The recent standoff in the Strait of Hormuz between US ships and Iranian vessels wasn’t the first naval confrontation between these two countries. In 2002, a $250 million war game was carried out by the US military, in which small, fast Iranian speedboats were able to sink 16 major US warships, including an aircraft carrier.

In the New York Times, Thom Shanker quotes retired Marine Corps officer Paul Van Riper as saing, “The sheer numbers of attackers overloaded the ability of the ships and their crews, both mentally and electronically, to handle the attack. The whole thing was over in five, maybe 10 minutes.” It’s something to think about before we start a war with Iran. Small boats have been used before by terrorists targeting US assets. The most famous example is the USS Cole, which was attacked by a small vessel on October 12, 2000 while docked in Aden. The vessel was badly damaged, and 17 US sailors were killed.

Another possible example involves the infamous TWA Flight 800 explosion, which took place off Long Island on July 17, 1996. This disaster was eventually blamed on faulty wiring in a fuel tank, but the fiery streak of an apparent missile rising toward the plane was never satisfactorily explained. The one vessel in the waters beneath the plane that the FBI was unable to identify was a speedboat, which raced out to sea from the precise area where the streak was seen rising toward the plane.

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