Monday, January 7, 2008

Strait Of Hormuz Incident: This Time, Let's Be Sure We Know What Really Happened

By Manifesto Joe

I am part of a generation that woke up one day, around 19 years old, and heard that the Vietnam War was actually over. It hit me that I could barely remember a time when there hadn't been a Vietnam War -- it had seemed so permanent. This is one of the reasons that the breaking news about the reported incident in the Strait of Hormuz evokes specters of the '60s and early '70s.

The early reports are like this one from The Associated Press. And, they sound ominously like the first accounts of the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident:

In what is being called a serious provocation, Iranian Revolutionary Guard harassed and provoked three U.S. Navy ships in the strategic Strait of Hormuz, officials said Monday.

U.S. forces were on the verge of firing on the Iranian boats in the early Sunday incident, when the boats ended the incident and turned and moved away, said a Pentagon official.

"It is the most serious provocation of this sort that we've seen yet," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record.

Pardon me for being so mistrustful, but I've got a problem with this coming from an anonymous Pentagon source, broken to the MSM after they mulled over it for more than 24 hours. I was born, but not yesterday. I grew up watching the CBS evening body-bag news, long after what is now generally acknowledged as a manufactured incident.

It's far too early to know exactly what happened. In the case of the Gulf of Tonkin, it took many years to ferret out the facts. But it's been obvious for a while that this "administration" is far from averse to expanding Mideast warfare to include Iran. So, there's more than a little reason for doubt.

AP reported that the anonymous official said that:

"... he didn't have the precise transcript of communications that passed between the two forces, but the Iranians radioed something to the effect that "we're coming at you and you'll explode in a couple minutes."

Wait a minute. Transcript? Were the U.S. ships recording this? Let's hear it. By definition, a transcript has been, you know, transcribed, as in a human reproduction. You know what those humans can be like sometimes.

The AP report also mentioned something about tensions between Washington and Tehran heightening over U.S. allegations that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. There was absolutely no mention in the same report of how those allegations have been generally discredited by the National Intelligence Estimate. It's the MSM stenographers with amnesia, at work yet again.

This whole thing seems to smell. Let's ask a lot of questions and wait for hard facts to become available. I've already awakened once in my life, just shy of 19, to hear that a war that seemed to go on forever was finally over. If we actually got into one of those things with Iran, that day of awakening might finally come when I'm living at Peaceful Meadows Campus of Care.

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.


Apollo 13 said...

It sure does smell, Joe. Thanks for articulating the situation so well. Spot on.

W said...

Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead! Get your war on, boys! There's money to be made and terrrrrrrists to nuke!

chris Wilcox said...

The first thing I thought about when I saw that story was how both sides would most likely have completely different views about how close things were, who was provoking who. The battle ship industry has been left out of all the war spending to date, as has the air force to a large part. Seems like their payday may be coming.

Cranky Daze said...

The first thing that went through my mind when I read this was...what is Junior up to now? I'd have to see a lot more proof of this "act of aggression" before I'd believe it. It's a damn shame that the first thing a U.S. citizen would think of in a situation like this is the possibility or probability that we're being scammed again.

It occurs to me that just as the various states are beginning to vote on the candidates they want to represent them in the general election, Iran is going to start a war with a country that has a leader who would just as soon blow them off the face of the earth as not? This seems so improbable, but the idea that the Republicans would do something like this in an attempt to tip the primaries in the direction they want them to go seems not so outlandish.

I'm half convinced that Bush intends to start another war before he leaves office, and what better target than another oil rich country?

November seems farther away than it did yesterday.

Mosquito said...

Bush and Cheney have been provoking Iran for some time trying to get them to "start a fight."

The tensions would ease if OUR Navy would stop it's harassment campaign....

Pelican1 said...

I remember well the war that would not end. By the time you were 19, Joe, I was in and out of the USN hospital corps and slogging my way through graduate school, carrying the insomnia, PTSD monkey on my back and having changed my major to psychology in the last two years of undergraduate school.

When CNN began breathlessly reporting this "incident" yesterday, my first thought was, I wonder why the new American SS (DHS) isn't at my door," as we predicted something just like this in in the Spring of 2006, just as Junior was attempting to put three full carrier battle groups in the Gulf at once, during an over-lap. It was Adm. Fallon who said "no."

Fallon may be the only human being on earth who has ever said "no" to Junior, in no uncertain terms, unwilling to sacrifice even one of his sailors, let alone an entire ships compliment for Junior's Oedipal Complex or whatever.

Americans need to ask themselves, what does Iran have to gain by playing games of chicken on the high seas with their Rubber Ducky boats vs. Aemerican Naval vessels? How does that add up to anything good for Iran?

Anyone can paint a large dingy to look like it belongs to Iran and scream something stupid, in Persian, as is reported, at one of our ships. Who really has something to gain by Americans believing that Iran has turned the Straights of Harmuz into a watery grave for our sailors. Cheney? the NeoCons? Israel? Certainly not the ordinary American people, who can barely afford fuel for their cars and home heating systems now, Certainly not the Iranian people, for obvious reasons.

Everyone, the world over, knows that Bush does not want to leave office without turning Iran to uninhabitable rubble before he leaves office. One of our number, at independents unbound, believes he wants to do it right before super-duper Tuesday, throwing the Democratic primaries into chaos and assuring Mr. 9/11, Rudy G., of the nomination for the Rethugs.

Could be he is right. Pulling something like this right before the elections may be too obvious even to the thickest among us.

Anonymous said...

Before the details were released, by both sides, I read a lot about the conspiracy by the USG to fabricate another Gulf of Tonkin scenario. All this as a nefarious plot to A) bolster a case for war against Iran, B) help get a Republican elected in 2008, and C) to increase investment in Naval warships.

Now that we can see the video and hear the audio and look at what each side is saying, does anyone want to retract their initial offerings? Iran (ISNA and Fars) admitted the contact took place. No one disputes the US ships were in International waters. Iranian accounts classify this as a normal occurrence (watch the video, does this look normal). It looks provocative from the Iranian side to me.

Further, has anyone heard of Iran's plan for asymmetrical tactics to counter US military capability? It calls for the use of such speed boats in suicide attacks. Some see Gulf of Tonkin, I see USS Cole. The IRGC Navy has had these speed boats and has been developing such tactics for some time, its not new.

If you can look at this objectively and decide that your first impressions may have been hasty, take the time to issue a correction or at least update your view to reflect the new information. Anything less is disingenuous.

Manifesto Joe said...

To the previous poster: I just viewed the video and heard the audio. Well, at least they have got "something." Looked like a couple of Iranian speedboaters who were either bored, or smoking something against regulations.

But, go back and read my piece. There is nothing to correct or retract. How does one correct or retract caution? I made no definite pronouncement.

The point that you and many others miss is that our government has lied to us enough times about things like this -- often, and very recently -- that there is always enormous room for doubt. And that in itself is a goddamned shame.

I sincerely wish we had a government that we could implicitly trust. In school, I was told that this was the case. Experience has taught me otherwise.

In any case, what I just saw doesn't look like something to start a protracted war over. Show me more. A lot more.