“Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran”

Photograph Source: Mark Taylor – CC BY 2.0

Was the U.S. spy drone that Iran shot down On Thursday, June 20th, in international airspace, or was it over Iranian airspace as Iran insists? Flight coordinates in strategic locations are easy to access, but that misses the point altogether. Here is the point:

The U.S. has acted belligerently and violated the most basic tenets of the Geneva Conventions and the UN Charter by abrogating its responsibilities under the Iran nuclear deal, then punishing the Iranian people collectively with economic sanctions that affect their ability to live their lives in a nation not at war. The U.S. has sent masses of troops to the Middle East to ready for war against Iran and has made charges that are unproven that Iran attacked oil tankers. The U.S. has waged a propaganda war against Iran through the words of both Pompeo and Bolton. Donald Trump has added to the verbal assault by his mercurial threats of war (illegal under the UN Charter) and the reality of the economic sanctions that his administration has put in place against Iran.

Further, in order for war to be declared, there must be an actual threat against a nation and that threat has not been substantiated. That premise, the basis for accepted rules or laws of war, is thousands of years old. The people and government of the U.S. do not stand in harm’s way by the alleged actions of Iran against the oil tankers and spy drone and no ally of the U.S. suffers any of those same consequences. Neither the governments of Great Britain, France, Saudi Arabia, and others are in any danger from the actions that Iran has taken in the face of grave threats of force and real economic threats from the U.S. and others in the West.

If the past is prologue, then those who understand this conflict must look back at the lead-up to the war in Iraq in 2003, or the uncertainty of the purported attacks against U.S. patrol boats in the Gulf of Tonkin during the summer of 1964. “Remember the Maine” also comes to mind.

The U.S. as the only superpower, defines the rules of war as it goes along and wouldn’t pay even a scintilla of attention if legal action is taken against it in an international court of law. The U.S., as sole superpower, sees itself as above the law. The U.S. reaction to legal action in the face of its mining of waters off of Nicaragua during the 1980s is ample evidence that the U.S., once the leader in prosecuting war crimes following the horrors of World War II, now ignores any judgment or guidelines as it proceeds with its sweep of regimes it finds repugnant. Any challenge to its world economic and military hegemony around the globe is swiftly met with a number of actions, military or otherwise. This is the stage and script of the rot of empires. The U.S. is not the first nation to feed at this trough.

Historical memory is short and the U.S. quickly forgets the abandonment and derailing of democracy in the 1950s with the installation of the shah against the will of the Iranian people; the support of Iraq and Saddam Hussein against Iran in the 1980s; the downing of the Iranian civilian commercial flight in July 1988 with the loss of 290 human beings.; the Iran-Contra affair; and the Iran hostage crisis. The Middle East was “discovered” by the West and exploited for oil and its strategic location. Like other colonial interests around the world, the governments there were often brutal in the extreme and tortured and imprisoned any voice that rose in criticism. Saudi Arabia’s government is an example of the latter.

Recall that after Iranian flight 655 was shot out of the air by U.S. forces, George H.W. Bush refused to apologize for this blatant act of aggression and mass murder against innocent civilians. As king of the hill, there’s no need to apologize.

A war with Iran will lead to unimaginable mayhem across the world. And shockingly, war was averted at the last minute (if thousands of troops near Iran and economic sanctions are discounted, along with threats of force) by the simple fact that Donald Trump listened to Fox News to get facts about Iran. Imagine that… governance by watching an extreme right-wing media outlet (“Urged to Launch an Attack, Trump Listened to the Skeptics Who Said It Would Be a Costly Mistake, New York Times, June 21, 2019)!

Where is a system of checks and balances in all of this that has long been abandoned?

Meanwhile, Trump’s base has more to consider in the way of alleged sexual assaults over many years by Trump with the newest allegations reported in the Guardian (“Donald Trump accused of sexually assaulting writer E Jean Carroll,” June 21, 2019).

*The late Senator John McCain’s campaign statement (delivered in the manner of a 1960s’ song Barbara Ann written by Fred Fassert) while running for president.


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Howard Lisnoff is a freelance writer. He is the author of Against the Wall: Memoir of a Vietnam-Era War Resister (2017).

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