Blanketing opinions that I'll probably regret soon.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Chesapeake Bay vs. Strait of Hormuz

I had no idea where the Strait of Hormuz was located before I read this article. That's where the US almost had a conflict with Iran today.

Turns out, being in the Strait of Hormuz is about like being in the Chesapeake Bay, if you switch the roles. Below is a map of the Strait of Hormuz referred to in the article. Notice any ship passing through has to be within about 30 miles of Iran:

Now look at the Chesapeake, keeping in mind how far 30 miles is (legend, bottom left):

Now imagine the CNN article if I replace the word "Iran" with "America" and reverse the locations:
(CNN) -- Three U.S. Navy ships "harassed and provoked" five Iranian Revolutionary Guard boats early Sunday in the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, the Iranian military said Monday, calling the encounter a "significant" confrontation.
Now we get a better perspective of the real situation and the naked face of US propaganda.
Yeah, but they've got our oil sitting under their ground. Nice post -- it's amazing how little context the media provides when dealing with military press releases. Maybe they're gearing up for a "Gulf of Tonkin Redux."
While I see your point in being critical about our media (it sucks) I can't agree with your analogy of the water ways.

Hormuz is an international waterway with other countries bordering it, and while the PURPOSE of our military ships being there is up for argument, their RIGHT to be there isn't.

The Chesapeake is a bay surrounded by one country and is within that country's border. Military vessels there without that country's permission is practically a declaration of war. As are wide-eyed drunken yachtsmen approaching stationary naval warships.

Having said that I still feel stupid even partially defending our media/propaganda machine.


The Atlantic is also an international waterway. Therefore, near the mouth of the Chesapeake is an international waterway.

Take a closer look at that map of Hormuz. Regardless of what we think of the Iranian regime, you can see why these near-conflicts occur when you reverse the roles and put it all in your own backyard.

The Iranians react like any other government would to military ships from a far-away, hostile nation.

(Let me be clear: I'm not making moral equivalencies between the US and Iran).

Think about the Gulf of Tonkin Incident. That was also framed as an act of "agression" against the US. The two are similar historical analogies.

You have to ask yourself this question: how can an "act of aggresion" occur when a small country's military dares to step up to the largest military in history in their own backyard?
Do you consider the USS Cole incident an act of aggression or defense? What about the USS Stark. I know that warships are a threat, but there are rules.
I can't imagine the emotional impact of hostile US ships on the horizon, but it all boils down to this. If that occurred in international waters, they are wrong. If it occured in Iranian waters, we are wrong.

US govt would love an act of aggression against US military by Iran, and you are right in thinking that the US ships being there are acts of aggression in themselves. But until someone gets killed it's all just kids on the playground trying to get eachother to flinch.

Our military (and the citizens that fund it) should come to expect more than a few USS Stark, USS Cole, and HMS Cornwall types of situations if they continue to cruise near the bad guys.


Yes, the Cole and Stark are acts of aggression.

I guess my whole point with this post is to try and more fully understand the situation and the tensions that exist over there.

1 - The US has the largest military in history.

2 - The US has a record in the post-war era of attacking countries against international law or opinion. (The list is too long to write here).

2 - The US is the world's sole superpower.

3 - Hormuz is thousands of miles from the US and right at the doorstep of the US's official enemy.

4 - Having said all this, it's very odd that we would say that the Iranians "harassed and provoked" the US 30 miles from their border.

Now imagine if Iran was the world's sole superpower and had warships cruising within 30 miles of the US eastern seaboard. That's the best way to understand what is happening over there.

I'd also add two more things:

1 - The US is armed with nuclear weapons which can reach anywhere on the globe in about 30 minutes. Iran does not have this.

2 - The US backed an invasion of Iran in the 1980s which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iranians over almost a full decade.
You are right. How can we expect a country NOT to react to our ships near them. The answer is we are TRYING to get them to react. And the media just plays along.

I asked a room full of coworkers about the incident and only about 3 of them knew about it (Not really their fault considering the lack of media coverage). and the ones that did hear about it couldn't understand why the Iranian Navy would do that.

When I explained to them where and what happened, I just got blank stares as if a short circuit occured. And these are educated people of mixed political persuasion, all tired of and mostly opposed to the war in Iraq! (I asked them).

The media/propaganda machine works. spooky.

But thank God since my retirement portfolio would tank without govt military spending.

As Admiral Farragut was quoted, "DAMN THE TORPEDOES (or small boxes dumped overboard by little Iranian gunboats)FULL SPEED AHEAD!"

lonnie, i have a question about sailing across the atlantic i need your help with. please email me at you have a nice blog.
Excellent point. Now let's stretch the analogy a bit further. Imagine a nuclear armed Iran was not only patrolling Chesapeake Bay with its warships, but that they also had major military bases in Canada, Cuba and the Bahamas; and that they had recently invaded Mexico which is now in total chaos with an insurgency fighting the Iranian invaders; and that the Iranian government keeps threatening to cross the Rio Grande and attack the US ...

What would you call a group of Americans who infiltrated Iran and blew up some buildings in Teheran?
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