But how would Iran respond?
How Trump Would Strike Iran: Think F-35s, B-2 Bombers, Aircraft Carriers and More
U.S. president Donald Trump on June 26, 2019 said he could order U.S. forces to strike Iran without involving large numbers of American ground troops.
“It wouldn’t last very long, I can tell you that,” Trump said in an interview on Fox Business.
“I’m not talking boots on the ground,” Trump added. “I’m not talking, we’re going to send a million soldiers. I’m just saying if something would happen, it wouldn’t last very long.”
Trump’s comments hint at a possible U.S. plan for retaliating against Iran for the Islamic Republic’s June 19, 2019 downing of a U.S. Navy surveillance drone over the Strait of Hormuz, the strategic chokepoint connecting the Persian Gulf to the open ocean.
U.S. warships could fire cruise missiles while bombers launched their own missiles and stealth warplanes penetrated Iranian air defenses. U.S. presidents several times in recent years have opted to strike from the air in this manner rather than risk a ground war.
The major forces already are in the region or available on short notice. The U.S. Air Force in April 2019 deployed at least six F-35A stealth fighters to Al Dhafra in the United Arab Emirates. And in May 2019 the flying branch sent four B-52 bombers to Al Udeid air base in Qatar.
The F-35s have flown combat missions over Iraq. The B-52s meanwhile have conducted show-of-force flights near Iran. If Trump ordered U.S. forces to strike Iran, the B-52s could lob cruise missiles at Iranian targets from hundreds of miles away while the F-35s flew closer to drop GPS- and laser-guided bombs.