President Bush's desire for a Gulf of Tonkin moment may have just gotten closer. Like the original 1964 incident that found President Johnson lying to the American people about "unprovoked" attacks on US naval vessels, the US is once again dancing around foreign waters and moving dangerously close to provoking Iran or luring them into a confrontation, by hook or by crook.
A report on CNN.com says that while Iranian patrol boats have not been aggressive to Iraqi or US forces, "a senior U.S. Navy officer said he thinks Iran is trying to see what response its actions get from Iraqi and U.S. naval forces." It's that response that could trigger a military conflict with Iran just as it did in the Vietnamese gulf that provided the name of a resolution allowing Johnson to openly engage in a wider military action against the NVA.
The idea is to gain public (and Congressional) support for military action against a country because they attacked our troops, thus requiring appropriate action. The problem being that the war in Iraq is already profoundly unpopular in the US and increased military action—against a much larger and much more advanced Iran—is already facing stiff resistance from a war weary public and a suddenly emboldened Democratic majority Congress.
President Bush has demonstrated his likeness for playing with fire, let's hope we don't all get burned by his folly.