People keep saying that Iran is not Iraq, and this is technically true in that one name ends in an 'n', whereas the other name ends in a 'q'. But militarily, Iran without nukes and a means to deliver them is a paper tiger. True, they aren't as battered as the Iraqis were before OIF--but they haven't suffered 40 days and 40 nights of bombing either--yet. If the Iranians are so powerful, why couldn't their army do in 8 years to the Iraqians that the Americans did in 3 days during the Gulf War. Also, note that the vast majority of the Iran-Iraq war took place on Iranian soil--not to mention they were reduced to using human wave attacks by children. An interesting article that wargamed the Iran problem actually proposed a plan similar to the one I proposed where we skip the occupation. The plan was rejected by the other participants not for forgoing the occupation, but because they thought the attack plan wasn't thought through. In particular, they noted the plan didn't take into account possible counterattacks by Iranian forces. The "general" in the simulation, however, failed to point out that once the battle started, Iranian forces would be incapable of significant mobility because of the constant threat from the air. The plan did estimate that Tehran would be surrounded within two weeks, which I can believe since the trip to Tehran is shorter than the trip to Baghdad was. As you can see from this CIA map there is a fairly broad river valley that leads from Khordestan province through Zanjan and then Qazin provinces straight through to Tehran, with no big population centers in between. So the advance would be less hard logistically at least compared to the advance on Baghdad. On Sunday, Senator McCain said that a war with Iran is preferable to a nuclear Iran. He's got my vote. And given that merely bombing is a short term solution at best, the only thing to discuss at this point is whether we help clean up the mess with an occupation or not. The best case scenario on the hit-and-run model would be that democratic elements and the NCRI take over, sign a treaty with us, and the regular Iranian army takes over security after the Revolutionary Guards are disarmed. The worst case, scenario is, of course, that the country descends into anarchy and a Taliban-like regime takes over, and we're back in there 10 years down the road doing it all over again. So, what about the occupation option? People typically assume that just because Iran is geographically larger and more populous than Iran, occupying Iran would be proportionately more difficult than the occupation in Iraq. However, this is not necessarily the case. In a recent must-read article "The Case For Invading Iran" Thomas Holsinger argued that an occupation of Iran would probably take less time than the occupation of Iraq: I would add that the oft-repeated point that the Iranian mullahs enjoy broad popular support is overstated. Arguably, the election was stolen. Many Iranian parliment members were banned from running for office and the election was boycotted by a large part of the electorate. Nepotism also runs rampant in the current administration, which is bound to exacerbate resentments. And estimates that the insurgents will field 100,000 to 1,000,000 men doesn't seem likely. For one thing, who is going to supply them? In Iraq, insurgents get supplies from both Syria and Iran. But once Iran is taken over, there are no friendly nations neighboring Iran, except maybe Turkmenistan, that would be a major source of supplies and funding for an Iranian insurgency. In addition, most Iranian military personnel will be content to go home as soon as they have a chance. Recent research on differences between motivational factors affecting American and Iraqi soldiers revealed stark differences. American soldiers are motivated to protect each other and are also motivated by the ideology of liberation and freedom. Iraqi troops, in constrast, reported poor social cohesion within their military units, and that they were motivated primarily by coercion, especially the fear that they would be shot if they attempted to desert. Given that the Iranian army consists mainly of young, poorly trained, unwilling conscripts, there is little reason to suppose that they will be more motivated to resist the Americans than their Iraqi counterparts were. Bottom line: Holsinger has changed my mind. We must invade Iran, and we must be prepared to stay the course for as long as it takes to restore a true democracy to Iran that is not a threat to world peace.