January 11, 2008

The way to war

..."the world came very close to war on Sunday"... "From the 18th century to the present day, threats to American ships and maritime commerce have been the way most U.S. wars start"...

Newly released footage of the 6 January Persian Gulf incident, wherby Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps speedboats raced toward US naval vessels shows that the Iranians got very close. The four-minute video condenses what US officials have described as a 20-minute stand-off. U.S. Naval Commanders showed great restraint and ought be commended, indeed the thoughtless Iranians are fortunate that things did not get out of hand for they were messing with fire.

Said Walter Mead of the provocation:

"It was a dangerous gesture," said President George W. Bush about Sunday's incident that involved five vessels, apparently under orders from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, harassing U.S. naval forces in international waters in the Straits of Hormuz. They broke off moments before the Americans opened fire."

"An ordinary occurrence," said a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry."

"There will be serious consequences if they attack our ships," Mr. Bush countered.
Mr. Bush is right, and the world came very close to war on Sunday. From the 18th century to the present day, threats to American ships and maritime commerce have been the way most U.S. wars start. "

He correctly goes on to add:

"Those who interfere with American maritime activity, whether naval or commercial, strike at a vital interest that Americans for more than two centuries have consistently defended by, if necessary, war. Such crises tend to unite American opinion behind even unpopular presidents. Two centuries of experience have created a broad consensus in the U.S. that the freedom of the seas cannot be compromised or abandoned. The link between global freedom of the seas and foreign policy has been a driving force in modern world history. "

"The Straits of Hormuz, site of the weekend provocation, are exceptionally sensitive. The ability of the U.S. to protect the free flow of oil through these waters is absolutely vital to the global economy. Any U.S. military response to a challenge there would be swift and overwhelming -- perhaps far greater than the Iranians expect."

"The danger of war between the U.S. and Iran over free passage in the Straits is very real. Iranian authorities may not fully understand the political and military consequences of such raids."

"The commanders of the maritime forces of the Revolutionary Guard, by all accounts less professional than the commanders of Iran's regular navy, may be operating without central authority, and may have underestimated the likelihood and the scale of the probable U.S. response. Believing that retaliation would be minor and half-hearted, they may even be seeking a limited confrontation with the U.S. for domestic political reasons."

"Last weekend, the Iranians fled before shots were fired. Good for them. If Iran wants a large-scale military conflict with a U.S. that is angry, aroused and united, endangering American naval vessels in the Straits of Hormuz is the right way to get one."

Read the whole article here.

With memories of the attack on the USS Cole in 2000, which killed 17 sailors, it's only natural that the officers onboard the U.S. destroyer, cruiser, and frigate took the matter very seriously.

As explained by Admiral G. Roughead, chief of naval operations, to the Boston Globe, U.S. commanders have no systematic way to halt a conflict if it begins to spiral. "I do not have a direct link with my counterpart in the Iranian Navy," he said. "I do not have a way to communicate directly with the Iranian Navy or [Republican] Guard." According to one report, one of the captains was seconds away from firing when the Iranian's turned away.

The fact that Iranian officials played down the event, calling it an "ordinary occurrence", shows how little they understand.

What do you think...


Tapline said...

Otto, Excellent Post....They should have sent the proper warnings then if the Iranians did not respond, removed them from sight. ....stay well......

MK said...

I think the Iranians may have been a bit ballsy because they got away with it with the British, remember when their sailors were captured, the groveling, begging and wiffle-waffle.

Yes they did show great restraint, but i hope they shred the next boat that comes, i'd hate to think this one was a probe of defences and response times. No one wants another USS Cole.

Karen said...

"Ordinary occurrence"? What is that fool talking about? If that were the case, we'd be hearing these reports regularly. This was very serious and if they are so clueless, which they aren't, they'll be wising up right away. They were testing us and they wanted some headlines as Bush headed to Israel.

American Interests said...

tap: I tend to agree...

mk: Had the U.S. Captain involved fired a volley on the Iranians I think it would have been justified. I'm with you on shredding the next boat that comes...

Karen: Let then try another test and we'll see what happens....

American Interests: Looking back I find it incomprehensible that the His Majesty's navy personnel got themselves captured...what were they doing? Even more bewildering was the pussy like response from Downing St, if only Maggie were still..

Flag Gazer said...

I am still a bit stunned by this action and the response by the left in this country...

I am also impressed with the cool demeanor of these sailors in a very dangerous situation. Their heart rates had to be up there - but, their training was evident and remarkable. I am proud of them!

subadei said...

It certainly wasn't ordinary. I see two possibilities.
1. A couple of RG yahoos decided to "buzz" some US warships in an imbecilic moment of "hey, watch this."

2. Since the release of the NIE that apprantly debunked most of the Bush Admin.s nuke rhetoric and subsequent pressure, Iranian focus left the US, turned inward and domestic politics were back in the limelight. The regime (specifically Ahmadinejad) needed to rekindle American aggression to get the spot light off their rather wanting domestic policies. And this little stunt has done just that.

GrEaT sAtAn'S gIrLfRiEnD said...

"The regime (specifically Ahmadinejad) needed to rekindle American aggression to get the spot light off their rather wanting domestic policies"

Great point subadei - most likely correct. After all, Iran lost her entire navy in one day in 1987 when the Great Satan had far less military resources in theater.

Of course, Iran actually fired on American ships that day. Perhaps the NIE 2007's pragmatic, practical mullahs called them off before a similar mishap resulted in a far greater series of events like a regime killing regime change.



One Blackhawk Chopper missed an opportunity to take out Five Republican Guard Mesquito-boats.

Iran's IED shipments into Iraq
needs to be addressed, with a
clear warning. If Amadinejad
repeats the provocation, we should
nail it. No civilian "colateral" damage;

Next step: F-22 Stealth takes out
their single gasoline refinery.

If they want trouble, let 'em walk
to their next war.

Good start on Regime Change. reb

Anonymous said...

Before we launch the next foolhearty military adventure in the region (counter to America's interests), let's recall that this "provocation" has since been widely discredited. Particularly the radio communications transmitted by what is known in the local maritime area as the "Filipino Monkey", a heckler (perhaps more than a single source) who have been known for years to create radio mayhem in the straits.