By Douglas V. Gibbs
Author, Speaker, Instructor, Radio Host

It seems we may be inching closer to war with Iran as the war of words regarding two oil tankers has increased to a deafening scream. The tankers, one Japanese, the other Norwegian, were attacked on Thursday, and the Trump administration immediately blamed Iran, claiming intelligence supporting the assertion.

According to Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, the Pentagon is preparing for a possible military action in case of more attacks or efforts to close the Strait of Hormuz.

“We obviously need to make contingency plans should the situation deteriorate,” Shanahan told reporters.

Sanctions against Iran earlier in the year have had Iranian official threatening war.

While war with Iran may not be imminent, the reality is that moves are being made to prepare for such a reality should it emerge.  U.S. intelligence is currently working to convince U.S. allies that Iran was indeed behind the attacks against the oilers.

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo was first to blame Iran for the tanker explosions Thursday. On Friday, Trump echoed the charge in a TV interview, saying a limpet mine attached to one of the ship’s hulls had “probably got essentially Iran written all over it,” although U.S. forces or allies did not recover the munition.

A tanker was reportedly was hit midship with projectiles above the waterline after sunrise.

“We received reports that something flew towards the ship,” Yutaka Katada, president of Kokaku Sangyo Co., which owns the ship, told a news conference in Tokyo. “The place where the projectile landed was significantly higher than the water level, so we are absolutely sure that this wasn’t a torpedo.”

Crews abandoned both the Kokura Courageous and the Norwegian-owned Front Altair, which was attacked less than an hour later

Iranian officials deny any involvement in the explosions.

This attack follows attacks against four tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates a month ago.

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