How To Bomb Iran
It would consist of a powerful air campaign led by 60 stealth aircraft (B-2s, F-117s, F-22s) and more than 400 nonstealth strike aircraft, including B-52s, B-1s, F-15s, F-16s, Tornados, and F-18s. Roughly 150 refueling tankers and other support aircraft would be deployed, along with 100 unmanned aerial vehicles for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, and 500 cruise missiles. In other words, overwhelming force would be used.
The objective would be, first and foremost, to destroy or severely damage Iran's nuclear development and production facilities and put them out of commission for at least five years. Another aim would be to destroy the Iranian air defense system, significantly damage its air force, naval forces, and Shahab-3 offensive missile forces. This would prevent Iran from projecting force outside the country and retaliating militarily. The air campaign would also wipe out or neutralize Iran's command and control capabilities.
This coalition air campaign would hit more than 1,500 aim points. Among the weapons would be the new 28,000-pound bunker busters, 5,000-pound bunker penetrators, 2,000-pound bunker busters, 1,000-pound general purpose bombs, and 500-pound GP bombs. A B-2 bomber, to give one example, can drop 80 of these 500-pound bombs independently targeted at 80 different aim points.
This force would give the coalition an enormous destructive capability, since all the bombs in the campaign feature precision guidance, ranging from Joint Direct Attack Munitions (the so-called JDAMS) to laser-guided, electro-optical, or electronically guided High Speed Anti-Radiation Missiles (HARM) for suppression of Iranian surface-to-air missiles. This array of precision weapons and support aircraft would allow the initial attacks to be completed in 36 to 48 hours.
The destruction of Iran's military force structure would create the opportunity for regime change as well, since it would eliminate some or all of Ahmadinejad's and the mullahs' ability to control the population. Simultaneously or prior to the attack, a major covert operation could be launched, utilizing Iranian exiles and dissident forces trained during the period of diplomacy. This effort would be based on the Afghan model that led to the fall of the Taliban in 2001. Not only would the overt and covert attacks weaken the ability of Iran's leaders to carry out offensive operations in retaliation, they would cripple the leaders' power to control their own people.
A friend, whose opinion I respect wrote the following in an email the other day:
Here's something that's always in Iran debates thatI've realized I don't understand. Ok, the whole thingwe're all supposed to memorize is that Iran's nukeresearch sites, are"hardened" and "underground". Supposedly this means abombing strike "won't work"; their sites are"distributed" and spread all over the place in manydifferent secret places.
Whywon't it work?
say we don't successfully hit all the researchsites, but "only" 85% of them because we don't havethe intel to know about the other 15%. But, won't that *still* put a pretty damn big *damper* in their program?
If a nuke needs parts1....100, then part 1 is R&D'ed at site 1, part 2 atsite 2, etc. Well, if we take out sites 1-85, thenyes they can still make parts 86-100, but that's notgonna get them into the nuclear club! They need *all*the parts!
(And, as to) this idea that because sites aresupposedly hardened and far far underground, then ifwe don't use strong enough bombs, the bombing "won'twork". So you'rethe operator of a secret Iranian nuke site, wayunderground. The Americans bomb but the bombingdoesn't damage much underground. But let me ask yousomething: how are your workers gonna get into thedamn site?
I don't care how "hardened" or "underground" or"impenetrable" a site is, it's gotta connect with thesurface *somewhere*. Why not bomb there? Criticsmake it sound like if a site is far enough undergroundand you bomb above with a conventional bomb, the sitewill just keep on ticking like nothing happened.
... the moment we bomb a "hardened"site which survives, and Iran sends in a bunch oftractors QUICKLY to dig the place out at top prioritywith high security and lotsa power generators and bignondescript trucks, well, we sure as hell know it waspretty important, don't we? But they're gonna *have*to launch emergency/expedited recovery to save and getthose sites up and running, aren't they? And how thehell are they gonna do that covertly?
And once we know that , here'sanother thing which doesn't seem to occur to anyone: we could just bomb the damn place *again*. Bomb atnight, and if tractors arrive in the morning, you bombthe next night. Repeat.
Gee, how hard was it to think that through? Our journalists don't seem to be able to do that kind of thinking, for some reason.
The thing is, it is obvious that Iran does not have the money, and does not perceive itself as having the time to have built redundant facilities. Therefore, all Iranian nuclear facilities service part of the chain which needs to link together to, ultimately, build the bomb.
Therefore, when any part of that chain is removed (through bombing), then the progress will be impeded. As my friend said here, it is logical to assume we will be able to take out multiple parts of the chain. Therefore, the progress will be severely impeded.
We can win this.