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July 17, 2006

Courting Disaster Palestine/Middle East

This is a truly bad idea.

Hezbollah has already used missiles to damage an Israeli warship and sink a Cambodian merchant vessel. So now the Bush regime wants to use a cruise ship to evacuate some 5000 US citizens from Lebanon. A big, fat, slow-moving cruise ship. MSNBC:

U.S. Marines raced Monday to complete naval and air evacuation plans for thousands of Americans in Lebanon — an operation U.S. military official said carries "some risk."

The Orient Queen, a commercial ship hired by the government, will sail into a Beirut port Tuesday escorted by the destroyer USS Gonzales and possibly the USS Iwo Jimato. The cruise ship will try to rescue the estimated 5,000 citizens who are so far wanting to leave.

Imagine the stampede for war if this cruise ship is struck and lots of Americans are killed. As Steven Clemons says:

[T]here are players on all sides of this conflict that may find a floating, slow, and poorly defended elephant of a ship too tempting of a target. Real or contrived, any potential attack would look like a Hezbollah attack.

...[S]erious planners have to be worried about sending a cruise ship, a slow moving huge target, into a war zone.

A variety of forces would love to see the war escalate. Any one of them can get its wish with a well-placed missile or bomb, and Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran will be left holding the bag. It's an open invitation to disaster. Or is that the point?

[Thanks, Miles]

Posted by Jonathan at July 17, 2006 11:17 PM  del.icio.us digg NewsVine Reddit YahooMyWeb

Comments

Steve Clemons has no military experience and zero experience evacuating people, let alone 5000 people. So when Steve says that the cruise ship is "poorly defended", I'm going to disagree with that opinion.

The USS Gonzales is a destroyer. The USS Iwo Jima is an assault ship. An assault ship. So a destroyer and possibly an assault ship will be escorting the cruise liner. Although this may be a bit like dangling a carrot, it's far from being poorly defended.

This is a huge undertaking, so serious planners would be worried about sending ANY ship into a war zone to evacuate 5000 people. Also, let's not forget that none of these ships (all huge) are speed boats, so aiming a missile at any of them requires about the same skill level.

Bush needs brownie points, home more than anyplace else. A successful recovery of this many US citizens might give him a few extra points. Imagine the backlash if this mission fails. And a cruise ship was used.

This kind of thinking is a stretch.

Posted by: Jeff at July 18, 2006 03:19 PM

Nine Navy ships sent to evac:

http://today.reuters.com/news/newsarticle.aspx?type=topNews&storyid=2006-07-19T015235Z_01_WBT005656_RTRUKOC_0_US-MIDEAST-USA-EVACUATION.xml&WTmodLoc=NewsArt-R2-Today-2

Posted by: Jeff at July 18, 2006 09:47 PM