Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Flight Forward

In 1898, the USS Maine blew up in Havana harbor. No one alive knows from what. The US declared war upon Spain and attacked its ships and garrisons in Cuba and the Phillipines, beginning a long and passionate relationship with those two countries. As wars go it was glorious, as were the bloody rebellions which followed. Teddy Roosevelt, by the way, did not charge up San Juan Hill as indicated in the graphic above. If he made it up there at all during the fighting, he mostly crawled up on his stomach like a slug because the Cubans, though not overly enthusiastic, were armed with brand-new bolt action Mausers. Our boys quickly learned there would be no more charging that day.

In 1964, the USS Maddox was attacked, after a fashion, in the Gulf of Tonkin off Vietnam. President Lyndon Johnson then announced there was a second attack on the USS Turner Joy (the National Security Agency, in 2005, admitted it never happened). Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, effectively giving LBJ a blank cheque to make war upon Vietnam so communists wouldn't storm the beaches at Waikiki. Our boys quickly learned to respect the will of the Vietnamese people. Computer chip maker Intel now has a facility in Vietnam.

In 4 or 5 days, there will be at least three carrier battle groups parked off Iran's shores. The USS Bonhomme Richard, the USS Eisenhower, and the USS Enterprise (which is due to rotate back). Starting a shooting war with Iran will be as easy as "sinking" one of our submarines. Why a submarine. Because one doesn't really have to be sunk, and because doing it with a surface ship is getting stale.

I wonder what we'll learn from Iran? Afghanistan is a wonderful place, and we have learned so much in Iraq.

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