Tom Petty, a philosopher from Florida, noted that the waiting is the hardest part.
You may be waiting for the start of the new year – or more likely a vigorous and ceremonial kick to the curb of the current year — or a Buffalo Bills playoff game, or the start of the Sabres season. You may be waiting for whatever nonsense Senate Republicans will attempt to pull on Jan. 6, or a presidential inauguration and a long-awaited exhalation, or at least a partial exhalation.
I know you’re not waiting to try out the snow shovel you received for Christmas. Me, I await Armageddon.
Obscured by pandemics, grandstanding politicians, financial ruin, the holidays, sports and the other distractions comes information of a buildup of arms, personnel and potential hostilities in the Middle East which could cause an observer of this stuff to question why he’s not watching the “Entertainment Tonight” channel instead.
Here’s the deal, at least from one perspective: the Israeli military is awaiting retaliation from Iran for its assassination of top Iranian nuclear scientist Moshen Fakhdizadeh. Jan. 3 marks the first anniversary of the death of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who you’ll recall took a cruise missile in the lap while in a car as it drove through Iraq.
So the Iranian government might have revenge on its mind, and since they like anniversary retaliations, I am watching Jan. 3 for something other than the Bills game against the Dolphins.
You read defense news websites, you learn some interesting things, like how one of the Israeli Navy’s three missile-firing submarines passed through the Suez Canal last week, from Israel to the Red Sea, and how they accomplished it.
Loudly, that’s how. The submarine remained on the water’s surface, not the usual way to do it, to make it clear to the world that the sub was moving into position of some sort.
A few days earlier, the U.S. Navy accomplished something similar, as the submarine USS Georgia, which incidentally carries 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles, passed through the Strait of Hormuz, with two guided-missile-cruisers as escorts and plenty of publicity, something the Navy never offers when it comes to submarine movement.
Get the idea? Things are lining up if the Iranian government attempts some missile-firing.
You may have heard that U.S. troops are leaving Somalia, where they are engaged in battling extremists and terrorists. It’s President Trump’s idea – his ideas are always worthy of consideration – although the 700 or so troops will depart for base caps in nearby countries. So the U.S. Navy sent over a little support to keep the soldiers from attack while packing up and moving out.
I refer to the Nimitz Strike Group, which consists of one aircraft carrier – the USS Nimitz – and its 60 aircraft, and several escort ships loaded with missiles. They are currently parked in water off the Somalia coast, and if that sounds like overkill to you or some al-Shabab terrorist, keep in mind that it would not take much to turn all that firepower around and head for the Arabian Sea, the Red Sea or similar places where a clear shot at Iran could occur.
I am not a fan of “end times” interpretations of history, and would prefer to think about things like football and government checks in the mail, but there seems to be a confluence of events going on here. Factor in a current theory that the current president may be prone to trashing everything around him before departing, and we may be on to some excitement in the new year.
Is a war about to begin? I don’t know. Is all of this preparation for potential war conducted without the majority of Americans aware of it? I am more secure in that feeling.
While the pandemic is undoubtedly an important news story, it is a predictable and relatively easy one to cover. Read the government-supplied facts, interview some doctors and there you are. That’s what the reader/viewer gets every day. Similarly, the antics of government depend on “reliable sources,” elected leaders’ spokespeople and similar commentators. It’s not an easy story to cover, but a dependable one.
The buildup of forces leading to war near the plains of Armageddon, vividly described in the Book of Revelations if you can get through all the symbolism, is nigh, or maybe it’s not. If it’s Iran versus a coalition of anti-Iran, I know where to put my bet and I think the Iranians do, too, but if the new guy in the White House suddenly becomes a wartime president, it will anger but not surprise me, a phrase I have lately used a lot while studying the news.
Contact Ed Adamczyk at EdinKenmore@gmail.com.