News & Views » Don't Panic!... Your war questions answered

Is Iran trying to start a war with the United States?

Don't Panic ... your war questions answered



Iran's military has toppled Mexico's government, unleashing chaos that has sent the remaining handful of Mexicans who haven't already moved to the United States across our border.

Iran's military has bases in Jamaica, Bahamas, Dominican Republic, the Turks and Caicos, and pretty much everywhere else where there's a Sandals resort.

Iran's political leaders are having a loud public debate. "Should we invade the United States?" they wonder. "Or should we simply pound their nuclear power plants into radioactive dust?"

Iranian ships armed with fighter bombers, cruise missiles and nuclear weapons have been cruising 40 miles off the coast of Los Angeles.

One day, we decided to send five small speedboats after three of their ships for a game of chicken (kebob). Just in case Iran made good on its threat to attack us, we wanted to have a better feel for how Iranian ships maneuvered so we could fight back.

Iran's leaders didn't take kindly to our maneuver, however, so they released a videotape to the Iranian news media showing our speedboats coming at them. The soundtrack accompanying the video contained a menacing voice.

I'm jocking on yo bitch ass.

And if we get the fightin.

Then I'm cocking on your bitch.

Iran has no idea if the recorded threat was uttered by the men on our dinky speedboats or not. All they know is they heard it on the radio at roughly the same time our boats were coming at them, so they decided to dub it onto the video.

Iran calls the incident a "serious provocation" and insists we were moments from starting a war with them. The action of the speedboat captain, Iran says, showed that the United States is a major threat to world peace.

Isn't that insane? They have us surrounded and repeatedly threaten our existence, yet we're the ones being called aggressive.

Who would fall for such propaganda?

Us, apparently. Because that's pretty much the scenario the Bush administration has been selling to the American press and public for the past week-and-a-half.

The Pentagon released a video that it says shows small Iranian speedboats playing chicken with three large American warships in the Strait of Hormuz, off Iran's southern coast.

The threatening audio dubbed onto the video by the Pentagon was not from the hit "Crank Dat" by Soulja Boy. It was an unidentified person whose accent didn't sound Iranian (to me, anyway – keep in mind that although I'm American-born, all but a handful of my family was born and raised in Iran) saying, "You will explode after a few minutes." The Pentagon now admits the audio was recorded from a widely used shipping radio frequency, in a busy international waterway through which roughly 40 percent of the world's petroleum travels.

Playing chicken with American warships in the Strait of Hormuz is foolish. Our ships could have turned those Iranian boats into convertible upside-down submarines faster than you can say "Ahmadinejad."

But was it, as the Pentagon described, a "serious provocation"?

If so, then how would one characterize President Bush's "Axis of Evil" speech in 2002, which broadly suggested Iran was no less than third in line for a U.S. invasion? Was that a serious provocation?

And how would one characterize years of the Bush administration threatening to bomb Iran's nuclear fuel facilities while, at the same time, refusing to sit down at a negotiating table with Iran to discuss it?

Yes, Iran uses its military and intelligence resources to bolster Iran-friendly factions in Iraq. But as you might recall, we invaded Iraq in 2003 for pretty much the same reason. We also have American bases in pretty much every nation surrounding Iran.

Yes, the American ships Iran "provoked" were in international waters, but they were close to Iran for the express purpose of intimidation. The United States has had at least two carrier battle groups within striking distance of Iran since last year. That's enough firepower to turn Iran into a giant smoldering brick at the push of a few buttons.

Are they trying to start a war with us, or vice versa?

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