Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.
When President George W. Bush launched Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001, he believed his war in Afghanistan would be a walk in the park. Still today, President Trump is negotiating with the Taliban to find a way to end this ongoing war. Moreover, President Barack Obama and United Nations officials believed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s fall would be a “matter of time.”
Trump is saying that he would bomb Iran rather than send troops to occupy any part of Iran, whether on the coast or inland, thus limiting his intervention to destroying a previously agreed-on bank of objectives. Trump’s administration seems to believe that a quick and decisive bombing would be enough to convince Iran to swallow its pride, no matter how painful that would be, and drag its feet to the negotiation table.
But it may be that Iran could absorb the first wave of bombing, no matter how painful, and launch cruise missiles against U.S. targets, and the airports and oil facilities of the country from where the bombing was launched. A U.S. attack would no doubt destroy Iran’s oil facilities, missile launching bases, part of its military industry and would cause many Iranian human casualties. But U.S. servicemen will also lose their lives and the price of oil will skyrocket, spoiling Trump’s electoral chances.
The U.S. is not taking into account Iranian missile capabilities and the possibility that Iran might have tactical nuclear missiles with enriched uranium, similar to those Israel used against Lebanon in the 2006 war. Moreover, if Iran is hit badly, how can the U.S. stop Iran’s allies from bombing Israel, attacking U.S. embassies and bases in Lebanon and Iraq, and targeting US troops in Syria? Significant retaliation is certain when all the gloves come off.
Iran has been supporting its allies in the Middle East for a decade now and it would be illogical not to expect their support to be forthcoming in the extreme case of a direct attack on Iran. There will be no concern about world reaction to the revelation of Iran’s hidden capabilities when the death toll starts rising and the destruction becomes devastating. That could very well be Iran’s Plan B, an option that Trump seems oblivious to.
Technology, air superiority, a larger army and dozens of bases surrounding Iran do not guarantee a quick U.S. victory, or even victory after a long conflict. Afghanistan and Iraq are the best examples. The question is how long can Iran restrain itself and keep from acquiring nuclear bombs if its enemy — Donald Trump — continues to wave the threat of obliteration against it?
So what is Plan B if Plan A fails, Mr. President?