Monday, January 7, 2008

Iranian Provocation and the Delusion of Captain's Quarters

I usually consider pieces by Captain's Quarters' Ed Morrissey to be misled, but reasonable. I do not fault him for his point of view, I simply disagree with him. Dialogue and debate make America great. (Kind of catchy, eh?) Today I read Morrissey with much different eyes. I never figured him for a reactionary war monger. Read your history, Ed and the Gulf of Tonkin will ring a bell.

In his analysis of the "provocation" this weekend of an American battle ship by five small craft, allegedly belonging to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Morrissey has jumped the good ship Rationality. Here is the blurb from the Telegraph cited in the CQ story "How Close Were We To War?":

A Pentagon spokesman revealed that five Iranian Revolutionary Guard Navy boats harrassed (sic) and provoked three US ships in the narrow waterway at the mouth of the Persian Gulf at the weekend.

The Iranian craft came within 200 yards of the US vessels, which were sailing in international waters.

The Iranian provocations included disregarding warnings to pull back, dropping mysterious objects in the path of the US ships and a hostile radio transmission.

The Pentagon said a radio message warned: "I am coming at you. You will explode in a couple of minutes."

Morrissey claims that this action by the alleged "Revolutionary Guard" vessels
"cannot be allowed to happen again. The next time patrol boats approach American vessels and threaten attack, one of them has to head to the bottom of the gulf. If the Iranians want a test, we can provide them with one for emergency evac."
Also, without any evidence, he claims
"Undoubtedly, Iran wanted to test American resolve, but could not isolate a small enough vessel to pursue a similar mission. Instead, they basically did a probe to see how far they could go before provoking an armed response. This information could prove useful for Iran's terrorist partners in Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad in the Gulf and elsewhere."
Luckily, Morrissey was not the captain of the American vessel because the crisis was averted. However, the crisis of his vicarious hawkishness will live on in this post.

My questions to Morrissey are these:

If the objects dropped into the sea were "unidentified" what real rationale does a battleship have for firing on a smaller vessel?

If these vessels were in fact the Revolutionary Guard, wouldn't it seem that their intent, based on their actions, was to be fired upon?

It has been reported that the the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is a crack team of highly trained soldiers working at the pleasure of the leader of Iran. Does "I am coming at you. You will explode in a couple of minutes" sound like something a highly skilled warrior would say to warn his enemy?

Does saying things like "one of them has to head to the bottom of the gulf" and "if the Iranians want a test, we can provide them with one for emergency evac" make you feel like a tough-guy? Do you think the idea of warfare is cool?Do you wish you were there "smoking them out of their holes?" I don't HAVE to ask because I know the answer, but have you always been a civilian?

I hate to pan Captain Ed like this. I really do believe he is a reasonable voice resonating through the cacophonous throng that is the conservative noise machine. I am just so let down to see the 8 year-old playing G.I. Joe beneath it all. In reality, those soldiers don't always parachute to safety when their planes are shot down. And Cobra Khan doesn't always retreat in the end. See? I played G.I. Joe too. But I got over it.

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