I spent weeks speaking with former and current Pentagon, intelligence, and White House officials -- and Middle East/Iran experts -- about what a US-Iran war would look like.
Bottom line: "a nasty, brutal fight" with maybe 100s of 1000s dead. vox.com/world/2019/7/8… /1
Iran wants sanctions off, & may do something violent to make its point. Bombing a US oil tanker in Strait of Hormuz, killing US sailors and/or causing large oil spill, is just one of many ways to do that.
US would likely respond by sinking Iranian ships /2
"The greatest risk of a full-blown war comes from one side miscalculating the other’s tolerance” for conflict, says @jasmineelgamal. /3
Both sides have different gameplans for that.
US: Overwhelm Iran with so much air and naval power at the start that it surrenders.
Iran: Spread terror and chaos (incl cyber) around the world until US gives up. /4
But now US has a choice to make, as experts say Iran is unlikely to surrender because of just air and naval strikes.
Does US invade? And should it try to topple the regime? /5
1) Maybe over a million people die -- including US troops, diplomats, and civilians -- as US military marches toward Tehran.
2) Power centers in Iran will jockey for control, starting civil war. /7
1) Help rebuild Iran at cost of billions (trillions?) of dollars, years of effort, and many more lives
2) Leave, but leave behind immense chaos in Middle East
As @mwhanna1 told me: “The worst-case scenarios here are quite serious." /8
It's a good thing, then, that neither Trump nor Iranian leadership say they want war. But situation is on a knife edge, and it doesn't take much to push it off. /9