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23 April 2020


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Yeah, Right

We both accept that I know shit about the concept of a chain of command, so I'm asking this question out of genuine ignorance: can an officer take it upon himself to start shooting up Iranian speedboats on the basis of what the Commander In Chief has just pronounced on public TV?

Wouldn't the existing (written, I assume) RoE remain until such time as the new directive from the CiC works its way down the chain of command and arrives on that Captain's desk?

If that is the case (and, again, I admit I don't know) then the reporter's question may be poorly phrased, but is not necessarily idiotic.


Yeah Right

IMO as a person who has participated in revisions of ROE in real life, an oral directive from the CinC stated to the Secretary of Defense and CJCS is sufficient to change the ROE. The paperwork will catch up later. If a US Navy or Coast Guard CO allows the Iranians to damage his ship he/she will be held accountable. The Iranians should knock it off. Now! Would there be Iranian retribution in some place like Syria or Iraq? Very likely.


I listen most mornings to the Trump task force briefings. They are very informative. I heard Trump tell Iran to knock it off or else. You can’t get any clearer than that.

Grumete Elora Danan

But...Which coast have the US Coast Guard to guard in the Persian Gulf


I personally think the IRGC Navy brass that authorize these harassment swarms have watched too many Mad Max movies.

But why doesn't the Navy's LRAD sound cannon seem to be working? Those Iranian fast boats stayed in the area for at least an hour. Were they too close in for it to be effective (the LR in LRAD stands for Long Range)? Or do the IRGC sailors now use ear protection? Doubtful as the LRAD sound cannon can put out 160 dB. Is it possible for them to have developed a sound interference system similar to what LRAD uses to protect the operator? Or is the LRAD too slow to track fast moving speedboats? It was used successfully in the past against Somali pirates, but they were in slow skiffs. Those IRGC speedboats, based on the British Bradstone Challenger award winning racer, can reportedly do over 70 knots (80+ mph).



Elora Dana

You are an ignoramus. The USCG is bigger than the Spanish Navy. We have two navies. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Coast_Guard#Equipment



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phalanx_CIWS To hell with sound cannons. Leave the wreckage burning on the water.


Turcopolier - The sound cannons do not appear to be working so to hell with them is a good idea.

And IRGCN wreckage burning on the water would satisfy me and probably satisfy lots of US sailors. But I'm not sure it would bring joy to the hearts of US troops based in Iraq that are under threat of Iranian ballistic missile attack such as what happened in January at the airbases in Asad and Erbil.

So better IMHO would be to use Seal Team snipers to take out the IRGC coxswain steering any boat that comes too close. Or take out the engine of a harassing boat instead of sinking it. That would get the message across and still be considered proportional and reasonable in the eyes of the international community. Would there be a counter response? Yes, but perhaps the Ayatollahs would recognize the proportionality and restrain the more fanatical whackos in the Revolutionary Guards.



I mentioned retaliation in Iraq and Syria. We should get out of those places, places where we should not have that kind of "hostages." No, burning wreckage is what I want to see.


I too have long thought we should leave Iraq and Syria to the residents.



If. you can reliably shoot a coxswain or an engine of a fast moving Iranian speed boat with a sniper rifle I’d be surprised. I don’t think I could even in my prime and I was regarded as pretty good. Miss and you loose the element of surprise.

CIWS would send a more emphatic message.

Yeah, Right

"No, burning wreckage is what I want to see."

I'd be curious to see a map of where the Iranians carry out those harassment swarms. Are they careful to only do them within the "distant cover" of their shore-based anti-ship missiles?

In which case burning wreckage may well exactly what you want to see, only to see that the Iranians have standing orders to immediately light up the US vessel with radar and fire salvo after salvo of silkworm missiles at it until it, too, is burning wreckage.

Just a thought worth considering.


Why is the USCG there?
Are their ships (cutters) sufficiently armed to deal with IRGC?
And, the CG is always asking for more money for Arctic operations (justifiably) so why they are spending resources doing the USN's job?


Sounds like he is laying the groundwork for another Gulf of Tonkin episode, whether he means to or not.

Whatever his own instincts, Trump is surrounded by the same guys that W was. Sure, the names are different, but it's the same guys.

This alone shows that not at all the transformational candidate he purported to be, at least with regard to our continued efforts at achieving Zionist foreign policy objectives.



I guess you could not be bothered to take the time to read the wiki on USCG. They routinely reinforce the navy in war situations. This is not a maritime police force. It is, among other things, a blue water navy in itself.


yeah, right

"Silkworm?" That piece of s--t?

Yeah, Right

Indeed a piece of shite.
Did you know that the Japanese were sticking bombs on their trainers and flinging those at US warships.

Worthless shite in anyone's language, but they were flinging enough of them that weight of numbers became an issue.


Walrus - Definitely a tough shot. Lots of factors involved. But doable with the right person on the trigger. Those boats won't always be doing 70 knots and won't always be zigzagging. There will be patterns that can be taken advantage of. Even a miss of the coxswain that still hits the boat sends a clear message. Save the CIWS rounds for their designed purpose to protect against incoming missiles or aircraft that got through the screen.

Vegetius - I blame the first-in-his-class but still pig-ignorant Secretary of State. But you may be right that Trump is leary to fire him for political reasons.



I am quite uncertain if a further escalation with Iran will improve the strategic position of either the USA or the west.

Iranian sea-mine (mines arent sexy, but they are quite effective) and kind of crappy but lots of them rocket swarm warfare may well do a number. I would also be unsurprised if Iran reopens its old assasination toolkit. They used to be fairly reasonable at that, and well, Tit for Tat has always been a thing with them too.

Both Russia and China may be interested in seeing how an Iranian missle swarm, backed by a smallish number of not so crappy missles will fare as well.


I guess I have to play devil advocate and ask if the Iranians are actually breaking any international law or laws of the sea. If they were to attack or even damage a US ship then a kinetic response would be warranted. But if they are simply thumbing their nose at US ships, and they are technically not violating any laws of the sea, attacking them for harassing behaviour may come back to haunt the US when China "shoots down" some US vessel for "harassing behaviour" in the South China Sea. Iran is not a nuclear power - but Russia and China are, and China and Russia are not going to accept a different set of rules for them than what apply to the US.



What is the word? Ah, yes, "wimp."



Another wimp. I went through all that business with Iranian sea mines during the Iran-Iraq War. Not so formidable.


Yeah, right

Have I heard of the Divine Wind? You really are an obnoxious little creep. You are banned



with all due respect, I am not American.
You war with Iran or you dont, it wont be my blood unless it escalates massively to involve Russia/China on the Iranian and Nato on the US sides. In that case it will be my blood, ironically on opposing sides as I am half German half Russian. I vowed to defend Germany rather then Russia during my service in the German rather then Russian army, so I am your ally. I am attempting to prevent you from undertaking actions that are very likely to be quite detrimental to your own strategic position, moreso if you dismiss the degree, intensitiy and effectiveness of likely Iranian resistance.

From an analyst pov., the Iran-Iraq war happened right after the revolution, with an Iranian military establishment going through purges/defections and the afromentioned existential major land war with Iraq etc.

Iran has a pretty different military establishment (which is for one, actually established) now. This military establishment spent what, nearly 40 years preparing for a possible American war. Persians arent morons. Assuming that these decades of preparations wont have an effect is incredibly questionable.
Extrapolating current Iranian performance from Iran-Iraq war Iranian performance is akin to predicting Soviet WW2 military performance from Soviet military performance during Russian civil war or the Soviet Polish war.
While one could draw successfull inferences from it (considering f.e. shortcomings in Soviet logistics, which were very much present during operation Barbarossa) but on a whole, the Red army of 1941 was a pretty different beast compared to the Red army of 1921-1923 and performed very differently compared to said red army.

Secondly, a 1940 German analyst who predicted an easy collapse of the RKKA during Barbarossa based on Polish-Soviet war performance would have to awnswer question why more recent Soviet wars/conflicts, such as Kalkhin Gol did not change his assumptions. Germany in 1940 being what it was, such questions did not get asked at a high enough level.
As a matter of fact, said German analyst would probably be on safer grounds to dismiss Soviet military capability then you are in dismissing Iranian capability, as he could marshall the Soviet debacle in the Winter war in the defense of his "Not so formidable!" argument. Iran has meanwhile had a Kalklin Gol (Hezbollahs victory over Israel in 2006) but no winter war equivalent (perhaps the initial loss of Iranian backed Afghan warlords to the Taleban, but comparing this to the winter war is a sizeable stretch). Their efforts in Iraq/Syria are meeting their political objectives, at acceptable costs. This is a clear step up from their performance in the Iraq/Iran war.

Meanwhile, Iranian proxies/IRGC performed adequately in their recent conflicts, Iran position in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and arguably Afghanistan have improved considerably due to the efforts of their frequently proxied armed forces, they do not have to contend with a possible Soviet/Russian threat (which was a concern for the Iranians, given the Anglo Soviet invasion of Iran during WW2, as well as the well documented and quite forcefull Soviet Support of Kurdish independence, during the 1980s), while the US has to take into account Russian and Chinese opportunism.

Overall, Irans position is massively and overwhelmingly stronger right now then it was during the Iran-Iraq war. It is not stronger then the USA, but it is much stronger then it was.
Failing to take this into account will cause uneccesary US casulties and make an escalation more likely and more costly.
Failing to take this into account on a operational/strategic level, by committing insufficient forces to such an operation based on underestimating the level and intensity of Irans counter measures, could cause a US defeat in one of the initial battles, essentially a repeat of the 2006 Hezbollah war with the US being in Israels and Iran in Hezbollahs role.
This will have massive reprecursions.
The US could/should eventually prevail even if it suffers an initial defeat, but will do so at costs (strategic, human, material and morale) that considerably exceed initial US assumptions.
It is also possible that initial defeats create comparable command paralysis to the one that affected Israeli leadership in 2006, but I find this fairly unlikely as the overall correlation of forces (both quantity and quality, Irans forces are imho not qualitatively better then Hezbollahs, while I would argue that American forces enjoy a qualitative edge over Israels, particularly over 2006s Israels which was hamstrung by being in the process of adopting a pretty dumb doctrine) is more favorable to the US, and the current US doctrine for battle is not obviously inherently stupid, which Israels was in 2006.

English Outsider

Vegetius - I think this is the sort of thing they're worried about -


Fact is, the Iranians are being stupid. They might know that their boats are doing no more than conducting dangerous manouevres. So might the Captain of that American ship.

But there are a number of non-state actors who have the resources and ability to put a boat in the water similar to those Iranian boats but to use it to do what was done to the USS Cole.

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