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Tue Jan 14, 2020, 11:35 AM

It's the little things. "The Bedford Incident"

It came to me this weekend. After listening to comments about Trump's unthinking decision "process" that led to the murder of Soleimani on the soil of another country. It can be the little things that spark something worse. Things and actions that have to be well-thought out in advance so you are prepared for what will happen if you succeed - and if you fail.

And let's face it - the morally-impaired military "genius" who once said, in defiance of everything von Clausewitz or Sun Tsu about a military conflict with Iran, I dont need exit strategies, is not the guy that will do any planning (or deep thinking, for that matter)

The little things...
A massacre in Boston.
A simple tax on tea.
The firing on Fort Sumter.
The sinking of a ship in Havana harbor.
The assassination of a not-so-important prince in Sarajevo.
The Japanese, thinking if they eliminated the U.S. Pacific fleet in 1941, the U.S. would just leave them alone in Asia.
The Soviets going into Afghanistan.
The arming of jihadists in Afghanistan.
Saddam Hussein invading Kuwait.
Sept. 11, 2001.

Did any of them think, really think, about the consequences of what would happen after? If they succeeded? If they failed? The role of third parties? The "little things" that begin the great turns of history. Add to the list if you like.

And then I remembered the movie, "The Bedford Incident". Yeah; a movie from more than 50-years ago.

The USS Bedford, a U.S. Navy destroyer is on a routine patrol in the arctic.
Its Captain is Eric Finlander, a maniacal anti-communist commander.
Aboard as an observer is a former German U-boat commander, now a NATO Commodore.
Also aboard is a US Navy Reserve Lt. Cmdr., who is a doctor.
Manning the weapons position in the combat information center (CIC) is an Ensign named Ralston.

At sea in the arctic, Sonar detects the Soviet Sub.
The sub ignores the US Captain's order to surface and identify itself.
The Captain knows damn well it is a Soviet sub, but decides to play cat-and-mouse with a Soviet nuclear submarine, trying to force him to the surface.
The Soviet sub ignores his demand.
The Captain then ordered the Bedford to arm weapons and withdraw to a distance to wait for the submerged sub to run out of air and be forced to surface.

From the script:

NATO officer: "You're pushing him too far."
Medical officer: "He's right. Stop this madness."
Captain: "So you still think I'm frightening commodore?"
NATO officer: "That captain and his crew will act now like animals, fighting for survival."
Captain: "This is my job!"
NATO officer: "It's not your job! Break off this action or you'll force him to fight."
Captain: "So you think he's going to fire at us, do you? I would in his place. So would you. CIC!"
CIC: Sir?
Captain: What's the target aspect?
CIC: Minimum surface area. Bow on.
Captain: Thank you. Fire Control.
Ensign Ralston: Sir?
Captain: Arm number one ASROC. (Anti-Submarine Rocket)
Ensign Ralston: Aye-aye sir. Armed and ready, sir.
NATO Commodore: "Captain, you are a fool!"
Medical officer: "Finlander, leave it alone."
Captain: "Take it easy."
Ensign Ralston:: "All systems in automatic control, sir. Weapons armed and ready."
Captain: "Take it easy."
Ensign Ralston: "Fire Control A-Okay sir. All systems armed and ready."
NATO officer: "This is insane!"
Captain: "Oh don't worry Commodore. The Bedford will never fire first. But if he fires one - I'll fire one."
Ensign Ralston: "Fire one!!" <Presses button and launches anti-sub missile.>

Two simple words, but heard out of context at the wrong time to men under pressure, Ensign Ralston took it as an order to fire.

(In a panic the Captain rushes to the fire control center.)

Captain: Did you disarm it?
Ensign Ralston: I don't know.
......

Sonar: Captain there's - Oh my God!
Captain: What is it?
Sonar: Torpedoes! Range: 2000 yards! Closing!
Captain: Right full rudder! All ahead flank! Allison, actuate countermeasures!
Ship XO: "Aye sir! Right full rudder, all engines ahead flank sir!"
Sonar: "Torpedoes approaching! Bearing 1-3-0. Four of them at intervals. He must have fired as soon as the ASROC broke the surface."
Captain: "What's the range?"
Sonar: "1500. Coming straight on. Range: 1300. Speed: 40. Closing."
NATO officer: "You have a torpedo evasion plan haven't you? Well have you, or haven't you? Captain! Come on you knew there was this chance! Do something!"
Sonar: "Range: 800 yards. Closing."
NATO officer: "Finlander! Answer me, damn you!"

His ship cannot evade nuclear torpedoes. The Captain steps outside the bridge knowing his actions have sealed the fate of his ship and crew, and sees the torpedoes approach his ship.

Note: The way the movie ends in the last seconds is really well-done.

It's the little things. And there are more example from Hollywood:

"The Hunt for Red October", National Security Advisor to the Soviet Ambassador:

"It would be well for your government to consider that having your ships and ours, your aircraft and ours, in such proximity... is inherently DANGEROUS. Wars have begun that way, Mr. Ambassador."

"The Hunt for Red October", Admiral Josh Painter:

"This business will get out of control. It will get out of control and we'll be lucky to live through it."

"The Hunt for Red October":

Adm. Painter: What's his plan?
Jack Ryan: His plan?
Adm. Painter: Russians don't take a dump, son, without a plan.

"The Hunt for Red October", and just like the Captain of the Bedford, Soviet sonar operator, Amalric:

"You arrogant ass. You've killed us!"

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Reply It's the little things. "The Bedford Incident" (Original post)
Grins Jan 14 OP
Javaman Jan 14 #1
leftieNanner Jan 14 #2
aka-chmeee Jan 14 #3

Response to Grins (Original post)

Tue Jan 14, 2020, 11:52 AM

1. The Bedford Incident is one of all time favorite movies.

a classic case of cold war stress/jitters/hysteria all rolled into one. Richard Widmark and Sidney Poitier were fantastic.

yes, that was fiction, but that kind of "fiction" was very prevalent in real life back then, but cooler heads usually prevailed.

sadly, now, not so much.

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Response to Grins (Original post)

Tue Jan 14, 2020, 11:53 AM

2. Excellent post

The Orange One never plans anything. And that is very scary.

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Response to Grins (Original post)

Tue Jan 14, 2020, 03:07 PM

3. Years ago, before I switched to Dish Network from my 10ft satellite dish,

There were a lot of channels that weren't always identifiable right away. I had a few minutes waiting for wife to be ready to leave and was surfing the channels. I came upon what looked like a news broadcast from a US Navy ship and over a very few minutes it looked like nuclear depth charges and torpedoes had been used between US and Soviet navy vessels. It was pretty convincing and I have to admit, it both made me angry and scared the bejebus out of me. It was later I determined what I had been watching was near the end of a Canadian movie named "Countdown to Looking Glass".

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