There are men in Washington intent on going to war with Iran – and very few people doubt this fact. Why then, does the media keep warning us that conflict could break out “accidentally”? The US does not go to war by mistake.
Last week, Donald Trump pinned the blame for the attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman squarely on Iran. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has been running around provoking Iran in word and deed for months, called the attacks an “unacceptable escalation of tension.” The so-called proof came in the form of a grainy video that presented more questions than answers.
However, for every irredeemable neocon who believes this sketchy story, there appear to be 10 more who doubt it – because with such a long history of using false-flag attacks to begin wars, only someone with their head buried very deep in the sand could not feel at least a little skeptical about recent events.
If they are not careful, “the two arch foes could stumble into a conflict,” one Reuters report warned. The UK Telegraph explained British concerns about the risks of “stumbling into an unwanted war.” Foreign Policy magazine published a piece about how Washington and Tehran could prevent an “accidental war.”
Let’s get one thing straight. Washington does not get into wars “by mistake.”
The Trump administration itself has been taunting and provoking Iran from day one. For Mike “we lied, we cheated, we stole” Pompeo, who has been the most public face of Trump’s anti-Iran campaign, a conflict would certainly be no mistake, either. Trump himself appears less enthusiastic and there are rumors that he is unhappy with Bolton’s bloodlust and constant attempts to steer him toward wars. One can only hope rumors of his looming firing prove true.
This strange terminology is not reserved for Iran, either. As I have written before, the media often frames US military action as something that happened while good men fell asleep at the wheel. Media reports have had the US “drifting,” “sliding” and “sleepwalking” into wars all over the place. When it is not drowsily stumbling into conflicts, it is being “dragged into” or “sucked into” them. This language intentionally removes the agency from the most powerful and trigger-happy country on Earth, recasting it as the victim.
Incredibly, some print media have been willing to question the US narrative on the Gulf of Oman attacks – far more, at least, than they have done when it comes to other recent regime-change efforts from Syria to Venezuela. Perhaps we can actually thank Pompeo and Bolton for this sudden splash of skepticism. Their eagerness for war has been so transparent, it would be almost criminal for supposedly serious newspapers not to question their statements.
The cable news networks have been another story entirely, far more interested in beating the war drums than asking questions. CNN’s Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr is taking particular heat on Twitter for taking her title a bit too literally, regurgitating baseless claims from nameless military “sources” and spreading them around online like they were facts.
What exactly happened to those two tankers, we still don’t know. Nor can we predict what might happen next – but the one thing of which we can be totally certain, is that if the US goes to war with Iran, it will be entirely by design.