11 January 2008


I hadn't followed the "Iranian Speedboats Harass US Navy Ships in Persian Gulf" incident too much. My cursory review of the incident didn't strike me as being particularly portentious or significant.

But maybe it is more important. Historian Walter Russell Mead writes in the Wall Street Journal:

From the 18th century to the present day, threats to American ships and maritime commerce have been the way most U.S. wars start. The pattern began early. Attacks by the Barbary pirates in the Mediterranean led President Thomas Jefferson to send the U.S. Navy thousands of miles on a risky expedition to suppress the threat to American merchant ships in 1801. During the Napoleonic Wars, British and French interference with U.S. commerce led to a series of crises and undeclared "quasi-wars" that culminated in the War of 1812.

Sumatran attacks on U.S. ships in the 1830s led President Andrew Jackson to dispatch naval forces on a retaliatory mission. The widespread (though probably erroneous) U.S. belief that the USS Maine had been destroyed by a Spanish mine in the harbor of Havana, Cuba, forced a reluctant President William McKinley to launch the Spanish-American War in 1898.

The 20th century was no different. German attacks on U.S. ships in World War I brought America into that war; the Japanese attack on the fleet at Pearl Harbor brought the U.S. into World War II. The Tonkin Gulf incident in 1964 (alleged attacks on U.S. ships by North Vietnamese boats) led Congress to authorize President Lyndon Johnson's use of force in Indochina. The North Korean seizure of the USS Pueblo in 1968 touched off a near-war crisis at the height of the Vietnam conflict, and the Cambodian seizure of the Mayaguez, a container ship, led President Gerald Ford to dispatch combat forces back to Indochina less than one month after the U.S. withdrawal from Saigon in 1975. [...]

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.

Well, when you put it that way, and with an administration eager for war with Iran, it's a little chilling, isn't it?


  1. Let's not forget how our own civil war started, with Ft. Sumter firing on a ship.

  2. Hey Dude, your HTML tags are showing.

    As to the Bush Administration being “eager for war with Iran,” this is one of those Lefty memes that has more to do with tinfoil hats than reality. Much more interesting is why Iran is so anxious to provoke us.

    It’s no secret that the (real) theocrats who run that benighted country have a lot of internal dissent to deal with. Maybe they think a scrap with the Great Satan would be a useful distraction.

  3. Unfortunately, they do need a little lesson in american history, but I'd hate to see another middle eastern war.

    You cannot fight a war in the 21st century. You simply cannot. With all the reporters spinning the story any way they wish, they can sway the american public revolt against a certain administration.

    If you look at this war, we've lost 3000 soldiers over the past few years, which is amazing considering there's like a 75 to 1 kill rate. For every 1 of us that dies we've killed 75 people. Who knows if they're men, women or children because it's NOT OUR CULTURE. We know NOTHING of their people, hell, most people can't even find Iraq or Iran on globe!

    there's two candidates that stand out this election and that's Ron Paul (http://www.ronpaul2008.com)and Christopher Walken (http://www.walken2008.com)

    We have neither the man power, nor the public support to start a war, but if they do provoke us, they will start a war of wars, which shall spread through the middle east and the world. We will truly find our next world war.

  4. As to the Bush Administration being “eager for war with Iran,” this is one of those Lefty memes that has more to do with tinfoil hats than reality.

    yeah, i know, huh? where would anybody get a crazy idea like that?

    i mean, it isn't like the foreign policy philosophy in the white hasn't been driven by people who are at home right now masturbating to the youtube video of the iranian speedboats and imagining shots being fired... and what that would have meant.

  5. As we can all see from the videos, Iran is certainly up to the task of attacking America with that motorboat navy. Just look at those giant motorboats and compare them to our warships! Bush says this is very dangerous. But Bush has a secret up his sleeve the Iranians don't know about - we have thousands of nuclear weapons that we can pulverize their nation with and do it all from right here in the good ol' USA.

    So, the Iranians have taken one look at our warships and their boats and they just KNOW they can beat us. Once they've destroyed our navy they'll all jump in their rowboats and come to America and invade us. Better yet, they'll stand on the shore and shout obscenities at us and call us the 'Great Satan' and it will make us cry and hurt our feelings. And if our feelings get really hurt, THEN we might take a couple of nukes out of our arsenal of 1000's of nukes and fry millions of Iranian men, women and children because "they were mean to us." This will be easir to do and will save us preemptively invading them with our armies, mostly because we don't have the man power to invade Iran, Afghanistan, and Iraq all at the same time.

    Forgive the sarcasm, but I see the 'Gulf of Tonkin' all over again. Bush and Cheny couldn't find any evidence of bomb building so they had to come up with something else.

    As a Vietnam vet who saw much action and killed many people who I didn't know at all, I can tell you war does nothing but create misery. And the roots of war are always based on perceived injustices in one form or another - look at your history. Read any of the writings of any of the Muslim extremists and you will find perceived injustices. I'm not saying they are true or valid, but they are the 'reasons' they fight us, despite what Guiliani says - that they fight us because we are free and wealthy.

    But if you think those puny Arab NATIONS are any threat to us, you are delusional. If you think any of those Islamic terrorists are dangerous to us, you are closer on the mark. But they are everywhere in the world. It is not a nation we face, but a movement. You don't combat a movement by attacking a nation that may have extremists, but, for the most part, has a population trying to get on with their lives. Those are human beings over there, for godsake!

    Cheny and Bush want to crush those people and take their oil. They don't care about our safety. The way to fight terrorism is to protect our borders, not preemptively invade and bomb nations. It will never work and will eventually upset everyone.

    There is no NATION out there that can do anything to us - none. Since Bush took his eye off the target - Ben Laden (a leader of a MOVEMENT) and started focusing on Nations, we are losing ground. If you were to take every nation in the world where there are Muslims, of which some are probably extremist, you are talking about dozens and dozens of nations. You can't attack the nations - we have to develop a means of taking on the Movement. There are probably a lot of very smart people who could figure out how to do that - but it's not Bush and Cheny and company. They want NATIONS!

    Please don't let these neo-cons get us into fighting another Arab country by telling us rowboats are a threat to our Navy - it's ludicrous.

  6. For every 1 of us that dies we've killed 75 people.

    When did it become in our interest to kill Iraqis? Does killing these Iraqis make me more safe? Does it promote some noble cause in spite of making me less safe?

    For Vietnam wasn't it a million enemy soldiers to our 60,000. I don't know what the civilian numbers are. So, I guess we're getting better at killing.

    I wonder if we weren't so good at killing if we'd figure out another way to deal with things? [cue Imagine]

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