The war began as planned. The Israeli pilots took off well before dawn and streaked across Lebanon and northern Iraq, high above Kirkuk. Flying U.S.-made F-15 and F-16s, the Israelis separated over the mountains of western Iran, the pilots gesturing a last minute show of confidence in their mission, maintaining radio silence.Just before the sun rose over Tehran, moments before the Muslim call to prayer, the missiles struck their targets.
While U.S. Air Force AWACS planes circled overhead–listening, watching, recording — heavy U.S. bombers followed minutes later. Bunker-busters and mini-nukes fell on dozens of targets while Iranian anti-aircraft missiles sped skyward.The ironically named Bushehr nuclear power plant crumbled to dust. Russian technicians and foreign nationals scurried for safety. Most did not make it…
Targets in Saghand and Yazd, all of them carefully chosen many months before by Pentagon planners, were destroyed.
The uranium enrichment facility in Natanz; a heavy water plant and radioisotope facility in Arak; the Ardekan Nuclear Fuel Unit; the Uranium Conversion Facility and Nuclear Technology Center in Isfahan; were struck simultaneously by USAF and Israeli bomber groups.
The Tehran Nuclear Research Centre, the Tehran Molybdenum, Iodine and Xenon Radioisotope Production Facility, the Tehran Jabr Ibn Hayan Multipurpose Laboratories, the Kalaye Electric Company in the Tehran suburbs were destroyed.
Iranian fighter jets rose in scattered groups. At least those Iranian fighter planes that had not been destroyed on the ground by swift and systematic air strikes from U.S. and Israeli missiles. A few Iranian fighters even launched missiles, downing the occasional attacker, but American top guns quickly prevailed in the ensuing dogfights.
The Iranian air force, like the Iranian navy, never really knew what hit them. Like the slumbering U.S. sailors at Pearl Harbor, the pre-dawn, pre-emptive attack wiped out fully half the Iranian defence forces in a matter of hours.
By mid-morning, the second and third wave of U.S. Israeli raiders screamed over the secondary targets. The only problem now, the surprising effectiveness of the Iranian missile defences. The element of surprise lost, U.S. and Israeli warplanes began to fall from the skies in considerable numbers to anti-aircraft fire.
At 7:35 AM, Tehran time, the first Iranian anti-ship missile destroyed a Panamanian oil tanker, departing from Kuwait and bound for Houston.
Launched from an Iranian fighter plane, the Exocet split the ship in half and set the ship ablaze in the Strait of Hormuz.
A second and third tanker followed, black smoke billowing from the broken ships before they blew up and sank. By 8:15 AM, all ship traffic on the Persian Gulf had ceased.
U.S. Navy ships, ordered earlier into the relative safety of the Indian Ocean, south of their base in Bahrain, launched counter strikes. Waves of U.S. fighter planes circled the burning wrecks in the bottleneck of Hormuz but the Iranian fighters had fled.
At 9 AM, Eastern Standard Time, many hours into the war, CNN reported a squadron of suicide Iranian fighter jets attacking the US Navy fleet south of Bahrain. Embedded reporters aboard the ships–sending live feeds directly to a rapt audience of Americans just awakening–reported all of the Iranian jets destroyed, but not before the enemy planes launched dozens of Exocet and Sunburn anti-ship missiles. A U.S. aircraft carrier, cruiser and two destroyers suffered direct hits. The cruiser blew up and sank, killing 600 men. The aircraft carrier sank an hour later.
By mid-morning, every military base in Iran was partially or wholly destroyed. Sirens blared and fires blazed from hundreds of fires. Explosions rocked Tehran and the electrical power failed.
The Al Jazeerah news station in Tehran took a direct hit from a satellite bomb, leveling the entire block.
At 9:15 AM, Baghdad time, the first Iranian missile struck the Green Zone. For the next thirty minutes a torrent of missiles landed on GPS coordinates carefully selected by Shiite militiamen with cell phones positioned outside the Green Zone and other permanent U.S. bases.
Although U.S. and Israeli bomber pilots had destroyed 90% of the Iranian missiles, enough Shahabs remained to fully destroy the Green Zone, the Baghdad airport, and a U.S. Marine base.
Thousands of unsuspecting U.S. soldiers died in the early morning barrage. Not surprisingly, CNN and Fox withheld the great number of casualties from American viewers.
By 9:30 AM, gas stations on the U.S. east coast began to raise their prices. Slowly at first and then altogether in a panic, the prices rose. $6 a gallon, and then $6 and then $8, the prices skyrocketed.
Worried motorists, rushing from work, roared into the nearest gas station, radios blaring the latest reports of the pre-emptive attack on Iran. While fistfights broke out in gas stations everywhere, the third Middle Eastern war had begun.