Crocodile Tears for Iran’s Accidental Downing of Civilian Plane

A bully who regularly wallops kids has recently given a certain child a sharp punch in the mouth. The smaller kid responded with a deliberately ineffective jab to the shoulder, as a matter of pride. Expecting retaliation, the diminutive child abruptly brought up hands to cover his face. In doing so, he hit himself in the nose, causing blood to pour out.

And so, with the blood – the crocodile tears from the US media emerge – over a Ukrainian passenger jet accidentally shot down during US-Iranian hostilities. Though the Iranian government waited only three days to come forward with the truth, the media frames this as an indispensable period of time, which if admitted earlier, would have made all OK.

The media’s crocodile tears are to remind the audience that the US does not actually hate the Iranian people, it just deplores their government. And look how bad this government that we hate is! Iran shot down an airliner with their own civilians on it! Now all makes sense: this why we want the Iranian regime to collapse – they aren’t democratic enough, like Saudi Arabia, Egypt or apartheid Israel!

Imagine, for a second, that the US shot down the same Ukrainian plane over Iranian skies. Would the US media then be so downtrodden? Or would it quickly swerve to the next story, after briefly pointing out error? Or would the media agilely mime the government’s narrative and ‘patriotically’ blame Iran?

Yet we need not imagine! The USS Vincennes shot down an Iranian passenger plane in 1988 flying over Iranian airspace, killing all 290 people aboard. For this, the US never apologized, took seven years to compensate Iran and the USS Vincennes Admiral Will Rogers was awarded the Legion of Honor for "outstanding service." In stark contrast to Vincennes Capital Will Rogers, the commander of IGRC’s airspace unit Amir Ali Hajizadeh has claimed all responsibility for the blunder and publicly expressed his wish to be dead.

In the recent case, it took Iran only three days to admit its costly blunder and apologize to its people, Ukraine and Canada. Why did Iran wait "so long" (so the implication goes) and engage in what the Ukrainians claim was a coverup, as alleged in Iranians’ piling up debris of the wreckage before international investigators arrived? First, it may help to consider that Ukraine is a US ally and recipient of military assistance. Therefore, the Ukrainian government would do well to paint Iran negatively, as the United States likes. Also, Iranians did not accept blame for an entire three days! While this may feel like an eternity in the Internet era, in reality, three days is nothing.

If Iranians engaged in a coverup and briefly hesitated to admit the truth, it may help to remember that Iran is the pariah of Western world, thanks to its intransigence to US dominance. After agreeing to the JCPOA, which prevented their development of nuclear weapons, the US quickly backed out of the agreement and issued debilitating sanctions. In this context, with the Western world against them, it would make sense for Iran to hesitate before blaming themselves for an egregious error. For then – as we see now – the US and its allies would use it as a tool to further chastise Iran and try to fuel instability.

So, let’s grow up from our bully adolescence and pretend we aren’t soaked through and through with hypocrisy.

And, by all means, please dry the crocodile tears.

Save it for the tens of thousands of Yemeni famine victims, which Saudi Arabia initiated under US guidance.

Save it for Libya’s and Iraq’s years of anarchy.

Save it for the unlivable, besieged Gaza.

Save it for all the civilians that perish in US-initiated wars.

But please don’t gush over a regrettable accident caused by US aggression.

Peter Crowley is an independent writer and scholar with a M.S. in Conflict Resolution, Global Studies from Northeastern University. He works as Content Specialist/Production Coordinator for a prominent library science company.