* From the first episode of the West Wing tv series jargon = President Of The United States.
The 3 days trip through the Middle East by President GW Bush is underway. Is that irony I detect in the "Iran cannot be trusted" intro in the Sydney Morning Herald today as regards W Bush's own track record?
There seem to be some Big Media PR gambits under way too, defined in the broader sense, if you include the Pentagon as 'the world's biggest media organisation' to borrow the words of Lee Rhiannon MP.
A curious coincidence of story timing is being run through the general media regarding this 'non story':
The value of these things is about US$37M each in 2003 (sold to the Spanish) as per the wikipedia entry on the 'units' and it surely is very embarrassing on the eve of GW Bush grandstanding trip regarding competence and prestige as leader of the free world.
This happened 'last Monday night' (according to CNN presumably Persian Gulf/Washington time?)..
Just prior to this the other story that came through was some kind of incident involving Iranian speedboats allegedly buzzing 3 US navy warships/frigates. But the cranking up of the speedboat story only really happened this week AFTER the F18 crash.
We wrote about the speedboat story on our own micro news website
Tuesday, 8 January 2008 Pentagon-Bush Republican regime playing Iranian politics in New Hampshire?
which curiously crashed off the cyberspace, first time ever after a year. Maybe the host service is doing some upgrades. One wonders. It's a US host server. We got the highest number of hits for a story ever in a day (about 800) - drawing some threads together about
1. warnings of Robert Macnamarra in Fog of War about getting your facts wrong like the infamous Tonkin affair in the Vietnam War in 1964;
Picture via wikipedia "Chart showing the US Navy's interpretation of the events of the first part of the Gulf of Tonkin incident." Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, the 1964 resolution of the US Congress that precipitated the buildup of US forces in Vietnam
2. potential interference in politics of New Hamshire primaries literally to vote later that day, when combined with documented Oct 2007 record of dispute between Obama and Clinton on how tough to be with Iran.
We worried this timing evidenced a very good opportunity for the Republicans to sew dissension in the Democrats and ramp up their pro Iran war rhetoric as GW Bush is promoting today, as per abc AM this morning:
US fabricated warship harassment footage, Iran says ABC AM 10th Jan 2008
Who ever is telling the truth, USA or Iran, this is fertile area of PR posturing because there is a whirlpool of lost credibility in all things Middle East it seems 9th Jan 2008:
We notice the AM story today virtually echoes our speculative story yesterday this time with the Iran government calling the accusations of their speedboats buzzing the US ships as "clumsy fabrication" to create tension in the region on POTUS W Bush's visit. This claim of fabrication has resonance given the W Bush massive credibility gap on non existent WMD in Iraq.
And for instance the infamous Mission Accomplished PR stunt on the deck of an aircraft carrier regarding the invasion of Iraq:
Did the speedboat thing really happen, scrambling the White House situation room like a scene from episode 22 series 1 of the West Wing tv show (broadcast 1999-2000, US pilot down in Iraq policing the no fly zone):
If it did happen is it a beat up anyway, of no great danger or intrigue?
Are the two stories above connnected re loss of expensive military hardware/loss of face versus alleged speedboat menaces? Is the temporary crash of our news website? Or all just random?
Is the western media showing selective lack of interest about the 'trivial' loss of $100M of military hardware, while treating as gospel the menacing speedboats the Iranians deny outright? Is it a Republican PR gambit on different levels? They do have form.
By the way big human error accidents like those pilots tend to happen when people are under extraordinary and confusing pressure. Is that the legacy of this W Bush presidency in the military services? Dysfunction?
Crikey.com.au today 10 Jan 08 cross reference this post about a horrific mistake involving a naval US missile from within Iran territorial waters. The link is to a body called the "Iran Chamber Society" with an article dated 2004:
On July 3, 1988, USS Vinceness shot down Iran Air Flight 655 (IR655) killing 290 innocent civilian from six nations including 66 children.
A decidedly more hawkish, defensive blog is also referenced with the view its all about Iranian politik seeking domination of their region. This comes across pretty lame considering the USA's own famous empire building particularly in Iran back to the 1950ies with cynical overthrow of the Mossadeq government.