Wednesday, March 21, 2012

"US likely sucked into war with Iran"

From (the NY Times via) The Irish Times: "If Israel launches attacks against Iran, a war simulation exercise held this month forecasts a wider regional war which could draw in the US and leave hundreds of Americans dead. The war game was not designed as a rehearsal, and the exercise’s results were not the only possible outcome, but the game has raised fears that it may be impossible to preclude US involvement. The war game played out a narrative in which Iranian missiles struck a US navy warship in the Persian Gulf, killing about 200 Americans. The US then retaliates by launching its own strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities. Pentagon planners have said that America’s arsenal could do far more damage to Iranian nuclear aspirations - if President Obama were to decide on a full-scale retaliation. The exercise was designed specifically to test military communications among battle staffs in the Pentagon, Tampa, FL (Central Command HQ), and the Persian Gulf. In the end, the war game reinforced to military officials the unpredictable and uncontrollable nature of a strike by Israel and a counterstrike by Iran. Israel would probably give the US little or no warning before striking. Officials said that, under the chain of events, Iran believed that Israel and the US were partners in any strike against Iranian nuclear sites and therefore considered US military forces as complicit in the attack. Iranians thus launched missiles at a US warship, viewed as an act of war that allowed an American retaliation. Some military specialists believe that the last thing Iran would want is a full-scale war on its territory. They argue that Iran would not directly strike US military targets. Their analysis, however, also includes the broad caveat that it is impossible to know the internal thinking of the senior Iranian leadership and is informed by the awareness that even the most detailed war games cannot predict how nations and their leaders will react in the heat of conflict.”