Juan Cole makes some interesting points questioning the allegations behind the Iranian speedboat case in the Persian Gulf. He points to this article in McClatchy where the Republican candidates debate the issue:
“One of the most animated exchanges came when the candidates were asked whether they backed the Navy’s cautious response recently when Iranian boats reportedly harassed U.S. vessels in the Persian Gulf.
Huckabee said anyone who challenges the Navy again should be prepared to go to the “gates of hell.” Thompson said anyone testing the Navy might soon meet the “virgins” that Islamic terrorists expect to meet in heaven.
Texas Rep. Ron Paul called the bellicose language frightening and reminiscent of the reaction to an alleged naval exchange that led to the Vietnam War. “I would certainly urge a lot more caution than I’m hearing here tonight,” Paul said.
Romney cracked that Paul should stop reading Iranian propaganda, drawing what sounded like boos from the audience and a glare from Paul.”
After analyzing the contents of the Pentagon’s tape—which combines separate video and audio tracks—the Iranians charge that the tape was doctored and released their own recording of th event.
Irancove @ January 12, 2008