Monday, January 07, 2008

Straits of Wrath

The Straits of Hormuz from spaceIn the John Steinbeck novel (and great Henry Fonda movie) The Grapes of Wrath, the agribusiness thugs wanted to start a fight with the farm workers inside the federal camp during a dance, so the club-wielding cops could enter the camp, warrantless, under the auspices of quelling a riot.

In the Straits of Hormuz today, according to the Pentagon, Iran's Revolutionary Guard's "fast boats"1 charged US Navy ships.

In the book, the camp residents see the plot unfold and concoct a group abduction of the agitators. In Iran, perhaps a few more people realized that the people running the Revolutionary Guards aren't exactly helping them. In America, perhaps a few more people realized something similar about the Bush administration.

In The Grapes of Wrath, the people of the camp execute their plan flawlessly. They overwhelm the thugs and remove them from view. The police are unable to come in and beat up the "red threat."

In Iran today, conservatives likely cheered the "maneuver," although the Government there, of course, denies the incident happened. The vast majority of the country probably didn't cheer, but wondered what on earth they can do? At the least, the US Administration's credibility has been questioned yet again in a region where they already have precious little.

The Pentagon's Tales of the Revolutionary Guard adds another sordid episode. It's like they're hedging their bets, in case they do "have to act" in "the interests of the US," they'll be able to say that they're only targeting the Guard. In the New York Times story of the incident, note the care taken by the Pentagon spokesperson to praise Iran's "regular" Navy.
“We have found in the past that the regular Iranian Navy was a courteous and professional organization, and our relations are as we would have with any other navy in the world,” said one Pentagon official who has studied the issue. “The I.R.G.C. Navy has a tendency to act in these unprofessional ways, and to be very provocative at times.”
How convenient. We don't have anything against you people, just the ones we don't like. The rest of you can move along...

Do our White House thugs want to keep this down to a small brawl and some kind of limited, warrantless quelling of dangerous unrest? Do they honestly believe that Iran's other military branches would understand the distinction if the next time this happens, the US sinks the charging fast boats2?

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the infiltrators are trying to start yet another fight, and we the citizens of the camp have done nothing, other than count backwards, to stop them. We have no serious impeachment proceedings. The Mullahs are still calling the shots in Iran. The price of oil goes ever upward, often in very predetermined-looking ways.

Maybe Dick Cheney and his well-funded private war machine actually have people inside Iran who occasionally do something like this on the eve of a Presidential visit to the Middle East. Maybe some people in Iran understand that what's good for Dick is good for the rest of the oil oligarchy. Russian super-sonic cruise missiles and nuclear power plants aren't cheap, you know.

In a camp where the agitators are always picking fights so they can move in the troops, the people of the camp are no longer vigilant enough to see the agitators before the fights break out. Our complacent certitude that elections have consequences, instead of all actions while in office having consequences, is a gaping hole in the defense of this country, this camp, where the people decide.

Jefferson said, "The price of Democracy is eternal vigilance." Looks like a lot of people have been asleep at their post.

Cross-posted at the The Daily KOS.

1 Apparently, "fast boats" are faster than "swift boats" but the distortion effect on the truth seems to be similar.

2 Does this Republican hatred for small, quick water craft go back to Nixon's hatred of Kennedy's heroics on PT109?

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