Since this is the cyberspace age Washington will have the ability to call off a strike against Iran’s nuclear targets almost at the last minute. It’s a real possibility due to the high stakes and it’s happened before. In 1998, the Clinton White House turned back a multi-nation aircraft and TLAM strike on Iraq military targets with barely 45 minutes to spare. (By the way, this lily-livered move so vexed Saudi Arabia that they subsequently limited use of their airfields.)
As soon as weapons are released Washington will want immediate bomb damage assessment and high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft like the U-2 and Global Hawk will help along with space assets. Finally, don’t forget combat search and rescue. No U.S. Air Force general will sign off on this mission without a rescue plan in case an aircraft goes down. Combat search and rescue in Iran will be very dangerous, and will require all the specific skills the Air Force rescue experts train for routinely.
After the first night’s strikes against selected facilities, the planners will face a tough task: deciding whether any of the target aimpoints need to be hit again. All sorts of things go awry in combat and it’s possible some weapon won’t fuse or something else will happen. 100% success is unlikely but the key will be damage assessment against main parts of the facility.
Then comes the reckoning. What would the White House and the international community hope to achieve with the strike? What’s the next policy move? The world will be waiting to hear.
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