Thursday, August 23, 2007

Smart Bomb ? Nah, Gassing Attack

Theo: [sees LAPD SWAT armored vehicle approaching] Wait a minute, wait a minute. What have we here, gentlemen? The police have themselves an RV. Southeast corner.
Die Hard (1988) (directed by John McTiernan, Clarence Gilyard Jr. as "Theo.")
Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men. It is the spirit of men who follow and of the man who leads that gains the victory.
According to the Iranian press, the Iranian defense industry is ready to put a 2,000 pound laser-guided smart bomb into full production. The Qased ("Messenger") smart-bomb has supposedly been dropped successfully from Iran's American-made, Vietnam-era F-4 and F-5 fighter/ground attack aircraft.
The Iranian Defense Minister, Mr. Mostafa Mohammad Najjar, is proud as punch that his country has, as the Iranian TV story reports, "joined the few countries that possess precision-guided missile technology." The Islamic Republic News Agency reports the Minister claims that his country is now "self-sufficient in production of all types of military equipment."
Maybe all this is supposed to impress us that the Iranians could build other, more powerful, weapons that are laser guided, but I'm not buying. First, what is "full production ?" How many of these things can the Iranians build ? How quickly ?
Second, what are they really showing us ? The Iranians, so far, have a pretty photograph of their late 1980's technology bomb, that they have supposedly test-dropped from their 1960's vintage aircraft. So ? Sending out their pilots in the Shah's old F-4's and F-5's (however retrofitted they may be) -- or pretty much anything else they have against the US Air Force or Navy would be an efficient way of killing-off their trained pilots, but little else.
As I've written before, the Iranians are a tough potential opponent for the United States. But their strengths are in other, lower-tech areas: the military industry is a probable Achilles heel if matters get serious. Smart-bombs on old airplanes are not going to be the Iranian weapon of choice in dealing with the US. Take another look at Hezbollah (really the "Iranian Foreign Legion") and its methods - and the IED campaign in Iraq, which you can bet your last rial is a Pasdaran operation -- instead.
We need other information to determine if the Minister's self-sufficiency claims are real or just negotiating bluster. It's all very well to have proficient factories that can retrofit other people's tanks and fighter plane and manufacture their own basic munitions; but how efficient will their military industry really be if the Iranians really tangle with America, and the ports are closed, imports stopped, the electrical grid knocked-down and bulk-transport halted ?
But this is basic, and all well known to the serious players, including the Iranians. Consequently, the boasting about smart bombs and other Iranian wonder-weapons seems more for domestic consumption, and to sway the gullible in the West than a serious military threat.

4 comments:

louielouie said...

i've been reading EJM I for....... over a week, and i couldn't help but laugh out loud while reading this essay.
twice. in the first and last paragraphs, EJM I used the word smart in the same sentence as iranian.
i have assumed EJM I is an attorney, and most if not all of his essays are waaaaay to cerebral for myself.
now maybe it was due to necessity, the phrasing, the subject matter, or just an off day at the keybored(not a typo), but i thought EJM I was just more eloquent than that.

full disclosure:
this comment is in no way intended to make fun of EJM I.
i know better.
this comment was made to insult iran, the iranian people, and what passes for a so-called culture.

El Jefe Maximo said...

I'll dissent, a little, LL. I'm a contrarian on the Iranians. I like the Iranians I have known. Their culture has much in it worthy of respect, and predates Islam by a considerable degree.

Bombs and nukes are not the problem. The current criminal regime in Iran, born of a misbegotten, mistaken revolution -- which is DESTROYING Iran's culture and economy -- is the problem. (As an aside: revolutions like that in Iran or the ones in Russia and France almost never establish liberty -- they are turns down blind alleys leading to war and dictatorship).

The Persians were a great power before Roman times -- it is natural that the heirs of Cyrus would want the trappings of great-powerdom. If the Iranians themselves get rid of this regime, I think we would not have so much reason for concern as to what kind of weapons they want to build.

The Iranian religious and political establishment is gravely ill. but the situation in Iran is not as dire as it was in Saddam's Iraq. I'm optimistic that the Iranian people will straighten this out themselves, eventually, if we can avoid open war in the short run.

Of all the countries and places in the Middle East, the Iranians look to have the best shot at winding up with what the media calls "democracy" (more correctly representative institutions)-- than anybody else.

I really think the Islamic so-called Republic is down to its last throw. Someday, hopefully sooner rather than later, the Iranians will rejoin the world.

louielouie said...

I really think the Islamic so-called Republic is down to its last throw.

i respectfully disagree. the iranian i worked for in the 1990s said the same thing in the summer of 1990. the islamic clerics are too entrenched. the military has learned too much from the bloods & crips. neither will let go. while i would not let the media define anyting for myself, i do believe the iranian people would prefer more liberal institutions of gov't.

Someday, hopefully sooner rather than later, the Iranians will rejoin the world.

while i would not let the media define anyting for myself, i do believe the iranian people would prefer more liberal institutions of gov't. but what are they prepared to do about it? to loosely quote yourself, in a previous essay about the failed coup of our dear friend hugo chavez, "you don't defeat a tryant by being the president of the chamber of commerce." by 2525 i don't coubt there will be some changes in iran. in between, ......there can be a lot of bad. and imo, be careful if this regime is changed by the iranians, the subsequent regime could be worse.

hank_F_M said...

I agree that the problem with Iran is the Régime not the country. Which if it doesn’t get overthrown in the normal course of things will most likely mellow out over time to them point to the it the Régime is threat only to the people of Iran.

My attitude is that no matter how noxious their verbiage let ‘em sit unless they are stupid enough to actually attack or forces of allies in the area.

In many ways, if there is a real need to take out Iran's nukes, it seems to be Game of Chicken

Interrview by Der Spiegel with the then Sec of Def Rumsfeld is much to the point

SPIEGEL: The US is trying to make the case in the United Nations Security Council.

Rumsfeld: I would not say that. I thought France, Germany and the UK were working on that problem.

SPIEGEL: What kind of sanctions are we talking about?

Rumsfeld: I'm not talking about sanctions. I thought you, and the U.K. and France were.

SPIEGEL: You aren't?

Rumsfeld: I'm not talking about sanctions. You've got the lead. Well, lead!

SPIEGEL: You mean the Europeans.

Rumsfeld: Sure. My Goodness, Iran is your neighbour.