No one wants a war with Iran. Just the thought of such a conflagration sends tremors through all of us. But if we have learned anything since 9/11, it is that initiating hostilities is a costly and time consuming business. Should the United States decide to attack Iran because they are on the road to a nuclear weapon, the toll would be enormous.
Resorting to the military option would mean undertaking an invasion far more challenging than both wars against Iraq.
Iran, at 637,000 square miles, is roughly twice the size of Texas. At 80 million people, it has a population more than double that of Iraq. Its diverse geography and long coastline includes the Strait of Hormuz—a major shipping chokepoint.
Stating that we can unilaterally eliminate Iran’s nuclear weapon program with an air campaign is incredibly naïve.
Logistically, a mobilization to both defend our regional allies and invade Iran would entail the deployment of at least 500,000 currently standing American military personnel, and maybe twice as many additional National Guard, reserve, and new trainees. Added to this would be the cost of transportation, support, and basing—probably costing as much as $1 trillion.
This level of mobilization would require Congress to potentially double the defense budget, completely obliterating the mandated savings of sequestration.