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Do We Care About People If They Live in Bahrain?

By David Swanson – February 17, 2014

I had a heck of a time making sense of the U.S. Navy’s new motto “A Global Force for Good” until I realized that it meant “We are a global force, and wherever we go we’re never leaving.”

For three years now people in the little island nation of Bahrain have been nonviolently protesting and demanding democratic reforms.

For three years now the king of Bahrain and his royal thugs have been shooting, kidnapping, torturing, imprisoning, and terrorizing nonviolent opponents.  An opponent includes anyone speaking up for human rights or even “insulting” the king or his flag, which carries a sentence of 7 years in prison and a hefty fine.

For three years now, Saudi Arabia has been aiding the King of Bahrain in his crackdown on the people of Bahrain.  A U.S. police chief named John Timoney, with a reputation for brutality earned in Miami and Philadelphia, was hired to help the Bahraini government intimidate and brutalize its population.

For three years now, the U.S. government has been tolerating the abuses committed by Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, continuing to sell weapons to Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, and continuing to dock the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet in Bahrain.  In fact, the U.S. military has recently announced big and pricey plans to expand its bases in Bahrain and add more ships.

For three years now, the U.S. government has continued to dump some $150 billion (with a ‘B’) each year into the U.S. Navy, a large portion of which goes for the maintenance of the Fifth Fleet in Bahrain. Withdrawing and disbanding that fleet would save that gargantuan expense. Retraining and re-employing in peaceful activities all personnel would cost a fraction of $150 billion. Providing aid to nonviolent pro-democracy activists in Bahrain would cost a tiny fraction of a fraction. Establishing a policy in the case of this one country of supporting human rights over brutal dictatorship would be, as they say, priceless. It would create a very useful model for a transformation of U.S. policy in numerous other nations as well.

Accurate and timely information about the horrors underway for the past three years in Bahrain are available online, via Western human rights groups, and via small back-page stories in U.S. newspapers.  There’s little dispute over the general facts.  Yet, there’s little outrage.  There appears to have been no polling done of the U.S. public on the topic of Bahrain whatsoever, so it’s impossible to know what people think.  But my impression is that most people have never heard of the place.

The U.S. government is not shouting about the need to bomb Bahrain to protect its people. Senators are not insisting on sanctions, sanctions, and more sanctions.  There seems to be no crisis, no need for “intervention,” only the need to end an intervention we aren’t told about.

Which raises a tough question for people who give a damn.  We’re able to reject a war on Iran or Syria when the question is raised on our televisions. But we can’t seem to stop drone strikes nobody tells us about. How do we create a question nobody is asking, about a topic nobody has heard of, and then answer it humanely and wisely?  And how do we overcome the inevitable pretense that the Fifth Fleet serves some useful purpose, and that this purpose justifies a little teargas, a bit of torture, and some murders here and there?

The Fifth Fleet claims to be responsible for these nations: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, and Yemen.  None of these nations have ships in U.S. waters claiming to be responsible for it.  None of these nations’ peoples have indicated majority support for having the Fifth Fleet be responsible for them.  Afghanistan has suffered under U.S. occupation for over a decade, with chaos and tyranny to follow.  Egypt’s thugs are rising anew with steady U.S. support, money, and weaponry. Iran has threatened and attacked no other nation for centuries, has never had a nuclear weapons program, spends less than 1% what the U.S. does on its military, and moves away from democracy with every U.S. threat. Why not leave Iran alone?  Iraq, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and others of these nations, including Bahrain, suffer under the rule of U.S.-backed governments. One might reasonably add Israel and the lands it occupies to the list, even if the Navy cannot bring itself to mention them. Yemen and Pakistan suffer under the constant buzzing and missile launching of U.S. drones, which are creating far more enemies than they kill.  In fact, not a single nation falling under the past 19 years of benevolent “responsibility” of the Fifth Fleet has clearly benefited in any way.

At a third annual conference recently held in Lebanon, Bahraini activists laid out a plan of action. It includes building international connections with people who care and are willing to help. It includes supporting the International Day to End Impunity on November 23rd.  It includes pushing Bahrain to join the ICC, although that may be of little value until the U.S. can be persuaded to do the same and until the United Nations can be democratized.  The plan includes calls for an end to weapons sales and the initiation of sanctions against the Bahraini government (not its people).

Those would certainly be good steps. The first question in my mind remains: do the people in the nation that screams most loudly about “freedom” and does the most to support its repression wherever deemed useful, care?

February 18, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Militarism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Open-sea US Navy testing will kill hundreds of dolphins and whales

RT | August 31, 2013

The US Navy admits its underwater training and experiments will result in the deaths of hundreds of dolphins and whales over the next five years – but insists that its testing program is essential.

Computer models showed that the Navy will likely kill 186 whales and dolphins off the East Coast and 155 near the coast of Hawaii and Southern California – its main operation areas – between 2014 and 2019.

Results also showed that marine mammals on both coasts would likely suffer more than 13 thousand serious injuries and nearly 4 million minor ones.

Most of these will be the result of underwater explosions, though some injuries will be the result of physical contact with ships, or sonar testing. Larger species are particularly vulnerable to Navy activities.

The Navy is obliged to annually commission these studies – which take existing data about the impact of military activities on marine wildlife, and project it into the future – due to federal environmental regulations. If it injured animals without having done the impact study, it would risk seeing its off-shore activities suspended altogether, as it would be a violation of federal environmental law.

Rear Adm. Kevin Slates, the energy and environmental readiness division director for the Navy, defended the planned operations, regardless of the figures.

“Without this realistic testing and training, our sailors can’t develop or maintain the critical skills they need or ensure the new technologies can be operated effectively,” he told the media earlier this week.

The influential non-profit National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has said that the studies show that the Navy’s open-sea program is “simply not sustainable”.

Michael Jasny, senior policy analyst at NRDC, says that the real impact is greater still than what the Navy has projected.

The Navy studies show that there will be almost 28 million “minor instances” of behavior change that will occur as a result of the testing. But Jasny believes that these temporary disturbances – such as a dolphin that is not able to use a feeding ground, or a whale that is scared and starts panicking – can also prove to be fatal.

“These smaller disruptions short of death are themselves accumulating into something like death for species and death for populations,” Jasny said.

August 31, 2013 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

US ship fired without warning, surviving Indian fishermen say

Muthu Muniraj (C), one of the Indian fishermen who survived a deadly attack by a US Navy ship in the Persian Gulf, lies in a hospital bed in Dubai on July 17, 2012.
Muthu Muniraj, one of the Indian fishermen who survived a deadly attack by a US Navy ship in the Persian Gulf, lies in a hospital bed in Dubai on July 17, 2012.
Press TV – July 17, 2012

The Indian fishermen who survived a deadly attack by a US Navy ship in the Persian Gulf say they received no warnings before a .50-caliber gun opened fire on their boat.

The incident occurred on Monday off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.

“We had no warning at all from the ship, we were speeding up to try and go around them and then suddenly we got fired at,” 28-year-old Muthu Muniraj told Reuters from a hospital in Dubai on Tuesday.

The Bahrain-based US Navy Fifth Fleet issued a statement on Monday saying that the USNS Rappahannock only attacked a small motor boat near the Dubai port of Jebel Ali, killing one and injuring three Indian fishermen, after they “ignored the warnings and came too close.”

The statement added that the US ship used a series of non-lethal, preplanned responses to warn the vessel’s operators to turn away from their “deliberate” approach before resorting to lethal force.

A spokesman of the US Navy Fifth Fleet, Lt. Greg Raelson, stated that an internal inquiry into the incident had not been completed and added that the fishing craft did not respond to the non-lethal measures taken by the US vessel. “That was when the security team fired rounds from the .50-caliber… Our ships have an inherent right to self-defense against lethal threats.”

“We know warning signs and sounds and there were none; it was very sudden. My friend was killed, he’s gone. I don’t understand what happened,” said Muniraj, whose legs were punctured by the rounds of the US ship’s .50-caliber gun.

Muthu Kannan, 35, said, “We were fishing and then on the way back they started shooting at us, so many shots, like a storm.” Kannan had a gunshot wound to the abdomen and a lower leg wired into place with metal rods.

“This is not the first time for us to go out in the boat and we all know what a warning is… All I can remember is a lot of shooting,” said 26-year-old Pandu Sanadhan.

Meanwhile, India has called for a full investigation.

On Tuesday, Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said, “India’s ambassador in Abu Dhabi has requested UAE authorities to probe the circumstances of the tragic incident.”

Jebel Ali port, one of the largest ports in the Middle East, is the most frequently visited port by ships of the US Navy outside the United States.

Washington recently expanded its military presence in the Persian Gulf, sending an unspecified number of F-22 stealth fighters and warships to the region.

July 17, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Comments Off on US ship fired without warning, surviving Indian fishermen say

Paul Findley speaking on 45th anniversary of Israel’s deliberate attack on the USS Liberty

America-Hijacked | June 9th, 2012

Former Republican Congressman Paul Findley spoke the following words on the 45th anniversary of Israel’s deliberate attack on the USS Liberty:

June 8, 1967 is a day that will live in infamy. I am here to explain why. I state facts. I use plain language.

On that the day, the state of Israel, publicly posing as a close friend of the United States, almost succeeded in a deadly scheme to destroy a U.S. Navy ship and all sailors aboard, then blame the crime on an Arab government.  Why?  To stir American fury against all Arabs and bind America tightly in a permanent military alliance with Israel.

That scheme almost succeeded.  Listen to the details.

The USS Liberty was an intelligence -gathering ship patrolling the eastern Mediterranean in the late days of the Arab-Israel war of 1967.  Like today, America was Israel’s only major benefactor in the world.  President Lyndon Johnson’s secret decisions that day played a major role in making the United States today subservient to Israel.  Sadly, the facts remain little known.

The Liberty had only a couple of machine guns aboard.. Its identity was well marked. Its U.S. flag fluttered in a brisk breeze throughout bright daylight hours of June 8, 1967.  During morning hours, unmarked aircraft closely circled the Liberty.

The attack began at 2 p.m. and lasted more than an hour. When Israeli aircraft shot Liberty’s U.S. flag to pieces, a larger one was immediately hoisted in its place. Flying low, the planes strafed the deck with rocket fire and napalm, disabled all antennae, punctured the hull with hundreds of holes. When the ship seemed doomed, life rafts made of rubber were lowered into the sea but fighter planes shot them to pieces.

An Israeli torpedo boat, firing at close range, blasted a hole thirty-nine feet wide, only inches above water line.

Miraculously, just before the ship’s electrical equipment went dead, Seaman Terry Halbardier crawled across open deck amid lethal strafing and strung a cable from a damaged antenna to the transmission cabin. This made possible the broadcast of a lone SOS appeal for help.  Wounded by shrapnel during his crawl, Halbardier’s bravery saved the Liberty and crew from total destruction. One more torpedo hit would have sent the ship and crew to the bottom of the sea.

The distress message was heard aboard the USS Saratoga, a carrier patrolling near Crete. In response, the Saratoga launched fighter planes to defend the Liberty and reported the launch to carrier group commander Rear Admiral Lawrence Geis aboard the carrier America. Geis relayed the information to the White House.

Although aware the Liberty was still under attack, Johnson ordered Geis to cancel the rescue attempt.  On the Saratoga’s bridge, distraught sailors watched as the U.S. fighter craft turned back. On the ship’s radio they heard final frantic pleas for help from the Liberty. Amid the pleas were background sounds of shells exploding. Minutes later, Israeli commanders, by then aware of the Liberty’s radioed plea for help, halted the attack.

Aboard the Liberty, 34 U.S. sailors were dead and 171 seriously wounded.  Years later, two Navy veterans gave me details of the verbal exchange when President Johnson ordered the callback. Radioman Tony Hart, serving at a U.S. radio relay station in Morocco, listened intently to the entire conversation between President Johnson and Secretary McNamara in the White House and Admiral Geis at sea. This is what Hart recalls Secretary McNamara said to Geis, “Get those planes back on deck.” Geis replied, “But the Liberty is under attack and needs help.” McNamara shouted, “Get those goddam planes back on deck.” Aghast at the order, Geis, “Mr. Secretary, I wish to appeal that order to higher authority.” McNamara said, “I already have the president’s authority to call the planes back. He is right here.” Hart recalls Johnson then came on the phone and said to Geis, “I don’t care if the ship goes down, I’m not going to war with an ally over a couple of sailors.”  The stunned admiral said, “Aye, aye, sir.”

Until his death, the admiral agonized over what, despite the presidential order, he might have done to help the Liberty crew.

Over the years, I have attended several reunions of Liberty survivors and remain in close communication with several of them. During a recent gathering, retired Commander David Lewis, the senior Liberty intelligence officer, provided new details. He was critically injured in the assault and, after being airlifted to the Saratoga sick bay, he was summoned to the private cabin of Admiral Geis to hear details of the call-back. The deeply shaken admiral told Lewis he feared he would be ordered to remain silent about his verbal exchange with the president and McNamara.  He wanted Lewis, as a senior officer on the Liberty, to know exactly what was said.

Commander Davis told me, “Johnson’s order was probably the first time in history U.S. military forces were refused permission to help defend a U.S. Navy ship under attack.” Israeli officials, caught in a premeditated crime against a U.S. Navy ship, admitted the attackers were Israeli, then falsely claimed the assault was a case of mistaken identity.  What a cruel lie.

Johnson accepted Israel’s lie without protest, although convincing evidence the assault was deliberate was already available at highest levels of his administration.

The president quickly dispatched Admiral Isaac C. Kidd and staff to carry out what from the start was a bogus Court of Inquiry.  Before leaving. Kidd was instructed to issue a finding that cleared Israel of any blame.

Kidd and staff traveled to the Mediterranean, where the admiral personally threatened surviving crewmen, some of them still in hospital beds. Seaman John Hrankowski, one of the badly injured survivors, described the scene. “Admiral Kidd put on the stars and his uniform cap and said sternly: ‘If you tell anyone what actually happened, you will pay a fine, or go to prison, or worse.’” Hrankowski recalled: “We trembled. I was scared. He didn’t have to explain what the word worse meant.” After a week’s tour that included only limited, superficial interviews, Kidd’s group issued a finding that absolved Israel of any wrongdoing.  Forty years later, retired Navy Captain Ward Boston, the chief legal officer who had traveled with Admiral Kidd, publicly confessed that both he and Kidd privately believed at the time of the inquiry the assault was deliberate. In a public, sworn statement distributed widely,Boston stated that before the inquiry began, Johnson ordered Kidd to issue a finding that cleared Israel of blame.  Even today U.S. officials cling to the fiction of mistaken identity, acting as if Boston’s confession never occurred. Official navy records have been scrubbed clean of any reference to the launching of rescue aircraft  or their callback on presidential order.

Kidd, already a distinguished senior four-star admiral, should have refused the presidential order. He should have upheld time-honored tradition by refusing to engage in deceit.  By telling the truth, the American people—and the Congress–would know of the crime committed by Israel and likely prompt our government to proceed carefully in any future dealings with Israel.

You may ask: Why would Israel accept the high risk of public disclosure when it attempted to destroy the Liberty and its crew?

Commander Lewis told me he believes Israel wanted to sink the ship with no survivors, and then blame the crime on Egypt. This, he said, would create anti-Arab fury in the United States so intense Congress would declare war on Egypt and its Arab allies. Davis added, “They wanted us to be in the war to consolidate their gains.

They feared that without active [U.S.] support [of Israel] world opinion would have forced Israel to withdraw from captured lands.”  Lewis believes Israel’s scheme, if successful, would have locked America tightly and permanently with Israel and against Arabs.

Forty years later, the cover up was lifted but only slightly. Halbardier received the Silver Star medal for bravery.

In a supreme example of irony, Israel’s attempt to destroy the U.S. ship and crew did not damage the U.S.-Israeli relationship. The cover-up was so swift and so successful U.S. support of Israel’s war agenda actually emerged greatly magnified.  After the Liberty assault, aid to Israel increased from a trickle to a rising flood–unconditional financial, military, and diplomatic support of Israel, ultimately costing America billions of dollars and hundreds of lives.

We are honored to have survivors of the Liberty with us today.  I am a Navy veteran from World War II.

Retired men of the Navy, I am deeply ashamed at the government cover up that keeps the American people unaware of your bravery and sacrifice.  Gentlemen, I salute you. You are among the U.S. Navy’s greatest heroes.  Sadly, you are unsung heroes.

June 10, 2012 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Commonly Asked Questions about the USS Liberty

Prepared by the Independent Commission of Inquiry
  1. What happened to the USS Liberty?
    The USS Liberty was a virtually unarmed American navy ship that was attacked by Israeli planes and torpedo boats on June 8, 1967.
  2. What were the American casualties?
    34 American sailors were killed and 172 injured that day, a casualty rate of 70%. This is among the highest casualty rates ever inflicted upon a U.S. naval vessel.
  3. What was Israel’s explanation for the attack?
    Israel claimed the attack was “a case of mistaken identity”; that they didn’t know it was an American ship.
  4. Why would we question that explanation more than 30 years later?
    The ship’s survivors were afraid to speak out in the early years because of threats of “court martial, prison or worse” if they did not remain silent. However, as time passed, they have stepped forward to say the attack was deliberate.Recently, high government and military officials have suggested that not only was the attack deliberate, but that the US government covered-up the incident. Today, an Independent Commission of Inquiry has found that Israel committed “an act of war” against the United States (see Findings of Independent Commission).
    In addition, the Navy’s chief attorney to the original 1967 military Court of Inquiry has issued a statement that orders to cover-up the incident were issued by President Lyndon Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara [see Statement of Captain Ward Boston, USN, JAG (Ret.)].
  5. Did Israel have reason to believe the USS Liberty was an Egyptian ship?
    Israel says its pilots and torpedo boat commanders confused the USS Liberty with the El Quseir, an Egyptian ship allegedly firing upon its forces in the Sinai. But there was no Egyptian naval bombardment that day; nor did the El Quseir (an unarmed 1920s-era horse carrier out of service in Alexandria) bear any resemblance to the Liberty.
  6. Isn’t it difficult to identify a ship if you’re in an airplane?
    In 1967, the USS Liberty was the most sophisticated intelligence ship in the world, with dozens of large antennas, including a large moon-bounce “satellite-dish” mounted on a tall structure near the stern. It may have been one of the most easily identifiable ships of any navy in the world. With a displacement of 10,000 tons, it was four times the size of the antique Egyptian transport it is claimed to have resembled. Freshly painted, the Liberty carried large white identification numbers on its bow. Egyptian hull numbers are painted black.
  7. Doesn’t Israel say that the Liberty flew no flag?
    According to American survivors, a 5-by-8 feet American flag was hoisted early that morning and was flying all day until it was shot away by attacking aircraft. Within several minutes, it was replaced by the giant 7-by-13 feet holiday ensign, which flew for the duration of the attack.
  8. Could Israel have thought the ship was in a war zone, acting suspiciously?
    According to surviving crewmembers, Israeli reconnaissance aircraft closely studied the Liberty over an eight-hour period prior to the attack, one flying within two hundred feet of the ship. At all times the Liberty was a clearly marked American ship in international waters, proceeding at a speed of only 5 knots.
  9. What was the weather like the day of the attack?
    Weather reports confirm that it was a clear day with unlimited visibility. The Israeli reconnaissance planes could have seen the Liberty’s crew sunbathing on the upper decks just before the attack. The flag was flying in a 12-knot breeze for most of the afternoon.
  10. Doesn’t Israel say they ended the attack the minute they saw someone hoist an American flag?
    The Israeli attack by combined air and naval forces spanned two hours — as long as the attack on Pearl Harbor. The air attack alone lasted approximately 25 minutes: consisting of more than 30 sorties by approximately 12 separate planes using napalm, cannon, and rockets which left 821 holes in the ship. Following the air attack, three Israeli motor torpedo boats torpedoed the ship, causing a 40’x 40’ wide hole in her hull, and machine-gunning firefighters and stretcher-bearers attempting to save their ship and crew. More than 3,000 machine-gun bullet holes were later counted on the Liberty’s hull. After the attack was thought to have ended, three life rafts were lowered into the water to rescue the most seriously wounded. The Israeli torpedo boats returned and machine-gunned these life rafts at close range. This was followed by the approach of two large Israeli Army assault helicopters filled with armed commandos carrying what appeared to be explosive satchels (they departed after hovering over the ship for several minutes, making no attempt to communicate).
  11. Did the Liberty send out a distress signal when it was under attack?
    Throughout the air attack, the Liberty’s radio operators found it difficult to transmit a distress signal because the attacking Israeli aircraft jammed all five of the Liberty’s American, not Egyptian, emergency radio channels. However, a call for help did reach the U.S. Navy command in the Mediterranean.
  12. What was the American response time?
    Although American carrier-based air support was only 40 minutes away, help did not reach the USS Liberty for seventeen hours. Navy fighters were launched from the aircraft carriers America and Saratoga while the Liberty was under attack. However, they were quickly recalled by the White House. This is the only instance in American naval history where a rescue mission was cancelled when an American ship was under attack.
  13. Why would Israel have deliberately attacked an American ship?
    Israel’s motive for launching the attack has never been determined with certainty. This is why an impartial investigation is critical. One hypothesis is that Israel intended to sink the ship (with no survivors) and blame Egypt because this might have brought the United States into the 1967 war. Another hypothesis is that the Liberty was gathering intelligence about activities that Israel did not want revealed. Examples might include the massacre of Egyptian prisoners of war that was then occurring in the Sinai, as well as Israel’s impending invasion of Syria.
  14. Has the incident been investigated in the past?
    Some people say that there have been “thirteen official investigations” all concluding the attack was a case of mistaken identity. Several were conducted by Israel. Upon examination, however, every one is based upon the conclusions of the original 1967 US Navy Court of Inquiry, which accepted the Israeli version, but which has been exposed and discredited by its chief attorney as a cover-up.
  15. Did the surviving crewmembers testify in the other investigations?
    In not one of these “investigations” were any of the Liberty’s surviving crewmembers permitted to publicly testify.
  16. Why would the White House prevent the rescue of an American ship?
    This is, perhaps, the most disturbing question arising out of Israel’s attack. It is why there needs to be a thorough investigation of the actions taken by the White House and the Secretary of Defense. Why did they order the recall of the planes that had been sent to rescue the Liberty? Why did they order that the survivors be silenced and the true facts be withheld from the American people?
  17. What kind of investigation are you calling for?
    We are calling for a new Court of Inquiry by the Department of the Navy, with congressional oversight, to take public testimony from surviving crewmembers and otherwise thoroughly examine the circumstances of the attack.
  18. Why are you calling for a naval — and not a congressional — investigation?
    We believe this would remove the inquiry from the political pressures traditionally exerted by special interest groups upon individual congressional offices. Fundraising and election pressures have prevented an honest investigation from being conducted for the past 36 years.
  19. Why is this significant for the American people so many years later?
    We have a duty to the crew of the USS Liberty, while the survivors are still alive to testify, and while the perpetrators can be brought to justice. Furthermore, any policies that paralyze our elected leadership to the extent they become unable or unwilling to protect Americans and American interests, endangers not only the safety of all Americans but also the national security of the United States.
  20. Doesn’t America have a special relationship with Israel?
    No nation or people should be above the law; nor should American interests be subordinated to the interests of any foreign nation. Those Israelis responsible for ordering the attack and the resulting murder of American sailors must be held accountable for their actions.
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June 7, 2012 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Iran’s Tactical Strength

By Philip Giraldi | The American Conservative | May 2, 2012

A New York Times story on March 19 reported that there might be “perils” for the U.S. in the event of an Israeli attack on Iran and warned that “it may be impossible to preclude American involvement in any escalating confrontation” with “dire consequences for the region and for United States forces there.” The story received wide play in the media, a respite from the barrage of persistent press coverage that has been portraying a new Middle East war as both inevitable and a legitimate response to a burgeoning threat. The conclusion, based on the outcome of the Internal Look war games concluded in early March, is not particularly surprising, as many inside and outside the government have long been arguing that it would be impossible for Washington not to get involved in such a conflict given the U.S. military presence in the region and expected pressure from Israel and its friends.

But the real story of the still-classified war games, which were designed primarily to test internal communications and response coordination between Central Command in Tampa and operational units in the Middle East, was the ability of the Iranians to counterattack effectively against American forces and U.S. regional allies. The Netanyahu government has been arguing that any Iranian response to an Israeli air attack would be manageable, with few casualties among Israelis, because Iran would fear an escalation that would bring U.S. forces to bear. Yet even modest retaliation from Iran would almost unavoidably draw the U.S. into the fray. The war games tested a number of scenarios in which U.S. forces were hit either deliberately or by accident, producing a reaction from Washington that included sustained bombing of Iranian coastal defenses and nuclear sites, which quickly escalated into a full-scale regional conflict.

The war games demonstrated that the United States Navy would have considerable problems in dealing with Iranian offensive operations in the narrow waters of the Straits of Hormuz. Iran is believed to have more than 5,000 mines available, many of modern design and exceedingly difficult to detect, sweep, and disarm. The Iranian Navy has also become adept at small-boat swarming tactics, in which large numbers of light vessels attack larger warships in what have been described as suicide runs. U.S. warships have been training to deal with such tactics and it is believed that they can counter them somewhat effectively, but the games revealed that there is a high probability that American vessels will be sunk with considerable loss of life. Iranian cruise missiles also pose a threat. Iran has Chinese sea-skimmer models and has also developed its own variants. Again, U.S. warships have countermeasures, but sustained attacks at sea level combined with missiles that approach their targets vertically from high altitude could cause considerable casualties. In the earlier Millennium Challenge war games carried out in 2002, a combination of Iranian cruise missiles and swarming small boats employing innovative tactics and operating on internal lines defeated a much larger U.S. Navy squadron. The result was so disturbing that the game was canceled before it was concluded. 

Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, is executive director of the Council for the National Interest.

May 5, 2012 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments