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Just Stupid

Someone needs to explain the concepts of “reality” and cognitive dissonance to people speaking for the US government, because this report on MSNBC is stupid on multiple levels: U.S.: Iran won’t be allowed to close key oil route

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – The U.S. Navy and its Gulf allies will not allow Iran to seal off the strategic Strait of Hormuz, the commander of U.S. naval forces in the Persian Gulf said Wednesday.

The 5th Fleet is based in Bahrain, across the Gulf from Iran. [Commander of the 5th Fleet, Vice Adm. Kevin] Cosgriff said that if Iran chocked off the Strait of Hormuz, it would be “saying to the world that 40 percent of oil is now held hostage by a single country.”

“We will not allow Iran to close it,” he told reporters.

Cosgriff’s comments follow Iranian threats that it could seal off the key passageway if there is a Western attack on Tehran. But Cosgriff said that if Iran tried to choke off Hormuz, the “international community would find its voice rapidly” against Iran.

Earlier this week, Cosgriff said in Bahrain that any such action by Iran would be viewed as an act of war.

There is no way anyone can stop Iran from closing the Strait of Hormuz. If they want to do it they can. If nothing else they can scuttle a couple of ships in the channels and the deed is done. The Strait is a bad idea because it is so easy to shut and there is no good way of defending it.

As for viewing closing the Strait as “an act of war”, what in hell do you think an attack on Iran would be called, active diplomacy‽  If Iran is attacked, it will retailiate.  Among the options it has is closing the Strait percisely because that causes a major disruption in the oil supply.  The world is not apt to misunderstand who is responsible for the Strait being closed if Iran is attacked, and it won’t be Iran.


1 Jack K., the Grumpy Forester { 07.02.08 at 1:17 pm }

…somehow I suspect that Wes Clark wouldn’t turn to this as an example of the value of military experience at the strategic level. Admiral Cosgriff doesn’t quite seem to have a firm grasp on the rights of sovereign nations. I would imagine that he would be all in with the idea of retaliating if the Iranians dropped bombs on the Savannah River Site because they perceived us to be a threat to THEIR national security…

2 Bryan { 07.02.08 at 1:25 pm }

The Admiral might want to consider that Bahrain, his base in the area, was a majority Shi’ia country the last time anyone checked. The government is Sunni, but not the population.

The Hedgemony seems a bit confused about the definition of acts of war, and the laws of war.

3 Michael { 07.02.08 at 5:50 pm }


4 hipparchia { 07.02.08 at 6:07 pm }

All nations are sovereign, but some nations are more sovereign than others.

5 Bryan { 07.02.08 at 7:50 pm }

And some of those “less sovereign nations” have Shahab-3’s with 5 warheads per missile that can reach out and touch someone 2100 km away, as well as a catalog of other nastiness.

It’s just amazing how many governments think you can threaten aggression and then get upset when the target of the threatened aggression responds with its own hostility.

6 Badtux { 07.02.08 at 11:21 pm }

Admiral Cosgriff might as well have said that my cats shall not be allowed to hack up hairballs in my shoes. His statement would have had the same effect on the outcome.

– Badtux the Snarky Penguin

7 Bryan { 07.02.08 at 11:30 pm }

Wow, are you lucky, ‘Tux, they do it on your shoes instead of in them.

It’s a terrible thing when your leaders start believing their own propaganda.

8 hipparchia { 07.03.08 at 12:35 am }

[what are these shoes of which you speak?]

It’s just amazing how many governments think you can threaten aggression and then get upset when the target of the threatened aggression responds with its own hostility.

it’s absolutely jaw-dropping. you’d think these people would have learned back in their playground days how that works. but perhaps the problem with those born with silver spoons in their mouths, can’t let them run around like that, they might trip and fall and accidentally swallow those spoons.

9 Bryan { 07.03.08 at 12:43 am }

You would have hoped that after the last time they said “Bring it on” they might have noticed that many are more than willing to oblige.

10 Steve Bates { 07.03.08 at 6:56 am }

It’s no surprise that there are idiots among the public who are willing to shout “bring it on.” But up until the current crew, our leaders were at least a bit smarter than that… not much, but enough to avoid a nu-ku-lar war.

BTW, I heard another Bush administration official use that pronunciation of “nuclear” in an interview recently. If that [expletive] succeeds in changing the typical public pronunciation of a perfectly good English word, I’m not going to be very happy with him. Who does he think he is, anyway, George III? Oh, wait… Dubya is the third prez of that name…

11 Michael { 07.03.08 at 10:00 am }

Nu-ku-lar is a particular peeve of mine too, Steve. It’s been going on for as long as I can remember. Bill Clinton did it too, and so did Al Gore.

12 Michael { 07.03.08 at 10:06 am }

I think there may have been some discussion I remember during the Clinton years where someone was explaining the difference between nuk-yu-lar and nu-cle-ar, according to whom the correct (latter) pronunciation is used for “nuclear power” or the “nuclear family” but the stupid pronunciation is used for weapons.

13 Steve Bates { 07.03.08 at 10:39 am }

Michael, I don’t remember Clinton’s and Gore’s speeches all that well; I’ll take your word for it that they mispronounce the word. I don’t understand it; if it were a difficult word, I’d surely have trouble with it myself.

When I was in college, nuclear research on campus was done at the Bonner Nuclear Lab (since repurposed; no one needs a van de Graaff generator today). Rice University students being who they were (and surely still are), one morning we awoke to find the sign out front of the facility modified to read “Bonner Unclear Lab.”

No, I was not one of the perp’s of that particular prank. I refuse to say about some of the others… 🙂

14 Bryan { 07.03.08 at 2:50 pm }

It is a Southern thing, and was propagated by the preponderance of Southerners on the House and Senate Armed Services committees during the 50s and 60s. The Pentagon switched, rather than risk offending anyone.

The “good ol’ boys” made a practice of mispronouncing certain words to prove they were just small town common folk, like Sam Ervin’s “ol’ country lawyer” description of himself.