- I have a friend who is an LSO on a carrier attack group
that is planning and staging a strike group deployment into the Gulf of
Hormuz. (LSO: Landing Signal Officer- she directs carrier aircraft while
landing) She told me we are going to attack Iran. She said that all the
Air Operation Planning and Asset Tasking are finished. That means that
all the targets have been chosen, prioritized, and tasked to specific aircraft,
bases, carriers, missile cruisers and so forth.
- I asked her why she is telling me this.
- Her answer was really amazing...
- She started in the Marines and after 8 years her term
was up. She had served on a smaller Marine carrier, and found out through
a friend knew there was an opening for a junior grade LSO in a training
position on a supercarrier. She used the reference and the information
and applied for a transfer to the United States Navy. Since she had experience
landing F-18Cs and Cobra Gunships, and an unblemished combat record, she
was ratcheted into the job, successfully changing from the Marines to the
Navy. Her role is still aligned with the Marines since she generally is
assigned to liason with the Marine units deploying off her carrier group.
- Like most Marines and former Marines, she is largely
apolitical. The fact is, most Marines are trigger pullers and most trigger
pullers could care less who the President is. They simply want to be the
tip of the sword when it comes to defending the country. She voted once
in her life and otherwise was always in some forward post on the water
during election season.
- Something is wrong with the Navy and the Marines in her
view. Always ready to go in harms way, Marines rarely ever question unless
it's a matter of tactics or honor. But something seems awry. Junior and
senior officers are starting to grumble, roll their eyes in the hallways.
The strain of deployments is beginning to hit every jot and tittle of the
Marines and it's beginning to seep into the daily conversation of Marines
and Naval officers in command decision.
- "I know this will sound crazy coming from a Naval
officer", she said. "But we're all just waiting for this administration
to end. Things that happen at the senior officer level seem more and more
to happen outside of the purview of XOs and other officers who typically
have a say-so in daily combat and flight operations. Today, orders just
come down from the mountaintop and there's no questioning. In fact, there
is no discussing it. I have seen more than one senior commander disappear
and then three weeks later we find out that he has been replaced. That's
really weird. It's also really weird because everyone who has disappeared
has questioned whether or not we should be staging a massive attack on
- "We're not stupid. Most of the members of the fleet
read well enough to know what is going on world-wise. We also realize that
anyone who has any doubts is in danger of having a long military career
yanked out from under them. Keep in mind that most of the people I serve
with are happy to be a part of the global war on terror. It's just that
the touch points are what we see since we are the ones out here who are
supposedly implementing this grand strategy. But when you liason with administration
officials who don't know that Iranians don't speak Arabic and have no idea
what Iranians live like, then you start having second thoughts about whether
these Administration officials are even competent."
- I asked her about the attack, how limited and so forth.
- "I don't think it's limited at all. We are shipping
in and assigning every damn Tomahawk we have in inventory. I think this
is going to be massive and sudden, like thousands of targets. I believe
that no American will know when it happens until after it happens. And
the consequences...whatever the consequences...they will have to be lived
with. I am sure if my father knew I was telling someone in a news organization
that we were about to launch a supposedly secret attack that it would be
treason. But something inside me tells me to tell it anyway."
- I asked her why she was suddenly so cynical.
- "I have become cynical only recently. I also don't
believe anyone will be able to stop this. Bush has become something of
an Emperor. He will give the command, and cruise missiles will fly
and aircraft will fly and people will die, and yet few of us here are really
able to cobble together a great explanation of why this is a good idea.
Of course many of us can give you the 4H Club lecture on democracy in the
Mid East. But if you asked any of the flight officers whether they have
a clear idea of what the goal of this strike is, your answer would sound
like something out of a think tank policy paper. But it's not like Kosovo
or when we relieved the tsunami victims. There everyone could tell you
in a sentence what we were here doing."
- "That's what's missing. A real sense of purpose.
What's missing is the answer to what the hell are we doing out here threatening
this country with all this power? Last night in the galley, an ensign asked
what right do we have to tell a sovereign nation that they can't build
a nuke. I mean the table got EF Hutton quiet. Not so much because the man
was asking a question that was off culture. But that he was asking a good
question. In fact, the discussion actually followed afterwards topside
where someone in our group had to smoke a cigarette. The discussion was
intelligent but also in lowered voices. It's like we aren't allowed to
ask the questions that we always ask before combat. It's almost as if the
average seaman or soldier is doing all the policy work."
- She had to hang up. She left by telling me that she believes
the attack is a done deal. "It's only a matter of time before their
orders come and they will be sent to station and told to go to Red Alert.
She said they were already practicing traps, FARP and FAST." (Trapping
is the act of catching the tension wires when landing on the carrier, FARP
is Fleet Air Combat Maneuvering Readiness Program- practice dogfighting-
and FAST is Fleet Air Superiority Training).
- She seemed lost. The first time in my life I have ever
heard her sound off rhythm, or unsure of why she is doing something. She
knows that there is something rotten in the Naval Command and she, like
many of her associates are just hoping that the election brings in someone
new, some new situation, or something.
- "Yes. We're gong to hit Iran, bigtime. Whatever
political discussions that are going on is window dressing and perhaps
even a red herring. I see what's going on below deck here in the hangars
and weapons bays. And I have a sick feeling about how it's all going to