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Iran is So Cute When They Act All Tough

I’ve had a good laugh in the past over Iran sending “warships” into the Atlantic for “exercises” somewhere near the United States. I’m having an even bigger laugh at the fact that they’ve built a replica of an American aircraft carrier so they can sink them in preparation for a future war.

Iran will target American aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf should a war between the two countries ever break out, the naval chief of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard warned Tuesday as the country completes work on a large-scale mock-up of a U.S. carrier.

The remarks by Adm. Ali Fadavi, who heads the hard-line Guard’s naval forces, were a marked contrast to moderate President Hassan Rouhani’s recent outreach policies toward the West — a reminder of the competing viewpoints that exist at the highest levels within the Islamic Republic.

Iran is building a simple replica of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in a shipyard in the southern port of Bandar Abbas in order to be used in future military exercises, an Iranian newspaper confirmed last month.

Fadavi was quoted Tuesday by the semi-official Fars news agency as saying the immense size of the U.S. carriers makes them an “easy target.” He said contingency plans to target American carriers are a priority for the Guard’s naval forces.

“Aircraft carriers are the symbol of America’s military might,” he said. “The carriers are responsible for supplying America’s air power. So, it’s natural that we want to sink the carriers.”

This is my favorite part:

The commander said the Guard navy has already carried out exercises targeting mock-ups of American warships. In one case, he said, it took 50 seconds to destroy one of the simulated warships.

Yeah, it’s easy to sink an aircraft carrier that doesn’t have actual, ya know, aircraft on it. And doesn’t have any of their other defense systems in place. It’s so cute that they think they could take down the Nimitz in the same manner.

Comments

  1. says

    The commander said the Guard navy has already carried out exercises targeting mock-ups of American warships.

    They’ve moved from verbal to physical straw-men?

  2. nichrome says

    Ha ha! Yes, the proud and true USA would never engage in such chest-thumping bravado!

  3. Chiroptera says

    I’ve had a good laugh in the past over Iran sending “warships” into the Atlantic for “exercises” somewhere near the United States.

    If I recall correctly, most of the laughs were over the US chickenhawks freak-out.

    -

    The commander said the Guard navy has already carried out exercises targeting mock-ups of American warships. In one case, he said, it took 50 seconds to destroy one of the simulated warships.

    Isn’t this pretty standard training for any nation’s military forces? Or was there a part that wasn’t quoted that makes this particularly ridiculous?

    At any rate, I think the biggest laughs will occur if and when the the US Right Wing goes into “OMG! They’re sinking exact replicas of American warships…to prepare for Red Dawn!” mode.

  4. dingojack says

    No doubt they’ll film it (from lots of different angles), to run on state TV as a distraction if something embarrassing happens (like the Ayatollah comes out as a flaming drag queen*).
    @@
    Dingo
    ——–
    * Think of the worst Abba film clip, EVAR!!

  5. D. C. Sessions says

    It’s nice to know that Iranian politicians are as prone to gasbagging their public as ours are. And that enough of their public eat it up without checking facts to make the propaganda work — just like ours do.

    Naval tactical missile-defense weaponry is pretty good, and getting much better. That’s even if you assume that US carriers sail solo instead of surrounded by a carrier strike group. In regions like the Gulf, that means at least two dedicated airborne-defense cruisers (and never mind that the carrier will have a combat air patrol

  6. D. C. Sessions says

    oops, cont’d:

    combat air patrol up, including at least one E-2 Hawkeye for over-the-horizon threat detection.)

  7. dingojack says

    “Yeah, it’s easy to sink an aircraft carrier that doesn’t have actual, ya know, aircraft on it. And doesn’t have any of their other defense systems in place. ”

    USS Cole.
    Still Laughing Ed?*

    :( Dingo.
    ———-
    * “There is no greater danger than underestimating your opponent.” ― Lao Tzu.

  8. colnago80 says

    Re Dachshund @ #7

    Hey numbnuts, the Cole was a guided missile destroyer, not an aircraft carrier.

  9. countryboy says

    Hey Dingo, since the Cole unauthorized boats getting within a predetermined range of a docked warship are fired on and destroyed. That ain’t gonna happen again.

  10. caseloweraz says

    Dingo:

    You’re thinking of the USS Stark

    Iran has Exocet missiles. I don’t know if they could reach our aircraft carriers, but I wouldn’t dismiss the possibility.

  11. sigurd jorsalfar says

    Puny Iranians! Your weapons are no match for our non-simulated warships!

  12. Michael Heath says

    nichrome writes:

    Ha ha! Yes, the proud and true USA would never engage in such chest-thumping bravado!

    Whoosh of the day! Congrats.

  13. Pierce R. Butler says

    … a large-scale mock-up of a U.S. carrier.

    As in, even bigger than the original?

    Maybe this is just an elaborate smokescreen for Iran building an actual, y’know, aircraft carrier.

  14. jameshanley says

    USS Cole or USS Stark, neither was an aircraft carrier, and more importantly, neither was sunk.

  15. steve84 says

    Actually, aircraft carriers are far more vulnerable than the Navy would like. Both to quiet diesel electric submarines and modern anti-ship missiles (which can be based on land). Something they are very well aware of.

    Also China has an anti-ship ballistic missile that can easily bypass classic defenses.

  16. D. C. Sessions says

    Iran has Exocet missiles. I don’t know if they could reach our aircraft carriers, but I wouldn’t dismiss the possibility.

    The Stark was an aluminum-hulled destroyer with minimal armor. Not so a “supercarrier.” Steel hull, and even the structural requirements make for thick material [1] (there’s a video around somewhere of the Reagan under construction, and IIRC the minimal hull metal is something on the order of six inches thick.) More to the point, steel doesn’t burn like aluminum does.

    The joke at the time was that if that Exocet had struck the New Jersey, the damages would have amounted to a bucket of paint. Carriers aren’t battleships, but they are designed and built to survive battle damage and keep fighting. When you lose a destroyer, you lose the mission capability of the destroyer. Lose a carrier, and you lose the mission effectiveness of the Carrier Strike Group, plus all of the Carrier Air Group. For some reason the Navy finds the cost of preventing that compelling.

    [1] FFS, they have 60,000 pound or heavier aircraft slamming down onto the flight deck at speeds approaching 200 mph and rates of descent comparable to highway speeds several times an hour, minimum, 24/7 whenever they’re at sea. You don’t get that kind of abuse tolerance out of lightweight structures.

  17. dingojack says

    Yes, dears, you keep telling yourselves that!
    That’s why you had all them total victories in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.
    USA, USA, USA, USA, USA, USA, USA, USA, USA, USA, USA, USA!!!
    @@
    Dingo
    ——–
    There is no greater danger than underestimating your opponent.” ― Lao Tzu.
    Yes, I’ve posted it before, but apparently the self-congratulatory jingoism is getting in the way of rationality.

  18. blf says

    Iran will target American aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf…

    There is not much maneuvering space in the Gulf (or time for defensive alert systems to react), especially for huge deep-draft ships such as a Nimitz-class supercarrier (never mind its accompanying strike force), whether or not you pay attention to territorial boundaries. Tactically, it doesn’t seem a bad idea on Iran’s part, albeit I agree it is mostly bluster and strategic suicide.

    The USS Nimitz itself was positioned in the Gulf until about the end of last year, apparently in case a strike on Syria was ordered. I’m not sure how long it was there, but I can easily imagine it freaking some Iranians.

  19. Vall says

    In the article linked by Ed, they say it would take 24 missiles fired at the same time. In the open sea with a battle group, that might not be enough. In the Strait of Hormuz, there isn’t room for the whole group, and Iran has missiles on both sides. This cuts reaction time down to seconds, even if you are expecting it.

  20. Al Dente says

    During the Falklands war the British were very careful to keep their carriers out of range of Argentinian aircraft armed with Exocet missiles. The destroyer HMS Sheffield was sunk by an Exocet which didn’t explode!

    The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Navy (a wholly separate group from the Iranian Navy) has Thondar class missile boats (a Chinese development of the Soviet/Russian Osa PGMs) armed with 200 km range Noor missiles (Iranian-built anti-ship missiles based on the Chinese C-802 design) and Kowsar medium range anti-ship missiles (based on the Chinese C-701). These are modern anti-ship missiles which can cause considerable damage to warships.

  21. marcus says

    Dingo @ 18 Yeah, just like when we whooped those ignorant, technologically backward, rice farmers in a little place called Vietnam. Oh…wait.
    You are absolutely correct. Hubris and overconfidence can be a fatal combination.

  22. anubisprime says

    These bozos should not be underestimated for sure …remember they have Allah on their side…

    Excocets if in range can be a problem..ask survivors of HMS Sheffield!

    It only takes a determined and fanatical team of heroes of the revolution to put a dent into anything American that was floating by.

    Might not sink it but the potential casualty list would embarrass the administration and by the time that was sorted out the hawks would be demanding retaliatory junkets and serious chaos would be the new joy in the middle east…well chaos beyond what passes for normal there these days!

    The tactic of the fundamentalist Allah fans is not going to be going for military targets like an aircraft carrier to sink it and claim military superiority it is to cause mass unrest and plunge their enemies government into crisis and thus tie the Western powers in debate about how to meet the challenge.

    It is basically to tie decision making up in knots, and cause public consternation and unease with demands to do this and do that while the administration and the senate are at each others throats.

    Political disruption is their game, media manipulation, far more affective to get what they want at the UN and set their US based enclaves to gain in the appeasement stakes.

  23. lofgren says

    I’m not sure why this is cute. If I were training an army, I would definitely do this. I’ll bet the US does it too. Of course the closest I have come to training an army is playing Starcraft, so it’s also possible I have no idea what I’m talking about.

  24. whheydt says

    I saw one article that stated that the Iranian mock-up is half the size of a real US carrier. Nice for propaganda purposes, but not so useful for actual training.

  25. says

    whheydt “I saw one article that stated that the Iranian mock-up is half the size of a real US carrier. Nice for propaganda purposes, but not so useful for actual training.”
    To be fair, they’re using tiny torpedoes.

  26. says

    over-the-horizon threat detection

    If they’re attacked in the straits of Hormuz, it would be ground-launched cruise missiles. It’d be a pretty shitty day for all involved. It’s hard to sink an aircraft carrier but it’s also hard to sink a chunk of land.

  27. Matrim says

    It’s hard to sink an aircraft carrier but it’s also hard to sink a chunk of land.

    But it’s really easy for a Super Hornet to blow the ever-living-fuck out of missile emplacements.

    I’m not going to argue that Iran couldn’t do serious damage with a surprise attack, however, in an actual war it would be pitifully one-sided.

  28. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    There is not much maneuvering space in the Gulf (or time for defensive alert systems to react), especially for huge deep-draft ships such as a Nimitz-class supercarrier (never mind its accompanying strike force),

    Well, that’s what caused the biggest air disaster in the Gulf so far.The U.S.S. Vincennes felt threatened by an Iranian Airbus (the ultra-modern state-of-the-art radar mistook it for a Tomcat strike aircraft) on a scheduled flight and shot it down, killing a few hundred civilians.

  29. says

    Super Hornet to blow the ever-living-fuck out of missile emplacements.

    Why don’t you run your ignorance up a flagpole, since you want to display it.

    Cruise missiles don’t depend on emplacements. That’s why they’re tactically valuable; you get them to a point where you can launch them then let fly. It’s an intelligence/counterintelligence game more than anything else, to figure out where the launchers are at any given time. More or less like the ‘al husayn’ (scud) missiles in Iraq, which were eradicated in time, but took a tremendous number of sorties as well as some serious covert boots on the ground (and some really clever satellite imaging tricks) Other than the great big strategic/ballistic missiles designed to go intercontinental, nobody but a complete dipshit would be building emplacements – AKA “sitting ducks”

    http://www.armyrecognition.com/january_2011_army_military_defense_industry_news/iran_iranian_army_equipped_with_new_anti-ship_coastal_cruise_missile_systems_navy_force_040111-1.html

  30. says

    in an actual war it would be pitifully one-sided.

    Of course it would. It’s surrounded on all sides by US satrapies and has a military that probably costs less than the coca-cola budget for the pentagon.

    Most of the countries in the rest of the world have only one strategy against the US and its allies: to try to do enough damage that the US backs away. Which is a terrible strategy, really. But it’s pretty much the only one that’s out there. In fairness, if some country were able to blow a few holes in a supercarrier, it would have profound effects on the US – we’d probably bankrupt the country completely buying a whole new class of super-mega-carrier and otherwise thrashing about dispensing money like water over niagra falls.

    The narrative most people hear in the US is that the US is trying to contain Iran, a resurgent regional power. On the face of it, that’s absurd. Iran is desperately doing what it can to avoid giving the US or Israel an excuse to attack it. Iran would almost certainly not ever attack US assets, its strategy is largely defensive; besides they lack the logistical train necessary to do anything offense-wise that’s not literally next door.

  31. says

    What you’re seeing is remains of self-inflicted emotional trauma in versailles-on-the-potomac, from Millenium Challenge 2003 — a wargame that appears to me to have been cooked to make it look incredibly plausible for a 3rd world country to pwn a substantial US force. Why? Because you don’t need a fictional bomber gap if you’ve got a fictional super badass mujahideen — quick! Jam the money valve open in the full unlocked position!!

  32. Matrim says

    Well excuse me for using a fucking colloquialism. I didn’t mean hard emplacements, like ICBMs have. And yes, it’s harder to track down mobile launchers, but you can still do it especially if you know where you’re going to be going and can check the area. And sure, missile defenses are perfect, and really are up to snuff with modern missile technology, but the fact of the matter is it would still be very hard to seriously damage a carrier group that was prepared for an attack. They’re not just going to go sailing through the straits without making damn sure it’s safe to do so.

  33. says

    As ridiculous and laughable as I think the whole destroy-a-mockup-of-the-Nimitz thing is, I would pause before laughing at Iranian resolve in general. It’s worthwhile to bear in mind the history of these people. The Persian empire was for centuries the bane of Rome (and others), at one point even capturing a Roman emperor and preserving his dried and stuffed skin as a trophy. Their more-recent history bears witness to the fact that this kind of resolve has not waned—you need only look at the way in which they conducted the war against Iraq, sending thousands of barely-armed young soldiers on foot to certain death against Iraqi tanks. Again and again.

    Far from being cute, I would say that Iranians are deadly serious. These shows of bravado are just that: shows. Behind the show, however, are plenty of serious plans to leverage whatever they can, to gain any possible advantage. A war with Iran might be one-sided, but it would still be an order of magnitude worse for the West than our most recent adventure in Iraq. I do think that all this is indeed largely defensive posturing, but they are letting us know that there will be consequences for any ill-considered invasion or bombing of the type that Snarly McCain proposed.

  34. mithrandir says

    There are plenty of ways the US could lose to Iran if it came to a shooting war. But I’d bet money that none of those scenarios would involve a US aircraft carrier sitting at the bottom of the Persian Gulf.

  35. Olav says

    “Cute when acting tough” also goes for the commenters who think they can impress whith their knowledge (real or copied from wikipedia) of military hardware and strategy…

    On the topic itself I am mostly with Marcus Ranum.

    QFT:

    Iran is desperately doing what it can to avoid giving the US or Israel an excuse to attack it. Iran would almost certainly not ever attack US assets, its strategy is largely defensive;

    In other words, Iran is not the biggest danger in the world.

  36. lorn says

    There are point to be made on both sides. The Straits of Hormuz are narrow with a sharp turn at the narrowest point, and a large percentage of the world’s oil travels through that narrow corridor. While Iran doesn’t actually have territory on both sides it does have some rather impressive mountains along the outside of the bend. Handy terrain for digging in weapons to threaten the straits and anti-aircraft weapons to extract a toll on anyone attempting to destroy those weapons.

    Of course if you wanted to stop traffic you wouldn’t use weapons outside the straits, or even weapons on ships or submarines in the surrounding waters. You would use mines. Mines are so much more powerful than missiles or projectile weapons. Underwater mines ideally detonate under the ship where there is little armor, no anti-torpedo belts, and the water focuses the blast up through the ship. Being weapons that just sit there the amount of explosives in any one mine can be huge. For comparison the case of the USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG-58) hit an older Russian designed M-08 contact mine which held only 158 Kg of explosives which disabled the propulsion plant. Even though the weapons systems remained intact without propulsion the ship would have been vulnerable in a shooting war. Mines with over 1000 Kg of explosives are available and are easy to make.

    The weapons in the mountain would not go unused, they would keep any forces seeking to sweep those mines at bay and seek to destroy any ships damaged by the mines. Which means clearing the blockage would be a major three part operation. You have to neutralize the anti-air weapons so you can bomb effectively. Then go after the weapons in the mountain, and then, and only then, can you economically clear the mines.

    There is no doubt in my mind that Iran, if it really tried, could close down the straits of Hormuz for a long time. So why doesn’t it? Simple, if most of the oil producing countries ship through the straits, and a good part of the rest of the world depends on oil traveling through the straits you are going to piss off a whole lot of people if you mine the straits. Yes, during the Gulf war both Iran and Iraq placed mines and attacked tankers in the Persian Gulf. But those efforts were kept small and never allowed to do much more than raise the prices of both maritime insurance and oil. Threatening the flow was advantageous. Stopping the flow, was not.

    Iranians attacking an aircraft carriers is possible but carriers are tougher than most any other ships. The Cole was a destroyer and far less armored, compartmented and protected than a carrier. Size does matter. The same attack on a carrier, an estimated 200 to 300 Kg of explosives, wouldn’t have breached the torpedo defense system of multiple voids and fuel tanks arranged one over another to absorb the blast. It wouldn’t have done the carrier any good but it wouldn’t have sunk the ship or kept it from operating. According to damage control experts modern carriers should be expected to absorb more than six torpedo hits and still be able to launch and land aircraft. In WW2 it took three 1000 pound bombs and four torpedoes to sink the USS Yorktown built in the late 30s. Modern carriers are bigger and better protected.

    Through this all the question is, other than for showmanship, why would a US carrier put itself close enough for the Iranians to take a shot. Carriers like to stand off 500 miles or more and attack. If Iran closed the straits Saudi Arabia, which spent several Billion dollars building some of the finest command and control centers and airfield on the planet for just such an occasion, would host land based aircraft. No carrier needed.

    That isn’t to say we haven’t send a carrier battle group into the Persian Gulf to exercise the long established right to navigation and to remind the people in the area that we have a big stick. It is seen as a calculated risk to operate in such close quarters. I suspect that any carrier that might get close enough to attack is going to be a harder target than many might suspect. Carriers are remarkably fast (Officially >30kn, unofficially closer to 40, that would be 46.1mph, rumors of better than 40kn if they don’t mind wearing the chrome off) and maneuverable. A carrier clearing the straits at 40 kn, that would be something to see.

  37. colnago80 says

    All of this is pure tuna fish. Iran wold be informed before hand that any attack by them that damaged one of our carriers would result in Iran being bombed off the map. In a conventional war between the two militaries, they wouldn’t stand a chance. What we must avoid doing is invading with ground troops which would be vulnerable to guerrilla attacks and suicide bombs, just we were in Iraq. And I would inform the mad mullahs that govern Iran that the use of tactical nuclear weapons would not be ruled out. 15 MT bombs not required.

  38. dingojack says

    Ah SLC – still banging on about those imaginary 15Mt weapons you worship I see.

    You think pounding Iran from 500 Km away would work do you? Just lucky Iran doesn’t have sympathisers all over the middle-east and (if attacked by the US) the world, oh wait…
    Of course the nudnick chickenhawk would blame the nasty blowback on anyone but himself.
    ‘See what you made me do!’
    @@
    Dingo

  39. colnago80 says

    Re Pekinese @ #41

    Actually, most everybody in the Middle East distrusts Iran, especially the majority Sunni nations. And as I said, 15 MT bombs, which ain’t tactical nukes, are not required.

  40. dingojack says

    SLC – what, even those nasty, nasty Syrians you’re always banging on about? Say it ain’t so!
    Given the choice between the Shiites and the ‘Great Satan’, which do ya think they’d choose?*
    Dingo
    ——–
    * Then, of course there’d be all those angry, angry constituents lined up for hours and hours just get a cup full of gas. That’d go down a treat come the election.
    You really don’t think anything through, do you?

  41. colnago80 says

    Re numbnuts @ #43

    It’s the Sunnis in Syria (~75%) who are sparking the current revolutionary activity there. The Shiites are a rather small minority of about 11%. Try to keep up.

  42. dingojack says

    SLC (#44) -
    Bwhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

    Oh I’m gonna book mark that one for next time you’re prattling on the dangers of Iran-sponsored terrorism in Syria.
    Clearly one needs to be in the majority to wear a suicide vest or use a sniper rifle*.
    (Hope the Christians in America don’t get wind of this new rule).
    @@
    Dingo
    ——–
    *Or be of mere ‘nuisance value’, even. Like the Bagman of Tiananmen Square, for instance..

  43. colnago80 says

    Re schmuck @ #45

    Excuse me, it’s the Government of Iran that is supporting the Assad kleptocracy in Syria via their wholly owned subsidiary, the Hizbollah terrorists. Without the addition of terrorist Hizbollah fighters, the Assad government would have collapsed long ago.

  44. dingojack says

    Oh, so now it’s the Hizbollah terrorists et al. who are the majority now. Got it.
    @@
    Dingo

  45. says

    The US has a “No First Use” when it comes to nuclear weapons, which has been changed to include WMDs. Unless a nuke or WMD is used against US territory or troops, we won’t use nukes.

    Also, the Navy won’t be fighting by themselves. Air Force heavy bombers aren’t really bombers anymore; they are cruise missile launch pads. Cruise missiles are GPS guided to pre-programmed or observed targets that can be added before launch on the planes.

    Plus, if we want to clear a large area, we can use MOABs. IIRC, they can be launched several miles away from the target.

  46. dingojack says

    Since Ronny Raygun the US has had a ‘no torture’ policy.
    How did that one work out?
    Dingo

  47. says

    Nobody is mentioning the elephant in the room – Iran’s purchase of large numbers of Russian Sunburn missiles. Built specifically for carrier hunting, they can be launched 100 miles from their target (over the horizon) at Mach 2.1. They can carry a 200k/ton yield nuke or a 750 pound standard HE warhead. See the link for more info – http://beforeitsnews.com/alternative/2012/09/the-sunburn-missile-the-weapon-that-could-defeat-the-us-in-the-gulf-2467754.html.

  48. lorn says

    One issue not mentioned so far is that his whole half-sized aircraft carrier sunk by miniature torpedoes is likely to be a bit of theater for internal consumption within Iran. The general public has been raised on there being a Manichean conflict between Iran and the Great Satan. Such bogus demonstrations are reassuring for the Iranian public.

    There was as a previous case of Iran rolling out new missiles in parades. At first the defense analysts were deeply concerned they had missed the development of an all new weapons system and they scrambled to find out about it. That is until someone got good photographs and noticed that new missile wasn’t mounted like a real missile and it was just a bunch of oil drums welded together and painted up to look like a missile. Evidently this was good enough eyewash to pass for real with the Iranian public.

    These sorts of theatrics are meant to reassure the Iranian public that they are well protected and capable of taking on the Great Satan.

    IMO there is both truth and lie to that assertion. History shows that major powers have major problems subjugating and pacifying minor nations. Britain in Afghanistan and India. The US in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq. There are many other examples. Holding onto a nation of people willing to sacrifice for decades to resist an invader is costly in treasure and troops.

    On the other hand there is a reason Afghanistan is so primitive and, unlike similarly endowed Asian nations, Vietnam has pretty much failed to become an economic powerhouse. Resisting a major power takes a toll on the indigenous populations, their thinking, intellectual capital, and the infrastructure. Winning the war against a determined occupier can be a Pyrrhic victory.

  49. dingojack says

    GDP (PPP) per capita:
    South East Asia.

    Taiwan: $39767
    HK: $52722
    Philippines: $4682
    Vietnam: $4012
    Laos: $3068
    Cambodia: #2576
    Malaysia: $17740
    Singapore: $64584
    Indonesia: $5214
    Brunei: $53431
    Burma: $1740

    Doesn’t seem to me that there is a statistically significant relationship between GDP (PPP) per Capita and the local history.

    Dingo

  50. eric says

    @52:

    One issue not mentioned so far is that his whole half-sized aircraft carrier sunk by miniature torpedoes is likely to be a bit of theater for internal consumption within Iran.

    I tend to agree, the audience for this is the Iranian population, not US leaders. Unlike Marcus, I do not think the shooting at a carrier would make us back off. But then again, I don’t think the Iranians are going to shoot at a carrier. Iran is in the process of trying to develop a nuclear capability – it would IMO be incredibly foolish of them to so massively provoke the US military before they had it.

    Spiffy45 @48:

    The US has a “No First Use” when it comes to nuclear weapons, which has been changed to include WMDs.

    I’m willing to be corrected, but AFAIK this is completely wrong.

    Nuclear – The 2010 US nuclear policy is that we will not use nukes against non-nuclear states that “are party to the NPT and in compliance with their nuclear non-proliferation obligations.” Iran has ratified the NPT, so they qualify…unless they develop nukes. Also I believe we caveated our own policy to say that we might use nukes to destroy stockpiles of other people’s chem and bio weapons.

    Other WMD – the US has signed the CWC and BWC. Thus, our official policy towards these weapons is manifestly NOT ‘no first use,’ but rather ‘we will not make or use them at all.’ Now some people could certainly argue we are lying about that (I tend to think we’re being honest), but if we’re talking about official public policy, Spiffy’s comment (that we have a ‘no first use’ policy for non-nuclear WMD) is incorrect.

  51. dingojack says

    lorn – “One issue not mentioned so far is that his whole half-sized aircraft carrier sunk by miniature torpedoes is likely to be a bit of theater for internal consumption within Iran.”

    See mine (#4).

    Dingo
    ——–
    Since you seem to have some difficulties in the ‘reading for understanding’ department, allow me:

    “No doubt they’ll film it (from lots of different angles), to run on state TV as a distraction if something embarrassing happens (like the Ayatollah comes out as a flaming drag queen*).
    @@”

  52. colnago80 says

    Re dilngojack @ #53

    Relative to Vietnam, it is my information that there is a significant difference between what used to be South Vietnam and what used to be North Vietnam. In particular, entrepreneurship in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) is considerably advanced over that in Hanoi. A number of enterprises have risen up in Saigon, especially in the clothing manufacturing industry (I don’t know about OZ but one can find clothing with US labels manufactured in Vietnam in US department stores). Thus, the per capita GDP in Vietnam is probably much higher in the south then in the north.

  53. Spiffy45 says

    @#54:

    My statement was worded poorly. Take 2:

    If US territory or troops were attacked by nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons, the US reserves the right respond with nuclear weapons. But, unless we could show that the attack was done by a specific nation, we would not respond with nuclear weapons. The US isn’t in the business of destroying cities anymore, and the fallout from a nuke is something that can’t be controlled. Odds are that US allies are downwind from anyplace we’d use a nuke.

    You are correct that the US is out of the chemical/biological weapon business.

  54. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Iran is So Cute When They Act All Tough

    Yeah.. nah. Cute ain’t exactly the first word that springs to my mind.

    @15. jameshanley : “USS Cole or USS Stark, neither was an aircraft carrier, and more importantly, neither was sunk.”

    People were killed in those still, families left mourning. Try to remember that okay?

    A repeat of such an incident in the right – or rather wrong – circumstances could lead to a war which wouldclaim many more live sand do who knows what damage. That’s worth keeping in mind as well.

  55. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    On the issue of Iran these days, well I just dunno and know I don’t know.

    But fuck I wish they wouldn’t pull this sort of shit.

  56. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    .. Because it really ain’t helping anyone.

  57. eric says

    Spiffy @57 – in terms of official policy, we have not signed on to ‘no first use.’ I agree with you that we are very unlikely to attack anyone with nukes unless we got hit with a WMD first, but from a policy perspective, we reserve the right to do so if some country has not signed the NPT. We could, for example, nuke India, Pakistan, or North Korea without ourselves being attacked first, and that action would still be be consistent with our 2010 policy, because they haven’t signed the NPT. In fact, I suspect North Korea may be the reason why the 2010 policy was phrased the way it was.

  58. lorn says

    dingojack @55 ref #4 :
    I missed the meaning of the comment @4 when I scanned for opinions that his show was eyewash for primarily internal consumption.

    I was thinking more in terms of broad propaganda to reassure the population that they have nothing to worry about and increase nationalism but, yes, I suppose this sort of thing could be used to distract attention away from the more personal embarrassment of its leaders also. Ginning up fear of an outside force, and then providing a reassuring answer that both comforts and reinforces loyalty to the party is classic propaganda. It is also a grand way of, as you point out, distracting a population away from embarrassing personal revelations.

    dingojack @53:

    Vietnam in the late-50s was a highly educated nation with an infrastructure suitable for its population and both resources and institutions. Seemingly on a similar path of development as the rebuilding Japan and South Korea. At the time it was reasonable to conclude that Vietnam would be another South Korea. The war set them back forty or more years. So now instead of being another South Korea they now barely lead the drag on your list; Laos and Cambodia. Both of which were heavily involved with the war.

    The Vietnam war was a body blow to the US economy but it was a crippling blow to the Vietnamese economy. Not only did the best and brightest march south for war but, because North Vietnam was dependent upon the USSR it had adopted a command control economy that works for war but is a drag on development. This has only recently been reformed. But it wasn’t just the time of US engagement. There was the war against the Japanese, then the French before the US, and involvement in Laos during and after the US involvement, and Cambodia for years after that.

  59. says

    I’m having an even bigger laugh at the fact that they’ve built a replica of an American aircraft carrier so they can sink them in preparation for a future war.

    Dude, you need to get out more. What country’s military DOESN’T train its personnel by shooting at inert targets? That’s pretty much what the phrase “target practice” has always meant.

    As for the message their Atlantic cruise sends, I’d say it’s quite a respectable one: Iran is a unified state, it’s firmly in control of its own people and territory, and it’s able to project real power abroad, not just proxy terrorist groups. They may not be the equal of the USA, but they’re starting to stand head and shoulders above their regional neighbors. Who the fuck else in the Muslim world has even a fraction of the power and confidence Iran is starting to show?

  60. says

    People were killed in those still, families left mourning. Try to remember that okay?

    What the fuck makes you think anyone here needs to be reminded of that, you self-righteous warmongering git?

  61. colnago80 says

    Re lorn @ #62

    At least in the south, the economy in Vietnam is beginning to take off, at least for soft goods like clothing. I suggest examining labels in area department stores where you will be surprised at the Made in Vietnam labels. It is my understanding that visitors to Saigon today who fought in the Vietnam War and were stationed there say that the place is not recognizable The bars and whorehouses are gone and have been replaced by small enterprises busily making money sewing clothes. The more conservative north is still backwards but eventually the economic breakout will filter there, I would be willing to bet that in 10 to 20 years, Vietnam will look like South Korea and, like Leningrad reverting to St. Petersburg and Stalingrad reverting to Volgograd, Ho Chi Minh City will revert to Saigon.

  62. caseloweraz says

    Countryboy: Hey Dingo, since the Cole unauthorized boats getting within a predetermined range of a docked warship are fired on and destroyed. That ain’t gonna happen again.

    I’ve always been mystified why it happened in the first place. The nation of Yemen was known to be hostile to U.S. interests, and an attack similar to that on the Cole had been attempted in January of the same year. (The overloaded boat sank before reaching its target, another U.S. Navy destroyer berthed at Aden.)

    I know Navy rules of engagement in effect then prohibited firing on a boat approaching a warship without permission. But there are ways of discouraging such an approach without using lethal force. Water hoses come to mind. Or, with an inflatable, a few sharpshooters with rifles might puncture enough compartments that the boat becomes unseaworthy.

    Then again, the recommended concrete pillars to stop a truck bomb from reaching the marine barracks in Beirut were never installed, so it appears failures of imagination are common in military matters.

  63. lorn says

    colnago80 @ 65:

    Yes, Vietnam, north and south, is now advancing economically. The US involvement, the single most economically debilitating phase, was over in 1974. So, 40 years later, after being reduced to the cripple of Asia and having no place to go but up, they are growing. A high growth rate is to be expected. Starting at near zero and adding a tiny amount in absolute terms equates to a huge percentage gain.

    War is highly unpredictable, it seldom goes the way anyone expects. Just a few decades after a war it can be hard to tell who won and who lost. Germany and Japan lost their entire industrial base, rebuilt they were able to beat US manufacturing. Faced with decreasing profits in the 70s it was either spending Trillions of dollars updating the industrial base and infrastructure to compete or keep investors happy by extracting the profits from the weakest player at the table, labor. But that’s a different discussion.

    The main point is that war is costly for everyone involved and smaller nations, with fewer resources, can be set back decades. For Vietnam, at least four decades.

  64. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @64. Raging Bee :

    What the fuck makes you think anyone here needs to be reminded of that, you self-righteous warmongering git?

    Some of the comments here – that’s what makes me think that.

    As for me being “war-mongering.” Uh no, wrong. I’m really not. I don’t want war. There are other things I also don’t want and I have a lot of uncertainty as noted in my comment #59 but I don’t want war.

    “Git” I spose is in the eye of the beholder. For instance,I’m not overly fond of you either. If I wanted to I could call you names and resort to off topic nasty personal abuse aimed at you, but then, meh, I’m better than that.

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