Project Censored, gathering reports from Buzzflash and elsewhere, notes that the major media has ignored the impending draft.

The Selective Service System, the Bush Administration, and the Pentagon have been quietly moving to fill draft board vacancies nationwide in order to prepare for a military draft that could start as early as June 15, 2005. In preparation several million dollars have been added to the 2004 Selective Service System (SSS) budget. The SSS Administration must report to Bush on March 31, 2005 that the system, which has lain dormant for decades, is ready for activation. The Pentagon has quietly begun a public campaign to fill all 10,350 draft board positions and 11,070 appeals board slots nationwide. An unpopular election year topic, military experts and influential members of Congress are suggesting that if Rumsfeld’s prediction of a “long, hard slog” in Iraq and Afghanistan (and a permanent state of war on “terrorism”) proves accurate, the U.S. may have no choice but to draft.[emphasis mine]

The Administration is looking at war with Iran: after Poland, Russia is the usual historical progression. Seymour Hersh reported last year that US had already put special forces into Iran to prepare the way, check out targets, etc. What will such a war hold for the US and Taiwan?

Unlike Iraq, where the terrain was congenial and supply lines short and anchored on our ally, Kuwait, Iran is a whole ‘nother ball of wax. Take a look at this size comparison:

Iran vs US:

In addition to the vastly greater size of Iran, its terrain is utterly unlike Iraq’s.

Iran: real deserts, real mountains, real winters.

Iran is not going to be a pushover like the Iraqis. The country is poor and its GNP one-fourth of what it was in the Shah’s day, but the population is fully one-quarter the size of the United States. Occupation of hostile territory requires 20 soliders for every thousand population, or 20,000 per million; this suggests that occupation of 70 million people will require 1.4 million troops merely for occupation duties alone. Our ongoing defeat in Iraq, where we failed to put in the 400,000 required to police Iraq, makes occupation of Iran a fantasy.

There’s a good map here that shows both terrain and roads. Iran has fewer decent ports for its long coastline. Note also that the railroads do not run in ways useful to the US, unless we invade from Afghanistan. The roads also run north-south through mountain valleys that will make it easy for local guerillas to cut off supply trains. When Hussein invaded Iran in the first Gulf War in 1980, he made swift progress until the base of the mountains. After that, defeat. Iran’s army is not well armed and it lacks heavy equipment. Yet the Iranians showed tactical imagination, tenacity, and resourcefulness in turning back Hussein’s forces in that war.

The US is not risking mission failure like Iraq. It is risking military defeat. A full-scale invasion will almost certainly result in military defeat for the US, unless the population completely goes over to the US, or the Army refuses to fight, or the government collapses.

What this means for Taiwan is clear. An invasion of Iran will likely bring about military defeat that will bankrupt the United States and permanently harm its power and prestige. We are not now in a strong position to oppose China; with the military busy in Iran, we will only be less so. If the US invades Iran, Taiwan is finished.