Sinking the US navy 2

Iran is intent on gaining control of the vital shipping lanes that run through the Persian Gulf and the Straits of Hormuz and beyond. To achieve this, it will need to drive out the American fleets. It has been rehearsing the conflict.

In Phases Two and Three of Iran’s biggest sea exercise ever (May 6-7) …  its Navy and Revolutionary Guards acted out a scenario for driving US naval forces out of the Persian Gulf after defeating them – as well as responding to potential retaliatory American WMD strikes. …

The eight-day war game, dubbed “The Last Prophet” or “Judgment Day,” spans a 250,000-kilometer area from the strategic Hormuz Strait to the Gulf of Aden, with the accent for the first time on the Indian Ocean.

Iran has mobilized the best part of its naval, air, commando and elite forces for a drill whose codenames signal its goals: Simulating Iran’s perception of its final battle with America and its ending with US forces beaten and put to flight from the regions covered by the exercise. Thereupon, a victorious Islamic Republic of Iran is seen as assuming the role of regional superpower.

Iranian officials told observers from neighboring countries that Persian Gulf security can be achieved without a “foreign military presence” in the strategic waters. The Iranian Navy, they said, had demonstrated its fitness for sole responsibility over the security of the Persian Gulf, the Sea of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz, through which 40 percent of the world’s crude is channeled to market.

The war game’s spokesman, Rear Admiral Qasem Rostamabadi, disclosed: “Passing ships were successfully checked by destroyers, frigates, special operations teams and naval commandos in line with the goal of establishing security and peace in transit routes bound for the Hormuz Strait and the Persian Gulf.”

This disclosure meant Iran had already begun grabbing control of the oil routes from the American and emirates’ fleets.

The Iranian naval officer went on to describe the second phase of the exercise as “involving the detection and subsequent destruction of marine and submarine targets as well as conducting rescue drills for chemical, biological and nuclear strikes.” …

Iran’s entire fighter-bomber fleet flew the full extent of its flight range as far as the Arabian Sea and northern Indian Ocean, appearing for the first time over the Somali coast. Iran thus flexed its aerial muscles in pursuit of a far-reaching ambition to displace American naval strength – not only in a broad perimeter around its shores but as far afield as the Horn of Africa, the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea approaches.

Meanwhile, back in Washington, D.C., Robert Gates, who is almost as silly and useless a Secretary of Defense as Janet Napolitano is a Secretary of Homeland Security, has a plan to reduce American naval power. The  enemy at sea that he (laughingly) recognizes are merely “teen-age pirates” – by which he presumably means Somalian terrorists harassing ships off the Horn of Africa.

Investor’s Business Daily, more concerned with the growing Iranian and Chinese naval power and reach, reports and comments:

Our defense secretary proposes doing what no other foreign adversary has done: sink the U.S. Navy. We don’t need those billion-dollar destroyers, he says. …

We find the recent remarks of Defense Secretary Robert Gates to the Navy League at the Sea-Air-Space expo … disturbing. He seems to think naval supremacy is a luxury we can’t afford and that, like every other aspect of our military, an already shrunken U.S. Navy needs to downsize.

“As we learned last year, you don’t necessarily need a billion-dollar guided missile destroyer to chase down and deal with a bunch of teenage pirates wielding AK-47s and RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades),” Gates quipped.

We are not laughing.

Pubescent pirates aren’t the only threat we face. Last month, a Chinese naval task force from the East Sea Fleet — including the imposing Sovremenny-class guided missile destroyers, frigates and submarines — passed through the Miyako Strait near Okinawa, a move that sent shock waves through Japan.

The exercise took place just days after warships from the North Sea Fleet returned from what China’s army-navy called “confrontation exercises” in the South China Sea.

Do we really need 11 carrier strike groups for another 30 years when no other country has more than one?” Gates asked. The answer is yes. Our national interests are global, in every ocean. Some will be in port, and others will be meeting commitments from the Persian Gulf to the Taiwan Strait.

It’s well to consider the “new challenges,” as Gates put it, in the form of anti-ship missiles in the hands of the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah or the threat posed by Iran’s arsenal of missiles, mines and speed boats near the Strait of Hormuz. But new challenges don’t make the old ones go away. We must be prepared to meet them all.

“At the end of the day, we have to ask whether this nation can really afford a Navy that relies on $3 billion to $6 billion destroyers, $7 billion submarines and $11 billion carriers,” Gates said.

The question is whether we can afford not to. Defense, unlike health care, is a constitutional imperative. …