Reuters: U.S. destroyer fires warning shots at Iranian boats because Trump is bellicose, or something

Reuters: U.S. destroyer fires warning shots at Iranian boats because Trump is bellicose, or something
An Iranian attack craft swarm from a recent naval exercise. (Image via

It’s happened again.

The original report by Reuters was written in a deceptive fashion that seemed to make this incident “about” the incoming Trump administration.  So I edited it for our excerpt.  You can read the whole thing at the link.  Or see the unedited excerpt further below.

A U.S. Navy destroyer fired three warning shots at four Iranian fast-attack vessels near the Strait of Hormuz after they closed in at high speed and disregarded repeated requests to slow down, U.S. officials said on Monday.

The incident…occurred on Sunday and was first reported by Reuters…

“This was an unsafe and unprofessional interaction, and that is due to the fact that they were approaching at a high level of speed with weapons manned and disregarding repeated warnings,” Captain Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a briefing.

The warning shots were fired at the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps boats by the USS Mahan after it established radio contact but failed to get them to slow down, Davis said, confirming earlier accounts of U.S. defense officials.

Those officials, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said the Iranian vessels came within 900 yards (800 meters) of the Navy destroyer, which was escorting two other U.S. military ships.

The Mahan also fired flares and a U.S. Navy helicopter also dropped a smoke float before the warning shots, they said.

The disgusting thing here is the packaging by Reuters, which after several years of intense maritime provocation from Iran now frames the 8 January incident as if it’s about Trump’s warning to Iran during the election campaign.  Here’s the unedited version of Reuters’ second paragraph:

The incident, which occurred on Sunday and was first reported by Reuters, comes as U.S. President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take office on Jan. 20. In September, Trump vowed that any Iranian vessels that harassed the U.S. Navy in the Gulf would be “shot out of the water.”

You have to read down a dozen paragraphs to get to an acknowledgment that this has happened before at all.  And the Reuters report never makes clear that in Obama’s last 13 months in office, Iran has unlawfully seized two U.S. Navy patrol boats; engaged in provocative behavior using Iranian patrol boats nearly every day; fired rockets at sea in extremely dangerous proximity to civilian and U.S. Navy shipping in international transit lanes; pointed weapons at U.S. Navy ships; and armed rebels in Yemen who launched anti-ship missiles at U.S. Navy ships in the Red Sea — a series of incidents in which Iranians were probably directly involved.

Consider how Reuters reports (or, technically, doesn’t) on the unlawful seizure of the U.S. patrol boats on 12 January 2016:

In January 2016, Iran freed 10 U.S. sailors after briefly detaining them in the Gulf.

Can’t make this stuff up.

If you had a short attention span and didn’t read independent media, you’d come away from the Reuters report thinking Iran was taunting USS Mahan (DDG-72) because of Donald Trump’s warning in September.

But I know you all know better than that.

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer is a retired Naval Intelligence officer who lives in Southern California, blogging as The Optimistic Conservative for domestic tranquility and world peace. Her articles have appeared at Hot Air, Commentary’s Contentions, Patheos, The Daily Caller, The Jewish Press, and The Weekly Standard.

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