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Source: National Review

Oct 23, 2023

Iran Can Expect an Aircraft Carrier on Its Doorstep Presently


The aircraft carrier USS Eisenhower and her strike group are bound for the Persian Gulf, an area of operations under the command of Fifth Fleet, as the USS Gerald R. Ford and her strike group remain in the eastern Mediterranean off of Israel’s shoreline.

For those, like me, who find Middle Eastern geography a mush, moving from west to east, we have the Ford, then Israel, then the Eisenhower, and then Iran. U.S. naval forces will be on either side of Israel in force, with one of our carriers between Iran and Israel — a little, “Hey, how ya doing?” for the ayatollah to chew on as he considers the degree to which Iran will support its proxies assaulting Israel.

After all, with a combat radius of 500 miles, the carriers’ Superhornets can, theoretically, cover just about any part of that area of the globe in 20mm rounds and hellfire. This isn’t to say we will — only that we can. A favorite aphorism: “Not a threat, but a promise.”

Iran’s friends have certainly been busy. Hezbollah worries at Israel’s northern border from Lebanon. Further afield, a U.S. destroyer, USS Carney, intercepted missiles launched from Yemen that were Israel-bound — missiles fired by Iran-backed Houthi militia.

In addition to the presence of a second carrier strike group, the U.S. is leasing its pair of Iron Dome air-defense systems to Israel — just as well, as our military has little use for the somewhat proprietary system whose purchase was more a gesture of collegiality than anything approaching widespread adoption by U.S. fighting forces.

I say this because the most recent musing was considering employing the system in defense of Guam should the Chinese send missiles toward the U.S. territory. In other words, our Iron Domes were rusting in a warehouse while E-nothings did their best to gundeck the maintenance.

But there should be usable parts and pieces there that the Israelis need for keeping their units tip-top — every project car needs a donor hulk.

Israel has a friend in the U.S. military even if the Biden White House remains an unwilling participant. Anti-missile efforts, power projection that stifles a malign actor, and the regifting of a familiar system all make life easier for Israel as it prepares to rout Hamas from Gaza, an effort that will take a tremendous amount of logistical, strategic, and muscular effort from the IDF.

Keeping Iran off Israel’s back is where we have an opportunity to stay above the fray while providing an ally with the space he needs to exact retribution from those who wish him dead.

LUTHER RAY ABEL is a contributor to National Review. A former William F. Buckley Fellow in Political Journalism and a veteran of the U.S. Navy, Luther is a proud native of Sheboygan, Wis. @lutherabel1

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