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Showdown: Battle groups head for gulf

Posted By Jerome R. Corsi On 03/23/2005 @ 1:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled

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Three carrier battle groups are converging on the Persian Gulf. The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson has departed Singapore and is currently crossing the Indian Ocean, en route to the Middle East. The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt is also on the move, crossing the Atlantic Ocean, reportedly headed toward the Mediterranean.

Reports are also circulating that the U.S. Navy has dispatched ships containing nuclear armaments to reinforce the battle groups. This will be the first time since February 2004 that the U.S. has had three major carrier groups stationed on or around the Middle East.

Each of the carrier groups are armed with 85 aircraft capable of delivering precision-guided munitions. The air refueling capabilities of the aircraft allow them to operate from long distances. Each carrier battle group will include nuclear submarine protective cover. The battle groups can act independently and can stay on station indefinitely.

The U.S. military air bases in Turkey, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, not to mention those recently established in Iraq and Afganistan, give the U.S. formidable muscle in the area. In addition, we have more than 150,000 battle-hardened Army and Marine forces on the ground in the region, capable of responding to any threat we face.

What’s going on? Looks like it’s showdown time with both Iran and Syria. President Bush has said in words of one syllable that Iran will not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons. He has also demanded that Syria completely withdraw its military and intelligence forces from Lebanon. Nor will George W. Bush rest quietly until the mullahs quit funding Hezbollah.

How many times do the president and the secretary of state need to say that we have not taken the military option off the table? The world by now should be getting the point. The president has also repeatedly said that he will respect Israel’s right to protect itself. Vice President Cheney has said very clearly that Israel could be expected to attack Iran the minute Israel decides that the mullahs have reached the “point of no return” and have everything they need to make an atomic bomb.

Neither the president of the United States nor the prime minister of Israel want to find out that the mullahs have nuclear weapons by seeing a mushroom cloud over Tel Aviv. On 9-11, we all had that type of rude awakening when we saw the second plane crash into the World Trade Center. The president must have privately sworn his own form of “never again” in pledging that he would not permit the U.S. to find out our enemies had shipped an improvised nuclear device into America by waking up one fine day to see a mushroom cloud over New York City or Washington, D.C.

Is it too late for diplomacy? No. But it is too late for more lies by the mullahs. Yes, the Europeans can continue their diplomacy. Yet the president has demanded more than words. If the mullahs do not intend to build an atomic bomb, then let them destroy their centrifuges and their heavy-water plant. The only purpose of the centrifuges is to enrich uranium to weapons grade. The only point of the heavy-water plant is to produce weapons-grade plutonium. Anything else the mullahs say is just another attempt by them to play the world for a fool.

George Bush is no fool. Nor does he have infinite patience. The president would clearly prefer to see freedom come to Iran and Lebanon by peaceful means. But, if all else fails, we have three nuclear-armed carrier battle groups in the region that are more than capable of resolving the problem.


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