Persian Gulf incident deja vu all over again?

Just when tensions between Iran and the United States have been good and ratcheted up, it appears that, at least, the radioed verbal threats against U.S. Navy vessels could have been made by a heckler.

Navy officials said Iranian patrol vessels made threatening maneuvers at U.S. warships recently in the Persian Gulf as well as having thrown some type of objects into the water. However, the military is trying to determine whether menacing transmissions made during the time of the incident were related to the Iranian activity.

Navy officials acknowledged that in recent years ships and aircraft operating in that region had been verbally abused by an anonymous heckler or hecklers who goes by the “ethnically-insulting handle of ‘Filipino Monkey,’ ” the independent, Gannett newspaper Navy Times reported today. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead told the Times that the video was “superimposed over the video” to give the viewer a better idea of what’s taking place.

Such revelations are not at all good for the military’s credibility at a time and in a place where the folks back home must pretty much rely on our government’s word to find out what the hell is going on. The way some “chickenhawks” are getting gussied up in their war paint, one sadly recalls the so-called “Gulf of Tonkin Incident” and wonders if we are getting, once again, sold a bill of goods.

If you don’t know or remember what happened in the Tonkin Gulf and how it provided the U.S. an excuse to turn Vietnam into a full-scale war then perhaps you might read material found on the link above.

What is most disturbing about the uncertainty over the verbal threats in the Persian Gulf is that it casts a cloud over the entire incident’s credibility. I want to think our military is not pulling our leg and will give them the benefit of the doubt. Along that path, one has to think that the Iranians sailors were out of their mind if they did what the video and the U.S. Navy purports. And if that was the case the captains of those Navy vessels would likely have been legally if not morally justified in blowing those boats and their insane operators to bits. But if it turns out the voice was the “Filipino Monkey” and was “coincidentally” transmitted at the time that the Iranian small craft were running toward the warships, then I’d say we may have a problem.

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