Apparently Dan Nastali (1/15, Letters) never paid attention in geography class, otherwise he would know that the Strait of Hormuz is a major shipping channel between the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf.
It is the only sea passage to the open ocean for many of the Persian Gulf states and it is commonplace for U.S., British and other warships — not to mention all other types of maritime vessels — to pass through this strait in accordance with the “transit passage” provision of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea.
U.S. Navy vessels passing through this strait is hardly provocative, as this occurs routinely. However, Iran sending possibly armed speedboats out to confront our passing warships is definitely a provocative act and would have justified a defensive response from the U.S. ships.
Additionally, Mr. Nastali’s reference to the Gulf of Tonkin icident is irrelevant, as this body of water is in no way comparable to the Strait of Hormuz from an international shipping waterway perspective.
Tuesday’s paper included a letter from Dan Nastali who criticized George Bush for talking tough to Iran after speedboats recently approached and menaced Navy warships moving through the Straits of Hormuz. Perhaps Mr. Nastali should remember that it was a small boat like this that approached the USS Cole.