Excerpted from ‘Big George’: The Coming Attack on Iran Copyright © 2006 News Max & Kenneth R. Timmerman < www.newsmax.com >
Big George or Big Rummy?
Kenneth R. Timmerman reported on April 14, 2006 that Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney, the man who helped plan the first air war against Saddam in 1991, outlined a plan dubbed “Bog George” that would defang Iran’s nuclear capability “using U.S. aircraft, armed with conventional bunker-buster bombs. …McInerney believes that U.S. air power is so massive, precise, and stealthy, it can effectively disarm Iran with just limited assistance from covert operators on the ground whose task would be to light up enemy targets. In the “Big George” scenario, the United States would attack 1,000 targets in Iran. Fifteen B2 stealth bombers based in the United States and another 45 F117s and F-22s based in the region would carry out the initial waves of the attack, crippling Iran’s long-range radar and strategic air defenses. Massive, additional waves of carrier-based F-18s, as well as F-15s and F-16s launching from ground bases in Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan, and Bahrain, would take out Iran’s known nuclear and missile sites.
“Big George targets command and control facilities – Revolutionary Guards command centers, key clerics, and other regime-sensitive sites – in the hope of triggering a revolt against the clerical regime by opposition groups inside Iran. If the president decided to focus solely on Iran’s nuclear and missile sites, McInerney proposed a Plan B version he called “Big Rummy.” Plan B would be executed in a single night, and would concentrate on 500 “aim points.” It would require greater assistance from covert operators if the administration’s goal was to provoke regime collapse, McInerney added.
“All the B61 family of warheads are gravity bombs using delayed fuses to allow the attacking aircraft to escape. But it remains unclear how successful such weapons would be at reaching hardened nuclear sites buried deep inside mountains, where some of Iran’s clandestine facilities are believed to be. U.S. military planners have long wanted to develop a new generation of low yield, nuclear earth penetrators, to hit hardened nuclear sites. In their arguments to Congress in favor of such weapons, they have cited the necessity of eliminating facilities buried deep in the mountains of North Korea.
“Iran is unlikely to sit still should the United States or its NATO allies make active preparations for a military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities. Revolutionary Guards Air Force Cmdr. General Hossein Salami reconfirmed in an April 4 Iranian TV interview (www.memritv.org/search.asp?ACT=S9&P1=1106 ) that Iran had the capability to block the Strait of Hormuz, where 20 percent of the world’s oil supplies transit daily. …Iran will use Chinese and Russian-made bottom-tethered mines to block the Strait of Hormuz, and to bottle up U.S. and foreign warships already present inside the Persian Gulf.
“The United States currently has a carrier battle group in the Persian Gulf, led by the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). The battle group includes Aegis-class cruisers and destroyers capable of launching cruise missiles, anti-submarine and anti-mine warfare vessels, nuclear submarines, and some 70 attack and support aircraft. And the United States is not alone in handling maritime security operations in the Persian Gulf. More than a half-dozen other nations participating in three international task forces are helping to keep tabs on the area and on Iran. Combined Task Force 58 patrols the northern Persian Gulf area near Basra, Iraq, with the specific mission of protecting Iraqi oil export terminals, according to U.S. Navy Web sites. It is made up of forces from Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States and Iraq, and is led by a Royal Navy officer. Combined Task Force 152 is an exclusively American force, and patrols the central and southern Persian Gulf, including the Strait of Hormuz. The U.S. Fifth Fleet, which contributes forces to Operation Enduring Freedom in Iraq, is headquartered in Bahrain.
“Combined Task Force 150 is based outside the Gulf and patrols the Gulf of Oman, the North Arabian Sea, parts of the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. It includes ships from France, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy, as well as Pakistan. Altogether, the three international task forces include on average 45 ships and 20,000 personnel from various nations, according to the U.S. Navy.”