would be to formulate and issue messages of positive intent and content directly to the Iranian population, who will ultimately be the ones exerting the required pressure on the power holders above. About 60 percent of Iran’s population is under the age of 24, with one in five between 15 and 24 years of age unemployed. If there is one thing that the current clerical regime is afraid of, it is its own population. To mobilize this population what is required is a message to rally around, i.e. a vision worth standing up for. This is what the US should provide.

That’s from the GRC report referenced in the Sun artilce in the last link.

Whatever course of action Bush decides to take with Iran I would hope he keeps that reality in mind. Iran’s population supports Ahmadinejad and his nuclear ambitions about as much as the U.S. supports Bush and his Iraq surge. If we are serious about change and stability in Iran, we wouls be wise to use the youth and unrest in the Iranian population to our full advantage.

If Iran poses a real threat to us or our allies and military action is the last option, fine. But hopefully we have learned something from Iraq and whatever course we take will use the Iranian people to our advantage, not Ahmadinejad’s. Spurring change from within is obviously best for both Americans and Iranians.

JaHerer22 on January 24, 2007 at 12:14 PM

Whatever course of action Bush decides to take with Iran I would hope he keeps that reality in mind. Iran’s population supports Ahmadinejad and his nuclear ambitions about as much as the U.S. supports Bush and his Iraq surge. If we are serious about change and stability in Iran, we wouls be wise to use the youth and unrest in the Iranian population to our full advantage.

Michael Ledeen (i.e., an Evil Neo-kkkon to you) has been proposing support of an internal revolution in Iran for years now.

Welcome to the cabal.

thirteen28 on January 24, 2007 at 12:36 PM

If Iran poses a real threat to us or our allies and military action is the last option, fine. But hopefully we have learned something from Iraq and whatever course we take will use the Iranian people to our advantage, not Ahmadinejad’s. Spurring change from within is obviously best for both Americans and Iranians.

JaHerer22 on January 24, 2007 at 12:14 PM

Are you saying that we foment the rebellion from within rather than invading? Well, given the fact that most of the support for the insurgency in Iraq has come from Iran, and NOT from within, I guess if we would be successful in getting Iranians to rebel, we’ll just have to make sure that no *OTHER* country tries to support an insurgency.

One of the basic points that liberals wrongly assume about Iraq is that the citizens never wanted our help in getting rid of Hussein… this couldn’t be further from the truth. The base problem has been the interference from Iran and Syria.

dalewalt on January 24, 2007 at 1:50 PM

I would very much like to see an internal rebellion stirred up. I’ve also lost faith that that’s possible, at least without degradation of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. America’s track record on supporting rebellious Shiites is a bit…blemished.

see-dubya on January 24, 2007 at 2:00 PM

The telegraph article is complete BS. Here’s a rundown:

1. The NORK test was a plutonium implosion device. Iran has no plutonium production or reprocessing capability. Their nuclear program is focused on a uranium design (at least until the Arak reactor is up and running – but even then, they’ll still need a reprocessing facility), so even if NK shared test information it won’t help Iran all that much.

2. Sub-kiloton nuclear weapons are VERY VERY VERY difficult to make by design. The NK test was sub-kiloton because it failed – it should have been about 15kt. Also, making a sub-kiloton uranium weapon is just about impossible from a physics standpoint, particularly for a country like Iran, which has yet to even master the basic fuel cycle. Therefore, the claim of a sub-kiloton underground test by Iran in the next 12 months is laughable.

3. There is a reason the pentagon’s assessment is about 10 years for and Iranian nuke. You see, unlike Iran and chairborne bloggers, the pentagon knows what it takes to create a nuclear weapon from an engineering standpoint. After all, we have the most advanced designs in the world. Those estimates are not gospel, but they are pretty good. Remember that the Intelligence Community is trying to predict when Iran will develop a technology it doesn’t understand yet. Inevitably, judgments have to be made about how easily Iranian scientists will be able to overcome the multitude of technical and engineering hurdles that we know await them. It’s easy for people who really know nothing about nuclear weapons, engineering or even the basic physics to throw predictions around or say that the pentagon is full of it. You’ll notice that very few (if any) predictions that Iran will get nukes in the near term are coming from anyone with a nuclear engineering degree, much less anyone with actual knowledge of weapons design and engineering.

NPP on January 24, 2007 at 2:03 PM

For those advocating a strike on Iran – are you prepared to deal with no Gulf oil exports for a month and significant disruptions for longer? Are you prepared to screw our allies like Japan who get up to 90% of their petroleum from the Gulf? Are you prepared for the possibility of a worldwide recession? Are you prepared for our troops in Iraq to have supply disruptions because your supply ships can’t get to Iraqi ports?

It’s good the US is doubling our strategic petroleum reserve, but it won’t be enough to stabilize the oil markets or stop worldwide economic disruption.

NPP on January 24, 2007 at 2:08 PM

I don’t doubt it a bit.

For over a year, I’ve been saying that Iran would be assembling their first homemade Atomic-bomb (Not necessarily a more modern nuclear bomb, but maybe a Little Boy or a Fatman type) right about……. NOW.

And probably conducting their first actual detonation right about April Fools Day.

The fact that they are working with the NorKs may have actually slowed them down. They shoulda stuck to working with ‘rogue’ Russians.

LegendHasIt on January 24, 2007 at 2:10 PM

You see, unlike Iran and chairborne bloggers, the pentagon knows what it takes to create a nuclear weapon from an engineering standpoint.

There’s really no need, at all, for the attitude.

Allahpundit on January 24, 2007 at 2:15 PM

Well, NPP, Saddam’s guys were able to complete a (large, clunky) test device using mainly old US Manhattan project plans before the first Gulf war. And we were able to knock out Fat Man and Little Boy in pretty short order as well.

And as for plutonium production I beg to differ. But even if they didn’t have that capacity, they could still buy some from the North Koreans, who would likely be willing to sell.

I think you’re right about the sub-kiloton thing, though–the DPRK’s was an accident and it’s not like subtlety and efficiency are Iran’s primary concerns. They’re gonna go for a Hail Mahdi against Israel.

see-dubya on January 24, 2007 at 2:20 PM

For those advocating a strike on Iran – are you prepared to deal with no Gulf oil exports for a month and significant disruptions for longer? Are you prepared to screw our allies like Japan who get up to 90% of their petroleum from the Gulf? Are you prepared for the possibility of a worldwide recession? Are you prepared for our troops in Iraq to have supply disruptions because your supply ships can’t get to Iraqi ports?

NPP on January 24, 2007 at 2:08 PM

I’m assuming that you’re thinking of the Iranian Navy/Iranian terrorists/Iranian Rev. Guard blockading the Gulf or threatening to do a U.S.S. Cole type of attack? It’d take more fortitude than we’re currently showing in Iraq, but if we set up a maritime exclusion zone in the Gulf, and put specific controls on all, and I mean ALL, shipping in the Gulf (including pleasure/fishing boats), then yes, we could insure that shipping still gets through.

Signed,
A Chairborne Blogger

dalewalt on January 24, 2007 at 2:23 PM

…are you prepared to deal with no Gulf oil exports for a month and significant disruptions for longer? Are you prepared to screw our allies like Japan who get up to 90% of their petroleum from the Gulf?

See, the thing is, the Saudis are already badgering OPEC to up production, lower prices, and beggar the Iranians. They’re as scared of Iran as we are and I think they’d be willing to spot us a little oil to deal with the fallout.

Iranian attacks on shipping through the Straits might be a factor but (as I wrote here) I assume any strike at Iran would neutralize all their coastal defenses right off the bat to keep the tankers safe.

see-dubya on January 24, 2007 at 2:24 PM

Allah,

That wasn’t directed at you as you are consistently fair and skeptical and you don’t immediate make assumptions. That’s the primary reason I read this site. You did add a grain of salt at the beginning of your post.

However, there are many bloggers who do make such claims, including some that are widely read. It’s very vexing to read demonstrable falsehoods put forth as fact and then to have these same people cast aspersions against the IC or Pentagon because their analysis doesn’t match what they want to hear.

Be that as it may, I’m sorry for bringing my frustrations here and using that pejorative.

Keep up the good work.

NPP on January 24, 2007 at 2:28 PM

This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.”
Western Union internal memo, 1876.

“Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.”
Lord Kelvin, president , Royal Society, 1895

“Everything that can be invented has been invented.”
Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, US Office of Patents, 1899

“I must confess that my imagination, in spite even of spurring, refuses to see any sort of submarine doing anything but suffocating its crew and floundering at sea.”
H.G. Wells, 1901.

“The actual building of roads devoted to motor cars is not for the near future, in spite of many rumors to that effect.”
Source: Harpers Weekly, August 2, 1902

Yep.. them experts….you gotta listen to em.

Limerick on January 24, 2007 at 2:37 PM

Not to be picky, but don’t you mean “chairbound”. “Chairborne” as in held aloft by a chair….????

honora on January 24, 2007 at 2:40 PM

See-dubya,

The plutonium Iran produced was in minuscule amounts that they used for testing. It was produced in the TRR, which, ironically, we built. They don’t have the capability to produce the quantities of plutonium for a nuclear device. Another of your links points to the Arak “research” reactor they’re building, which, once completed, will give them an excellent reactor for creating quality plutonium useful for weapons. The reactor is still a few years away from completion, and they’ve run into technical problems with it – they asked for UN help and were turned down. Additionally, they’d need a plutonium reprocessing facility – no such facility has yet been identified in Iran.

As for NK selling Iran plutonium that is not nearly as likely as people assume. You see, North Korea is betting that it’s nuclear weapon capability will guarantee its security and they don’t have much plutonium that could be used in a weapon. Given that, I don’t see much incentive for NK to sell their most valuable strategic asset to the Iranians, even if Iran was interesting in buying – which one shouldn’t assume. The Iranians are certainly aware of our technical detection capabilities, and the likelihood of a large amount of Pu getting from NK to Iran undetected is rather small.

As I’ve said before on this site, I was a naval analyst at CENTCOM for a couple of years. I know the Iranian Navy well. You see, the Navy isn’t that much of a problem. But do you realize that most of the strait is in range of standard field artillery? Are you aware of Iran’s asymmetric naval capabilities or naval mine capabilities? What if Iran was able to sink a large tanker in the main shipping channel and block all tanker traffic?

You can’t just “neutralize” all their coastal defense right off the bat. It’s, to use a term from the first Gulf War, a “target rich environment” and will take time to take down. The combination of mobile cruise missiles, the regular and IRGC navy, the irregular forces, naval mines, artillery, submarines and other unconventional threats cannot be neutralized “right off the bat.” Can we neutralize the threat? Yes, but it will take time, which is why I said a month which I think is a decent estimate. Again, think Gulf War 1, because there are so many targets to take out, especially since our forces are smaller than in 1991. And we’re not talking just Navy targets. Iran’s Air Force would have to be destroyed, as well as their Air Defense system (which is concentrated on the strait and coastal areas). Oh, and while you’re at it, you’d probably have to invade some of the Iranian-controlled Islands in the strait to ensure safe shipping as well. How quickly are you expecting all this to happen again?

Dalewalt suggest closing all shipping in the Gulf. I wonder – have you ever been there? There are thousands, if not tens of thousands of boats and ships of all sizes there. You can’t control all that shipping. Every Navy in the region tries to control the shipping because smuggling is such a problem. Are you prepared to blow some poor fisherman out of the water in a vain attempt to keep the Gulf a big empty swimming pool?

NPP on January 24, 2007 at 2:49 PM

Limerick,

There is a difference between predicting a certain technology is completely impossible (as the examples you gave demonstrate) and predicting when a certain nation will master a technology that we know more about than anyone else on the planet. Your examples don’t really follow. I’ve never said it was IMPOSSIBLE for Iran to create a bomb. The will eventually do given the resources and will to do so. The question is, how soon? As I said above, 12 months for a sub-kt bomb is ludicrous.

NPP on January 24, 2007 at 2:52 PM

NPP I respect your experience and your ‘common-sense’. As a former naval analyst you probably know better then anyone on this post the problems involved. I also know that if we can build the Burma Road we can build pipelines to the Suez side of the canal. I know that War Plan Orange was pretty far off the mark. I know that Cactus was probably the biggest logistical fiasco the United States Navy ever made. But we worked through them.
Can we neutralize Iran on the fly…nope….but I would rather farm onions in my backyard then let mushroom clouds rise above New York or Jerusalem.

Limerick on January 24, 2007 at 3:03 PM

Limerick,

I agree wholeheartedly with your pipeline idea, though pipelines are vulnerable targets as well (as Iraq has demonstrated).

The problem I have is people’s natural tendency to overestimate the capability of the US military while at the same time minimizing the military capability of our adversaries. Many of these same people, ironically, overestimate Iran’s ability to create a nuclear weapon and their willingness and ability to detonate one in the US or Israel.

The Iranians have been building forces to defend and interdict the SoH for decades and they are not stupid. Although we would eventually prevail, is the cost ultimately worth it? Especially since airstrikes alone will not destroy Iranian nuclear capabilities, only degrade and delay them.

NPP on January 24, 2007 at 3:24 PM

That last comment wasn’t aimed at you, Limerick, but is just an observation of people’s perceptions in the blogosphere. Confirmation bias is something that affects all humans sadly.

NPP on January 24, 2007 at 3:26 PM

I fully admit that the public at large has the Op Center/24/McGiver view of U.S. intel and military capabilities. Heck, even CSI. I want to puke everytime I see a DNA test run in 3 mins and return a drivers license photo of the perp.

I guess where I depart from many is I believe it will be less costly in both men and finances to take out the enemy at the earliest opportunity. If that means it takes 20 years for Toyota to recover that is OK with me. I am completely willing to endure hard times. I don’t need TiVo. I don’t need GPS in my car. I don’t need a refrigerator that orders my groceries for me.

Sorry to rant all, Allah, NPP. Just completely frustrated that we let our greed(politicians) and our comfort(us) completely blind us to the fact that Iran wants us all DEAD.

Limerick on January 24, 2007 at 3:35 PM

NPP, there’s no doubt that creating an exclusion zone in the Gulf would be difficult; I never meant to assume that we’d be able to do it in a day. And as far as the ‘fishing boat’; there WOULD be ‘collateral damage’ incidents… therein lies my statement about the resolve that we’d need. As you pointed out, a pipeline wouldn’t be the best solution; it seems to me that a pipeline would be even more vulnerable than shipping. Plus, building a pipeline would, let us say, telegraph our intentions quite plainly :-)

dalewalt on January 24, 2007 at 3:42 PM

Sorry to rant all, Allah, NPP. Just completely frustrated that we let our greed(politicians) and our comfort(us) completely blind us to the fact that Iran wants us all DEAD.

Limerick on January 24, 2007 at 3:35 PM

And the problem is that most people don’t WANT to suffer any hardships. I’m not sure that we’re at the point with Iran where an invasion would be necessary. I don’t claim to be the geopolitically-savvy type. But if we WERE at the point, given the fact that Iran is/could develop nuclear weapons, then yes, the American public would have to deal with the lack of comforts. Long gas station lines? Gas rationing? No panyhose? It all depends what how much of a threat we consider Iran to be.

In my opinion, though, with the spoiled people we have today, we never would’ve made it through WWII.

dalewalt on January 24, 2007 at 3:46 PM

Dalewalt,

Just for the record, we’d need pipelines, and a lot of them, to the Red sea as well as new port facilities. We’re talking hundreds of billions in construction costs over a couple of decades probably. It’s simply not going to happen. The Saudis and Kuwaitis have too much invested in Gulf infrastructure.

NPP on January 24, 2007 at 4:12 PM

Wasn’t NPP the same guy who was an explosives expert when it came to the alleged attack on the reuters press van? Now he “was a naval analyst at CENTCOM for a couple of years”?

Nothing NPP said is outside of common knowledge, and what could be gleaned from reading blogs, which NPP clearly does. I don’t give anyone credit for being an expert unless they (1) tell me something I dont already know, and (2) back it up by providing their analysis and the foundation for their conclusions, as opposed to expecting me to trust their conclusions based on their alleged credentials.

It is common knowledge among anyone who has bothered to read the most basic information about nuclear weapons and who has followed the news that:

(1) North Korea is going the plutonium route, whereas Iran is going the uranium route.

(2) Sub kiloton tests from primitive nuclear programs are the result of fizzles, not intentional sub kiloton designs. Making nuclear weapons smaller is much harder.

(3) The 10 year estimate allegedly comes from the 2005 NIE. It is now 2007. It is obviously based on many assumptions, subject to change, and should be viewed in light of the fact that US intelligence underestimated several other nuclear programs in the past, and screwed up the Iraq WMD issue. It is not accurate to say that ‘we are safe for 10 years’ or that there is no harm done until Iran detonates a bomb.

Said by NPP:

For those advocating a strike on Iran – are you prepared to deal with no Gulf oil exports for a month and significant disruptions for longer? Are you prepared to screw our allies like Japan who get up to 90% of their petroleum from the Gulf? Are you prepared for the possibility of a worldwide recession? Are you prepared for our troops in Iraq to have supply disruptions because your supply ships can’t get to Iraqi ports? …

But do you realize that most of the strait is in range of standard field artillery? Are you aware of Iran’s asymmetric naval capabilities or naval mine capabilities? What if Iran was able to sink a large tanker in the main shipping channel and block all tanker traffic?

I do not agree with NPP’s assumption that Iran can and will close the Strait of Hormuz. US naval and air power can locate and destroy Iranian artillery and other targets (like silkworm missiles). If necessary, the US and other nations can cooperate in organizing convoys through the strait while launching attacks to protect the convoys. Iran is a paper tiger, like Iraq was. The US already fought a low-insensity war with Iran in the 1980s, and in the meantime US capabilities have advanced greatly while Iranian capabilities have not.

It would make sense that the US would attack Iran’s air defenses and anti-shipping weapons at the same time as the attack on Iran’s nuclear program, to de-fang Iran and prevent the retaliation that NPP and many others envision.

Also, if the US launches a strike on Iran’s nuclear program, Iran will not necessarily attempt to close the straits, because, if it does, it will take a situation where world public opinion is against the US, and shift it to one where world public opinion is overwhelmingly against Iran. Closing the straits could make it much easier for the US to escalate into a ground invasion in order to stop Iranian attacks on shipping. If Iran attacked neutral shipping, it would be a grave mistake that would probably result in an international coalition against Iran, and regime change.

And then, of course, you have the Iranian ‘oil weapon’ which is another empty threat that would harm Iran far more than anyone else.

I also disagree that the Strait of Hormuz would be blocked by sinking a tanker. This strategy was used to block harbor/port entrances in the past, but the strait is far larger than that, and it is simply ludicrous that NPP thinks it could be blocked in the same fashion. Not only is the strait far too wide for such a tactic, the Strait of Hormuz is far too deep as well. At its narrowest point, the Strait of Hormuz is 56km wide and about 100 meters deep. How is a tanker sitting under over 300 feet of water going to block shipping?

kaltes on January 24, 2007 at 5:10 PM

Not to be picky, but don’t you mean “chairbound”. “Chairborne” as in held aloft by a chair….????

honora on January 24, 2007 at 2:40 PM

No, He meant Chairborne. Military slang that we wouldn’t expect most liberals to understand, so no need to feel silly over being picky about it.

Chairborne is a term insultingly applied to people that make their contribution to national defense and security from behind a desk, by people who are Spec Ops (or at least paratroopers). (See also REMF).

Spec Ops types also apply the term to ourselves when we retire, go to a desk job within the military, etc. As in: “I’m going Chairborne”.

It is a pejorative unless applied affectionately between people within the fraternity.

LegendHasIt on January 24, 2007 at 5:21 PM

Well, I can’t claim much knowledge about Naval strategy or tactics, so I won’t attempt to argue either way on that.

But let me interject this:

I have a pretty strong belief that if you cut off their Command and Control, the Iranian military will fold nearly as fast as the “elite Iraqi army” did.

There was another applicable, but non-Navy, thing that I started to mention, (as a hope if not necessarily an expectation), but decided not to mention. “Loose lips Sink ships”.

LegendHasIt on January 24, 2007 at 5:36 PM

Kaltes,

I am one of the two guys in the Reuters van debate. One was an EOD guy – I was the one who had some experience in weapons effects from stint doing battle damage assessment. Intelligence analysts who serve in the US military transfer to new assignments every 3-4 years and due to the diversity of intelligence work, we are afforded opportunities to perform a variety of intelligence jobs. For me, besides a CENTCOM naval analyst tour, I also did strike planning with a carrier air wing (with two gulf deployments during Operation Southern Watch) as well as numerous other assignments and deployments. My career was pretty typical in that regard.

In any event, the first half of your comment was basically reiterating much of what I already said, which boils down to the telegraph article being BS.

US naval and air power can locate and destroy Iranian artillery and other targets (like silkworm missiles).

I never said it couldn’t. I said it would take time – time in which no tanker traffic would pass.

If necessary, the US and other nations can cooperate in organizing convoys through the strait while launching attacks to protect the convoys.

Convoys work in open ocean scenarios when defending from submarines. In a restricted area like the strait, convoys are a juicy cluster of targets. The only advantage is that that the firepower of escorts are massed.

Iran is a paper tiger, like Iraq was. The US already fought a low-insensity war with Iran in the 1980s, and in the meantime US capabilities have advanced greatly while Iranian capabilities have not.

Maybe you haven’t been keeping up on recent events. The Iranian Navy is significantly more capable than it was in the 1980′s. It’s purchased new ships, all it’s cruise missile systems are new, it bought a ton of advanced naval mines, and it’s developed a very robust unconventional warfare force. Oh, don’t forget about the submarines – all new. About the only area that’s remained relatively stagnant is the Air Force. Here’s a quote from a report that came out in 1997 – 10 years ago:

He also noted that there has been a steady increase over the last several years in Iran’s naval capabilities….In the early 1990s, when Iran acquired Kilo-class submarines from Russia, there was a qualitative change in the threat, the official said. There was another qualitative change in February 1996 with the introduction into the area, for the first time, of Chinese-built C-802 sea-launched cruise missiles. Iran now has 23 boats and ships capable of launching surface-to-surface cruise missiles

That was 1997 – please do your research. As far as US capabilities – yes, they have advanced greatly, but we don’t have as many personnel or weapons or aircraft as we did during the 1980′s or 1991.

It would make sense that the US would attack Iran’s air defenses and anti-shipping weapons at the same time as the attack on Iran’s nuclear program, to de-fang Iran and prevent the retaliation that NPP and many others envision

Like I said before, we could destroy the conventional Iranian Navy in relatively short order. The cruise missiles are not so easy because they are mobile and easily hidden. We’d play a cat-and-mouse game with them for a while. But those aren’t the only threats. The unconventional threat is tremendous and only limited by creativity. Of course, anything that can float can lay naval mines covertly.

The principal problem, as, again, I’ve already stated, is not that we can’t destroy all these threats, it’s that it would take a long time to do so. We’re talking about destroying the bulk of the Iranian armed forces minus the ground force. We’re talking thousands of aircraft sorties. We’re talking about tens-of-thousands of discrete aimpoints at thousands of targets. There are limits to how much we can destroy in a certain period of time and is largely dependent upon what aircraft and munitions we have in theater.

Also, if the US launches a strike on Iran’s nuclear program, Iran will not necessarily attempt to close the straits, because, if it does, it will take a situation where world public opinion is against the US, and shift it to one where world public opinion is overwhelmingly against Iran.

That is a valid argument. There’s no knowing for certain what Iran would do, though they’ve threatened to close the strait before. This is especially true since Iranian oil must transit the strait as well. However, if we were to attack Iran, we must be prepared, from a military planning perspective, for Iran to attempt to close the strait. At the very least Iran would “police” the strait and only allow ships it approved to pass. This scenario would likely escalate quickly.

NPP on January 24, 2007 at 11:14 PM

Well. I think we can all thank Jimmy for Iran.

And I can’t help wondering if Truman shouldn’t get the blame for Korea. He pulled serious rank on MacArthur who was headed North.

Might have been quite a different world.

Like a lot of Republicans, I have a soft spot for Harry, but I’m pretty sure he screwed up on that one.

the-gunslinger on January 25, 2007 at 2:28 AM