Published on FPIF, by Phyllis Bennis, February 28, 2008.
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Excerpt of the Editor’s Note: … Just a couple of days before Bush’s January 2008 trip to Israel, the Pentagon reported an incident in the Strait of Hormuz. Iranian speed boats had allegedly swarmed between and among three large U.S. warships heading into the Persian Gulf, broadcasting threatening messages that the U.S. ships were about to explode and dropping small box-like objects onto the seas. Just as the sailors were aiming their guns at the provocateurs, the Iranian boats reversed course and sped away.
Reuters described how the boats aggressively approached the U.S. ships. The Pentagon called it areless, reckless and potentially hostile, the White House reckless and provocative. Numerous Persian speakers pointed out that the voice making the threats did not sound like a Persian accent. The U.S. Navy itself acknowledged that they had no idea where the voice making the threats had actually come from. Quickly the words Tonkin Gulf incident were on many lips. Many remembered August 4, 1964, the attack on a U.S. Naval ship off the coast of Vietnam Lyndon Johnson used as a pretext for sending troops to Vietnam. Years later the world learned that the alleged attack had never occurred at all; it was cooked up. Would the swarming boat incident in the Strait of Hormuz serve as George Bush’s Tonkin Gulf? … (full text).