FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Damn the Small Boats!

by PATRICK IRELAN

Like most of my fellow taxpayers, I spent most of the day Wednesday examining a Pentagon video of the Iranian flotilla in the Strait of Hormuz. There were five of these small boats in all. They reminded me of the rowboats in which I sometimes float downstream, trolling for catfish in the polluted rivers of the Middle West.

But the small Iranian boats that threatened the U.S. Fifth Fleet on Sunday appeared to have either inboard or outboard motors, which gave them an advantage I never have while trolling. And according to the New York Times, the Pentagon is already burned up about all these damn boats in the Persian Gulf. It had to play some expensive war games to figure out what to do about them if they all decided to start “swarming.”

I looked at the Pentagon video for any weapons onboard the small boats, but they moved too fast and the Iranian sailors wouldn’t hold up the weapons where I could see them. I also looked for the boxes the sailors dropped into the water, but I couldn’t see them either. For all I know, they were full of weapons of mass destruction, enriched uranium, and Chinese noodles.

U.S. Vice Admiral Kevin J. Cosgriff told the Asia Times Online that the Iranian boats carried “neither anti-ship missiles nor torpedoes,” but that all five “maneuvered aggressively.” Aggressive maneuvering is nothing to ignore if you want to keep your navy competitive. Consider, for example, how the English small boats defeated the Spanish big boats at the Battle of the Spanish Armada.

President Bush probably studied the Battle of the Spanish Armada as he whiled away the odd hour at his National Guard airbase in Texas during the Vietnam War. The man is clearly worried about Iranian small boats. He said that “there will be serious consequences if they attack our ships, pure and simple.”

That’s what I like about Bush. He’s usually pure and always simple.

The ever-vigilant Condi Rice piped up and said the boats were “provocative and dangerous.” I wanted to ask her if they were dangerous enough to lob missiles into downtown Baghdad the way U.S. boats did, but she didn’t have time to take my question.

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman had worried himself sick about how the small boats moved at “distances and speeds that showed reckless, dangerous, and potentially hostile intent.” The poor guy was shocked and awed.

The New York Times reported that one of its many anonymous sources at the Pentagon had said, “We were perilously close to an incident where we would have taken out at least one of the Iranian small boats.”

Perilous things like that happen all the time at the Pentagon. On July 3, 1988, Iran Air Flight 655, with 290 passengers and crew, was following its normal flight path from Bandar Abbas in Iran, over the Strait of Hormuz, and on to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

Twelve thousand feet below, the captain and crew of the Vincennes, a U.S. Navy guided-missile cruiser, mistook the large passenger plane for a small Iranian F-14 fighter jet and thought it was coming perilously close. While the airliner stayed on course, the Vincennes fired two surface-to-air missiles, and Flight 655 exploded in the sky.

The U.S. Navy had stationed the Vincennes in the Persian Gulf to protect oil tankers during the Iran-Iraq War. During that long and expensive bloodbath, U.S. munitions companies recorded brisk sales to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein but not to Iran, not, that is, until Ronald Reagan awoke long enough one day to approve the arms-for-hostages double feature.

When the missiles start to explode in Tehran, don’t ask me to buy War Bonds.

PATRICK IRELAN is a retired high-school teacher. He is the author of A Firefly in the Night (Ice Cube Press) and Central Standard: A Time, a Place, a Family (University of Iowa Press). You can contact him at pwirelan43@yahoo.com.

 

 

 

 

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
February 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
American Carnage
Paul Street
Michael Wolff, Class Rule, and the Madness of King Don
Andrew Levine
Had Hillary Won: What Now?
David Rosen
Donald Trump’s Pathetic Sex Life
Susan Roberts
Are Modern Cities Sustainable?
Joyce Nelson
Canada vs. Venezuela: Have the Koch Brothers Captured Canada’s Left?
Geoff Dutton
America Loves Islamic Terrorists (Abroad): ISIS as Proxy US Mercenaries
Mike Whitney
The Obnoxious Pence Shows Why Korea Must End US Occupation
Joseph Natoli
In the Post-Truth Classroom
John Eskow
One More Slaughter, One More Piece of Evidence: Racism is a Terminal Mental Disease
John W. Whitehead
War Spending Will Bankrupt America
Dave Lindorff
Trump’s Latest Insulting Proposal: Converting SNAP into a Canned Goods Distribution Program
Robert Fantina
Guns, Violence and the United States
Robert Hunziker
Global Warming Zaps Oxygen
John Laforge
$1.74 Trillion for H-bomb Profiteers and “Fake” Cleanups
CJ Hopkins
The War on Dissent: the Specter of Divisiveness
Peter A. Coclanis
Chipotle Bell
Anders Sandström – Joona-Hermanni Mäkinen
Ways Forward for the Left
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Winning Hearts and Minds
Tommy Raskin
Syrian Quicksand
Martha Rosenberg
Big Pharma Still Tries to Push Dangerous Drug Class
Jill Richardson
The Attorney General Thinks Aspirin Helps Severe Pain – He’s Wrong
Mike Miller
Herb March: a Legend Deserved
Ann Garrison
If the Democrats Were Decent
Renee Parsons
The Times, They are a-Changing
Howard Gregory
The Democrats Must Campaign to End Trickle-Down Economics
Sean Keller
Agriculture and Autonomy in the Middle East
Ron Jacobs
Re-Visiting Gonzo
Eileen Appelbaum
Rapid Job Growth, More Education Fail to Translate into Higher Wages for Health Care Workers
Ralph Nader
Shernoff, Bidart, and Echeverria—Wide-Ranging Lawyers for the People
Chris Zinda
The Meaning of Virginia Park
Robert Koehler
War and Poverty: A Compromise with Hell
Mike Bader – Mike Garrity
Senator Tester Must Stop Playing Politics With Public Lands
Kenneth Culton
No Time for Olympic Inspired Nationalism
Graham Peebles
Ethiopia: Final Days of the Regime
Irene Tung – Teófilo Reyes
Tips are for Servers Not CEOs
Randy Shields
Yahoomans in Paradise – This is L.A. to Me
Thomas Knapp
No Huawei! US Spy Chiefs Reverse Course on Phone Spying
Mel Gurtov
Was There Really a Breakthrough in US-North Korea Relations?
David Swanson
Witness Out of Palestine
Binoy Kampmark
George Brandis, the Rule of Law and Populism
Dean Baker
The Washington Post’s Long-Running Attack on Unions
Andrew Stewart
Providence Public School Teachers Fight Back at City Hall
Stephen Cooper
Majestic Meditations with Jesse Royal: the Interview
David Yearsley
Olympic Music
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail