Friday, January 11, 2008

"Stand by to repel boarders! Oops. Never mind..."

Here's a headline at News Hounds that says everything you need to know about the "fair and balanced" lie:

FOX News Chickenhawks Regret Strait Of Hormuz Incident Didn’t Turn Into Armed Conflict

Turns out, the whole "Straits of Hormuz Manufactured Incident" is turning out to be a put-up deal (Ya think!?) or at best a colossal over-blowing of a near non-incident. In any case, the 'official' version is coming unraveled. Even the Pentagon doesn't believe its own bullshit.

I'm sure the idea of a small patrol craft attacking a heavily armed warship came straight out of the 'romantic', at least in the retelling, WWII exploits of John Kennedy and PT 109, which in actuality was cut in two by a Japanese destroyer they didn't see in time to get out of the way and who may or may not have seen them. Accounts vary. In any case, it failed to heave to and machine gun the (lucky!) survivors or sink the PT's remains. Or maybe it was from They Were Expendable.

In actual fact, although they did some damage to warships on occasion, what usually happened when a PT skipper took leave of his senses or got desperate enough to attack a warship, was that it, and its crew, got blown out of the water. They were quite useful for recon, attacking troop and supply barges and small coasters, or for clandestine shit like sneaking MacArthur out of Bataan. I think they also played a large and vital role in delivering whiskey to O Clubs in the Solomon Islands.

Not to take anything away from recklessly brave sailors, but battleships those things weren't.

Also, PT boats were 77 feet long, carried armament ranging from .50 caliber machine guns and 20 millimeter automatic light cannon to mortars and artillery field pieces on occasion, along with four torpedo tubes. They were made out of plywood and had three big inboard engines. Fast but fragile. The Iranian boats looked like about 30-footers (guess) and might as well have been towing water-skiers for all the armament they showed, not that they couldn't have had a load of Semtex in the bow, although they were riding a little high in the water for that. In any case, they'd have never gotten close enough to our ships to have done any damage, and Fixer would have watched the video of our guys blowin' 'em sky high over and over for weeks with his pants down around his ankles. Whee! But I digress...

Just for fun, let's go over the last 'attack' on a U.S. warship that provided a flimsy yet sufficient enough excuse to barely justify the escalation of an unpopular war that we ultimately lost, not that there's any similarities between the Straits of Hormuz and the Gulf of Tonkin, oh, nosiree... well, other than a lying president.

This is from memory, and the book I remember it from is Spies and Commandos: How America Lost the Secret War in North Vietnam.

For quite some time in the early '60s, the CIA (remember them?), who were pretty much in charge of all our fuckups in Vietnam at the time, had been running small boat ops against North Vietnamese naval bases, using CIA-supplied Swedish boats and South Vietnamese crews. The NV didn't have a blue-water navy, but they did have a lot of patrol boats at these bases, very close in size and speed to what the CIA sent against them.

After several such attacks, the NV were laying in wait for another one, and were in position to intercept it. The South Viet crews and their CIA advisors, not being total dummies (I'm being kind), turned tail and GTFO of there at high speed. The North Viets gave chase, shooting at them with several 12.7mm heavy machine guns, their equivalent to our .50 cal Ma Deuce.

The South Viet boats ran full speed out into the Gulf of Tonkin towards USS Maddox which may or may not have been there to support them, seeking safety and covering fire. The North Viets were agressively defending themselves, their base, their coast, their country. Wait a minute, they're not allowed to do that, are they? An overshot from a North Viet gun splattered the paint on Maddox and set the whole deal off. The details, of course, were kept quiet. The official version was "They attacked us!", when closer to the truth would have been "They started it! They hit us back after we sucker punched 'em!".

It was the perfect excuse for the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution that led to 58,000 American and only God knows how many Vietnamese and other Southeast Asian deaths. So, looking back on history, how'd all that work out?

We have much better communications and technical gear these days, and our military is not eager (I hope) to let Bush ruin it any further than he already has. I hope that good leaks and a little common sense will be enough to hold off Bush and Cheney from doing something to Iran in the next 373 days that we'll all regret for the next 40 years.

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