In two minutes, this blog will explode

The incident in the Strait of Hormuz is absolutely terrifying to me, but not really for the reasons you might expect. The short version - just over a week ago, five small Iranian motorboats approached the USS Hopper, USS Port Royal and USS Ingraham as they were entering the Persian Gulf. A radio transmission was received at the same time that the motorboats were approaching the US Navy ships. The transmission said, "I am coming at you. You will explode in a couple of minutes," although there is controversy over whether this message came from the Iranian ships themselves. The Iranians turned away just before the order to fire warning shots was given.

Scary, right? Yes, for two reasons:

1) Apparently this sort of confrontation is a regular occurrence in the Gulf, and now that the US is moving more ships there, they'll be even more regular. I certainly wouldn't want to accuse the Bush administration of blowing a regular incident out of proportion for political gain, but the fact that it's being reported as the opening salvo in World War III is more than a little scary.

2) In something straight out of Cold War-era apocalyptic fiction, the US Navy apparently has no formal communication link with the Iranian Navy.
Admiral Roughead said he worried such behavior could have escalated unintentionally into a military confrontation before either side could call for a halt. "I do not have a direct link with my counterpart in the Iranian Navy," he said. "I don't have a way to communicate directly with the Iranian Navy or Guard."
Dangerous Freedom-haters or not, this is a dangerous, irresponsible, scary way to operate in such a high-tension environment.

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