Security

Webb ‘Very Worried’ Bush’s Iran Provocations ‘Might Set Something Off In There’

President Bush has ratcheted up military pressure on Iran in recent months, most notably by dispatching two naval carrier groups to the Persian Gulf, “the largest concentration of naval power projection in that region” since the start of the Iraq war. Vice President Cheney explained that sending the carriers “sends a very strong signal to everybody in the region” that “we clearly have significant capabilities…to deal with the Iranian threat.”

Tonight on Hardball, Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) said that during his time as Navy Secretary under President Reagan — and “until very recently” — the U.S. “never operated” aircraft carriers within the Gulf because it risked confrontation. “The chance of accidentally bumping into something that would start a diplomatic situation was pretty high,” Webb explained. “With the tensions as high as they are, I’m very worried that we might accidentally set something off in there and we need, as a Congress, to get ahead of the ballgame here.”

Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2007/02/webb_iran.320.240.flv]

Transcript:

And you know, one thing, if you look at where we are in the Persian Gulf right now, when I was Secretary of the Navy and until very recently, we never operated carrier — aircraft carriers inside the Persian Gulf because, number one, the turning radius is pretty close, and number two, the chance of accidentally bumping into something that would start a diplomatic situation was pretty high. We now have been doing that, and with the tensions as high as they are, I’m very worried that we might accidentally set something off in there and we need, as a Congress, to get ahead of the ballgame here.