Yesterday two small US navy ships entered Iranian territorial waters. They were promptly intercepted by Iranian patrol boats and the soldiers detained pending an investigation by the Iranians as to whether it was a hostile attack or an accidental transgression. The Iranians assured the US that the sailors would be kept safe and the issue would be dealt with promptly. And sure enough, the sailors and boats were released following the Iranian determination that this was accidental. US Secretary of State John Kerry thanked the Iranians for the quick release and said that this kind of peaceful resolution was due to the diplomatic channels that had now been established because of the nuclear arms deal.
A minor event in the grand scheme of things, handled just the way such international incidents should be. But not if you are one of the Republican candidates and the media chattering classes who immediately went into hysteria mode warning that this was blatant aggression by the Iranians, possibly to embarrass president Obama just before he delivered his State of the Union address, and that the US had to respond strongly to show them that you could not push the US around.
Glenn Greenwald reviews more of the almost comical (if it were not serious) responses by these keyboard warriors and concludes:
Just imagine what would happen if the situation had been reversed: if two Iranian naval ships had entered U.S. waters off the East Coast of the country without permission or notice. Wolf Blitzer would have declared war within minutes; Aaron David Miller would have sprained one his fingers madly tweeting about Iranian aggression and the need to show resolve; and Joe Scarborough would have videotaped himself throwing one of his Starbucks cups at a picture of the mullahs to show them that they cannot push America around and there “will be hell to pay.” And, needless to say, the U.S. government would have – quite rightly – detained the Iranian ships and the sailors aboard them to determine why they had entered U.S. waters (and had they released the Iranians less than 24 hours later, the U.S. media would have compared Obama to Neville Chamberlain).
But somehow, the U.S. media instantly converted the invasion by U.S. ships into Iranian waters into an act of aggression by Iran. That’s, in part, because the U.S. political and media establishment believes the world is owned by the United States (recall how the U.S., with a straight face, regularly condemned Iran for “interference” in Iraq even while the U.S. was occupying Iraq with 100,000 troops). Thus, the U.S. military has the absolute right to go anywhere it wants – even into Iranian waters – and it’s inherently an act of “aggression” for anyone else to resist. That was the clear premise of the bulk of the U.S. commentary last night.
Of course, none of these people will exhibit any shame for their absurd over-reaction. Being a warmonger means never having to say you are sorry.