Thursday, October 26, 2006

October surprise as Halloween nightmare?

It's the time of year to spook ourselves with scary thoughts, so here's a possible nightmare scenario... I posted earlier about the concentration of U.S. naval forces in the Persian Gulf. Apparently they will be conducting naval exercises on Halloween.
There is a massive concentration of US naval power in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea. Two US naval strike groups are deployed: USS Enterprise, and USS Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group. The naval strike groups have been assigned to fighting the "global war on terrorism."

War Games

Concurrent with this concentration of US Naval power, the US is also involved in military exercises in the Persian Gulf, which consists in "interdicting ships in the Gulf carrying weapons of mass destruction and missiles"

The exercise is taking place as the United States and other major powers are considering sanctions including possible interdiction of ships on North Korea, following a reported nuclear test, and on Iran, which has defied a U.N. Security Council mandate to stop enriching uranium.

The exercise, set for Oct. 31, is the 25th to be organized under the U.S.-led 66-member Proliferation Security Initiative and the first to be based in the Gulf near Bahrain, across from Iran, the officials said.

A senior U.S. official insisted the exercise is not aimed specifically at Iran, although it reinforces a U.S. strategy aimed at strengthening America’s ties with states in the Gulf, where Tehran and Washington are competing for influence."
There's more. What if a jumpy Iran views it as a provocation and fires on our forces while a trick-or-treating America is too distracted to follow the details very closely? Or what if the Bush administration simply claims that a jumpy Iran viewed it as a provocation and fired on our forces? (As the Gulf of Tonkin incident demonstrates, we've done it before.)

Might make for interesting timing, a week before the election. A calm and statesmanlike President Bush could rise to the occasion and counsel moderation, as an angry America demands retaliation. He could make a show of bending over backwards to avoid another war, even under extreme provocation, and the public would express its support the only way it could -- at the polls. Then, control of Congress safely in hand, he hits Iran with the attack he's been planning all along a few days later. (Also like Vietnam -- after the Gulf of Tonkin, Johnson was the moderate counseling caution who was reelected in a landslide because Goldwater seemed so reckless -- and then rapidly escalated the conflict after the election.)

Like I said -- a Halloween nightmare. It couldn't possibly happen. Could it? Well, October is not over yet -- and like they say, with the election fast appoaching, it's not over until the Fat Man sings.

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