FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

A Persian Gulf of Tonkin in the Making?

by JOHN LaFORGE

The aircraft carrier Enterprise has moved into the Persian Gulf, although it’s an antique, slow-moving target and a potential lightening rod for war on Iran. As a retired Navy man told me last month, “A couple of torpedoes would stagger the thing, and then you’ve got the Alamo, the Maine, the Lusitania, Pearl Harbor, the Gulf of Tonkin and 9/11 all over again,” he said, “with Iran in the crosshairs.”

Enterprise needlessly joins the strike group of the 100,000-ton carrier Lincoln with its crew of 3,200 already in the Gulf. TV-Novosti reported April 10 that in March President Obama sent his second amphibious assault group to the Gulf. Those gun boats include a nuclear submarine, a Marine helicopter squadron and more than 2,000 Marines.

At 51, Enterprise is the oldest ship in the Navy, having seen action since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. From the bombing of Laos in 1973 and the 1986 bombing of Libya, to the 800,000 pounds of munitions it fired into Afghanistan in 2001, Enterprise has helped maintain a string of atrocity producing situations that has no end in sight.

Set for retirement and decommissioning this fall, Enterprise’s Gulf deployment is its last. But it has no purpose whatsoever as a war machine when 11 newer and more sophisticated carriers are available. Indeed Enterprise is a hugely expensive liability, a deadly heap of hazardous scrap. Its fiercely radioactive reactors and waste fuel require dangerous and costly removal and long-term isolation from the ecosphere as nuclear waste material.

So Enterprise, the first ever nuclear-powered carrier, parades through the Gulf with lots of gunpowder. Its “strike group 12” consists of:  Carrier Air Wing 1; the guided-missile cruiser Vicksburg; and Destroyer Squadron 2, comprising guided-missile destroyers NitzePorter and James E. WilliamsEnterprise is 1,123 feet long, weighs 94,000 tons, has 8 propulsion reactors, four 35-ton rudders, two gyms, a crew of at least 3,100, a television station and—no doubt demonstrating a free press— a daily paper.

The government knows its loss at sea would be cheaper than retirement, and if it can scare the country into yet another shooting war, our munitions makers and weapons merchants continue swimming in billions of tax dollars defending freedom and peace. In January, when Sec. of Defense Leon Panetta first said he would send Enterprise to the Gulf “to send a direct message to Iran,” the price of gas shot up and stayed up. You’d almost think the oil giants like war. The privatized DoD contractor corporations certainly do.

To get public opinion and NATO behind war on Iran, the war party needs to both sideline our Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan Syndromes and to flabbergast Russia, China and India. How better than to make it look as if Iran started it? Deployment of theEnterprise is hair-raising in the context of previous “false flag” provocations in the region. Like the Lavon Affair before it, Israel actually attacked the U.S. spy ship Liberty June 8, 1967 — using unmarked jet fighters and torpedoes — initially blaming Egypt in an attempt to draw Washington into the war. Israel later claimed it attacked what it thought was an Egyptian ship, yet no one was charged or disciplined. Ward Boston, the U.S. Navy Senior Counsel for the Court of Inquiry, says in a 2002 affidavit, “Both [lead investigator] Admiral [Isaac] Kidd and I believed with certainty that this attack, which killed 34 sailors and injured 172, was a deliberate effort to sink an American ship and murder its entire crew.”

Today the Enterprise has nothing to do but act like the greasiest sitting duck in history. No one should believe that Iran is dumb enough to take the bait.

John LaForge is on the staff of Nukewatch, a nuclear watchdog and anti-war group in Wisconsin, and edits its Quarterly.

John LaForge is a Co-director of Nukewatch, a peace and environmental justice group in Wisconsin, and edits its newsletter.

More articles by:
May 23, 2016
Conn Hallinan
European Union: a House Divided
Paul Buhle
Labor’s Sell-Out and the Sanders Campaign
Uri Avnery
Israeli Weimar: It Can Happen Here
John Stauber
Why Bernie was Busted From the Beginning
James Bovard
Obama’s Biggest Corruption Charade
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
Indian Point Nuclear Plant: It Doesn’t Take a Meltdown to Harm Local Residents
Desiree Hellegers
“Energy Without Injury”: From Redwood Summer to Break Free via Occupy Wall Street
Lawrence Davidson
The Unraveling of Zionism?
Patrick Cockburn
Why Visa Waivers are Dangerous for Turks
Robert Koehler
Rethinking Criminal Justice
Lawrence Wittner
The Return of Democratic Socialism
Ha-Joon Chang
What Britain Forgot: Making Things Matters
John V. Walsh
Only Donald Trump Raises Five “Fundamental and Urgent” Foreign Policy Questions: Stephen F. Cohen Bemoans MSM’s Dismissal of Trump’s Queries
Andrew Stewart
The Occupation of the American Mind: a Film That Palestinians Deserve
Nyla Ali Khan
The Vulnerable Repositories of Honor in Kashmir
Weekend Edition
May 20, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
Hillary Clinton and Political Violence
Andrew Levine
Why Not Hillary?
Paul Street
Hillary Clinton’s Neocon Resumé
Chris Floyd
Twilight of the Grifter: Bill Clinton’s Fading Powers
Eric Mann
How We Got the Tanks and M-16s Out of LA Schools
Jason Hirthler
The West’s Needless Aggression
Dan Arel
Why Hillary Clinton’s Camp Should Be Scared
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima Flunks Decontamination
David Rosen
The Privatization of the Public Sphere
Margaret Kimberley
Obama’s Civil Rights Hypocrisy
Chris Gilbert
Corruption in Latin American Governments
Pete Dolack
We Can Dream, or We Can Organize
Dan Kovalik
Colombia: the Displaced & Invisible Nation
Jeffrey St. Clair
Fat Man Earrings: a Nuclear Parable
Medea Benjamin
Israel and Saudi Arabia: Strange Bedfellows in the New Middle East
Ted Rall
Trump Isn’t Bluffing, He’ll Deport 11 Million People
Kent Paterson
Death in a Shopping Aisle: Jonathan Sorensen’s Fatal Encounter with Kmart
Lisa Sullivan
Venezuela’s Crisis From Up Close
Clancy Sigal
Trump’s Rasputin: What the Donald Learned From Roy Cohn
Manuel E. Yepe
Think Tanks and the US Power Elite
Kathleen Wallace
$25 vs $30, Hats Off to the Two-Party System!
Terry Simons
Mob Politics: the Democrats Have a Problem and It’s Not the Sandernistas
Franklin Lamb
U.S. Financial Regulations Increase Starvation Among Syria’s Children
James Cronin
The Pope and Mercy: the Catholic Church has not Abandoned Its 400 Year War on Science
Linn Washington Jr.
Islamophobia on the Rise in England
Thomas Mountain
25 Years of Struggle Building Socialism in Eritrea; Fighting the Cancer of Corruption
David Wilson
Who Speaks for the Refugee Children of Calais?
Michael Welton
Terry Eagleton: the Cheeky Marxist
David Mattson
Disserving the Public Trust: the Despotic Future of Grizzly Bear Management
Rick Sterling
Bernie Comes to Vallejo
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail