Gulf Deployment 'a PR Move'

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While the Pentagon announced Friday it had moved forward by a week the deployment of the aircraft carrier Nimitz in the Persian Gulf, TIME Pentagon correspondent Mark Thompson believes the move is primarily a publicity exercise. The move came after the Monday attack by Iranian warplanes on exiled rebel bases inside Iraq, which violated the U. no-fly zone. But, says Thompson, these cross border spats have been going on since the Iran-Iraq war ended in 1988. Although rushing the Nimitz to the region makes clear that the no-fly zone will be enforced, its mostly a PR exercise, because the military has to justify its existence during peace time, showing the American people its ready to deal with any threat. There are often carriers in the Gulf carriers have to be at sea somewhere.

Of course the Navy might need a separate PR exercise for the hundreds of sailors who lost out on some welcome shore-leave in Singapore when the Nimitz itinerary changed.