There’s been some talk of war with Iran of late – personally, I don’t think it will come to that. The Iranians don’t really want a stand up fight with us, and Trump is just not a war guy. Oh, I’m sure he’d hammer an enemy hard if they attack us, but it seems pretty clear to me that, given his ‘druthers, Trump doesn’t want to have a war, and so will do all he can to avoid one. Iran will continue to use proxies against us, maintaining plausible deniability among their bribed politicians and pundits in the US and Europe, but I can’t see them directly opposing US forces with regular Iranian forces. But, still, things like this do have a way of getting out of hand: both sides might not want to fight, but they might find themselves landed in one.
I keep rolling this around in my head – this risk of war with Iran – and that article about MacArthur and Korea I linked the other day. First, lets run over some facts and figures:
Iran Population: 82.5 million
US Population: 327 million
Iran GDP: $1.5 trillion
US GDP: $20.9 trillion
Iran Available for Military Service: 47.3 million
US Available for Military Service: 144.9 million
Active Iran Military: 523,000
Active US Military: 1.4 million
Iran Reserve Personnel: 350,000
US Reserve Personnel: 811,000
Iran Nuclear Weapons: working on it
US Nuclear Weapons: 4,018
So, the United States is not just stronger than Iran – we are overwhelmingly stronger. Short term and long term, Iran has zero chance of successfully fighting the United States. This is unlike Germany and Japan at the start of WWII who at least had more forces in-being when war began and could hope for victory before we were able to fully mobilize. This is also not like, say, Serbia challenging Austria-Hungary at the start of WWI because they knew they had Great Power backing in Russia. Iran is alone, poor and weak. And yet they still talk tough and commit serial acts of war against us – via proxies – and don’t seem to have the slightest fear of us. Why?
Because all experience since WWII has shown the Iranians – and the world – that the United States simply will not apply its full might against an armed enemy. As that article I linked to the other day points out, we started tying our hands in Korea. After a short while where we were permitted to go to town on the North Koreans, the political leadership of the United States started putting the brakes on American power…essentially surrendering our overwhelming advantage vis a vis the enemy and so turning what would have been a quick and overwhelming defeat of the Chinese into a long slugging match which cost far more lives than we lost utterly destroying the North Korean military.
We refused to let Chiang make a try at invading China – placing our fleet between his army on Taiwan and the Chinese mainland, thus assuring Mao that he could send all this best troops to fight and kill Americans in Korea. We didn’t bomb the Chinese supply and concentration areas…thus allowing the Chinese to build up forces to move into Korea. And it went on and on like that, through all the fights we’ve had since WWII. Don’t hit too hard! Be nice! Maybe they’ll be nice to us if we don’t destroy them! Hey, let’s pretend that if we go all out, other Powers will fight us to the death…as if. 100,000 or so dead in America’s wars since WWII and all we’ve done is be defeated.
Iran shouldn’t be bragging and insulting us. They should live in deathly fear of offending us in the slightest. They should have whole teams of staffers editing official speeches and documents to ensure that nothing but kind words are said about the United States. On the world stage, they should from time to time be backing a US foreign policy initiative to build a bit of good will with us – for fear that if we perceive them as an enemy, we’ll destroy them. The power relationship between the two nations can’t be interpreted any other way – absent a firm alliance with another Great Power willing to go to war with us on their behalf, Iran should be quiet and respectful of us. But it isn’t that way – because they know what will happen. We’ll attack, devastate them and then quit after a while. Its all we’ve done since WWII.
This must end – and those in our military and foreign policy Establishment who still want us to hold back have to be removed. If we go to war, we go all the way to war. Nothing is off the table. Yes, not even nukes. Why in heck, for instance, should we allow a non-nuclear power to concentrate, say, a 100,000 man army against us if we’ve got a nuke handy to wipe it out? No, you wouldn’t use nukes to clear out a town infested with terrorists…but an army is a legitimate target. Why not destroy it, easy? And getting back to that town – if it is infested with terrorists, we can’t be too finicky about how we clear them out. Anyone blood shed in such a situation is the moral responsibility of those who placed terrorists in a town…and its stupid to send our guys house to house to be clay pigeons for a couple guys with AK’s hiding in the building when a bit of artillery takes care of the building and the terrorists.
War is a serious, deadly business. It is cruelty and it cannot be refined. The American way of war is to hammer the enemy mercilessly until he quits, and then offer him a hand up. We don’t seek conquest. We aren’t in this for glory. But if we have to fight, we don’t propose to drag it out, nor to have a re-match. It is one and done and we do whatever it takes to finish it as fast as possible. And here’s the thing: we’d only have to do it once. Make an object lesson of the next country to attack us, and all of a sudden those who are thinking these days that you can fight America risk-free will reconsider.