An extended US military strike on Iran would harm their military capabilities and marginally delay their nuclear program, but it would also prompt large-scale Iranian retaliation that would spark an uncontrollable regional war.
That assessment is compiled in a report by former government officials, national security experts and retired military officers and was publicly released Thursday. “It says achieving more than a temporary setback in Iran’s nuclear program would require a military operation – including a land occupation – more taxing than the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined,” AP reports.
The assessment is in line with previous estimates of the consequences of an attack. A declassified war simulation run by the Pentagon earlier this year forecasted such a “strike would lead to a wider regional war, which could draw in the United States” and would immediately get at least 200 Americans killed in Iran’s retaliation, not to mention heavy Iranian and Israeli casualties.
Iran would probably attack US troops in neighboring Afghanistan, the Navy’s Fifth Fleet in nearby Bahrain, and possibly other US assets in the Persian Gulf.
“Planners and pundits ought to consider that the riots and unrest following a Web entry about an obscure film are probably a fraction of what could happen following a strike – by the Israelis or US – on Iran,” retired Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold, an endorser of the Iran report and a former operations chief for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in an interview.
“We do not believe it would lead to regime change, regime collapse or capitulation,” the report says, adding that an attack would increase Iran’s motivation to build a bomb, in order to deter further military action “and redress the humiliation of being attacked.”
Those pushing for a military attack on Iran for a nuclear weapons program it doesn’t even have, have consistently claimed it would be effective. But this reports reiterates what principled opponents of war have argued for years, that such an unprovoked attack would be ineffective and counterproductive to the states aims of such a mission.