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Monday, September 25, 2006

The Illegal War Plan To Attack Iran

You asked for it. Start the war crimes trials.

* * *

The United States military has prepared strike packages to attack Iran. These have been coordinated with the combatant commanders, Joint Staff, National Security Council, and White House.

These are not contingency plans. They have been crafted with the intent to engage in a pre-emptive attack on non-military related targets in violation of the Geneva Conventions. The planners have poor understanding relationship between the targets selected and the speculative relationship with the Iranian military.

How They'll Do It: YGTBSM.

* * *

The problem with a pre-emptive strike on Iran is the lack of a military necessity. It is one thing to pre-emptively attack a nation which can be proven to be planning to engage in an attack; quite another to blindly fire into the dark.

Central to the war planners problem is the disconnect between [a] the targets selected; [b] their military use; [c] the failure of the United States to gather evidence that that target is related to an imminent threat; and [d] the failure of the United States to work with the inspectors to verify that the target selected is or is not related to weapons production. If the United States has evidence that a chosen target is related to illegal activity, the United States is unable to explain the disparity. On one hand it targets that activity or facility, but fails, as it did with Iraq, to show the Iranian facility has done something the IAEA can review, thereby proving the United States point, whatever that may be.

The United States has chosen to wage certain war in the near term, as it did with Iraq, against a speculative threat. Contrary to public assertions that the United States, by waging war abroad, will avoid a fight at home will likely find the opposite: That the certain war abroad will not prevent, but incite a domestic barrage in the United States.

Iran is not alone in its legal position to lawfully wage war against the United States. Other nations have a vested interest in preventing further American war crimes and similarly face a reasonable, imminent threat of attack.

The Iranians are expected to attack random cities, targeting infrastructure in the United Sates for package. Also, included in the planning are Iranian sea-based operations to commandeer shipping, take those vessels up the Mississippi, and detonate barges and watercraft under and near key bridges and levees. It remains to be seen how successful these efforts are. The Iranian objective will be to interfere with commercial and military-support facilities, attack similar roadways the United States will attack in Iran, and also prompt the United States to target Iranian civilians. The goal isn’t to retaliate against American civilians, but to make the American military response quick, unplanned, and outreach it’s already extended logistics lines.

Other nations are expected to join the Iranians.

* * *

Iran has worked with Venezuela and Cuba to secure landing rights, port access, and other assistance. Venezuela has secured Russian approval to produce small armaments, not expected to come on line in the short-term.

The United States has planned for Iranian ground force counter attacks in Iraq, and expects American ground forces in both the north and south of Iraq to come under fire. Because of NATO’s involvement in Afghanistan, Iran is not expected to attack US forces to the east. However, if the United States launches unprovoked attacks from Afghanistan, NATO forces become legitimate targets for Iranian military forces. The EU is not prepared to think through the choice between whether to remove its forces and stay out of the fight, or back its NATO ally, the United States. Europe would prefer a negotiated solution to the American accusations, and is more likely to side with China and Russia in the Security Counsel. The United States expects to engage Iranian forces on its own.

* * *

The air campaign is expected to be much longer than in Iraq. The US oversights will not be a simple issue of doing or not doing something on a single day.

Force planners have two broad assumptions: Whether Europe does or does not provide over flight rights. The US has taken advantage of the economically stretched Eastern European nations in bargaining over CIA detention centers; a similar calculus has been employed to secure over flight rights through Eastern Europe into Iran. Southern Russia and Ukraine have been less than accommodating, having recently cancelled a military exercise.

NSA regularly monitors Iranian SIGINT. This data is used to assess combat readiness, reaction times. This data is programmed into simulation software, which determines the needed forces.

There are known problems. Fuel and munitions for an extended campaign will be costly, difficult to provide to Bahrain, and subjects the fuel and munitions lines to an extensive logistics tail. Contrary to the assumed world rebuke against Iraq, Iran has no similar world opposition that will automatically side with the United States.

* * *

There are two broad efforts. First is the contract support and propositioning of fuel, munitions, and other resources. Second is the military deployment.

Iran is a large country. Unlike the United States military which has had its reserves stretched, Iran is largely fresh, well rested, and eager to defend their country. The have the home advantage of not only domestic support, but proximity to the Israeli SIGINT intercepted. Hezbollah was successful in surprising the well equipped Israelis using novel communication intercepts. Iran can be expected to employ the same decryption technology.

* * *

Congressional leadership and staff have been briefed on the general military objectives. The problem as with the FISA briefings are the scant legal reviews by Congress. There is insufficient discussion on the Geneva implications, never resolved from either Iraq or Guantanamo.

There are general categories of issues which the American planners have not considered:

  • How many American civilians are expected to perish in a world response?

  • What is a reasonable basis of estimate to achieve the military objectives;

  • What is the basis for estimate for the budget, manpower, and other resources.

    Apart from the fundamental issues of planning, other issues which have not received sufficient review relate to the US forces in Iraq:

  • Putting aside the issue of whether combat troops are or are not transitioned from Iraq to Iran, how will the United States support two theaters with separate distribution channels and military requirements. Iraq is an insurgency; Iran is a conventional ground offensive.

  • How will the ground commanders physically transition forces from Iraq to Iran, provide cover-protection, then launch an offensive into Iran. Once US forces withdraw, or show signs of leaving, the convoy routes to Iran are expected to be attacked with precision, and Iran is expected to directly engage US forces long before they enter Iranian airspace or territory. It is one thing to organize a peaceful withdrawal; quite another to leave one combat zone in a hurry, transition through an intermediate front, and then launch an offensive. US logistics and ground support are not prepared nor trained to engage in three transitionary phases before engaging the enemy on a second front.

    * * *

    Putting aside the nebulous military plan against unspecific military-related targets. There are three broad issues of concern. First are the legal issues, second is the end result, and third is the clean up, and fourth are the long-term resolutions.

    Taking the second first, the US has yet to define with any precision how it defines success in Iraq. Simply attacking targets along a pre-defined bombing schedule works well on paper, and integrates well with the NSA SIGINT assumptions. The problem is then what? Once the US controls, defeats, or achieves this outcome, what is the US going to do – further target other efforts which may or may not be related?

    Putting aside the issue that Iran is at least a decade away from developing a nuclear weapon; the US has shown little legal justification for any pre-emptive attack.

    Third, after the United States achieves the military objectives, the US will be responsive for the reconstruction. The problem is the incorrect assumption that the Iranians are going to support en masse the US attacks, other throw the leadership, and Democracy will be gracefully handed over to the US allies. Putting aside the dubious assertions, the opposite is far more likely: US-trained forces which are not betrayed are likely to withdraw from the fight, reconsider their position, and question whether the objectives of the Americans are consistent with Democracy, or more with annihilation.

    In the long-term, however the United States military end the dispute, the world will be very upset. The US will have defied the Geneva Conventions, failed to secure Iraq, and made a mess in Iran. Added to that is the failure to review the lessons of the Arab-Israeli dispute. The United States has a short history in the Middle East; Arab hatred for Christianity dates back well over 1400 years. The United States leadership is saying to avoid a speculative future war; it will embrace a certain war which may similarly last for generations. At best this is not a tradeoff, but folly.

    * * *

    Let’s consider the detailed questions the force planners, Congress, and the public will have to wrestle with now in the planning stage, or consider as the American offensive expands into Iraq.

    The contingency plan for Iranian ground troops in Iraq has not been well through. There are two general alternatives. First, the Iranians will wait and counter attack from Iran; second that the Iranians will identify the imminent attack, and counter-attack directly inside Iraq on US forces.

    What is the degree of confidence in the US contingency plan for successfully prevailing over Iranian ground forces; is the American assumption about where they will engage Iranian forces realistic; to what extent have the Americans not considered the possibility that Iran and others may launch direct strikes into Iraq and engage American forces before they are prepared for the ground offensive.

    There are insufficient resources, national stability, and regional security in Iraq to ensure the United States has sufficient time and enough reserves forces to defend American troops positioned in Iraq. Even when facing a lightly armed unconventional army, the American commanders need at least 3x times the forces they have just to maintain security in Iraq; and the real figures are double that on the order of magnitude of 800,000 to 1Million troops. To sustain these force levels just in Iraq, the United States is at least three years away from getting all draftees in place, trained, and ready to maintain security in Iraq, provide support for an invasion of Iran, then cycle through to recover.

    The only reasonable way the United States will be able to secure Iraq, launch combat operations in Iran, and target a list of nebulously-defined criteria calls for something that has not been seen before, is untested, but the force planners believe will work. The approach assumes sever important factors which are likely to be disproved.

    The overall approach to performing this shell game involves using non-military contracted forces in Iraq to maintain security, provide training, and support the logistics tail from the Iraqi coast inland, then along the Iranian border. This will be a sweeping motion, and leave US combat forces in place. Essentially, contractors would become the covering force in Iraq, while the US ground forces retreat from Iraq, reconfigure internally within Iraq, then prepare the ground offensive. This approach assumes that ground operations in Iraq will continue, and that the Iranians will not attack to the north, then sweep south through Kurdistan into Baghdad.

    The approach also assumes that the beachhead and existing logistics center in Iraq will be under attack, and that US Navy personnel will be able to secure the Iraqi port facilities, and then sweep to the east along the Person Gulf to commander the Iranian port facilities. This approach assumes that the Iranians are unsuccessful in destroying the Infrastructure, and that the Americans can rapidly take the ports, use them to enter Iran, and then advance from the south and the North.

    By using the contractors as a preliminary force, the US approach would be to sweep from both the north and the south in Iraq; while combined with Air Forces, selectively target the Iranian targets. The Americans will have a problem in the north of Iraq: Forces from the South extending from the Iraqi beach heads and the southern cities of Iraq are not expected to quickly move as they did in Baghdad. Rather, the north will require and assume that Iranian forces will probe the installations, distract the Iranians to the north, leaving the less obvious regions open for US forces to operate, recondition, and resupply.

    Notice the plan assumes two important things: That the US forces will be protected and well supported by civilians both in Iraq and Iran; and that the port cities on the Iranian coast will be sufficiently undisturbed to support US Naval resupply efforts. Second, the plan also assumes that the US will be able to physically transition US ground forces, in any manner, from the Iraq into Iran, then diver the Iranian forces.

    The key problem is we have yet to discuss the targeting, nor has there been any solution to the post-conflict planning. Once the United States chooses to engage, and commits to any action, it will have exposed its forces, whether they are in Iran or Iraq, to lawful counter attacks. Unless the Iranians move forces from the East, there is nothing on the Eastern border with Afghanistan that the United States can do attack Iran.

    The issue will be whether the US chooses to launch combat operations from Afghanistan, thereby exposing NATO allies to a wider war; or whether the primary logistics tail that exists in Iraq will be sued; or whether the southern port regions will or will not fall as expected. This leaves the north, to which the Americans of late have been less than successful in winning full support.

    Recall, we haven’t discussed the actual combat troops movement, nor the targeting, merely the means by which combat forces will or will not be deployed.

    The only sustainable logistics line to the region is through Bahrain-Dubai through the NAVY resupply. This means that the American bombing runs will be high over the Persian Gulf, well above the Iranian missile range. Its merely a parlor game to decide how the US forces enter Iranian Airspace from the south, Iraq, or sweeping south. What Iran does not expect are bombing runs from the north and East.

    The goal of the US planners is to keep the Iranians guessing, incorrectly moving their forces on the basis of false efforts, and then disguise the real attacks as a diversionary effort.

    There’s a small problem. The US NSA has not been able to determine the exact way the SIGINT issues have been compromised. Even if there are diversionary efforts, the Iranians have the equipment to know whether the observed and detected movements are or are not part of a bonafide attack; or whether they are merely a diversionary force. Without starting, the Americans have lost the element of surprise.

    * * *

    The Iranians view the US action as illegal. The laws of war support their conclusion. Even if the Iranians were developing a nuclear weapon – which has not been proven, nor is there a specific target related to that effort – the Iranians have a legal defense in that the US has similarly violated the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The Iranians cannot lawfully be tried for violating a treaty the United States has effectively breached.

    To the Iranians advantage is the recent Senate-White House agreement on how prisoners may be treated. Each of the standards permits inhumane treatment. One Iranian objective will be to intercept, and capture alive at least one American crew, parade them as war criminals, and leave the American public to wonder whether the airmen will or will not be subjected to the same inhumane treatment inflicted on prisoners of war in Eastern Europe.

    One approach under consideration is to publicly invite the downed-US troops to visit each of the targeted sites and show the airmen that there are no weapons or military-related targets. Another approach is to put the Airman in nice quarters, treat them well, and return them safely. A third approach is to put them on trial for war crimes, and if they are convicted, execute them for engaging in illegal war fare.

    * * *


    Here’s a checklist you may wish to use when monitoring the unfolding news, public reports, and subsequent revelations:

    War Crimes

    ___ Illegal American war plans

    ___ Planning for Iran invasion not contingent, but actual

    ___ Meaningless legal reviews of principles of necessity, imminence, or proportionality

    ___ No imminent threat

    ___ No explanation why JAG-associated Members of Congress refused to review the allegations of illegal conduct and war crimes planning

    ___ Legal arguments, otherwise defeated in Hamdan and Rasul resurface as President acts outside legal authority, invoking Lincoln and FDR, Presidents who were long dead before the 1949 Geneva Convention

    ___ Iranian public discussion of American military commissions’ standards and discussion whether Geneva was or was not violated with the Senate-White House agreement.

    ___ Complaints about attacks on non-military targets

    ___ Prisoner abuse stories from Eastern Europe surface

    ___ Trials delayed, again

    ___ Abraxas records subpoenaed

    ___ Memoranda, e-mail, and other contractor notes related to illegal war planning, munitions support, and schedules

    ___ Revelations US exploited the weakened Eastern European economic condition to secure military support for illegal combat operations, subjecting Eastern European leaders to war crimes charges

    No Valid Military Targets

    ___ Inadequate imminence standard associated with the targets.

    ___ Belated questions why the US assertions were not reviewed by IAEA, or why there existed no evidence Ref

    ___ Confusion over why the Iranian reprocessing facilities, which were attacked, are still operating, but on schedules US planners were not aware

    ___ Centrifuges proven to be linked to a civilian effort, insufficient numbers to support the commercial effort, nuclear power plant completion data delayed again. Contractors assigned to the construction effort carry strange electronic objects. Abraxas logo scratched off training folder. Ooops!

    ___ Iranian public trial of downed airman using American Senate-White House agreement on what is or is not inhumane treatment

    ___ Execution of American airmen for engaging in illegal war

    Worthless Plan

    ___ Insufficient information to question, debate or discuss reasonableness of assumptions

    ___ Inadequate time, planning, and oversight of a military draft

    ___ Inadequate budget, time and or resources to achieve the objectives Ref

    ___ US policy, plan, and objectives disconnected from a credible, imminent threat, resulting in world opposition and calls for International War Crimes Tribunal

    ___ Discussions how US war planners ineffectively coordinated their air campaign with the most likely ground scenarios and most reasonable estimates of the Iranian pro-Democracy forces

    ___ Software simulations failed to incorporate logistics tail

    ___ Over reliance on sweeping motions by ground and air forces

    ___ No basis for estimates on plan assumptions, time, budget, or schedules Ref: Ref

    ___ Quandary over NATO involvement in Afghanistan Ref Via

    ___ Ineffective success criteria for post-Iranian engagement

    ___ Failure to consider options if Iranians did not cooperate with American SIGINT ruses

    ___ Assessments about Iranian combat capabilities prove unrealistic, and the force planning models prove inflexible to adjust in early phases. Requires a major rework after combat operations have started.

    ___ Incorrect assumptions about Iranian opposition to leadership, and overly optimistic the effectiveness American-trained Iranian opposition groups would provide.

    ___ Insufficient number of Iranian opposition troops to be effective

    ___ Inadequate post attack support, planning

    ___ No clear end-game, objective

    ___ Public debate on over flight rights: Do we change the name of another American food?

    Meaningless Oversight

    ___ Briefers at classified review prohibit Members of Congress to discuss legal issues, as they did during FISA briefings

    ___ Unresolved qusestions with NSA abilities, never reviewed in the FISA minimization efforts, get raised in classified briefings. US Attorney refuses to consider issue.

    ___ Copy of classified briefing presented to war crimes tribunal

    ___ Feigned confusion by DoJ Staffer who attended briefing

    ___ Senator Warner, McCain, and Graham exit the briefing nodding the heads, but questions about what is inside, between their eyes.

    Belated Consideration

    ___ Public debate on reasonableness of pre-emptive strikes against non-existent military threats.

    ___ Post conflict questions: Why didn’t the US look at the issue; why was there no discussion of the legal issues

    ___ Debate over increased troops for Iraq after election. The D-R-A-F-T word murmurs.

    Conventional Forces

    ___ Insufficient ground troops

    ___ US reserves in short supply Ref

    ___ Problems with fuel, spare parts, and reserves Ref.

    ___ US forces in Iraq bogged down; and the Iranians exploit the US repositioning.

    ___ Inappropriate US reliance on civilian and contractor support

    ___ Contractor movements along the Iranian border

    ___ Iranian port city attacks

    ___ Much longer air bombing campaign in Iran than Iraq

    ___ Highly successful targeting of Iranian installations, yet the US cannot explain why the IAEA could not find any Iranian weapons

    ___ Use of stealth reconnaissance aircraft which replaced the SR-71, high on the Iranian target list, and NSA is concerned might have been compromised. National Security Council concerned about the leaks on this discussion, and the reasons the modernization program has not achieved the desired objectives.

    ___ Use of Bahrain and Dubai as primary over flight location, with assistance from Eastern Europe, Diego Garcia, and CONUS B-2

    ___ Iranian use of technology which intercepted Israeli communications.

    ___ Iranian counter strikes in Iraq, and mainland United States

    ___ Iranian counter attack on US forces based on descrambled SIGINT

    ___ Hesitancy of EU to support US involvement through Afghanistan, and possible Iranian counter strikes against NATO-interests

    Covert Operations

    ___ Heavy use of covert operations and pinpoint bombing to attack Iranian storage areas to prevent Iranian ground forces from using rail lines to support the major front.

    ___ Post-conflict revelations how Iranian GPS coordinates determined using novel technology. Kudos to Sandia for Advanced Concepts.

    CONUS Problems

    ___ Attempted ship collisions with levees and bridges along the Mississippi river

    ___ Increased US shipping interceptions in the Gulf of Mexico, Mississippi

    ___ Active support and assistance from former US allies after seeing the scope of US war crimes in Eastern Europe, prisoners, and in Iran – includes NAVAL blockades, SIGINT support, and assistance in Gulf of Mexico

    ___ Chechen, Venezuela, Cuban fighters target United States facilities in similar to Iranian targets, travel through Vancouver, Montreal, and North Dakota. Reeking of cow manure.

    ___ US Navy repositioned from Pacific and Indian Ocean. Problem is the requirements in Iraq, vs. US coastal defense. Other nations exploit limits with US NAVY.

    ___ Nervous oil rigger crews scanning horizon for small craft;

    ___ Citizen water craft privately encouraged to fill in holes where US NAVY and Coast guard cannot be. DENIED advanced technology to communicate with US forces, and the water purification tablets are outdated.

    ___ Minnesota levees under night time scrutiny, installation of very bright lights along the river. Loud music to annoy saboteurs.

    ___ The battle, despite being waged “over there,” came home, but this surfaced after the election, so nobody bothered to mention it.

    ___ Reports of barge running loose near St. Louis, close-ups on CNN of cement damage, police chief’s son dives into water to save school bus driver. Later juggles on David Letterman Show, gets a kiss from Jessica Simpson.

    ___ Peter D. Keisler never gets seat on DC Court of Appeals. Voted by Criminal Division as buffoon. The online surfing traced to his computer. Refuses to buy new glasses.

    ___ Iranian covert operatives intercepted in South Carolina, on way to “party” Member of Congress attending. Suspicious sounds from trunk – a seeing-eye-dog proves to be blind, thirsty. Police chief’s son meets dog on David Letterman. Jessica Simpson does NOT kiss the dog.


    ___ Nice images from the SR-71 replacement reconnaissance aircraft, deliberately smudged to confuse Iranians [Don’t tell them how we figured it out]

    ___ Repeated images of the downfall of Western civilization, contrasted with US troop abuse of prisoners of war, the propaganda contracts get reviewed, and violations of the Smith Act never investigated

    ___ Propaganda effort to induce the public to confuse 9-11, Iraq, and Iran into one construct.

    ___ FBI agents and US Attorney conclude the leaks from the National Security Council were not substantiated, and are unable to find who leaked this information.

    ___ Cheney refuses to comment on his 1970s era-effort to bring commercial power to Iran.


    ___ Loss of world sympathy for US; Iranian, Cuban, Venezuelan cooperation to engage with US combat forces

    ___ Prolonged world shift against the United States lasting many centuries