In the past few months, I've tried to avoid blogging much on this website about politics or geopolitics, because so much of it is just downright disgusting and emotionally draining. But today, I think it may be a kind of moral dereliction not to do so.
Last Thursday I recorded my News and Views from the Nefarium on the tanker attacks in the Persian Gulf. At the time, there wasn't much to go on, except, of course, that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeio was quick out of the gate to denounce Iran as the ne'er-do-well in chief behind the attacks.
I wasn't so sure, and I'm still not. Don't get me wrong: I'm absolutely no fan of the regime in Tehran. They are a state sponsoring terror. But if that is the standard by which we must focus our ire, then the (out)House of Saud is also right at the top of the list, and one could think of a few other countries over in that region as well. Moreover, in some American states, it is now a "hate speech" crime to raise even a minim of suspicion about the treatment of Palestinians by Israel, or to question the legitimacy, not to mention constitutionality, of the whole idea that some people can maintain a dual citizenship in this country and that one, and hold public office in this one! For those paying attention, that was a neat and nifty equation of two concepts hardly related, as anti-Zionism has been equated with anti-Semitism. At a stroke, any theological criticism of the Zionist position or agenda - be it Orthodox Jewish or traditional Christian - has been made a hate crime. And for those really paying attention, those ludicrous laws not only have sanctioned a massive curtailment of the First Amendment right of free speech, they have implicitly sanctioned a form of Christian doctrine - dispensationalism - long understood by traditional Christian confessional positions as a heresy. If you're an Orthodox Jewish Rabbi or a traditional "Book of Concord" Lutheran pastor, you could be in breech of those laws for questioning the theological basis of Zionism and/0r its dispensationalist counterpart that holds sway in many American "evangelical" circles. By those decrees, one would have to come up with a sort of "anti-Zionist" "Index of Forbidden Books" that the Faithful of the Indispensable Nation must not read, and at the head of that list would have to be books like Alfred Lilienthal's What Price Zionism? or Ben Hecht's Perfidy or Rabbi Marvin Antelmann's To Eliminate the Opiate, not to mention Hannah Arendt and a few others. In other words, Jewish intellectuals and critics of Zionism would themselves be denied a voice. They could not write their books in modern Texas or Florida, two states which have already passed such "anti-Zionism" laws.
I rehearse all of these points because in last Thursday's News and Views I outlined reasons why I'm not at all convinced that Iran is behind those attacks. I don't rule it out, but with the rush to condemn that nation without a scintilla of evidence or argument at the time, my suspicion meter went into the red zone. I found few reasons for Iran to do such a thing, but plenty of reasons for factions elsewhere in the Middle East to do so, and highlighted the Saudis as one possibility, Israel another, and one cannot rule out a kind of "Bay of Pigs" scenario of some rogue intelligence faction in this country trying to pin the executive branch to a course of action by precipitating such an incident. For me it had, and still has, that element of "Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq" quality to it. There is - if I may so put it - a cartoonish quality to it. It's too pat, too obvious, and too unsubtle. It seems designed to persuade opinion in this country, and that is what this article shared by V.T. seems to indicate what has already happened:
The key here, in case you missed it, is this, and it occurs right at the beginning of the article:
A brief report from AntiWar.com's Eric Garris suggests Thursday's tanker attack incident in the Gulf of Oman which the United States promptly blamed on Iran has directly impacted bills placed before the Senate which would ban US arms sales to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Qatar.
Garris wrote of the vote which came hours after the Gulf tankers incident: "Both votes were considered highly likely to pass up until they were rushed to the floor today. The timing appears almost certainly to have been related to Thursday tanker bombings in the Gulf of Oman, and shifted a number of Senators’ votes in favor of continuing the arms sales." He noted that "some senators switched sides to kill the bills" following news of the tanker attacks.
And there you have it.
Let's not forget that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was in Tehran at the time, acting (as many suppose) to clear the air, and potentially (as others suppose) as intermediary for President Trump. But in any case, Abe may have been there to conduct independent diplomacy, and hence the incident could be also construed as a shot across Japan's bows. The idea that Iran would attack a Japanese ship while Abe is there in any capacity, intermediary or otherwise, is, in a word, completely nuts. And the Persians are not nuts. And I strongly suspect that not even their nutty regime is that nuts.
As for the rest of us who believe that "It is finished" means "it is finished," and that there is no longer any special theological dispensation or privilege attaching to Israel, Zionist or otherwise, well, Austin and Tallahassee have decreed such views heresy.
And in doing so, it looks to me like they're not only flying in the face of the First Amendment, but also the establishment clause. But hey, that's ok, because we're already second class citizens required to fund entities like Planned Parenthood...
See you on the flip side...