The Rosett Report

Iran Tests the Waters in Straits of Hormuz

Here’s a question, as Iran gets ever bolder in the face of U.S. appeasement, denial and Irrational Intelligence Estimates — Is Ahmadinejad’s tailor already at work preemptively stitching up leisure suits for American sailors?

Shades of the British hostage-taking outrage last March, Iranian gunboats have just threatened three U.S. Navy ships in the vital Gulf chokepoint of the Straits of Hormuz. According to a Pentagon spokesman, the Iranian boats made “aggressive maneuvers” indicating “some hostile intent.” The threat was bad enough so that the U.S. ships, according to the Pentagon, had to “issue warnings and conduct some evasive maneuvers.”

According to some news accounts now rolling in, the details were rather more alarming than that. The Times of London, for instance, is reporting that “Iran speedboats ‘threatened suicide attack on US’ in Strait of Hormuz.”

With President Bush about to head out Tuesday on a swing through the Middle East, what is the administration doing about this? Words, words, words. The Pentagon tells us “The Defense Department will work with the White House and State Department officials to come up with the appropriate way to address the incident with the Iranian government.”

This would be the same State Department currently making excuses for North Korea’s regime missing yet another deadline on its erstwhile “disarmament” deal? This would be the same White House that is now running out the clock on Bush’s final year on office, while Iran’s centrifuges whirl their way toward an era of Iranian nuclear extortion and dominance in the Middle East?

Iran by any normal intelligence estimate is, yes indeed, pursuing the bomb. Iran has threatened the existence of Israel; backed, trained and helped arm the Hezbollah terrorists now consuming Lebanon; backed and armed terrorists who have murdered civilians and U.S. soldiers in Iraq. Iran’s government has been been spreading totalitarian, ideological poison around the world for almost three decades, in some cases by example, in others by direct dispatch of armed terrorists. And when Iran used its gunboats last year to test the international waters by taking hostage 15 British soldiers, returning them after a humiliating ordeal, in which those bizarre leisure suits were just the finishing touch in Tehran’s swaggering display of manipulation, violation, and pushing-the-envelope, Iran paid no price.

For almost three decades, Iran’s Islamic regime has played hostage politics to its own enormous advantage. If the Bush administration in response to this latest threat does nothing but issue a “warning,” Tehran doesn’t even need to take hostages. America loses another round, and together with our allies we move one step further along the road from accepting Iranian leisure suits, to accepting Iranian blackmail backed by mushroom clouds.