Foggy Bottom: January 2008 Archives
Three full days after a trio of US warships was feint-attacked by Iranian naval patrol boats in the Strait of Hormuz, the American government got around to the obligatory empty bluster about the latest mullahgarchic provocation.
Said Arabist SecState Condolezza Rice:
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice slammed Iran on Monday for harassing U.S. ships in the Strait of Hormuz and said the renegade nation is "the single greatest threat to the kind of Middle East we all want to see."
In an interview with the Jerusalem Post, Rice said "Iran should not engage in such provocations. That's what it was and it needs to stop. The U.S. is going to defend its interests. It's going to defends its allies."
Reading this quote I can't help but picture Eddie Haskell's mother Agnes scolding him for his latest skullduggery, with her wagging her finger at him and him standing there, smugly putting forth an appallingly obvious mask of contrition as he mentally plots his next batch of slick iniquitues.
Except, of course, that the mullahs don't pretend to be remorseful for their escalating serious of aggressions against us, stretching all the way back to their sacking of our Tehran embassy twenty-eight years ago. And yet we keep taking it and taking it and taking it, occasionally putting forth rhetorical "slams" like Secretary Rice's offering, never, EVER intending to back it up with anything more than more whining to the UN and wallowing in corrupt, ineffectual, sieve-like sanction resolutions.
Meanwhile, the man that National Review once lionized on its cover as "the conqueror" threw in his two cents of Monopoly money:
U.S. President George W. Bush on Tuesday said Iran committed "a provocative act" in the Strait of Hormuz when Iranian speedboats approached three U.S. Navy ships and threatened that the ships would explode.
"It's a dangerous situation and they should not have done it, pure and simple," Bush told reporters at the White House. "I don't know what their thinking was but I'm telling you what I think it was."
Actually, he never did tell us what he thought the Iranians' thinking was. The fact that their buzzing of our ships was "provocative" is self-evident. My guess is that he wanted to prove to the press that he could pronounce the word "provocative" without it coming out like "provatacive."
I think I have a pretty good idea of what the Iranians' thinking was, if the President doesn't (or, more likely, feels he can't disclose publicly).
1) They want to test our tactical defenses and reaction time to see if they could successfully pull off an attack, and determine what it would take to do so.
2) They want to test our will to see how much they can get away with and how far they can push us without triggering a response.
3) They want to show they world that they are the strong horse and we are a pitiful, helpless, castrated giant that can be bitch-slapped endlessly and with impunity until we finally capitulate to the imposition of a Global Islamic Caliphate.
4) If they do succeed in finally triggering a devastating American response, then they have their glorious apocalypse to bring back the twelfth imam that they and their "green aura boy" have been lusting after.
I think you can see that #1 is far less of an issue (or concern) than #2 and #3. And the longer we let #2 and #3 continue, the more inevitable #4 becomes.
Bush and Rice insist that Iran is a huge threat whose warmongering has got to stop. This is of a piece with the President's past declarations that the mullahs "will not" be allowed to develop nuclear weapons. Fine and dandy, gentlebeings. But the question remains: In the words of Buford Tannen, "Mighty tough words; are you man enough to back 'em up with more than just a pie plate?"
Unless and until we are willing to send the next such flotilla of Iranian speedboats and their crews to the bottom of the Persian Gulf in a signicantly larger number of pieces than that in which they started for such a "provocation," or the equivalent situational response thereof - to say nothing of doing what it will actually take (i.e. Operation Iranian Freedom) to prevent a nuclear mullahgarchy - it'd be preferable if the Bushies just clammed up.