U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton and his fellow hawks in the Trump administration are trying to further escalate the situation with Iran and to encourage Trump to launch an attack on them, which he actually almost did, only to pull back at the last minute because “150 would have died.” I don’t imagine there have ever been many missile strikes where nobody has been injured or killed, so it seems a very odd reason. Perhaps it illustrates the “contradictory impulses” suggested in the article “Reversal on Iran strike shows Trump confusion” in the June 23 edition.
If we are to believe what we are told, Iran is certainly contributing to instability in several areas of the Middle East, but whether this justifies going to war with them is problematic.
America gives the recent attacks on oil tankers as one further reason for taking stronger action against them, offering as evidence some grainy film of Iranian Revolutionary Guards purportedly caught in the act. However, with modern computer technology, where images can be altered so that, for example, former President Obama and others appear to be saying things they never said, or would ever have said, along with the recent prevalence of “fake news,” it is hard nowadays to know what to believe.
As further evidence of the need to crack down on Iran, Washington quotes the unjustified downing of an unmanned spy drone ‘flying over international waters’. Well, it may well have been flying there when it was shot down, but more relevant is where it was actually headed for when it was hit! Perhaps the Iranians targeted it before it was able to enter their airspace to spot potential targets for attack.
Unfortunately, people have short memories, and perhaps few people remember clearly now that the Iraq War was started with fake news about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq as the justification (before the expression “fake news” even existed). That war was a total disaster and still has ramifications today that affect the stability of the Middle East and probably led to the rise of the so-called Islamic Caliphate. Does America really intend to stumble into another such pointless war, which could expand to affect other countries, too?
It has always been one of the favorite tricks of politicians when things are not going so well at home or they need to bolster their support to create an external enemy. I well remember British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, doing badly in the polls, starting the Falklands War when most Brits had probably never even heard of the place and cared even less, but nevertheless lined the docks at Portsmouth waving their flags and cheering the warships off patriotically. I wonder how many Americans know anything about Iran, or even where it is, or why they should go to war with the country in the first place. It seems they are just willing to believe anything Trump tells them. How foolish — and dangerous.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5