Foreign Policy

Iranian Downing of U.S. Drone Raises Risk of War

Non-interventionists should be deeply concerned by the escalating tensions between the two countries.

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Tensions between the U.S. and Iran have continued to escalate over the past several days in a way that should disturb anyone who doesn't want to see America get into another shooting war in the Middle East.

Yesterday, the Iranians downed a U.S surveillance drone flying over the Strait of Hormuz. Iran claims the aircraft flew into its airspace. The U.S. military maintains that its drone was over international waters the whole time, calling Iran's downing of the craft "an unprovoked attack."

President Donald Trump weighed in on Twitter to say that "Iran made a very big mistake!"

This is only the latest in a series of incidents in the Persian Gulf that have ratcheted up tensions between the two powers.

On Monday, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan announced that 1,000 additional troops would be headed to the Middle East for "defensive purposes" in response to attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman that the U.S. says Iran was behind. Those troops are in addition to the 1,200 troops the Trump administration sent to the Middle East in late May.

Iran has denied attacking the two tankers. On Monday, it also said it would be exceeding the limit on its uranium stockpile that the country had agreed to as part of the 2015 nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama administration.

In addition to this back-and-forth abroad, the Trump administration has been floating legal justifications for attacking Iran without congressional approval at home.

On Wednesday, The New York Times reported that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been telling Congress that there are alarming ties between the Iranian government and Al Qaeda—a claim that was reportedly met with extreme skepticism.

The 2001 Authorization of Military Force (AUMF) gives the president the authority to wage war on Al Qaeda and its allies. More than a few people have argued that trying to link Iran and Al Qaeda is an attempt to stretch the meaning of the 2001 AUMF to allow the administration to attack Iran without any further congressional authorization.

"They are looking to bootstrap an argument to allow the president to do what he likes without coming to Congress, and they feel the 2001 authorization will allow them to go to war with Iran," said Sen. Tim Kaine (D–Va.) to The New York Times.

Politico also reports that Pompeo has been pitching lawmakers on the idea that the 2001 AUMF gives the president the power to unilaterally attack Iran. Supporting this argument is administration ally and Iran superhawk Sen. Tom Cotton (R–Ark.).

"Unprovoked attacks on commercial shipping warrant a retaliatory military strike," said Cotton in an interview with CBS on Sunday. "The president has the authorization to act to defend American interests."

In a Tuesday interview with Politico, Cotton urged the administration to bomb Iran in order to deter future attacks on ships in the Persian Gulf, saying that "there are more than ample targets that can deter Iran from this kind of malicious behavior whether it's naval bases or munition storage or refining capabilities."

Cotton has a likely ally in the form of National Security Advisor John Bolton, who has long been a champion of war with Iran, and who has done his best to raise tensions with the country in recent weeks.

In late May, for example, Bolton announced that the U.S. would be sending an aircraft carrier and several bombers to the Persian Gulf as "a clear and unmistakable message" of resolve from Washington to Tehran.  He also reportedly ordered the Defense Department to review its contingency plans for war with Iran.

Trump himself has often expressed an unwillingness to get the U.S. engaged in further conflicts in the Middle East, even going so far as to announce a U.S. withdrawal of troops from Syria and Afghanistan—withdrawals that have so far failed to materialize.

Sen. Rand Paul (R–Ky.) has appealed to Trump's past reticence about U.S. interventionism in an effort to forestall conflict with Iran.

"One of the things I like about President Trump is that he said the Iraq War was a mistake. I think an Iran war would be even a bigger mistake than the Iraq War. We lost over 4,000 soldiers over there. I don't think we need to get involved in another war," Paul said in a Fox News interview on Tuesday.

Whether Trump will listen to Paul or to his more hawkish advisors remains to be seen.

NEXT: A Troubling Supreme Court Decision on Non-Delegation

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  1. It’s ok, it was still under warranty, plus we had full coverage on it.

    1. Only if we got the surface to air missile rider.

    2. expect denial letter soon.

      1. “We’re gonna need proof of oil changes”

  2. The sanctions on Iran are having a huge effect an they are getting desparate and are trying to bully the world into lifting them by threatening the straights of Hormuz. I do not think they have the guts to do that since doing so would give the US an excuse to bomb the hell out of them with world support. And they know that. They know Trump isn’t Obama and actually would do it.

    Beyond that, thanks to frakking, the US is virtually energy independent. So stopping the flow of oil in the gulf would effectively an embargo on China. This is another reason why the Iranians won’t be doing that.

    Ultimately, they are trying to bait Trump into doing something rash and turning them into the victims. Luckly, Trump seems to not be willing to take the bait. He said today that the drone might have been shot down by accident or by a rogue commander. Hardly the words of someone intending to use this as an excuse to go to war.

    1. Ultimately, they are trying to bait Trump into doing something rash and turning them into the victims.

      Yes – with the hope that our allies will turn against him and refuse to go along with military action, thus forcing him back to the table to renegotiate the sanctions.

      1. Us could unilaterally destroy iran. We do that well. It is the idiotic nation building afterwards we are bad at.

        1. Us could unilaterally destroy iran.

          Yes. Could have done the same to Iraq, too, even more easily. What they’re banking on is the US not wanting to go to war unilaterally as a political decision.

          1. We did. There was virtually no resistance to the US attack, and few coalition casualties during the “war” phase. 20 March saw the first attacks of the invasion, and by April 9th, the statue of Saddam was being torn down in Baghdad. By April 13th, the country was in total disarray. ” The losses caused by looting and plundering [by Iraqi civilians] starts to cause more and more damage to Iraqi civilian infrastructure, economy, and culture, than those caused by three weeks of coalition bombing.”

            It was the occupation and ostensible “peace-keeping” plus “nation-building” that has been the big negative.

            1. That’s exactly my point. The US didn’t need to build a coalition for military purposes; it needed to build a coalition for political purposes.

        2. The best possible result is that the Iranian people decide they’ve had enough and overthrow the despotic wahabist mullahs that run that place. Which has almost happened a few times, and likely would have if not for Obama making the nuclear deal with them.

          1. likely would have if not for Obama making the nuclear deal with them

            smdh What world are you living in?

            1. Well, sending them at least $400M in airlifted cash out of at least $1.7B Obama administration sent or released to them sure didn’t hurt.

              1. Didn’t hurt what? The perception of the Iranian people that the US is their sworn enemy? I’m not sure I agree.

                1. “The perception of the Iranian people that the US is their sworn enemy”

                  Where are you getting that? The Iranian state run media?

          2. The best possible result is that the Iranian people decide they’ve had enough and overthrow the despotic wahabist mullahs that run that place.

            Except for the mullahs not being in any way Wahhabist, being Shi’ites, yes. But my understanding is that currently there is little appetite for revolution in Iran given how terribly it turned out last time.

            and likely would have if not for Obama making the nuclear deal with them.

            No. As a matter of fact, the sanctions have been used quite successfully by the Iranian government to demonize the US and convince the Iranian people that their government is the least of the available evils. The more belligerent our posturing, the more damage we do to the country, the less likely their people are to revolt.

            1. Iran has the most delicious Flavor aid.

          3. So the US responds to the attack on the drone with about 20 cruise missiles addressed to the top echelons of the Iranian government and military – and transmits a message to the Iranian people that the government has been decapitated and they should do whatever they think best.
            Problem solved. For us.
            For Iran? Maybe. Maybe not.

        3. Was going to post the same general thought.

          1. Which situation turned out better in the long run, Japan or Libya? One involved decades-long, and still ongoing, occupation, while the other involved a drive-by destruction of a government.

            Disclaimer: IMHO both of these are foolish paths forward.

            1. Yeah, but we used nukes in Japan.

        4. That’s the problem. The US is great at fighting wars, but we are loathe to win them.

        5. It is the idiotic nation building afterwards we are bad at.

          Yup. And we have been very bad about that ver since the War of Northern Aggression, back some 170 years or so.
          I don’t hold much hope for any improvement on that front. Too many modern day carpetbaggers making far too much money on these endless bottomless budgetless attempts at making a show of “helping”.

          Why not fly those drones in pairs, close enough so when one is under threat the other can at least record what happened, and hopefully take surgically precise action agains the source of the aggression.

          Jefferson, back in about 1806, took the time to suss out what makes those mozzies tick. When they stepped too far outside their boundaries and began taking American commercial vessels captive, stealing their cargo, sinking them, enslaving crew and passengers, he already knew the ONLY language they would understand. And that language is the same for ALL followers/descendants of Ishmael. That language is the immediate and credlbie threat of utter annhiliation and/or subjugation. When they first sued for peace on THEIR terms, wanting to collect the jizra in return for the “priviledge” of sailing anywhere in the Mediterranean Sea, he simply rejected that “offer” of “peace”. And sank more of their pirate ships. They figured it out, and the Treaty of Tripoli was signed, the piracy stopped, they hunkered down for a couple centuries, almost.

          They need a reminder of their proper place at the world’s table. Must play nice with others present.

          1. That’s why I say respond with appropriate force. The drone was reportedly a $180 million aircraft. So with cruise missiles at say, $1 million a pop, schedule 180 of them to hit vital Iranian infrastructure – starting with government and military and working down to power and water plants, bridges, train lines, communications centers, etc.

            Trump should take the muzzle off the attack dog. Authorize retaliation for any attack. That doesn’t require a declaration of war or a congressional authorization. When the military is attacked, they have every right to fight back.

        6. +1,000,000,000,000,000!!!!

          It’s not so much we are bad are nation building, as we are good on corruptly funding the Military-Industrial Complex….We do not want to build these nations, but we want to fill the coffers of the contractors & pols & lobbyists, etc…

      2. I don’t think Trump personally cares if his allies in NATO do not back him. It’s not like America actually needs any help to bomb the hell out of Iran.
        I highly doubt it will ever come to this. Trump uses the threat of force to force hostile countries to come to the negotiating table. This tactic has been shown to work consistently and I have absolutely no doubt it will work with Iran.
        Under Obama Iran saw America as weak, even blackmailing Obama with the threat of starting production of refined uranium to hand over billions of dollar.
        Trump is a whole other type of president. He has shown that he will use force if it is needed as he did in Syria, but he is open to negotiation. Trump negotiates from a position of strength, not weakness like Obama. Obama was an utter disgrace and embarrassment.

    2. The sanctions on Iran are having a huge effect

      Anything positive?

      1. It is defunding a bunch of tyranical lunatics and making it more likely the regime falls. Since wokeltarians love Iranian Mullahs almost as much as they love food trucks, that isn’t much of a positive. But for everyone else, it is.

        1. It is defunding a bunch of tyranical lunatics and making it more likely the regime falls.

          When was the last time a regime was overthrown by their people because of sanctions?

          Since wokeltarians love Iranian Mullahs almost as much as they love food trucks, that isn’t much of a positive. But for everyone else, it is.

          Iran wasn’t threatening to ramp up enrichment to near weapons grade before these sanctions. I’m sure “everyone else” sees that as a positive development too.

          1. South Africa, Serbia to name two. Serbia was a bombing campaign but the intent was the same, make the population miserable and get them to revolt.

            Beyond that, why shoudl we trade with people who will use the money to do great harm and maybe even attack us?

            And your claim that Iran wasn’t enriching Urainian is absurd. The JCPOA was a complete joke and everyone knows it. It wasn’t going to stop them from getting the bomb. Moreover, the claim has always been that the Mullahs are peaceful wonderful guys who are not pursuing the bomb. So, how is it that they are creating HEU. It would be nice if you people would pick a set of facts and a single eplanation and stick with it rather than just making whatever shit up is necessary to defend whatever tryant is the Wokeltarian flavor de jour.

            1. The regime in SA was not overthrown. They made reforms. Is that what you think Iran will do? Make reforms because of pressure from the west? As for Serbia, it’s really hard to say that sanctions were the cause of Milosovic’s ouster. There had been really tough sanctions on Yugoslavia and Serbia on and off for the decade before, during, and after the civil war and break up of the federation, so it’s pretty debatable whether it was the sanctions that were the cause of the regime change. I mean, there wasn’t much chance of overthrow during the worst of the sanctions because people were literally starving. Starving people can’t put up much of a fight.

              Beyond that, why shoudl we trade with people who will use the money to do great harm and maybe even attack us?

              It’s ridiculous to think that Iran would start a war with the US without the US antagonizing them.

              And your claim that Iran wasn’t enriching Urainian is absurd.

              They were enriching to reactor grade, not weapons grade. Further. there is no evidence that they were ever enriching past medical grade. Now, in response to US belligerence, they’re threatening to enrich to weapons grade.

              Moreover, the claim has always been that the Mullahs are peaceful wonderful guys who are not pursuing the bomb. So, how is it that they are creating HEU.

              It didn’t matter if the mullahs were lovable folks or not. The program was under IAEA control under the “worst deal of the century.” Trump’s sanctions are causing them to go rogue.

              The process is for enriching to weapons grade is the same as the one for going to reactor grade, except you keep going.

              1. Except for limited reactor designs no one enriches to 20%. The vast majority limit to 5%. But they needed 20% for “research.”

                1. Except for limited reactor designs no one enriches to 20%.

                  20% is medical grade, so yes, plenty of uranium gets enriched to that level.

                  1. “Plenty.” No it isn’t. Medical isotopes have very limited half lives and are produced in specialized reactors using HEU. The US doesn’t even produce them.

                  2. Is Iran producing medical grade Molybdenum technetium 99m columns?

                    Radio pharmacy grade I-131 or I-125?

                    Just wondering

              2. And it’s laughable to claim it was under IAEA control when Iran self-certified, had advance notice of inspections, and prohibited inspection of military facilities.

                Is that you, Ben?

                1. Here’s what your hero threw away in exchange for nothing.

                  https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-iran-deal-factbox/factbox-irans-commitments-under-its-nuclear-deal-idUSKCN1SE16E

                  – Slashes the number of centrifuges installed in Iran to roughly 6,000 from around 19,000 before the deal here

                  – Only allows Iran to produce enriched uranium with its first-generation IR-1 centrifuges

                  – Allows Iran to use small numbers of more advanced centrifuges for research, but without accumulating enriched uranium, for 10 years

                  Caps Iran’s stock of low-enriched uranium at 300 kg of uranium hexafluoride enriched to 3.67 percent or its equivalent for 15 years.

                  It produced tonnes before the deal, and any excess enriched uranium was either downblended to the level of natural uranium or shipped out of the country in exchange for natural uranium.

                  The United States said in 2015 that the deal reduced Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium by 98 percent, to less than the amount needed for one weapon from enough for about 10 previously.

                  Iran was further away from being able to produce a weapon with plutonium than with uranium. It was building a heavy-water reactor at Arak that could eventually have produced spent fuel from which plutonium could be separated.

                  – The core of that reactor has been removed and filled with concrete to make it unusable

                  – The reactor is being redesigned so as to “minimize the production of plutonium and not to produce weapon-grade plutonium in normal operation”

                  – All spent fuel from Arak will be shipped out of Iran, for the reactor’s lifetime.

                  – Iran commits not to engage in reprocessing or reprocessing research activities for 15 years.

                  – Iran can continue to produce heavy water, used as a moderator in reactors like Arak, but its stock is capped around 130 tonnes. It has previously shipped excess amounts out of the country for storage or sold them. This restriction lasts 15 years.

                  – Requires Iran to provisionally apply the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Additional Protocol – which grants the agency wide-ranging inspection powers – and “subsequently seek ratification and entry into force”.

                  – Grants U.N. nuclear inspectors daily access to Natanz and Fordow for 15 years.

                  – Says the deal’s signatories must vet Iran’s purchases of nuclear or dual-use equipment.

                  – Bans Iran from carrying out a range of activities that could contribute to making a nuclear bomb, such as computer simulations of a nuclear explosion or designing certain multi-point detonation systems. In some cases, those activities can be carried out with the other signatories’ approval.

                  Now? Who knows?

                  1. “For ten years, Iran will place over two-thirds of its centrifuges in storage, from its current stockpile of 19,000 centrifuges (of which 10,000 were operational -NAS, so not really 19k to 6k, only 10k to 6k) to no more than 6,104 operational centrifuges, with only 5,060 allowed to enrich uranium,[47][65] with the enrichment capacity being limited to the Natanz plant. The centrifuges there must be IR-1 centrifuges, the first-generation centrifuge type which is Iran’s oldest and least efficient; Iran will give up its advanced IR-2M centrifuges in this period.”

                    “If IAEA inspectors have concerns that Iran is developing nuclear capabilities at any non-declared sites, they may request access “to verify the absence of undeclared nuclear materials and activities or activities inconsistent with” the agreement, informing Iran of the basis for their concerns.[89] The inspectors would only come from countries with which Iran has diplomatic relations.[91] Iran may admit the inspectors to such site or propose alternatives to inspection that might satisfy the IAEA’s concerns.[89] If such an agreement cannot be reached, a process running to a maximum of 24 days is triggered.[89]”

                    “As a result of the above, the “breakout time”—the time in which it would be possible for Iran to make enough material for a single nuclear weapon—will increase from two to three months to one year (NAS– One WHOLE year, assuming actual compliance), according to U.S. officials and U.S. intelligence.”

                    So what did we get back then? Who knows?

          2. When has appeasement ever worked?

            1. It works pretty well for the party being appeased. Less so for everyone else.

          3. And since Iran claimed that it never had any intentions of building a nuclear weapon, their rationale for enriching is…?

            I know, we’re forcing them to do it, just like we forced them to attack two 3rd party tankers. Wait, that’s just a false flag you conspiracy wingnuts!

            1. And since Iran claimed that it never had any intentions of building a nuclear weapon, their rationale for enriching is…?

              hmm, what could be the reason to enrich to 3.5% and not 95%? Could be anything.

              1. Wait, you think they’re limiting to LEU? Oh you poor thing.

                  1. You mean the same IAEA who couldn’t access every site? But hey, they pinky swore.

                    And in exchange we gave a terrorist state over $100BB.

                    Thanks, Obama!

          4. Well since we’ve established that, let’s talk about opposition to arms sales to saudi arabia.

            But that’s different because shut up.

    3. Sanctions are evil. Rand Paul voted for these sanctions. It was the first hint that he is not like his dad.

    4. John – You’re blabbering. Rather than try to interpret Iran via something Fox or Trump says about Iran, maybe you should go read the English version language of the Fars News Agency website. Course I’m sure the Farsi version of their site is more accurate re their actual outlook on the world and the propaganda/PR they want to put out. But even reading the English version will mean you are 1000 steps ahead of where Trump or Bolton or our media will ever be. Course clicking on that link will also probably put you on some NSA terrorist watch list yourself and justify them gathering intel on your entire internet presence so maybe it’s safer to just listen to the narrative the PTB wants you to hear.

    5. “I do not think they have the guts to do that since doing so would give the US an excuse to bomb the hell out of them with world support. “

      Taking out six tankers and one top shelf US asset obviously demonstrates lack of “guts”. We won’t even go with Iran ops in Syria and Iraq, let alone other things in the history, our tanker wars in the Iran Iraq war, boat provocations in the recent past, the whole nuclear issue, long range missiles, threats, since the revolution.

      The US does not have World Support. Far from it. Trump has killed most of that.

      1. The US does not have World Support. Far from it. Trump has killed most of that.

        ^ This.

        1. Really? Because it would seem a bunch of leaders just got elected across Europe that fit right in trumps vein.

          And wouldn’t scrapping the nuke deal and crushing them with sanctions show trump doesn’t need world support?

          And why the fuck do we care what some European half-whit says we should do? European leadership blows donkey dong. Economically they suck, on individual liberty they suck, and they’re giant pussies. In just about every case were probably better off without them or their input.

      2. Please. Trump didn’t kill world support; he failed to cede sovereignty.

        1. Sovereignty over Iran?

  3. Trump is the voice of reason in his administration. Dear god.

    1. If only he had been around to stop Obama from engaging in an illegal war in Libya and making empty threats to Russia over Syria.

      1. Obama got what he wanted in Libya I suppose; absolute chaos and Gaddafi sodomized to death by an angry mob in a storm drain?

      2. So war in Libya bad, war in Syria good.

        Whatever Obama didn’t do = good.

        Yeah I kind of got that.

        1. The war in Libya did nothing but destroy the country and turn it over to the radicals. It also sent radicals all over central Africa. So, yes it was very bad.

          The “war” in Syria such as it is was to destroy ISIS and restore the territorial integrity of Iraq, which it has done. The war in Syria kicked ISIS out of Iraq and Syria and stopped any number of atrocities. The war in Libya destroyed an entire society and turned it over to the Jihadists. So, yes they two things are entirely different.

          1. Now do Iraq.

            1. I’ll do it for you, hypocrite:

              “Goats are, in fact, potential WMDs, if you think about it.”

              Alternatively,

              “Hillary Clinton should never have started the Iraq War!”

              If only there was a way Obama wouldn’t have had to deal with a destabilized Middle East.

              1. If only there was a way Obama wouldn’t have had to deal with a destabilized Middle East.

                Is there an alternate universe where the Ottoman Empire never collapsed?

                1. No but there is one where Bush didn’t invade Iraq on false pretenses. It’s called FOX News.

                  1. No but there is one where Bush didn’t invade Iraq on false pretenses.

                    You’ve been here long enough to have no excuse for not realizing that most of us here, the libertarians, anyway, opposed the invasion of Iraq. Even when the Democrats were in favor of it.

                    But to think that if not for Bush’s invasion of Iraq, the Middle East would be stable is just ignorant in the extreme.

                  2. Who knows where it would be today, but that was the proximate cause of the end of the balance of power we worked so hard to maintain.

                    1. that was the proximate cause of the end of the balance of power we worked so hard to maintain

                      No, it wasn’t. It was the next logical step in that fool’s game of thinking we can force the Middle East to be stable. There hasn’t been a ‘stable balance of power’ in the ME since well before WWI.

                      The existing borders in the ME were drawn up by Western powers for their own benefit and are not sustainable. Iraq, for example is a majority Persian country with significant Kurdish, Turkish and Gulf Arab minorities that was put under the rule of Hashemite Arabs to reward them for helping out in WWI. The country once called Syria is a partitioned mess of permanent conflict that was carved up largely to satisfy France.

                      Your throwing up your hands and saying “who knows?” is just you declaring a partisan conclusion while knowing nothing about actual circumstances in the actual ME.

                    2. Okay, so why do you hate the Iraq occupation? There are plenty of other choices.

                    3. Okay, so why do you hate the Iraq occupation?

                      Did you read anything I just wrote? What’s the long-term prognosis for us trying to prop up an Iraqi government by force? I don’t think it’s too good.

                      There are plenty of other choices.

                      Right – like overthrowing the government and walking away while the country goes “BOOM!”, not even looking back?

                      The best option is admitting that we need to disengage. That doesn’t mean turn around and leave messes we caused unattended, but it does mean being realistic about the consequences of intervention, even when your favorite party is doing it.

            2. Now do Vietnam. No do how the entire syrian situation was a result of Barry’s adventurism in the middle east. Now do how the execution of qaddafi demonstrated to any 3rd world power that playing nice with the US on WMD is a fool’s game and you better get a nike as fast as you can.

              Practice foreign policy with a MFA failed at romantic fiction and you get exactly the disaster you expect.

              1. That’s the biggie. Khaddafy was playing ball with us AND WE STILL FUCKED HIM.

                Why would anybody be stupid enough to work with us again? Every leader can just say “You’ll be nice to us like you were to Libya?” if they agree to disarm. Meanwhile, Iran can scream “Death to America” for 40 years and Progs line up to give them what they want.

                It’s like the French and British before World War II. Stalin didn’t agree to work with Hitler out of affection. He just realized that the Western European powers word didn’t mean a damned thing so why trust it?

              2. I obviously won’t defend Vietnam and I don’t care what party the perpetrators of that nonsense were in. You are the ones being ridiculously partisan here. It’s an asinine discussion. All I want is acknowledgment that Iraq was to some degree worse than Libya, where not a single US troop set foot.

                1. I don’t care what party the perpetrators of that nonsense were in

                  Of course you don’t, because they have (Ds) after their names.

                  All I want is acknowledgment that Iraq was to some degree worse than Libya, where not a single US troop set foot.

                  For us? Yes. For the occupants of those countries? I’m not so sure.

                  1. But we didn’t start the war in Libya! It was none of our doing. We intervened once on humanitarian grounds. If we hadn’t intervened you assholes would be blaming Obama for whatever happened next. Just like John is doing with Syria.

                  2. But we didn’t start the war in Libya!

                    There you go running off with the goalposts again. You brought up US action in Libya and compared it favorably to US action in Iraq. I pointed out that this “humanitarian aid” of which you speak consisted of bombing the country to oblivion and aiding an extremist uprising to overthrow and brutally murder someone who was supposedly our ally and was complying with international weapons-control regimes.

                    Mostly I opined that Libya is not better off for having had it’s government overthrown and the overthrowers having simply washed their hands of the situation, called it ‘smart power at its best’ and walked away from one of the largest refugee crises the world has ever seen.

                    But in fairness, we’re still directly involved in Iraq, so we could still fuck it up even worse.

                    If we hadn’t intervened you assholes would be blaming Obama for whatever happened next.

                    By “you,” of course, you mean the Republicans in your head rather than the people you are in fact directly referring to as “you.”

                    John does not speak for libertarians, and doesn’t claim to. I don’t understand why you can’t internalize that.

                    1. If you’re across the board against intervening, fine. It’s a conversation stopper, but it’s consistent. I’m not saying Obama had a perfect record on foreign intervention, just that it was ten billion times better than Bush’s. And anyone saying otherwise is doing so explicitly to absolve the Republicans for their exponentially worse judgment on the issue, no matter what you call yourself.

                    2. If you’re across the board against intervening, fine. It’s a conversation stopper, but it’s consistent.

                      Thank you.

                      I’m not saying Obama had a perfect record on foreign intervention, just that it was ten billion times better than Bush’s.

                      How so? I explained why I don’t think so based on the outcome for the occupants of those countries. I don’t agree with the decision to invade Iraq, but I don’t think you can compare the Iraq of today to the Libya of today and declare the outcome in Libya to be unambiguously better.

                      Again, for us, yes. For them, no.

                      And anyone saying otherwise is doing so explicitly to absolve the Republicans for their exponentially worse judgment on the issue, no matter what you call yourself.

                      Aaand, there you go off the rails again. Just can’t help yourself, can you?

                2. “I don’t care what party the perpetrators of that nonsense were in”

                  Of course you do. You are so full of shit. Being the hyper partisan venomous morn we know you to be.

        2. No Tony, it’s just a fact that Obama historically made horrible decisions.

          1. Bush is a part of history. Did he make bad decisions compared to Bush?

            1. Yes. cf. Libya, Syria, Egypt, Iran, Russia.

              1. Well that’s just hysterical insanity.

                But I do sometimes forget, it was the junior senator from New York at the time who was responsible for Iraq.

                1. LOL. She fucking voted for it, didn’t she? She’s a fucking neocon, she loves this shit.

            2. Uh, yeah, he did. They both made horrible fucking decisions. Obama just carried on where Bush left off. Bush took out Saddam, a secular dictator that was a sworn enemy of both Iran and bin Laden, thus paving the way for Islamic savages to take over Iraq and and the rise of ISIS. Obama took out Gaddafi, paving the way for said savages to take over his shithole. Rinse and repeat. Hell, the only thing Obama did right was leaving Assad in place. That’s a nightmare all its own.

              Both of them set the Middle East on fire. Both assholes just made Islamic fundamentalism even stronger. Those fucking scumbags did irreparable damage to our nation and this planet, damage that will haunt us all for many years to come. There’s no going back. As far as I’m concerned they can both kiss my ass.

              1. Hell, the only thing Obama did right was leaving Assad in place.

                And that doesn’t seem to have been intentional.

                1. Haha, true. It’s nothing to his credit. More like a lucky fuckup than anything else. He didn’t keep him there because we were better off that way; he just lost his fucking nerve and choked. Totally unintentional on his part. But hey, it’s the end result that matters, right? LOL.

              2. Johnson, Kennedy, Nixon, all shoveling young boys into the furnace known as the Vietnam war. Every single other president that I know of and the leaders of other countries all sending boys off to die, it’s all unforgivable. They are all rotten to the core.

            3. Bush made his share of bad decisions, no question. Obama is worse. Iran, Egypt, Libya, etc..

        3. No.
          War in Libya Bad. War in Syria bad. War in Iraq Bad.
          See how that works.
          America going to war in any country which has not threatened her or indeed does not even have the capability of even sending a missile from their country which can even get close to America is absolutely ridiculous.
          Obama and Bush were a disgrace. They were chicken hawks and a real danger to world peace.
          Trump has NEVER once started a foreign war and yet Dems paint him as a war monger.
          I have little doubt Bush would have jumped at the opportunity to go to war with Iran. Obama would have just given them more money.
          Trump is absolutely the voice of reason and constraint, but the Dems will always find a way to turn any of Trump’s actions or decisions into a massive negative.
          Dems are disgusting creatures and the press have become nothing more than the propaganda arm of the DNC

    2. Almost like the narrative isn’t totally correct. Imagine that?

      -Don’t forget, I’m an An-Cap and don’t really care who “wins”

    3. What would Tricky Dick Nixon have done?

  4. Just remember, if you’re not for bombing the Middle East, you hate gay people.

    1. What about bombing (or stoning) gay people in the Middle East?

      1. If you bomb them, nobody can stone them.

        1. So Barry gets a twofer.

          1. Obama, the only president to bomb the Middle East.

            1. Democrats, the only party that’s never gone to war.

  5. Sooo…can we even afford another war?

    1. One more tax cut should do it.

      1. Medicare for all will solve everything.

        1. The Green New Deal laughs at your lack of initiative.

      2. As long as I get to keep my doctor.

    2. Better we back an internal revolution by a more more secular group that is reasonable. And relative to the kooks that run Iran that shouldn’t be hard to find.

      1. Libertarianism!

        *jazz hands*

        1. Social Justice! *rimshot*

        2. Libertarianism!

          as if

          1. Why are you talking to yourself?

            1. How fast do I have to switch handles back and forth to make you start rocking and banging your face with your fists?

        3. Oh Tony, we know you hate freedom and liberty. Prog like you always back the tyrants out of counter tribalist hatred of America. Even though that wahhabist regime would gladly murder a swichbuckler like you.

          1. Shall we bomb every country that hates gays? I think you’re taking this SJW thing a bit far.

  6. Is it just me, or would the RQ-4 drone look much more friendly with a happy face painted on it?

    1. I’ve always wondered why flying wings aren’t more popular. Maybe the yaw stability is an issue for the sensors but that seems like a stretch.

      1. Flying wings are tough for a high altitude long endurance aircraft. An RQ-4A flies upwards of 60,000 ft and can maintain that altitude for 30+ hours. It needs highly efficient wings for that. Wing efficiency is greatly affected by aspect ratio, which is the square of the span divided by the wing area; the longer the span relative to the average chord (the average distance from the leading edge of the wing to the trailing edge), the higher the aspect ratio, and the more efficient the wing is as a lifting surface. You also get a good amount of wing volume to use as fuel tanks, and a reasonably sized fuselage for payload.

        For a flying wing to have a useful fuel and payload capacity, the chord is generally much longer, driving the aspect ratio down for a given span and reducing the wing’s efficiency. There are also complicated structural dynamics issues that come into play as the size of the flying wing gets bigger and the vehicle gets heavier (the old square-cube law at work). Lastly, the yaw stability and associated yaw control power issues are easily solved, but the solutions won’t work for all potential customers (I won’t go into further detail on this point, too complicated).

        In short: unless you really need some of the unique features of a flying wing, a conventional wing-body-tail configuration is almost always better.

  7. Why would anyone fly a drone over international waters, sightseeing?

    1. Reconnaissance that is what the high tech drone which was shot down does.

      1. What reconnaissance could it conduct from 15 miles off shore in international waters?

        1. A lot.

          It has multiple sensors and may be the most advanced surveillance platform in the world. It has synthetic aperture radar, visible and IR capability. It can fly in near any weather. Not only that it can cover a lot of territory per mission. It can stay in the air for something like 30 hours.

          So if you want to conduct surveillance of shipping in the straights it is the perfect tool to use. Six ships now. I would think having an eye in the sky would be a good idea.

        2. The sensors could easily look into Iran. At the S300 launch sites, for example.

        3. Rob, i’m sure the Jooooooosssss are behind it all.

  8. It is a very big deal.

    “Probably Iran made a mistake. I would imagine it was a general or somebody who made a mistake in shooting that drone down,” Trump

    If that is not backing off I do not know what is. Some general pushed the shoot button by mistake.

    Look Trump made a mistake in imposing sanctions in face of the flawed Iran deal. He could have gone to diplomacy, something he does not do well.

    1. I think he just did.

    2. “Look Trump made a mistake in imposing sanctions in face of the flawed Iran deal.”

      The mistake was the false choice presented by libertarians of Global Thermonuclear War or appeasement. Trump simply selected option 3 which was the status quo ante and the right decision in the first place.

    3. You make some good points. But diplomacy doesn’t work with Muslim fundamentalists. The mullahs and their president are typical, entitled, muslim men. Their religion says everything should be given to them, their women must all obey them, and they can’t handle being told no. So diplomacy is nearly impossible with these clowns as they expect massive gifts and tribute like every other transaction in their entitled bitch lives. Which Obama tried to do, and they played him for the stooge he was.

      The real issue with the middle east and Islam is the same issue Christianity had 400 years ago. A bunch of entitled douchbag men run everything and try rigging ALL the systems to their favor. If you ever really talk with some real middle eastern men you’ll find they are generally some of the whiniest entitled bitches you’ll ever come across.

    4. No, echo, its called buying time.

      Trump can’t say nothing. No president could.
      If he comes out and says that Iran’s gov, in full accordance, shot it down then there’s a “red line” moment. At that point, it’s either bomb Iran or back down.
      His answer was very good. Noncommittal. Now we can figure out what we need to do, and can possibly reverse the situation by letting Tehran know we’re about to bomb the shit out of them (see: midnight leak) so that Tehran has to make a decision: push forward and get bombed, or accept Trump’s implicit offer to deescalate by going with his scenario. If the latter choice is made, there’s a starting point for talks.
      It was about the most diplomatic answer Trump could give.
      Don’t let that stop you from showing your progressivism though

  9. This is a bad Vorstellung
    We dont have the Wille to fight a war
    Plus our vets are sick of fighting wars to destabilize Middle Eastern powers.
    Iraq
    Libya
    Syria
    and now Iran?
    C’mon leave them alone.

  10. Does anyone else find it peculiar that a RQ-4 Global Hawk 34km away from Iran, with a service ceiling of 18K meters, was shot down by a Third Khordad system with a ceiling of 27km?

    Almost as if it was intended.

    1. Newer upgrades to the S-300 go up to a range of 195 km.

      Iran can cover anything in the straights if not the entire gulf.

  11. My prediction: a strike on the s-300 site that launched the missile, and a strike on a second Iranian air defense site. That would be a measured response and would demonstrate to the Iranians their vulnerability.

    1. “My prediction: a strike on the s-300 site that launched the missile, and a strike on a second Iranian air defense site.”

      It may happen, but I think more likely is yet more troops stationed within Iranian missile range. There was an attack on a base in Iraq yesterday, according to my sources. Local Iraqis could well have been responsible. Be careful how much you poke the hornet’s nest, especially with fresh hostages arriving almost daily.

      If Trump knows anything, it’s what goes down well on TV. He knows that charred Marines or a contrite downed pilot paraded before the cameras is a no no.

      1. “according to my sources”
        That would be Parade Magazine?

    2. It’s the obvious retaliation.

      But I wonder how easy it is for us to do. A S-300 battery is not supposed to be a pushover.

      1. No reason it would have to be manned.

    3. It won’t end there. And you will lose the Iranian public, which still counts for something and they’re generally American-friendly.

      1. We lost the Iranian public when Obama turned his back on the 2009 Green Revolution

  12. Where did they get a video?

  13. OK, Mr. Stable Genius, you broke it. Now fix it. Without a war.

  14. Lmao at all you turds fearmongoring. Morning comes and we find out Trump is taking an incredibly reasoned approach despite what the media and the tds sufferers here said.

    Youd think after being wrong on…war with north Korea, war with Russia, war with China, collusion with Russia, obstruction of justice, tomahawk strikes in Syria, taxes on Mexico imports, trumps a racist, etc etc they would learn to be more pragmatic. But nope.

  15. Iran is awful. We’ll go to war eventually. The question is similar to whether we’ll go to war with Nazi Germany in 1935, 1938 or 1941.

    1. Um… “we” paleface?

  16. The US military shot down Iran Air flight 655 over Iranian waters; the US never acknowledged responsibility, and this was not called a “war crime“.

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran_Air_Flight_655

  17. Can’t we just let the Saudis go at it with these assholes already? Or Israel? Let them slaughter each other, and we’ll sell the weapons to the non Iranian side and make a buck.

    Or just nuke the whole ME. That would probably be better.

    But the way we’ve been doing shit there is the most thoroughly useless BS ever.

  18. Pat Frank’s “Alas Babylon” describes a 1960-style nuclear war that starts with an American flying machine in Syrian airspace. To Antichoice Republicans the thing must have depicted the Rapture of Jesus at Armageddon. The Soviets also had a much more flippant attitude before feeling on their hides a piddling plume from a single graphite-moderated reactor with no containment building. No to entangling alliances and foreign wars is absolutely the smarter policy.

  19. […] 150 people would die in the assault—which was being carried out in response to Iran’s shooting down of an American drone earlier this week. Trump decided that the possible loss of life was “not proportionate to […]

  20. […] 150 people would die in the assault—which was being carried out in response to Iran’s shooting down of an American drone earlier this week. Trump decided that the possible loss of life was “not proportionate to […]

  21. […] 150 people would die in the assault—which was being carried out in response to Iran’s shooting down of an American drone earlier this week. Trump decided that the possible loss of life was “not proportionate to […]

  22. […] of State Mike Pompeo has been pitching lawmakers on the idea that the 2001 Authorization of Military Force (AUMF)—passed in the wake of […]

  23. […] of State Mike Pompeo has been pitching lawmakers on the idea that the 2001 Authorization of Military Force (AUMF)—passed in the wake […]

  24. […] of State Mike Pompeo has been pitching lawmakers on the idea that the 2001 Authorization of Military Force (AUMF)—passed in the wake […]

  25. […] of State Mike Pompeo has been pitching lawmakers on the idea that the 2001 Authorization of Military Force (AUMF)—passed in the wake of […]

  26. […] of State Mike Pompeo has been pitching lawmakers on the idea that the 2001 Authorization of Military Force (AUMF)—passed in the wake […]

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