Dropping Planes, Not Bombs: US Attack on Iran with F-22 Stealth Fighters would be Laughable
The Iranian military must be enjoying the latest spectacle of Pentagon waste and bungling.
Only a few weeks ago, the US attempted to ramp up the pressure on Iran by deploying to the Persian Gulf at the Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates, just across the gulf from Iran, a squadron of the Air Force’s spanking new and never battle-tested supersonic F-22 stealth fighter-bombers.
Stealth technology would be a key to any US attack on Iran because a central tenet of US imperial war strategy is that US losses have to be kept to a very low number so that the American public will continue shopping and watching American Idol and ignoring the endless wars. Since the Iranians, over the years, have been supplied with sophisticated Russian and Chinese radars and anti-aircraft missiles, a conventional attack could lead to heavy and politically dangerous losses.
The problem is that those F-22 Raptors are duds.
They may fly fast, and may even be hard to spot on radar (though that claim has been debunked by many experts), but they have a fatal defect in their life-support system. Pilots who fly them have been having their oxygen supply cut off with disturbing regularity, leading to deaths, crashes and to forced landings by pilots who realized they were getting dopey or losing consciousness. (For a good analysis of the issue, check out this piece in Truthout by Dina Rasor.)
According to a number of news reports, pilots have been refusing to fly these new airborne coffins. That’s a pretty big deal. Remember, we’re talking about members of the military saying no to superior officers who have ordered them to climb into a cockpit. I would call that a kind of strike, functionally speaking.
Now, if the US were to launch an attack on Iran, refusing to fly would be a more serious matter of course, and so probably few of the pilots in the doomed squadron at Al Dhafra would likely risk court martial by refusing to take off, but this raises the possibility that we could have sophisticated, heavily armed $421-million planes dropping out of the skies all over Iran as they try to reach their assigned targets.
Not a pretty picture for Americans back home, but surely entertaining for Iranians watching from their porches or on their TVs.