In the amazingly bad reporting yesterday, which is a little understandable as it was a breaking story in a remote location with tons of (attempted) military security, it wasn’t clear to me that a total of
FIVE (UPDATE: It was THREE–only one was fired at the US ships, the other two were fired intentionally at Israeli territory) rockets had been fired, two of them directly at Israel. I thought the hit in Israel had been a missile that overshot its intended target.
No matter. These guys were incredibly inept. Thankfully. Almost certainly junior varsity material.
Meanwhile, I’ve had about a bazillion folks point out that the Phalanx CIWS would have been turned off in port as the risk of it automatically engaging, well, just about anything, would be too high. This is what I figured when I wrote it, but I was wondering if keeping at least one unit on when docked in a possibly-risky area might not be a good idea. From what my commenters (many of them with experience on the CIWS) are telling me, it’s not a good idea at all.
On the attackers:
Jordanian security forces are hunting for six people, including one Syrian and several Egyptians and Iraqis, who are believed to have escaped in a vehicle with Kuwaiti license plates after firing the rockets.
Mystery surrounds the source of the rockets, several thousand of which are believed to be in the possession of Lebanon’s Shiite Muslim militant group, Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran and Syria.
Jordanian officials have not yet commented on where they think the rockets originated nor on who might have provided them.
Yes, Hezbollah has tons and tons and tons of these things, but I wonder if we’re going to hear that maybe they had been supplied by the US at some point in the murky past. After all, we created Osama bin Laden and we armed Saddam. Why wouldn’t we have given Katyusha rockets to an al Qaeda group?
If anyone sees anyone making this sort of claim, please let me know so I can point it out for ridicule.
The end of the story includes a few paragraphs on the probe into how the rockets may have entered Jordan:
Investigators are looking into how three, five-foot-long Katyusha rockets entered Jordan, which has a strong security posture due to its vicinity to Israel, the Palestinian territories and Iraq. It has also been targeted previously by Islamic extremists.
Hezbollah pounded Israel’s north with Katyusha rockets for two decades in a guerrilla war that ended with Israel’s pullout from southern Lebanon in 2000.
In December 2001, three Hezbollah members were arrested in Jordan after entering through Syria to deliver Katyusha rockets to Palestinian militants in the bordering West Bank opposed to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories.
Not mentioned is the big sandy country about 15 miles south of Aqaba.
UPDATE: Since I’ve sort of become a collector of it, here’s more commentary from the Lefties:
Martini Republic: Someone cut off the Captain’s Rum Ration
Those unitiated into conservative punditry might think that this is ungood, yet in the fevered mind of the conservative pundit seeking affirmation for Bush’s disastrous bungling in Iraq, it is actually a vindication — sort of the way Cheney explained the exploding violence in Iraq as being a good thing, because it showed that the insurgency was in its last throes.
Now I’ve already gone on about how I’m not certain that the total pathetic-ness of this attack proves anything one way or another. But to dismiss the idea pretty much ignores military history.
UPDATE 2: Jay Tea at Wizbang on the attack. And
ThoughtsOnline was also wondering about the lack of defensive fire. And some good commentary in the comments section about defensive measures at Defense Tech.