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Subject: We Are Going To Hit Iran...Bigtime

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 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 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 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. 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 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 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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