Iran hawks are always saying that they don’t want war with Iran, but somehow they always end up advocating for attacking Iran. Bret Stephens did that again yesterday:
Nobody wants a war with Iran. But not wanting a war does not mean remaining supine in the face of its outrages. We sank Iran’s navy before. Tehran should be put on notice that we are prepared and able to do it again.
When denying that they seek war, most hawks usually put some distance between their pro forma denial and their demand for unleashing havoc, but Stephens doesn’t want to wait. Calling for the U.S. to threaten sinking the Iranian navy is to demand that our government threaten massive escalation and the initiation of a major war over relatively minor incidents. It is also calling for putting thousands of US sailors in grave danger. The US Navy presumably would prevail in any fight, it would come at a much higher cost than most Americans expect. Harry Kazianis wrote an article for The American Conservative about the wargame he participated in that simulated a war with Iran in the Persian Gulf, and the results were very ugly:
Then Iran decides such an action cannot be allowed to stand, and decides to make a statement that not only is its military powerful, but it can cause serious damage to US naval assets in the region. They counterattack with a massive volley of anti-ship missiles pointed at the ultimate symbol of US military might: America’s only aircraft carrier operating in the region. Firing over 100 missiles, the carrier’s defenses are overwhelmed and the 100,000-ton vessel is destroyed, with over 2,000 sailors and airmen lost.
Iran doesn’t stop there. To make clear that it won’t tolerate any further US military operations against its forces, Iranian conventional attack submarines – purchased from Russia – launch a series of attacks on US surface combatants in the Persian Gulf. While Tehran loses two of its prized subs, one American Littoral Combat Vessel is sunk, with over 62 sailors killed.
There is no compelling reason for the US to go to war with Iran. What US interest is served by courting such a disaster? When we strip away the nonsense about a “pirate state,” Stephens doesn’t have an answer for that. If the US weren’t strangling Iran’s economy with unwarranted sanctions and inflicting collective punishment on the Iranian people, our governments wouldn’t be on a collision course. Instead of additional threats that will only worsen the tensions between the US and Iran, our government should be looking for a way to backtrack and de-escalate the situation as quickly as possible. The danger is that the Trump administration may be incapable of doing that after investing so much in their bankrupt Iran policy.
This morning on Antiwar Radio, I’ll be playing my interview of the Great Gareth Porter from Friday — interview #317 of Gareth, and number 5,000 overall since 2003 (including now my long-lost first interview from 1999.)
Sen. Rand Paul argues for stopping US arms sales to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Qatar.
Shortly after, the Senate voted down bills to block these arm sales. The bills were expected to pass, but following the unattributed attack on two Oman oil tankers this morning, some senators switched sides to kill the bills.
Just as the prime minister of Japan was in an historic visit to Iran (the first since the 1979 revolution), a Japanese-owned tanker (and one other) was attacked in the Persian Gulf. US neocons are pointing the finger at Iran. Does it make sense to attack Japan in the midst of productive talks? Will the propaganda machine ramp up war talk? On today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:
You might hope that at least the United States Libertarian Party could be counted on not to support the US government’s effort to install its chosen politician as president of Venezuela. Oh well. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Earlier this month, a “Dear Libertarian” letter from party chairman Nicholas Sarwark appeared on the Libertarian Party’s website in which Sarwark promotes viewing a video by Kyle Varner – described by Sarwark as a party member – in which Varner delivers the US government’s regime change line in regard to the South America country.
In the video, Varner, purporting to speak for the Libertarian Party and all libertarians, compares Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro to Adolf Hitler, places the blame on the Venezuela government for problems in the country while neglecting to mention US sanctions or any other US government efforts that contribute to suffering in the Venezuela, and praises Juan Guaidó who is seeking to overthrow the Venezuela government and who the US government has been calling the “interim president” of Venezuela.
Antiwar.com’s lawsuit against the FBI is going into its 7th year. Today, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals heard the appeal on the Privacy Act violations. The FBI failed to expunge the records of an investigation they found where Antiwar.com’s activities were completely covered by the 1st Amendment.
The co-plantiffs were Antiwar.com’s founders Justin (Dennis) Raimondo and Eric Garris.
ACLU attorney Vasudha Talla argued that the FBI had no reason to maintain the files when there was no criminality after the investigation concluded.
The case was filed in 2013, and Antiwar.com had victories on two issues in the case: the court ordered the FBI to amend their files when Antiwar.com co-founder Eric Garris was placed on a terror watch list in error; the FBI also agreed to give Antiwar.com access to all the records of the investigation without redaction, and paid $300,000 to the ACLU lawyers.
Today’s hearing went quite well, with the judges clearly hostile to the arguments by the FBI’s attorney. Below is the video of the one-hour hearing. It is worth watching.