Global, Politics

Trying to Look Dumb

I don’t like this story. I’ll be honest, the last time I wrote about the good guys trying to provoke a war, I was wrong, but I’m still gonna call the US out this time. You’ve all heard the news, a few speed boats irreverently boated around some American warships in the Persian Gulf. I heard that too, and figured it’s another crotchety Iranian thing, trying to test us, find limits, be pricks in general. And, the US played it up. Annoying, dangerous, but typical news.
But then I saw the video and heard the audio track.

Give me a break! I can do a better Persian accent than that. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am willing to trust Uncle Sam enough, and accept that nobody at the DoD cooked up this video, or any of the sound. But, Cmdr. Lydia Robertson, speaking to CNN admits that there is no way to establish that the communication came from those boats. Aside from the accent, if you were bopping around in a little speedboat, you would expect to hear some background noise. You know, those outboard motors are pretty loud, as is the wind. Here’s my guess, some bored sailor, trying to have some fun, was sitting alone somewhere we had a radio set, and well, he got cute.
I can imagine it perfectly, you’re in the middle of a long mission. It’s boring, like always. But, just to make things a bit more annoying this time around, every couple of days, they wake you all up, and make you sit at battle stations again. One time, it’s a strange white thing floating in the water, the next – some unidentified plane. Today, after working your eight hour shift at the radar, keeping an eye on over two hundred fishing boats, you finally get to bed. You lie down blang! goes the klaxon. You’re back to some God forsaken part of that boat (somebody with more naval experience can help me out here) this time because some speed boats are messing around. Why not have a little fun? Unprofessional, yes. Dangerous, yes. Stupid, yes. Exactly the kind of crap a bored serviceman does, yes.
Here’s the rub. I see through this. You know the people on that ship see through this. They didn’t seem particularly threatened or scared when they heard it. The military brass sees through this. Then why the hell are they publishing it? So, you want the video, fine. Then edit out this crap. You don’t have a problem editing other stuff out. For example, I never hear any orders to the crewmen, nor do I hear any officers discussing how to act. That they got rid of. So, get rid of this too.
I guess that’s our America for you. Trying to get a provocation cooked up. Anything that can be done to bring war in our time is good. It seems Bush is still trying to start a war, but instead he’s just looking even dumber.
Update: The Times now has a similar angle, and is covering developments on the story. Aside from bring up the problems that I mentioned, they also have links to Iranian videos of what might be the same incident.

14 thoughts on “Trying to Look Dumb

  1. Not denying what you’re laying down, but wondering how extensive your experience with the 2-way communication systems used by speedboat and naval-craft are.

  2. The US is undoubtedly releasing this information so the Iranians recognize that they can’t keep pulling off nonsense like this without consequences. And also to demonstrate that the American military isn’t intimidated by these childish displays.
    The calm displayed by the US sailors is probably a result of their training and discipline and their awareness that Iran has been planning to pull off provocations just like this. Ergo they were alert but unfazed. Apparently this harrassment went on for half an hour. The Iranian stunt was obviously timed to spark an incident that would steal the focus and energy of President Bush’s entire Mideast tour. Imagine if the US vessels had opened fire. There would have been a big dramatic “international incident” and “Mideast crisis” and media circus with everyone running around like radioactive chickens trying to mollify Iran while the US president is right there in the region. What a thrill!
    I have no doubt that military marine radios are designed to squelch background noise so that voice messages can be transmitted clearly (i.e. isn’t that the purpose of the radios?!). And if this were the practical joke of “a bored serviceman” why does the video show speedboats zipping around bizarrely?
    I think we can safely go for the simplest explanation here: Provocation attempted. Provocation failed. Provocation publicized in order to deter continuing provocations in the future.

  3. The way its being presented to us is really scary. In addition to a message to Iran that they should stop playing games, (which is a really dumb way to prevent a war), I think this is designed to sway the election toward Hawkism.
    When Bush’s smug face is on CNN talking about something scary, people start thinking about national security.

  4. Do sailors have access to radio broadcast equipment while at sea? My understanding is that sailors complain they can’t get cell phones, sat phones, etc to work onboard due to all the electrical interference plus security limitations.

  5. Yeah, not getting behind the BBC’s suspicion (based on Mobius’s link above) that the voice on the US Navy’s tape is not the same as the voice on the BBC’s video. Both pieces of footage show multiple speedboats in the area and I’m sure each Iranian boat has it’s own radio.

  6. if the US really wanted a Wag the Dog effect dont you think they would have worked on the voice a bit?!
    Regardles my conspiracist friends, when your ship is approached at that range – procedure requires that they are identified and ordered to get out of the way (Since the Cole bombing US Captains have been taking these occurences much more seriously).
    these are the same hooligans who Pirated those British ships – was that also a creation of the US NAVY?

  7. A friend of mine was on the Constellation and he said this basically happens every time they get to a certain spot in the Persian Gulf. He thought it was hilarious that someone considered it newsworthy, as it has been happening for years. That explains the indifference of the sailors in the video.

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