January 07, 2008

Iran Pushes Its Luck

Iranian Revolutionary Guard fast-attack boats came with 200 yards of American Navy vessels in the Strait of Hormuz Saturday, almost provoking American forces to open fire:

Five Iranian Revolutionary Guard boats harassed and provoked three U.S. Navy ships in the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil shipping route off the Iranian coast, over the weekend, CNN reported on Monday.

Citing unidentified U.S. officials, CNN said the Iranian vessels came within 200 yards (metres) of the U.S. ships in international waters in the strait on Saturday, and U.S. sailors came close to opening fire.

Oil prices rose about 30 cents to over $98 a barrel after the CNN report, with traders citing increased risk of disruptions to oil shipments along the key shipping route.

U.S. military officials told CNN the boats were "attack craft" that they believed were operated by Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard.

The Iranian boats made threatening maneuvers against the U.S. warships and threatening radio transmissions, the officials told CNN.

The captain of one U.S. vessel was in the process of giving the order to shoot when the Iranian ships began turning away, CNN said.

A radio transmission from one of the Iranian ships said, "I am coming at you. You will explode in a couple of minutes," CNN reported, citing a U.S. official.

After the threatening radio communication, U.S. sailors manned their ships' guns and were very close to opening fire, it said.

There was no immediate U.S. comment.

If this account is accurate, these Iranian craft were literally within seconds of being destroyed. The order to fire was on the lips of the U.S. Navy captain as the Iranian boats threatened a suicide attack as they came in, only to turn away at the last second.

Occurring on the eve of President Bush's trip to the region which hoped to spur on the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians, the apparent attempt was to force American forces to defend themselves and trigger a new crisis between the United States and Iran.

As we look to tomorrow's primary in New Hampshire, I'm forced to consider how the various presidential candidate's would have responded if such a provocation had occurred on their watch.

I think it goes without saying that on the Democratic side the candidates are less than inspiring in this kind of crisis, with only Hillary giving me the slightest hope of anything less than a Carteresque response. I think the same holds true for Huckabee and Paul on the Republican side of the equation, and with his foreign policy "experience," I imagine Huckabee's first response would be to wonder why the Irish were mad at us in the first place, and reflexively issuing an executive order raising import taxes on Guinness in retaliation.

Romney may do okay in such a situation, but I know I'd rather have McCain or Thompson in office if it ever "hit the fan" with Iran, as indeed it may on the next President's watch.

We were apparently just seconds away from a shooting war this past Saturday.

Who would you want in office if when they try this again?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at January 7, 2008 10:19 AM

I am with you...FRED!

Posted by: Snooper at January 7, 2008 10:46 AM

Same as above...FRED!

Posted by: Mockin'bird at January 7, 2008 11:18 AM

Ditto -- .. thought the whole McCain/Feingold thing still doesn't sit well with me.

Posted by: Dan Irving at January 7, 2008 11:43 AM

My family always joked when a favorite show was canceled that we were too smart for the average. If a show was smart and funny, we could almost always count on it failing. Americans, on average, can be a box of rocks.

Thompson can't win because he is too smart for the box of rocks. When a presidential contender raises his hand to acknowledge a disbelief in evolution, we need to take that as a sign of inability to handle the job of President, unfortunately, the box of rocks thinks it has found a common soul..duh.

Me, I am a Thompson supporter.

Posted by: Tracy Coyle at January 7, 2008 11:50 AM

We have the President I want in office if a conflict between Iran and us begins. McCain is not willing to do whatever it takes to protect the Nation. The rest are all unknown.

Posted by: Zelsdorf Ragshaft III at January 7, 2008 12:39 PM

Just wanted to say: It's "Iran pushes ITS luck", not "Iran pushes IT'S luck". From Wikipedia: "There are seven possessive pronouns in modern English: mine, yours, his, hers, its, ours, theirs."

As for the topic matter: those Iranians are crazy...

Posted by: Grammar Nazi at January 7, 2008 12:45 PM

...with so much trepidation and foreboding, I must remember to stock up on Guinness.

Posted by: everydayjoe at January 7, 2008 12:46 PM

thanks, GN. That was just sloppy...

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at January 7, 2008 01:32 PM

It is certainly fair to call the Iranians at large "crazy" but not because of this action. This is a classic probing attack intended to gauge the US response and perhaps provoke an incident spinnable by our own traitor class in this country as a justification for Iranian actions from the Embassy attack to killing our troops in Iraq and elsewhere. It was a success in the former and with repeats will lull our sailors into complacency until one of those floating boxes contains a limpet mine. I cannot believe that the phrase "USS Cole" is not accompanying all media treatment of this incident. The war with Iran is 30 years old. It is time we prosecute it.

Posted by: megapotamus at January 7, 2008 02:28 PM


Man I respect your judgement, and I love your blog... But McCain? Yes, he's been ok on Iraq, but less than inspiring in other areas of National Defense. Personally, I'd like to see Fred or Romney.

Jim C

Posted by: Jim C at January 7, 2008 04:58 PM

Fred. I don't think McCain has the stones any longer. He's no longer a warrior imo. He''d be more worried about his press. I think Romney would also strike back and give a go order without too much hesitation.

Posted by: Laddy at January 7, 2008 05:37 PM

Well, we are coming up on the 20th anniversary of "Operation Praying Mantis" so maybe this is just nostalgia on the part of the Iranians.

Posted by: John F. MacMichael at January 7, 2008 07:47 PM

Gee... I want Obama... he'd sit down and calmly talk to the Iranians, and everyone would love everyone, and there'd be free Pepsi, and condoms for all the free love festivals.


Gimme Fred!

Posted by: C-C-G at January 7, 2008 07:51 PM

What ever happened to the "shot across the bow" as a warning to aggressors? Wait let me guess it is no longer a PC ROE..?

Posted by: Joe buz at January 8, 2008 09:01 AM

Steve Schippert, over at NRO's The Tank, thinks this stunt was primarily about Iran's manipulating oil prices. I think he has a good point.

Posted by: notropis at January 8, 2008 10:29 AM