Now It's Just Getting Ridiculous
Coming quickly on the heels of Time magazine's non-story of the impending minesweeper deployment, The Nation has uncovered another shocking piece to the puzzle of our "impending" attack on Iran -- The Eisenhower Strike Group is about to deploy! Here's an excerpt of what they say:
As reports circulate of a sharp debate within the White House over possible US military action against Iran and its nuclear enrichment facilities, The Nation has learned that the Bush Administration and the Pentagon have issued orders for a major "strike group" of ships, including the nuclear aircraft carrier Eisenhower as well as a cruiser, destroyer, frigate, submarine escort and supply ship, to head for the Persian Gulf, just off Iran's western coast. This information follows a report in the current issue of Time magazine, both online and in print, that a group of ships capable of mining harbors has received orders to be ready to sail for the Persian Gulf by October 1...Emphasis mine. All this is fascinating if true, but here's the kicker -- the Eisenhower ESG completed their JTFEX at the end of July, so an October deployment would be right on time (or maybe even a little later than normal) for a regular deployment cycle. They most assuredly wouldn't do a JTFEX in the summer if they weren't supposed to deploy until "next spring". The writer from The Nation is just making stuff up. This whole meme that's spreading through the lefty media reminds me of the great "Summer Pulse" scare of 2004 when people were tracking carrier deployments as proof of an impended U.S. attack on Iran just before the 2004 elections.
...According to Lieut. Mike Kafka, a spokesman at the headquarters of the Second Fleet, based in Norfolk, Virginia, the Eisenhower Strike Group, bristling with Tomahawk cruise missiles, has received recent orders to depart the United States in a little over a week. Other official sources in the public affairs office of the Navy Department at the Pentagon confirm that this powerful armada is scheduled to arrive off the coast of Iran on or around October 21.
The Eisenhower had been in port at the Naval Station Norfolk for several years for refurbishing and refueling of its nuclear reactor; it had not been scheduled to depart for a new duty station until at least a month later, and possibly not till next spring. Family members, before the orders, had moved into the area and had until then expected to be with their sailor-spouses and parents in Virginia for some time yet. First word of the early dispatch of the "Ike Strike" group to the Persian Gulf region came from several angry officers on the ships involved, who contacted antiwar critics like retired Air Force Col. Sam Gardiner and complained that they were being sent to attack Iran without any order from the Congress...
...One solid indication that the dispatch of the Eisenhower is part of a force buildup would be if the carrier Enterprise--currently in the Arabian Sea, where it has been launching bombing runs against the Taliban in Afghanistan, and which is at the end of its normal six-month sea tour--is kept on station instead of sent back to the United States. Arguing against simple rotation of tours is the fact that the Eisenhower's refurbishing and its dispatch were rushed forward by at least a month. A report from the Enterprise on the Navy's official website referred to its ongoing role in the Afghanistan fighting, and gave no indication of plans to head back to port. The Navy itself has no comment on the ship's future orders.
These people seriously need to get another angle to play -- this one's getting old.