via Lobe Log
By Wayne White
Yet, as opposed to the relatively limited scope of any Israeli attack dictated by the extreme range involved and the smaller aerial strike package that could be deployed (in terms of extending casualties beyond those outlined in the article and Semnani’s study, both nuclear and civilian), many expect that any US attack on Iran’s nuclear capabilities would be far more comprehensive. Specifically, the US would be able to muster a much larger force of aircraft (and cruise missiles) with which to operate, and at far closer range. In order to clear paths to the targets cited, I am among those observers who anticipate in such a scenario waves of parallel US strikes against Iranian military communications, land-based anti-ship missile sites, any Iranian naval forces that could pose a potential threat to US warships operating offshore (as well as the Strait of Hormuz more generally), Iranian air force aircraft and bases, as well as Iranian anti-aircraft defenses. Finally, there might also be an attempt to take out as much of Iran’s ballistic missile testing, manufacturing, storage, and basing assets as possible. After all, Iran’s ambitious missile program relates directly to Iran’s ability to retaliate and might be associated with any eventual Iranian intent to weaponize and deliver nuclear weapons.
In other words, not only could a US assault (much as outlined in 2006 by the US military in its briefings of the Bush Administration, including potentially several thousand missions by combat aircraft) extend far beyond anything any reasonable individual could possibly regard as ”surgical,” the overall attack probably would more closely resemble a flat-out war. And, naturally, in the context of such a considerably more dire scenario, those attempting to estimate potential casualties (nuclear industry workers, civilians, as well as Iranian military personnel) would be advised to hike them up quite a bit higher.
- Wayne White is a Policy Expert with Washington’s Middle East Policy Council. He was formerly the Deputy Director of the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research’s Office of Analysis for the Near East and South Asia (INR/NESA) and senior regional analyst. Find his author archive here.
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