13 June 2019

The lies of war

The Trump administration today announced that it blamed Iran for attacks on two tanker ships in the Gulf of Oman.  The Iranian regime has categorically denied being involved.  This follows a case last month in which four ships were attacked near the Strait of Hormuz, which the US government also blamed on Iran.  This follows a long-standing pattern of escalating saber-rattling by the Trump administration against Iran, beginning with Trump's unilateral withdrawal from the nuclear agreement negotiated by Presidents Obama and Rouhani, despite the fact that international observers agreed that Iran was adhering to its side of the deal.

It may be of some value here to recall the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, which led to substantial escalation of US involvement in the Vietnam conflict.  Official reports at the time claimed that several North Vietnamese patrol boats had attacked the American destroyer USS Maddox "on the high seas", followed a few days later by a second attack on the Maddox and another US ship.  As we now know, the Maddox had in fact opened fire first, and the clash happened within the 12-mile limit which North Vietnam claimed as its territorial waters, while the second attack never happened at all (false radar images were mistaken for enemy craft which were not actually present).  Nevertheless, President Johnson and pro-war elements in his administration presented the incident to the US public as a pretext for escalating US involvement, leading to the protracted bloody mess which dragged on wearily until 1975, at staggering cost.

There is a lesson from the Gulf of Tonkin incident and from all the other lies and deceptions fed to the public during that war.  It's the same lesson offered by the official hysterics and falsified evidence which were used to whip up support for the invasion of Iraq in 2003.  That lesson is:  when it comes to leading this country into war, the establishment lies.

They lie.  They simply lie.  It's what they do.  When I was younger, as the truth about Vietnam began to emerge, I came to realize that the establishment must never, ever again be given the benefit of the doubt on such a matter.  Because the establishment lies.  In any future such case, I decided, anything the establishment says must be considered a lie -- not until proven otherwise, but even if proven otherwise.  Because they are not above lying even about the evidence.  The establishment lies.  Period.

By 2003, after the shock of the September 11 attack, my conviction had weakened.  It is a shameful admission, but they fooled me.  I supported the Iraq invasion at the time, because the thought of Saddam Hussein (whose regime genuinely was among the most horrific of the modern age) with nuclear weapons was unacceptable.  As we now know, that too was all lies.

Never again.

The Iranian theocracy is evil, but it is not stupid.  It defies sanity to believe that Iran (which has not attacked another country in almost 200 years) would carry out shipping attacks calculated to provoke a war with the mighty United States right at the very moment when the Trump administration could direly use a pyrotechnic overseas distraction from its domestic woes with investigations, failed trade wars, flaccid poll numbers, and a wall which even the Trumpanzees are starting to realize will never get built.

Don't fall for it the way I did in 2003.  There must be no war with Iran.

Update:  Stonekettle Station discusses some suspicious details of this incident.

[Image at top:  looking northwestward from above the Gulf of Oman toward the Persian Gulf -- Arabia is to the left, Iran to the right.]


Blogger dellgirl said...

This is an excellent post with amazing and thought provoking information, thank you for sharing.

I've heard only a little about this before, but have never taken the time to learn more about it. Thanks to you I now have a bit more insight into it. Thanks for the enlightenment.

Wishing you a great Thursday!

13 June, 2019 20:30  
Blogger Sixpence Notthewiser said...

Well, as long as Cheeto doesn’t manufacture a war to get re-elected we are good. Of course, there’s never any guarantees with a corrupt orange colluder.

14 June, 2019 04:15  
Blogger W. Hackwhacker said...

For anyone to accept at face value anything this pack of lying shitstains says would defy experience and reason. My own experience re the Iraq war mirrors yours. My late mother had a knee-jerk (and as it turns out correct) reaction to the Bush-Cheney agit prop coming out of all the media, and I told her she would regret her position later. Man, was I stupid, and she lived just long enough to see she had it right from the beginning. This collection of zealot/ loons is similar to the Iraq neo-cons in their jumping directly to the conclusion that suits their worldview, but today are hardly bothering to concoct "evidence" in support. Bolton must feel emboldened and that time is running out.

14 June, 2019 11:10  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Dellgirl: Thanks.

Sixpence: The thing is, the push for war is driven more by Bolton than by Trump. Trump by instinct is an isolationist, not a warmonger. But he's easily swayed by people he perceives as allies, and Bolton is in a strong position right now.

Hackwhacker: This does feel very much like how the build-up to the Iraq invasion felt. And yes, it's Bolton's game. When we're in the position that we're counting on Trump to be the sane and moderating influence on policy, we're definitely in a bad position.

14 June, 2019 17:24  
Blogger Les Carpenter said...

An excellent and spot on article Infidel.

Unfortunately the USA establishment has always, in its effort to increase its influence, power, and control lied when felt it thought necessary. Bolton has once again juiced it with steroids.

14 June, 2019 18:17  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

I don't buy any of this right now. I also seen on the news this morning, these fuzzy images of drones, tankers, etc ... Trump saying it's all evident, they have Iranian written all over, etc. Lot's of folks like war too, because lots of contracts, and you have to have a contractor big enough to rebuild, that's are gig ... invade, make a mess, and rebuild and clean it up (like Halliburton, or whoever) to do the sub-contracting, etc. Frankly, even oil companies would like to see Iran under other leadership. I told my buddy Nima the other day (he's Persian, from Tehran), that DO NOT be surprised if the U.S. or some big money entity, payz folks that are like mercenaries, or rebel groups in that part of the world, to attack ships or whatever, to make it look like it's Iran ... CIA has been very good over the years at setting up deals with various groups. Trump is crazy too, because he's a year away from elections, and to get us involved with more intervention, on top of the overbloated new defense spending, may not be so favourable with some of his following in Trump states. You know, I tried to give him the benefit of doubt out of fairness ... but this guy would fuck up a wet dream. I'll just leave it at that ....

15 June, 2019 07:32  
Blogger Adam said...

He's just begging for a war.

15 June, 2019 09:13  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Rational: No reason to believe them this time, especially with an arch-liar in charge.

Ranch: It looks like a lot of people aren't buying this. It's all way to convenient and the details are suspicious as hell.

Adam: And there's no reason Iran would suddenly decide to give him one.

16 June, 2019 07:34  

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