Friday, August 11, 2006


Just a little perspective on what we might expect from Iran (and its current Islamic Supremacist regime) and other rabidly Jihadist organizations...

We’re not really talking about “the end of the world.” Although there are a number of Islamic regimes with substantial military forces, there is nowhere the mass of forces that would be needed to do to the U.S. the catastrophic damage that was done to Europe in two world wars.

Of course, that still leaves a hell of a lot of room for mischief.

Before the fall of the Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, the U.S. had for decades been supplying “The Peacock Throne” with modern weapons, most significantly, some 225 F-4 fighter jets in various versions, with weapons, and training for the pilots and ground crews. Anyone who has studied modern warfare even casually will realize that modern high-performance fighter jets require a vast industrial base for their maintenance. The pilots require years of intense training, with thousands of hours of flying to maintain their skills.

The Phantom series (we remember from the Vietnam era) required a huge amount of ground maintenance to keep it on the flight line. The Tomcat reduced the flightline maintenance to something like a mere 50 hours for each hour in flight, by focusing on modular systems, so glitches were repaired by replacing a plug-in box, rather than by locating and replacing a mis-behaving transistor or circuit-board.

In a conversation with an old friend who retired from the Navy after several decades in carrier aviation, I heard that the Hornet has reduced the ratio to something like half that needed for the Tomcat, or about 25 hours of maintenance per hour of flight.

I don’t mean this as any chauvinism, just a simple fact. There is no other nation besides the U.S. that for the near term has the industrial capacity for producing the spare parts, weapons systems, and training that would be necessary to maintain the military air capabilities of the U.S.

Any single U.S. “super carrier” has air power greater than the combined national air forces of most individual nations.

This is equally true of the “blue-water” Navy, the ships needed to project any substantial, sustained military force.

As I’ve mentioned before, Iran *is* known to have purchased some modern conventionally-powered (¿diesel/electric?) fast attack subs from Italy, as well as some older conventional surplus subs from Russia. This means any subs it has would be extremely vulnerable to U.S. Anti-sub warfare detect/destruction, because they lack the ability to cruise long distance without surfacing, much less lurk. They would have to be re-supplied from a specially equipped ocean-going supply vessel.

It is conceivable that a few subs could for a while pose some significant threat in the Persian Gulf, though, till they were located and eliminated.

But my central point is that the threat posed by Islamic Jihadi regimes is pretty much the same as that we face from individual Jihadi nutballs — terrorist acts against soft targets, targets of opportunity, using improvised schemes rather than military weapons systems.

Instead of a cataclismic saturation attack of nukes, we can expect a prolonged hemmorhage of puny-prong acts of sabotage, punctuated by an occasional mass casualty incident on a grand scale, which might include a low-efficiency nuclear device in a container, or truck, or small aircraft.

I’ve tried to remind folks that the delusional and ill-read LLL folk are out of their minds to think a few thousand combat deaths are an unsustainable cost. It seems almost insulting to point out that World War II battles frequently killed more combatants in a single day’s battle, or occasionally, by the sinking of a single troop ship. The Germans and the Russians fielded and lost entire armies numbering in the hundreds of thousands of men. And of course, even at this late date, our combat losses in Iraq have not equaled the 9-11 terrorists’ single day’s work.

We have to contemplate harsh options; we have to harden ourselves to a sustained series of painful and ugly lessons, because Islamic Jihadis have shown they are determined to bring their attack to us. We’ve all grown up in a country where we are accustomed to safety, and when that is interrupted, we take it for granted that the government will quickly come along to clear away the bodies. In other parts, when the combat moves along, the locals have to either step around the bodies, or clean up the debris themselves.

What I have predicted in the past I still believe: that a point will be reached where the Left in this country will finally feel personally threatened, realizing that Jihad will slaughter them regardless of how many times they voted against Bush; regardless of how many anti-war vigils they’ve attended; regardless of their disinvestment in Halliburton stock; regardless of their contributions to CAIR and the ACLU. The Jihadis will in time commit one atrocity too many, or one atrocity too enormous, and the former sympathizers and apologists will realize they have been meant for the chop all along, and they will turn.

- - - - - - - - - - ( Take a Breath...) - - - - - - - - - - -

This is what I fear more than anything else. Those who are already convinced and enlisted tend toward a conventional, if vehement, military argument, with all the discipline and respect for chain of command that implies. When the Left turns — when those who are obstinately blind to the danger finally awaken in bowel-gushing fear — I believe we will see the reverse side of the Left’s long posturing for patience and indulgence. Their response (I am convinced from the historical excesses of past Leftist regimes) will be a tsunami that crests on far shores beyond anyone’s reckoning, because the convert is ever the most zealous.


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