By GWYNNE DYER | Arab News

Admiral Michael Mullen - "We do" have a military plan to attack Iran

When Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the highest-ranking American officer, was asked recently on NBC’s Meet The Press show whether the United States has a military plan for an attack on Iran, he replied simply: “We do.”

General staffs are supposed to plan for even the most unlikely future contingencies. Right down to the 1930s, for example, the United States maintained and annually updated plans for the invasion of Canada — and the Canadian military made plans to pre-empt the invasion. But what the planning process will have revealed, in this case, is that there is no way for the United States to win a nonnuclear war with Iran.

The US could “win” by dropping hundreds of nuclear weapons on Iran’s military bases, nuclear facilities and industrial centers (i.e. cities) and killing five to 10 million people, but short of that, nothing works. On this we have the word of Richard Clarke, counterterrorism adviser in the White House under three administrations


In the early 1990s, Clarke revealed in an interview with the New York Times four years ago, the Clinton administration had seriously considered a bombing campaign against Iran, but the military professionals told them not to do it.

“After a long debate, the highest levels of the military could not forecast a way in which things would end favorably for the United States,” he said. The Pentagon’s planners have war-gamed an attack on Iran several times in the past 15 years, and they just can’t make it come out as a US victory.

It’s not the fear of Iranian nuclear weapons that makes the US Joint Chiefs of Staff so reluctant to get involved in a war with Iran. Those weapons don’t exist, and the whole justification for the war would be to make sure that they never do.

The problem is that there’s nothing the US can do to Iran, short of nuking the place, that would really force Tehran to kneel and beg for mercy.

It can bomb Iran’s nuclear sites and military installations to its heart’s content, but everything it destroys can be rebuilt in a few years. And there is no way that the United States could actually invade Iran.

There are some 80 million people in Iran, and although many of them don’t like the present regime they are almost all fervent patriots who would resist a foreign invasion. Iran is a mountainous country, and very big: Four times the size of Iraq. The Iranian Army currently numbers about 450,000 men, slightly smaller than the US Army — but unlike the US Army, it does not have its troops scattered across literally dozens of countries.

If the White House were to propose anything larger than minor military incursions along Iran’s south coast, senior American generals would resign in protest. Without the option of a land war, the only lever the United States would have on Iranian policy is the threat of yet more bombs — but if they aren’t nuclear, then they aren’t very persuasive. Whereas Iran would have lots of options for bringing pressure on the United States.

Just stopping Iran’s own oil exports would drive the oil price sky-high in a tight market: Iran accounts for around seven percent of internationally traded oil. But it could also block another 40 percent of global oil exports just by sinking tankers coming from Iraq, and the Arab Gulf states with its lethal Noor anti-ship missiles.

The Noor anti-ship missile is a locally built version of the Chinese YJ-82. It has a 200-km. (140-mile) range, enough to cover all the major choke points in the Gulf. It flies at twice the speed of sound just meters above the sea’s surface, and it has a tiny radar profile. Its single-shot kill probability has been put as high as 98 percent.

Iran’s mountainous coastline extends along the whole northern side of the Gulf, and these missiles have easily concealed mobile launchers. They would sink tankers with ease, and in a few days insurance rates for tankers planning to enter the Gulf would become prohibitive, effectively shutting down the region’s oil exports completely.

Meanwhile Iran would start supplying modern surface-to-air missiles to the Taleban in Afghanistan, and that would soon shut down the US military effort there. (It was the arrival of US-supplied Stinger missiles in Afghanistan in the late 1980s that drove Russian helicopters from the sky and ultimately doomed the whole Soviet intervention there.)

Iranian ballistic missiles would strike US bases on the southern side of the Gulf, and Iran’s Hezbollah allies in Beirut would start dropping missiles on Israel. The United States would have no options for escalation other than the nuclear one, and pressure on it to stop the war would mount by the day as the world’s industries and transport ground to a halt.

The end would be an embarrassing retreat by the United States, and the definitive establishment of Iran as the dominant power of the Gulf region.

That was the outcome of every war-game the Pentagon played, and Mike Mullen knows it. So there is a plan for an attack on Iran, but he would probably rather resign than put it into action. It is all bluff. It always was.

— Gwynne Dyer is a London-based independent journalist.


  1. rexw on the 06. Aug, 2010 remarked #

    Let’s hope that Gwynne is right and that the tame of bluff continues.

    The one blind spot is the thinking of the psychotic Israelis. They are such wimps, except against unarmed people, that they would be unlikely to do anything that would put their forces at risk. They never have. Iraq alone concluded with 4700 American deaths with 1700 to date in Afghanistan.

    That’s the way they operate, hiding behind the might of the US soldiers, never risking their own.

    Then there are the unknown nuclear capabilities of India and Pakistan. Such volatile nationalistic countries, not regarded as in any way friendly towards each other, must be a concern for any planners of military actions and it does seem that the US is in a continuous mode of planning wars, a full time occupation whipped along by Zionism, Israelis based but predominantly expanding their influence on the shores of the US.

    The South American countries must be delighted that the US has found different areas to which they can devote their well funded economic and military disruption tactics for their own benefit. Haven’t heard the word Cuba or Venezuela for some time.

    Seeing a current map of the US bases surrounding Iran is a real education in Empire building and control, each one designed to fulfill a specific function. Even in light of that, a respected writer like Gwynne, being aware of this US infrastructure on a grand scale still considers that it is just too much for the US to digest. This is the best news we have heard for such a long time.

    Let’s hope he is right.

  2. Earlaiman on the 06. Aug, 2010 remarked #

    Some common-sense thinking which we are unlikely to ever see in high seats of Government.

    The perfect scenario for a couple of insane nations who are bent on self-suicide and destruction of what is left of the so-called “civilizations” of the world.


  3. Military Bases by State on the 06. Aug, 2010 remarked #

    No surprise a plan does exist, but we cannot afford to be at war in several countries like this.

  4. because it won't be limited to NON NUCLEAR TACTICAL CONVENTIONAL stuff, that's why! on the 06. Aug, 2010 remarked #

    Well, I hate to rain on everyone’s parade here, but the bunker buster bombs that are PRE STAGED in Diego Garcia right now on B-2 stealth bombers, are not CONVENTIONAL WEAPONS. They’re small, variable yield, W-81 tactical nuclear warheads on SOME OF THEM. Now, having said that, most of these detonations will be underground blasts, but they will STILL release measurable radiation signatures that RUSSIAN SPACE BASED ASSETS WILL SEE AS NUCLEAR DETONATIONS.

    and the only question I have here is this one; “what kind of deal did the U.S. make with Russia that is keeping them with their missiles in their silo’s, knowing their partner, Iran, whom they have advisors all over the place in, dying there…is going to keep them from objecting to the U.S. use of TACTICAL NUCLEAR WEAPONS in Iran?

    don’t give me that crap they’re not going to use nukes to attack, they HAVE TO USE NUKES, it’s the only way they can guarantee even a little bit, they’ll get the targets they think they know where they are, and destroy them. Conventional stuff just won’t cut it.

    and then what? and then what?

  5. peter paul on the 06. Aug, 2010 remarked #

    no worry, russia will send some topol s and bulava s ,plus the chinese ,,do not worry.
    russia will help ,china also, syria,and lebanon,and turkey,mhhhh this will be interesting

  6. Damian Lataan on the 06. Aug, 2010 remarked #

    This may help explain what’s going on.

  7. george in Toronto on the 06. Aug, 2010 remarked #

    Don’t worry, Russia will receive USA 1 week notice, all your staff in Iran must leave pronto. Russia will obay, just as the UN inspectors did twice prior to USA bombing Iraq.
    Remeber, over 80% of Israel jewish citizens are Russians.
    Stupid Americans :^(

  8. Jim on the 06. Aug, 2010 remarked #

    Some analysts believe that a nuclear exchange is precisely what the US and Israel want in order to lure China into a limited nuclear war.

    What fool would consider a limited nuclear exchange to their advantage?

  9. Joe on the 07. Aug, 2010 remarked #

    Yes, the Zionist Israelis ARE psychos bent on world domination. They know that money talks, and can buy the majority of U.S. politicians. The Elite Top 1% don’t have any allegiance to their particular country—they can just buy a mansion in some OTHER nation, after wrecking their own.

    The Worst seek positions of power, and GET them through their evil ways, then see themselves as the Best for being on top. Some are even so deluded as to think God must WANT it…


    According to the eugenics freaks in the illuminati ranks, they want to thin out the world population by as much as 90 percent real fast, it’s their way of saying; “okay useless eaters, now we’ve milked you dry, off you go, take a nice little DIRT NAP AND DON’T BOTHER US OR EAT ANY MORE FOOD..”

    nothing would surprise me at this point. Notice the U.S.S.A. has taken JERICHO off the tube here, it was hitting way too close to home, and my own views about it was to get Amerikan’s to be ‘accepting’ of their government using thermonuclear weapons on U.S. population centers.

    The gig is kinda ‘up’ globally with the accelerating collapse of the FRAUD that was known as CAPITALISM but was really PYRAMID SCHEMISM to the max. Seems the Rothschilds are getting mighty nervous about 8 billion of us all wanting to hang them all for what they’ve done to us, too..so another redemption plan of theirs to limit the number of people out looking for them to hang em all, methinks.

    Last but not least, the dominionist turds in the U.S.S.A. all want to bring about Armageddon ‘soon as possible’ so they can all beam up to their mutha ship as I call it, the 144,000 first class seats on that, so they have to destroy Israel in the process to fulfill the biblical horse crap in Revelations. Seems that Obamao is all too willing to help them do that, too.

    Makes me wonder if there are ANY actually SANE people in high position anywhere in a world where the power’s that be are gleefully allowing the Rule of Law to be eroded and destroyed till it’s Rule of the Jungle like in ‘Lord of the Flies’, which was more a lesson in human nature and politics than about a gang of stranded young boys.

    We’re kind of on the brink of destruction, as the song went, and it’s so ‘tragic’ that organized christianity seems to have the overbearing desire to make a biblical prophecy into a very charnel house REALITY for all of us, whether we believe that tripe or not, which many of us do not, by the way!

  11. j r on the 07. Aug, 2010 remarked #

    The main goal of attacking Iran is destroying the US, isn’t that obvious?

  12. Sora Ryu on the 12. Aug, 2010 remarked #

    Attacking Iran will destroy us economically and thrust the world into nuclear war

Leave a Comment