Gulf of Tonkin Redux

It becomes more obvious every day that $200-per-barrel oil is the highest priority of our Deciders-in-Chief:

Despite the official and media portrayal of the incident in the Strait of Hormuz early Monday morning as a serious threat to U.S. ships from Iranian speedboats that nearly resulted in a “battle at sea”, new information over the past three days suggests that the incident did not involve such a threat and that no U.S. commander was on the verge of firing at the Iranian boats.

These little games of “chicken” happen all the time and have been for years. This one’s being singled out–and apparently partly faked, at that–points to a really sick agenda.

From Jeff Huber, a Navy veteran:

So who knows what exactly happened in the Strait Monday morning? I sure don’t, but I’ll tell you something I do know. U.S. and Iranian naval units have been playing patty cake in the Strait and the Persian Gulf with each other since the tanker wars of the 1980s. I can’t count offhand how many times I ran the Strait of Hormuz scenario during the 90s, in tabletop experiments, computer simulations, live play exercises and real world operations. The skippers and crews of the American warships had to have been prepared for what they saw on Monday. Granted, when it’s really you transiting the real Straits with five real Iranian speedboats making a run at you, that’s a bona fide pucker patrol; and it appears that the U.S. crews conducted every step of the operation by the letter.

Still, back in my day, we called that sort of thing “free training.” After all the helmets and fire hoses were put away, we reckoned we’d had a jolly old time, trading love taps with gloves and headgear on, and suspected that the other guys considered the whole thing to be good clean fun too.

So like Bhutto’s assassination, the Turks bombing of the Kurds, and other recent fiascos, Monday’s incident in the Strait of Hormuz was worth noting as yet another example of how far American policy has run adrift under the Bush administration’s stewardship.

More links:

  • Gulf of Tonkin Incident
  • Local Navy vet’s take on the incident
  • New York Times reports that the Pentagon isn’t even sure if the audio came from the boats