President Trump has resisted intervention so far, but pressure continues to mount from war-crazed neocons hell-bent on all-out conflict with Iran.
By Richard Walker
After Iran recently shot down a U.S. naval drone, President Donald Trump rescinded an order he had given to launch retaliatory attacks against selected Iranian military targets, yet those hoping to goad him into an all-out conflict with Iran remain a potent clique with powerful allies in Washington.
The clique is comprised mostly of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the impetuous Saudi leader Mohammed bin Salman, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Adviser John Bolton, and their neocon and pro-Zionist allies in Congress. None has been shy of making it clear that they wish to see the might of the United States military directed at Iran. It has been a neocon dream for decades, going back to the Reagan and Bush-Cheney era, but it has been boosted lately by the bizarre alliance of Israel and the Saudis, an alliance forged purely on a desire to crush Iran. Such an outcome would leave Israel free to impose a so-called Kushner plan for Middle East peace on the Palestinians and allow Netanyahu to launch a war aimed at destroying Hezbollah in Lebanon.
For the Saudis, who are already slaughtering women and children in Yemen, it would be a dream come true. The Saudi Royals are a sectarian bunch by any standard, who financed the 9/11 attacks. They despise Christians and Jews as much as they do Iranians for their alternative form of Shia Islam.
The danger of a war with Iran remains real, even though Trump personally has shown no appetite for one. He has consistently opposed foreign wars. Vladimir Putin has publicly warned against it, too, and has stridently opposed sanctions against Iran. Putin’s voice and similar appeals from other world leaders have no doubt reached the ears of Trump but, as history has shown us, wars often begin with false-flag operations and lies. The recent attacks on two tankers, one Japanese and the other from the Netherlands, in the Gulf, elevated the Iran crisis to a critical stage.
Pompeo almost immediately declared that the Japanese tanker attack was an Iranian operation. It occurred as the Japanese prime minister was arriving in Tehran for talks to calm the situation in the region. One has to ask why Iran would carry out such an attack to mark his arrival. Pompeo’s claim, coming as it did so quickly and with questionable evidence, had the smell of conspiracy about it.
Pompeo declared that Iran was the only nation in the region with the military capability to launch attacks on tankers. That was a lie, and Pompeo is not opposed to lying, as he recently admitted. The truth is that Israel and Saudi Arabia both possess the skills to launch such attacks from above and below the waterline, raising the possibility it was a false-flag operation. After all, Iran has no desire to go up against the might of the U.S. military, so the likelihood of it being the aggressor is difficult to countenance.
The mainstream media, always ready to believe “official” sources, speculated that perhaps Iran was testing U.S. resolve, but the same media implied the U.S. drone that was shot down was in international airspace, even though Iran recovered parts of it in their territory and had the tracking details to prove its case.
In light of this present crisis, it is worth recalling that, 31 years ago, the USS Vincennes shot down Iran Air Flight 655, killing 290 passengers during the Iran-Iraq War, a war in which the U.S. supplied Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein with materials to build chemical weapons he used against Iranians and also against his own people. Writer Jeremy Hammond, who argues that governments lie consistently about major issues and are helped by the mainstream media, believes lies told by the Reagan administration about the downing of the passenger plane in 1988 defined U.S.-Iran relations. The plane was rising through Iranian airspace and was at 12,000 feet when it was downed.
Vice President H.W. Bush lied that it was flying outside the commercial air route. Another falsehood was that the Vincennes was in international waters. It was in fact in Iranian waters, firing at small Iranian gunboats that did not pose a threat. President Ronald Reagan called the shooting down of the plane “a proper defensive action.”
Jeremy Hammond reached this conclusion: “U.S. warships entered Iranian waters and initiated hostilities with Iranian vessels. The consoles of the radar operators aboard the USS Vincennes unambiguously showed an aircraft ascending within a commercial corridor in Iranian airspace, with the plane’s transponder signaling its identity as a commercial aircraft.”
The captain and crew of the USS Vincennes were subsequently awarded medals for bravery.
The episode is a salutary lesson of the falsehoods that often shape the so-called fog of war. It only takes a mistake of this kind or a false-flag operation to start a war. Unfortunately, those conspiring to create a war with Iran are not going away, and they have powerful friends in Washington who share their eagerness for Iran’s destruction.
Richard Walker is the pen name of a former N.Y. news producer.