Remember the Maine? Egyptians will.

Remember the Maine? In 1898 a popular uprising was threatening Spanish rule in Cuba. alright, it's actually the USS Baltimore, Flaccus Brothers Prepared Mustard The US Navy cruised to the rescue. The rescue of whom, we never got the chance to find out. An explosion aboard the USS Maine gave America the pretext to blame a Spanish torpedo. An America inflamed by a jingoist press declared war on Spain and promptly seized her colonies “to protect US interests,” by coincidence just as the indigenous populations were overcoming their colonizer and were about to win their freedom. Today a US attack fleet speeds toward Egypt. Washington asserts its mission is to evacuate US nationals if need be.

I’d like to imagine the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge will position itself off Egypt’s coast to facilitate the Egyptian government’s stable transition to Democracy.

Perhaps the fleet intends to augment the security which Hosni Mubarak is deliberately destabilizing in Egypt. Perhaps they will offer medical care for Egyptian protesters denied access to Cairo hospitals if their wounds incriminate the government. Perhaps sophisticated Navy electronics will provide an alternate internet backbone if Mubarak tries cut his people off the web. Perhaps the US Navy can help jam the state television station still broadcasting lies to the broader population. I’m hoping our navy can erect a gallows prominently on the bow, to threaten Mubarak, speaking in the only language the despicable dictator might understand, an urgency he doesn’t feel from the peaceful protesters of Tahrir Square.

Possible?

Is it more likely to be a false flag like the Maine? Remember the USS Liberty? That was a US intelligence ship attacked in 1967 by unmarked Israeli planes, hoping that Egypt would catch the blame? There was more to that story and anyway it didn’t work out.

Remember whatever boat it was attacked/not-attacked in the Gulf of Tonkin Incident? That worked.

“Showing the Flag” doesn’t have to be false flag. Remember the USS Cole? Worked in Yemen. Traditional foreign policy teaches that gunboat diplomacy asserts military dominance. Actually it runs a calculated risk. It draws out indignation and a show of defiance. Because a military wants to flush out resistance sooner than being taken by surprise.

Remember the enterprising Marines in Iraq who drove around with a megaphone insulting the Prophet Mohammad? They repeated Jesus Killed Mohammad until every last proud Muslim to renounce their blasphemy was baptized in an obliteration of firepower.

Remember the Maine? Americans remember the Maine like it remembers the Alamo or 9-11. We have no idea. We have no sense of deja vu about the US spreading its forces in defense of empire. I’m really hoping this is not the equivalent of the Soviets sending their tanks into Hungary in 1956.

But Americans have nothing on the educated Egyptians. Whatever America’s gunships have in mind, the Arab world has seen it. Jan25 organizers continue to defy media expectations about the movement losing steam. Attendance keep rising, yesterday pro-Mubarak citizens were proclaiming their changed allegiance. Today the labor unions are recognizing the imperative of launching a general strike, and protesters are venturing outside of the central demonstrations, threatening government buildings and facilities.

With every successive day of victories for the Democracy-seeking demonstrators of Tahrir Square, I have every confidence that the Egyptians will outwit this latest US envoy convoy.

1 thought on “Remember the Maine? Egyptians will.

  1. AvatarBrother Jonah

    The Maddox.

    Under the command (fleet level) of Rear Admiral George Morrison, at the time the youngest ever Admiral in the U.S. Navy and … father of Jim Morrison of the musical group “The Doors”.

    C’mon baby, light my fire….

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