No, Iran Didn’t Commit an Act of Aggression

On Tuesday, a group of ten American service members on a training mission in the Persian Gulf were detained by Iran. Upon receiving the news, Secretary of State John Kerry called his counterpart in Iran to help secure the Americans’ release. This was all over the news over the past few days here in the US and, in traditional media outlets, it was usually accompanied with a standard denunciation of Iran. In more extreme cases, the event was described as an act of aggression that demanded a response. For instance, Senator John McCain, that perpetual fount of wisdom, described this incident as another example of “Iran’s provocative behavior.”

Unfortunately, what was missing in much of mainstream media coverage of this event was any meaningful consideration of the facts. In reality, the US ships apparently drifted into Iranian waters, and were intercepted by the Iranians as a result. There’s no dictionary in the world that defines that as aggression. If you break into my house, I have a right to defend myself. The same goes for countries. Iran clearly has a right to police its territorial waters, just as the US would have the right to detain an Iranian ship that found its way into San Francisco Bay. If something is self-defense, it can’t also be aggression. The two terms are mutually exclusive.

Frankly, we’re all lucky that cooler heads prevailed in the American and Iranian governments. It would have been all too easy for hardliners in Iran to (accurately) describe this as a breach of their territorial integrity and an act of aggression against them. Similarly, President Obama could have taken a cue from CNN and blamed Iran for the whole affair, omitting any mention of Iranian waters. Fortunately, this did not occur. An incident that could have dramatically raised tensions was basically over before it began. Yesterday morning, the detained Americans were promptly released, unharmed, by Iran, just as was promised.

It’s hard to overstate how excited the US media appeared to be about the prospect of demonizing Iran and moving the ball closer to war. It’s almost as if they were disappointed the soldiers were released because they no longer had a talking point. Fox News, for one, wasn’t willing to let the story die so soon. Instead, they turned their attention to a video that’s been circulating that apparently shows the detained soldiers and features one of them apologizing for ending up in Iranian waters. Assuming the video is authentic, it’s tough to get outraged about this. Apologizing is what you do when you trespass on someone else’s property, right? No, according to Fox News and their source, Rep. Duncan Hunter, this is “going to be misused to diminish American power.” That’s right, because excessive apologizing is the reason US influence is waning. It’s not the bombing or the torture or the spying or the general instability we’ve caused, it’s all those times we apologized for it.*

But of course, this is part and parcel of the Fox News brand. It’s far worse when the more acceptable liberal outlets like CNN and The Daily Beast join in the “hate Iran” chorus, like they did in this case.

And all of that brings us to our recommended article for today. Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept has a great piece that chronicles the irresponsible media frenzy that surrounded this story, particularly at CNN. Here’s the piece: U.S. Media Condemns Iran’s “Aggression” in Intercepting US Ships – in Iranian Waters

*Yeah, that’s a dead link. You didn’t really think there was an example where the US apologized for something on foreign policy. Don’t be absurd.

Eric Schuler is the author of The Daily Face Palm blog, which focuses mostly on foreign policy and bad economics.

15 thoughts on “No, Iran Didn’t Commit an Act of Aggression”

  1. Truly sickening US jingoism. The Iranian deal may be the only true foreign policy success of the Obama Admin., and the GOP, along with the "supposedly" liberal MSM, can't wait for an incident, ANY incident, to blow it up. Unless Sanders (or possibly Trump?) are elected, it is inevitable that they, and their Zionist handlers, will get their Iranian war, which would the final Waterloo for the Mega-Empire.

  2. It is for the few understanding and peace loving politicians that the world has yet not entered into a Third World War.

    1. At least I bet Bernie didn't say Iran was terrible for disarming our soldiers . So maybe Bernie has more sense than all the republican candidates running for the high office .

      1. I thought for sure Trump would not find it derogatory for Iran to disarm uninvited foreign soldiers sneaking into their country . But even boisterous honest Donald can only see what he wants to see . The republicans probably will not be able to look out for the little guy with the kind of tunnel vision they have learned over their life . It would indeed be rare for a billioneer to become a billioneer looking out for the little guy.

  3. So glad this is being discussed. I saw evening news on cBS and ABC and both made it sound like Iran had attacked us. They don't miss a chance to reinforce the prewar conditioning they're doing on the public.

  4. There is always the possibility that the US, possibly including Obama regime, floated into Iranian waters on purpose to try to instigate something. It has come out that Cheney proposed doing this to try to start up a war with Iran.

  5. so let's compare this to a recent incident……russian aircraft accidentally drifts into
    turkish airspace for 7 seconds (allegedly), and is promptly shot down.

    obama sez any nation has the right and responsibility to protect its borders. fox
    certainly agreed.

    next time a us boat "accidentally" enters iranian waters, i suggest the iranians
    simply wait the customary 7 seconds and blow it out of the water.

    that's accepted practice now, no?

  6. Even after the ZOG sailor girls were released, Michael Savage Weiner was running his bagel hole about "terrorist Iran." He too, was disappointed his heroes didn't fight it out. Well, maybe next time, Mike.

    1. What a POS, wiener that Michael “Savage” Weiner is. I can’t stand to listen to that clown, or any of the other Ziocon, “hasbarat” fanatics. These phony “conservatives” (sic) are always “kvetching” like little freakin’ babies, putting the criminal terrorist entity of Israhell first (and second and third), LOL

  7. This is similar to how Lyndon Johnson got his "justification" to start the bombing of Viet Nam- a false incident in the Gulf of Tonkin allegedly involving an attack on an American ship by North Viet Nam. The USA is in no position to condemn ANY nation for "aggression", because it is the all-time leader when it comes to aggression!

  8. "Iran has tight to police its territorial waters.." AGREED!

    So why doesn't Greece have the right to do the same and stop the illegal asylum shoppers?

  9. If twenty Armed Iranian came floating up to our shore . we would not disarm them would we ? Every republican president candidate sounds very stupid on this . President Obama has made many bad moves .But failing to bomb Assad and Syria because somebody violated his redline . or failing to punish Iran because we tresspased in their waters Is not two of his mistakes The republicans are wrong critisizing Obama when he has made the right decisions . I have some times thought Obama does not know the difference in up or down . But the republicans all announced they do not know the difference in right or wrong . It looks more and more like we won't be getting much improvement in government .

  10. Now a part of the condemnation of Iran is that the sailors were forced on their knees by the Iranians who intercepted them. Is this, perhaps, the practice of the US and other of our allies on intercepting an intruder into our territorial waters? Our police often force suspects to lie on the ground and I just wonder if this lesser indignity might be as good or better than our practice.

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