In the past week U.S. Attorney General Holder and the F.B.I. announced that a plot involving agents of the Iranian government had been uncovered. It was reported that a member of a Mexican drug cartel had been hired by Mansour Arbabsiar, an Iranian-born U.S. citizen, to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the U.S. Soon after, government officials within and without the Obama administration lost no time in beating the drums of retaliation.
A call for retaliation, so quickly after the announcement, with only the barest details and no evidence of any direct linkage to the government of Iran? Of course. The promoters of war don't need hard evidence, they just need the slightest reason to call for war; this is what they do, this is what they are all about. They have been waiting for this opportunity and now that it's here they will lobby heavily to get Mr. Obama and the military to respond.
Already we have President Obama saying, as we have heard him say on numerous occasions, "All options are on the table." Vice President Joe Biden quickly chimed in and declared, "Nothing is off the table." Secretary of State Hillar Clinton proclaimed that "The plot crosses the line" and further added that "This is a dangerous escalation."
Various war hawks in Congress and numerous so-called experts in counterterrorism have appeared in the media trying their best to prove the case for the government. The people of America must resist these reactionaries and let all of the facts be presented before any conclusions are drawn. There is no need to overreact and initiate another march to war that could be even more misguided than one of the biggest military blunders in world history -- the invasion of Iraq by G.W. Bush. Another reckless, massive blunder could set the Middle East on fire.
Something about this supposed Iranian plot just doesn't seem to be entirely credible since any number of experts, analysts and other qualified observers are highly skeptical. The respected Middle East expert, Juan Cole said, " I am frankly shocked that Eric Holder should have brought us this steaming crock, which is now being used to make policy at the highest levels." And further that, "Anyone in the DOJ or the US foreign policy establishment would take all this seriously is not plausible."
There may well be a plot to actually carry out such an assassination engineered by this used car salesman from Texas and some operative(s) in Iran. But to think that the government of Iran is so dumb and ill-advised to direct such a bizarre, amateurish and brazen attempt in New York City is almost incomprehensible. That's why those experts that know how Iran operates just aren't buying into the accusation.
As we watch this latest crisis unfold, wondering what might happen next, some of us are reminded of a term from the past; "false flag operation." Here are just two examples of many in U.S. history: The Spanish-American War, 1898: a sudden, massive explosion on the battleship Maine, in a harbor in Havana, Cuba, killed 255 of the crew. The Spanish government was instantly accused of being responsible for the attack and war was initiated by the U.S. Later investigations revealed that an explosion caused by conditions within the battleship itself was the cause, and the Spanish were not responsible.