Barnett. This is how I would expect it to go as well: build the case, strike just over border, wait for response to justify larger strikes and then light them up.
Tom and I have been beating this drum for a while. Exactly the scenario I expect, except I would add three final steps:
- Limited air strike on Iranian forces causes reaction.
- Mostly symmetric military reaction prompts a full scale air strike on military forces/facilities.
- The war continues to expand (powered by Iranian asymmetric attacks, mostly in Iraq) to include a full EBO that takes down all Iranian economic capability. This is meant to prompt regime change. It doesn't work.
- World reacts in horror (and economic distress) and forces the US to stop the full scale air assault after only three weeks of conflict. Iranian counter-attacks (broad spectrum, global, and asymmetric) result in an indefinite tit for tat.
- Disorder/guerrilla warfare from the Levant to the Hindu Kush. We get a real long war.