Gwynne Dyer, who Spot regrettably once referred to as "she," had an op-ed piece in today's Star Tribune.
Spotty, that isn't regrettable, just ignorant.
As you wish, grasshopper. Anyway, he discussed in some depth something that Spot mentioned yesterday:
Capt. Johanson [commander of the carrier John C. Stennis] has broken or missing irony sensors and empathy sensors! And he sounds like he is spoiling for a fight. A decision made at the ship-commander level is probably how a war with Iran will start.
Dyer makes the same point today:
"I don't want to second-guess the British after the fact," said U.S. Navy Lt. Commander Erik Horner, "but our rules of engagement allow a little more latitude. Our boarding team's training is a little bit more towards self-preservation." Does that mean that one of his American boarding teams would have opened fire if it had been them in the two inflatable boats that were surrounded by Iranian Revolutionary Guard fast patrol boats off the coast of Iraq last Friday? "Agreed. Yes."
Who is scrappy Lt. Commander Horner?
Horner is the executive officer of the USS Underwood, the American frigate that works together with HMS Cornwall, the British ship that the captive boarding party came from. Interviewed after the incident by Terri Judd of the Independent, the only British print journalist on HMS Cornwall, he was obviously struggling to be polite about the gutless Brits, but he wasn't having much success.
Dyer muses about the result of detaining Americans in the same situation:
"The U.S. Navy rules of engagement say we have not only a right to self-defense but also an obligation to self-defense," Horner explained. "[The British] had every right in my mind and every justification to defend themselves rather than allow themselves to be taken. Our reaction was, 'Why didn't your guys defend themselves?'
So there they are, eight sailors and seven marines in two rubber boats, with personal weapons and no protection whatever, sitting about a foot above the water, surrounded by six or seven Iranian attack boats with mounted machine guns. "Defend yourself" by opening fire, and after a single long burst from half a dozen heavy machine-guns there will be 14 dead young men and one dead young woman in two rapidly sinking inflatables, and your country will be at war. Seems a bit pointless, really.
Dyer is ordinarily more insightful than this. (kidding) The rules of engagement for the US Navy are designed to provoke a war with Iran. And it's a hothead like Horner who will deliver one. That's the whole bloody idea.
Tags: Iran war, rules of engagement, detained British sailors