Monday, May 19, 2003

War Nerd From Moscow

AH-64s did very poorly in Iraq
A-10s did very well.

If they do hit Syria, it’ll be because of this idea they have in DC: make a “crescent of democracy” stretching from Iraq to Syria and on to Lebanon, all the way from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean. Now that democracy is bursting out in Iraq, all we have to do is franchise it out to Lebanon, the bloodiest, most messed-up country this side of Afghanistan. Should be a piece of cake. That was sarcasm, by the way.

But the first part of it, blasting the Syrian Army—that part really will be pretty easy, as far as I can tell. Like a lot of Arab countries, Syria has a decent-sized army: 215,000 fulltime soldiers and another 200,000 reserves.

Tanks can run for a while without an overhaul (especially Russian tanks) but fighters take more fuss than racehorses. You can pretty much take it for granted that the Syrian AF won’t be flying if there’s a war. And once you give an American invasion force total air supremacy, it’s all over.

There’s one wild-card, and that’s WMDs. Saddam didn’t have any, but the Syrians might. After their air force and SAM network got smashed in ’82, they invested in bio- and chemical-weapon components. It was like a poor man’s nuke program—a last-ditch Hell weapon to use if anyone invaded.

Thing is, even if the Syrians do have some chemical weapons, there’s no way they’ll ever use them. They’re not crazy. They’re cowards, but they’re sane cowards. [He's wrong here, it is perfectly legal for them to have WMDs, they haven't signed any non-proliferation treaties and they have showed them off to some people.]

There’s only one country on earth that really would use everything it’s got against us, and that’s the one country nobody wants to talk about: North Korea.