The usually keen-eyed Wretchard of Belmont Club fame has an analysis of the threat Iran poses and what we can do about it. I am in full agreement with him that the direct threat to the mainland US is slight, as is the threat to US and the better armed and equipped coalition Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. I rather part with him about the problems we would face in countering an increased threat from Iran.
Wretchard's basic premise seems to be that our ground troops in Iraq are on the wrong side of the Zagros Mountains to be a real threat to the population centers of Iran. He may well be right, as if that matters.
I do not believe we have the same strategic goals in Iran as we do in Afghanistan and Iraq where we are trying to prove that we can change two very different Islamic societies. If our gambits in Afghanistan and Iraq work, as is quite likely, we won't need to prove it can work elsewhere.
All we have to do is take out their ability to make trouble for us. This we can do without putting ground troops in. We've a whole lot of men and some women too, sitting around in flight suits wishing they were in the air. The only thing they want to know about the road network through the mountains is where is something to blow up. Zoomies just love to see stuff blow up.
We've got airbases in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as some in Uzbekistan and, IIRC, Turkmenistan. The waters surrounding Iran are an American lake. A few days to work over the Iranian AntiAir capabilities and every tank, weapons facility, barracks and place for the Mullahs to meet so they can discuss what flea powder works in their beards becomes a plinking range for our aircrews. Heck, much of Iran is within range of our Attack Helos, we've more than a few of those,too. I'm pretty sure the crews of those Commanches and Sea Cobras like to see stuff blow up too.
Road networks and landing beaches won't matter, what matters is the range of our aircraft.
Update: That is Apache Aircrews, I'm not sure what I was thinking with Commanche unless it was that my part of Texas never had Apaches but I'm less than a hundred miles from Commanche territory.