Monday, April 2, 2007
By GARY LEUPP
"On March 31 the President of the United States made a statement pertaining to the 15 British sailors and marines unfortunately detailed in Iran: "The Iranians must give back the hostages. They're innocent. The Iranians took these people out of Iraqi waters. It's inexcusable behavior."
But since the American people don't trust George W. Bush, let's seek a second opinion. A credible authoritative one.
Let's ask the top Iraqi military officer in charge of guarding the Shatt al-Iraq waterway where the Brits were actually apprehended. This man is working for the U.S.-backed regime and probably not inclined to make up stuff to embarrass the U.S. president, who gives him his paycheck. So his opinion should be relevant here. Let's ask Brigadier General Hakim Jassim.
The good general told Associated Press the day after the March 23 incident: "We were informed [about the British troops' arrests] by Iraqi fishermen, after they had returned from sea that there were British gunboats in an area that is out of Iraqi control. We don't know why they were there.'" ......
Bush is trying to depict the March 23 incident as a "hostage crisis," stoking memories of the 1979-81 Iran Embassy episode......
Just as the seizure of the Americans in 1979 needs to be understood in perspective, the detention of these Britons has to be understood in the context of the crime of the Iraq War itself. Whatever the actual coordinates of the vessel boarded and seized by the Iranians, why are the British policing the Shatt al-Arab waterway at all?.
They're there fighting an imperialist war. That war is going badly. The neocons still in charge in Washington (and building bridges to the resurgent Democrats led by opportunists competing to convey deference to AIPAC and embrace a hard line against Iran) wish to expand it to include the Islamic Republic. They work overtime organizing that project. That much should be obvious to anybody paying attention.....
I will not prophesy that the evil, dangerous persons (including fundamentalist Christians and secular Jewish neocons) responsible for the war on Iraq will purvey a Good Friday assault on Iran. But I won't be surprised if it happens, with apocalyptic ramifications. Perhaps only in the aftermath will redeeming regime change come here."