Subject: We Are Going To Hit
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
taskedto 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 couldn't 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
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 Iran."
"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
"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.
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 t
his 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
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 discussion that are going in 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 turn out."
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