Middle East

If Iran Shot Down the Ukraine Jet, the U.S. Government Deserves a Little Blame

A smart foreign policy includes the consideration of unintended consequences.


Both U.S. and Canadian officials now believe it is likely that Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, which crashed near Tehran on Wednesday, killing everyone aboard, was shot down by Iranian forces.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau believes this tragedy may have been unintentional, as it came about in the middle of Iran's mostly ineffective counterattack on U.S. coalition forces in Iraq. It's impossible to state for certain at this point, but it seems possible that during a heightened state of alarm, Iran might have mistakenly believed the plane posed a security threat.

Regardless of why it may have shot down the plane, Iran is primarily responsible for the deaths of those 176 passengers. But it is not absurd to assign the U.S. some responsibility, given that Iran's combat offensive was prompted by the Trump administration's decision to kill Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike.

The Trump administration targeted Soleimani because of the man's long, odious history of organizing attacks on American forces, and could not have predicted the specific outcome of a confused enemy lashing out and inadvertently crashing a non-military airplane. But rash decisions prompt unintended consequences, and U.S. officials should have considered the broader mayhem that could result from a sudden escalation in hostilities.

That's why I am surprised to see Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, getting so much criticism for this tweet:

K.C. Johnson notes that the use of the word "middle" could perhaps be interpreted as suggesting equal blame, and again, there is no equivalence here. But the sentiment is not utterly ridiculous. When sovereign nations attack each other, there are always innocent people who suffer. This is lamentable, and a good reason to avoid war, even if neither side desires or intentionally causes the suffering.

It is especially clear that the Trump administration is not blameless in this case, given the highly dubious manner in which the strike was approved. Trump did not consult Congress until after Soleimani was dead, even though it is Congress, not the president, that possesses the power to declare war. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's post-facto justification for the drone strike—that an Iranian attack was "imminent"—was utterly unpersuasive to several Republican senators, including Mike Lee (R–Utah), who was offended by the idea that decades' old Congressional authorizations of U.S. military operations in Iraq and against terrorism could be used as a perpetual rubber stamp.

Part of the rationale for allowing Congress to consider, discuss, and debate a decision to go to war is that the people's direct representatives may have novel objections or considerations that do not occur to, or resonate with, the generals and spymasters.

Predictably, some critics of the president are going way too far in other direction:

No, the passengers were not "murdered" by Trump. They were killed, probably on accident, by Iran. Iranian officials did not have to shoot down the plane, or launch a counterattack against U.S. coalition forces. Trump didn't make them do that, nor did he make Soleimani direct terrorists to strike at American forces and their allies.

But yes, the U.S. bears some moral blame for deaths that occur as a result of continuing regional instability fomented partly by American military intervention.

NEXT: Trump’s Proposed European Tariffs Would Be Terrible for People Who Like Good Wine and American Jobs

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  1. It was shot down in Tehran. The US had no planes there and did not attack Iranian soil. So, no, the US deserves no blame. So say that it does if despicable and a low point even for Soave.

    If the US had shot down an airliner taking off from Washington during the Cold War, would the Russians have been to blame? I guess the Americans were to blame for the Russians shooting down the South Korean Airliner.

    Jesus Christ what the hell is the matter with Soave? How can anyone be this stupid and vapid?

    1. I think it's almost a certainty now that these writers aren't actually as stupid as you would think by their articles, but are merely fucking with us to drive web traffic.

      Well played, Mr. Soave. Though you couldn't fit an abortion comment somewhere in the piece for maximum trolling?

      1. I am sure he tried.

      2. This option piece is just so awful. I am done with this website... adios amigos...

        1. I only come for the comments section. I've been here longer than most all the writers.

          1. I also came for Stossel and Soave, but now just Stossel I guess...

            I'm really disappointed with Robby here. Such a willfully stupid take.

            1. Next Up:

              Robby Soave's mom is a meth addicted disease ridden whore. And Robby is to Blame"

      3. Well, you may be right, my first thought was that the theory that OBL was Rico's sock was now pretty damn well proven. I mean, c'mon, you gotta admit this is some high-quality parody here.

        1. To be sure, the Iranians bought their missile defense system from the Russians so Putin and Trump both share some blame here. Wait a second....Russian weapons shooting down Ukrainian planes, Trump colluding with Putin to make it happen? I see what's going on here!

      4. I've been thinking something to this effect for a few months now.
        The articles seem designed to troll rather than to proffer thoughtful and balanced analysis.

        1. It’s the way of KMW. All about the clicks.

    2. I read the article this morning and thought unseriously to myself, "Well, how long until some Reason staffer blames it on the US."

      Oh man. I didn't post about it, because I thought it was totally unrealistic- not even someone like ENB would blame the US for a bunch of trained Iranians with sophisticated military equipment blowing up a jet liner that had taken off from its own god damn airport. Mind you, not even flying in from outside the country (I've flown over Tehran on flights to India, and wondered about getting shot down). They fucking took off from Tehran and were blown out of the sky less than 8000 feet in the air.

      That Soave is the one who went full retard is totally disappointing.

      1. This is dumber than even I thought they'd go
        Soave... well played?

      2. That Soave is the one who went full retard is totally disappointing.

        Why? Soave has been one of the more disingenuous posters here for years.

        1. Nah, with the exception of the to-be-sures, he's usually lucid.

          I thin he had some fruit sushi with Molly in it today.

          1. I think it may be about the election. Butt-gag got gang-banged and Sir Robbie runs to the rescue.

      3. - BOTH SIDES!!!!

        It’s his Greatest Hit

      4. But not entirely surprising.....

      5. Almost my thoughts exactly - I would hope that Reason writers would know, and write, that one person's actions are independent of another's in most cases - if this happened in US/EU airspace, ok MAYBE some blame to US - but Iran did this over it's own soil - ineptitude is to blame, nothing more.

    3. It's only 600 FUCKING MILES from where that terrorist goon was killed. Sure, blame the USA.

    4. Yeah, pretty weak tea. If you really wanted to you could probably find and equally valid chain of causality back to whoever you want. It's all caveman Ug's fault because he was the first one to sharpen a stick and murder someone with it. Or perhaps it was some chimpanzee's fault.

      1. We wouldn’t have even been in Iraq if Obama had pulled us out of there.

    5. Relax John, not the US Government, just Orange Man Bad is to blame.

    6. Reason's #HateAmericaFirst only grows and grows.

    7. People read Articles for understand , But
      LEGENDS in comments

    8. The fake libertarian America-hating left wing assholes of Reason are some of the most despicable (and yes, deplorable) people in the civilized world.

      I really wish they would all take their monkey asses to some other country like France and Sweden and never come back.

  2. Isn't this argument essentially "She had it coming with what she was wearing"?

    1. Well, she deserves a little of the blame.


      1. Not to be a dick (not denying it either), but the pilot does deserve some blame.
        If I were in that position, no way I'm flying out until at least daylight

        1. Probably a fair point. Surely he knew some shit was going down.

          1. How? Iran didn't issue a NOTAM. The Iranians don't share their defense plans with airlines. And airlines fly in hostile airspace in the MidEast all of the time.

            How is Ukrainian Air supposed to realize the Iranians are going to do something stupid, and Iranian air defenses will be twitchy, so stay home? I get that US carriers were avoiding the area that day. Wasn't that due to an FAA NOTAM, though?

            1. Well, he would have known that a prominent Iranian had just been done in. But maybe that's not so far out of the ordinary in that part of the world. I won't pretend to know.

            2. It took off 4 or 5 hours after the missiles were launched.
              I get that Tehran might be the one airport in the world CNN doesn't pay to be on in, but he doesn't have a phone?
              No news app notifications?
              Nobody at Ukraine Air is aware of what happened, and says "maybe wait a few hours until your plane can be at the very least visually identified"?

              1. I've never run an international airline, so I'm no expert, but I have to imagine someone in the company was aware that Iran had just launched missiles at US bases in Iraq and could've notified the chain of decision making in the hours between first reports and departure

                1. At the same time, the mh17 flight path should have been altered and it still went through dangerous skies and paid the price.
                  Of course, there are suspicions of a set up there...
                  Anyway, you'd think people would've learned from it

              2. Other aircraft departed from the Tehran airport before the Ukrainian one, didn't they? We don't know why it was the Ukrainian plane that got in the way of those two missiles except "bad luck."

                What about resemblance to the USS Vincennes downing of Iranian passenger plane in '88?

        2. The US had made an international no fly order an hour before irans missle launch. Not the US fault

          1. With the Left, it's *always* America's fault.

  3. Lame troll

    The US deserves zero blame for this.
    We deserved ALL of the blame for downing Iran Air Flight 655.

    1. Yes we do. We fired the missile. It was an accident and a tragedy but the US Navy and by extension the US government was entirely at fault.

      Beyond that, that was at least in the Straights of Hormuz which was at that time an actual combat zone. This was in Tehran which is hundreds of miles away from any combat zone. The two acts are not even comparable.

      1. No they are comparable. What is a combat zone in today's wars when we can hit nearly any city with an airstrike in a matter of hours? But yeah the USA doesn't get any blame for this and to insinuate otherwise is stupid.

        1. But if you are in Tehran you have a lot more warning and time to make the decision that you do sitting in the Straights. This is a much bigger screw up.

          1. Perhaps but then you start down the path of comparing the radar systems, stealth capacity, weapons system... that both sides had at different time periods. At the end of the day, the results are the same; a passenger liner was shot down and if I am one of passengers of either, its a bit moot.

          2. Not to mention that the USS Vincennes had been under attack by Iranian small boats, so they weren't exactly in smooth waters deciding "Let's just shoot down that Iranian passenger plane". There were wartime conditions at play.

            Not to mention that the U.S. government took responsibility for that attack, evaluated their systems and personnel to determine the points of failure, and retrained their personnel to prevent recurrence. The Iranians have done literally none of that.

            Fuck you, Robby.

            1. The Iranian passenger aircraft back in 88 did not have it's IFF turned on to the right setting. It was a horrible mistake but the US fessed up to it. In this case it was likely some 19 year old conscript with a quick trigger finger. The Iranians launched missiles at Iraq and hence were expecting US air strikes...

              The author's logic it would be US Army Air Corps fault when German AAA missed and fell back to earth and killed civilians in WW2 Germany. Reason seriously you are hardly real libertarians anymore..just left woke cosmo types...lacking in any kind of sound austrian economics...

              1. Most importantly, it had just taken off. The flight path should have been obvious to even a retarded monkey that it was not a danger.

                1. My understanding of the incident is that there had been some technical/equipment changes on the ship, with a lack of adequate training. Which led to some confusion where a readout showing decreasing range to target was interpreted as decreasing altitude.

                  1. There were a lot of factors at play:

                    1) The IFF wasn't working for the civilian plane
                    2) The plane wasn't responding to communications
                    3) The U.S. military had been warned of possible air-to-ship missile capabilities for Iranian aircraft.
                    4) The Vincennes had just exchanged fire with Iranian naval patrol boats that attacked one of their helicopters
                    5) There were training issues with the crew.

                    I'm probably forgetting a few, but that's a lot of stuff that led up to the incident, but the Navy took responsibility for it and fixed what they could. The Iranians are doing the complete opposite with the plane they shot down, and their reason for shooting it down appears to be mostly incompetence and irresponsibility, through conditions created entirely by them.

              2. No conscripts in the US Navy in '88, but nice try!

      2. In actual combat with Iranian small craft at the time, too.

        1. A missile cruiser, engaging small craft, in Iranian territorial waters...

          1. Ask the crew of the USS Cole how much damage small craft can do. Oh and BTW the Iranians open fire first, in International waters then entered Omanian waters. When they were ordered out of Omanian waters they retreated to Iranian waters. The Vincent didn't enter Iranian waters unprovoked, like your post implies.

            1. Plus, we took responsibility for the downing of the aircraft and worked to ensure it didn't happen again. The Iranians, on the other hand, have been lying about it from the outset and doing everything possible to keep from being blamed.

  4. >>>nnocent civilians are now dead because they were caught in the middle of an unnecessary and unwanted military tit for tat.

    fuck you, Pete they were caught in the tat. the tit took place in Baghdad. Iran didn't need to do an allahdamn thing to a civilian jet.

    and the title is offensive.

    1. The title is offensive. But the fact that Soave functions on the mental level of a slow 12 year old means he likely doesn't realize it was offensive and didn't mean it to be.

      1. i try not to criticize the authors bc i don't write for money and you criticize funny enough. but that title...

  5. Yup. Orange Hitler literally started World War 3 to distract from impeachment, therefore all casualties are his fault.


    1. It's like you can read Robbie's mind...

      1. OBL unmasked!!!

        Ever see them at the same time? Proof!

  6. If Russia Iran Shot Down the Malaysian Airline Ukraine Jet, the Ukraine U.S. Government Deserves a Little Blame

    Yep. Sounds just as stupid.

  7. If the USS Vincennes Shot Down the Iranian Air Flight 655, the Iranian Government Deserves a Little Blame.

    See how stupid that sounds?

    1. "... when, after all, it was you and me."

    2. If the Soviets shot down KAL 007, Congressman Larry McDonald deserves some of the blame (for his virulent anti-communist rhetoric!)

    3. If the USS Vincennes Shot Down the Iranian Air Flight 655, *while being attacked by Iranian naval forces* the Iranian Government Deserves a Little Blame.

      FIFY. Try your lies somewhere else.

  8. Riiiight, now we're blaming the bystanders.

    Lessee .... we're to blame for Germany invading France in 1914 because we didn't sign an alliance treaty with France beforehand, thus creating an appearance of conquerability.

    The founding fathers are to blame for every school shooting because they resisted the Redcoats at Lexington and Concord, thus creating an appearance of justification for shooting police.

    The Sumerians or Hiterites or somebody are responsible for the Nazi gas chambers because they created a toxic atmosphere with Pharaoh who then lashed out by evicting the Jews.

    1. "The Sumerians or Hiterites or somebody are responsible for the Nazi gas chambers because they created a toxic atmosphere with Pharaoh"
      I saw what you did there.

  9. If Russia Iran Shot Down KAL-007 Ukraine Jet, the U.S. Government Deserves a Little Blame

    Now that would be a little more accurate.

    1. Shit, didn't see this before posting.

    2. If Russia shot down KAL-007 after visually confirming it was a commercial flight...

        1. СССР

          1. That's my pot-limit Omaha strategy

    1. It gets better

      “You’ve taken my love, my money, my tokenism, with nary anything in return,” she said. “You continue to call angry white men who commit mass murder ‘lone wolves.’ But if someone who looks like me screams ‘Allah’ and fires a gun, it’s “terrorism.”

      I don't even know what to say. Holy cow.

      1. Well, was tokenism how she got her job clerking on the 3rd Circuit, and then at Cleary Gotlieb? But that doesn't count, I guess if it helped her. Maybe her grades and accomplishments by themselves were sufficient? Hard to tell, in this climate.

        I hope her parents are mortified by her.

      2. Rao's a commie Bindi in the same mold as Kshama Sawant and Parmila Jayapal. The irony is that if she had set her sights on the Denver City Council instead, she probably would have gotten elected like fellow commie Candi CdeBaca did recently.

        1. Yeah, sawant and jayapal are just........wow. Brain dead.

          They’re a long way from any red rocks tho. The fact that they win elections does not speak well of the people of Seattle.

      3. "Holy cow."


    2. Who is this loathsome buffoon?

  10. Remember when the Donbass rebels (probably) shot down MH17 and everyone blamed Russia?

    1. When you say "Donbass rebels", do you mean the "Donbass rebels" who were born and raised in Russia, openly recruited in Russia itself, and armed by Russia, but weren't officially members of the Russian military? Or do you mean the "Donbass rebels" who were born and raised in Russia, joined the Russian Army, and were sent into the Donbass by Russia as part of Russian Army units?

      Because, well, I'm pretty sure the people who shot down the Ukrainian airliner weren't born and raised in the US and using US arms, so it wouldn't be analogous to blame the US like Russia was blamed.

      1. They were local militia using Russian equipment without proper training.
        When I say "Donbass rebels" I generally mean the people whose neighborhoods were being shelled by forces from Kiev (or ethnic Romanians, as the Kiev government liked to use)

        1. Who formed militias to defend themselves and their neighbors from Kiev's offensive

          1. Ah, so you blame people who don't exist outside of Russian propaganda. That's nice.

            1. Only Russia puts out propaganda.
              The US and Brits don't propaganda.
              It is known

      2. Those Ukes need to watch where they fly their airliners. Plenty of blame to go around, Ukes. Just ask Robby.

        1. "Ukraine imposed restrictions to air traffic in the airspace of Donetsk Oblast, but did not close it. On 5 June 2014, traffic was restricted to altitudes above 26,000 feet (7,900 m) and on 14 July to above 32,000 feet (9,800 m).[7]:179–180 This did not prevent commercial overflights as commercial traffic typically travels at altitudes of 33,000 to 44,000 feet.[56] The Russian ATC closed the airspace in the adjacent area over Russia below 53,000 feet (16,000 m), effectively closing it to civilian traffic. The reason given was "armed conflict in Ukraine". The Dutch Safety Board asked, but did not receive, a more detailed explanation for this restriction.[57][58] As with other countries, Ukraine receives overflight fees for commercial aircraft that fly through their borders and this may have contributed to the continued availability of civilian flight paths through the conflict zone over FL 320.[59][60]

          On the day of MH17 incident, a Ukrainian An-26 was scheduled to deliver paratroopers to the battle arena.[61]"

          1. So you're a Russian bot

            1. That's almost as original as my comment.
              Which is a quote from Wikipedia.
              Do try to get over your bitterness.

            2. "Russian bot"

              Oh fuck. Are you actually saying that unironically?

        2. Hunter Biden’s fault

  11. How insensitive for Soave to leave out the brave and innocent Iranians trampled to death. They'd still be alive if Soleimani hadn't been snuffed. It's Trump's fault.

    1. Nice catch. And don't forget the folks who "committed suicide" out of affection for the General.

  12. ""Every single one of the 176 passengers on the Ukrainian plane that went down was murdered by Donald Trump. ""

    No sense of personal responsibility on the people who pulled the trigger. I would bet this idiot blames the NRA for deaths by someone else. I would also bet that if this idiot got upset and ran you over with a car, would blame you.

    It comes from the idea that it's ok because you made me do it. Which goes to Fat Mike's comment above.

  13. Wow what an awful take. Almost as bad as:

    Gun manufacturers deserve just a little bit of blame for mass shooters.

    Third party voters deserve a little blame for Trump being president.

    Black people deserve a little blame for police brutality because they just can't keep their neighborhoods safe.

    And on and on and on....

    1. Glad to see this has been the universal response in the comments. Come on Reason. You know not to publish BS like this.

      1. ""You know not to publish BS like this.""

        Maybe they did, but it seems like not anymore. It's kinda sad.

    2. Thanks for calling out anti-trans "libertarians."

      I've been posting here for over 2 years, and I've repeatedly explained I'm non-binary and use they / them pronouns. Yet there are still some science-denying bigots here who misgender me with he / him pronouns. It's very frustrating.


      1. He's just kidding folks. He actually indentifies as a piece of shit.

      2. Haha. Ok, that’s pretty funny. A little less “Koch is suffering under drumpf”, and more of this.

    1. I'd give Trump 15%. For me it's like someone who called in a bomb threat that canceled the game and then a person dies in an automobile accident on the way home.

  14. I am now wondering, after they shot down an airliner, were they Iranians hoping to provoke a retaliation this weekend? Not full war but an airstrike and continue to milk the discord that occurred after Trump killed the men responsible for planning the attack on our embassy.

    1. My thought process is did this shooting occur because the Iranian leadership had told their ADA assets to expect an air attack from US aircraft, most likely stealth aircraft. And with stealth aircraft you would only get a brief, if any, radar contact.

      1. I think you're correct.
        Would not be a wise plan to use it to keep tension high.
        It's not like they came out and claimed the US shot it down even.
        No, this was a real big fuck up

        1. They were hoping, possibly to provoke a US airstrike so their SAM operators were keyed up and trigger happy. They see a blip and someone fucks up and bang, dead airline. That is my random thought.

          1. Virtually certain.

            1. And if not "hoping to provoke" at least very worried about.
              With good reason.
              Tehran should've shut that airport down for 12 hours

              1. I don't know what NOTAMs were issued, nor what regions and times were covered for the night in question. I wonder though, was that Ukrainian Air flight the only civilian traffic in or out of Mehrabad at the time, or were other airlines or biz jets flying then too.

                If no one else was taking off or landing, it looks a lot more like, "Wladimir, hold my vodka, I'm not getting written up again for fucking up the ops schedule." If other airlines were landing and taking off, the decision to go is a lot more excusable.

                1. Yea, I've been wondering that too.
                  I think any pilot should've been waiting for light, regardless if others weren't though

          2. And it is a 19 year old conscript who hits the fire button..

            1. Who will be executed no doubt when Iran can't deny it any longer. I mean he'll commit suicide by jumping off a building, ignore the guy holding the gun to his back.

    2. I suspect it was an accident, but who knows?

      1. It's just a random thought. I never said it wasn't an accident, it may just have been an accident that occurred because the Iranians were hoping to provoke a response from the US, and thus were keyed up and trigger happy.

        1. Yes, I see I sort of misread your comment.

          1. I could have been clearer originally.

  15. Iran shot down the plane (most of the passengers were Iranians) accidentally during their futile missile strike on US base, which was mostly a face saving measure for the regime. Was there any casualty from that missile attack? There was, and never will be, an official escalation that will lead to WW3.

    Iran scored an own goal while trying to be cute. If not, why aren't they acknowledging this as an action against the US? Why are they holding onto the black box?

    So much like the Smollett hoax, people sprung a ready made narrative at the first sign of something that appeared to confirm it, but the truth is a bit more complicated. It's clear as the day that the usual hacks WANTED escalation, but it serves a certain end. Their sudden deference to restraining war powers is nothing but a convenient cover, especially since they ignored it during the Obama years.

    1. Killing a plane mostly full of Iranians, and no Americans as far as I've heard, would be a pretty dumb way to retaliate on the US.

      1. Yeah, a rather costly way to give Robbie verbal ammunition to fire at Trump.

        I sure hope he's considered all the potential consequences though.

        Could get ugly.

        1. Canada doesn't seem to mind.
          Well, at least their PM doesn't

          1. We were making jokes about that the other night, to bad they were close to reality.

          2. Man, that guy is bad. He’s in constant apology mode. No spine, all virtue signaling.

            1. Apologized and blamed America in the same breath.

              1. A true Canadian.

  16. The great thing is you do everything possible to limit civilian casualties while fighting a war, but it doesn't matter if your opponents are raving religious maniacs who relish collateral damage, because both sides are to blame.

    Fucking astounding logic there.

  17. "Look what you made me do!"

    1. Isn't that what abusive husbands say to the wives they've just beaten the crap out of?

  18. I could see the Iranian military shooting down an INCOMING civilian flight because they thought it was a security risk.

    Why the fuck would they shoot down a civilian flight that just took off from their airport? I can't make that make sense. Does not compute.

    1. Probably because it happened shortly after they'd launched missiles on the U.S. embassy, so they were anticipating a possible air strike from the U.S. in retaliation and were likely in heightened alert state.

      In that way it's not much different from the USS Vincennes, where the U.S. ship had been attacked by Iranian vessels and were anticipating possible air attacks, which led to an Iranian passenger plane being misidentified by the Vincennes' defensive systems and operators, resulting in a shootdown.

      The difference between the Vincennes and this situation, of course, is that U.S. military forces were nowhere in the vicinity and U.S. military forces did not initiate that strike...the Iranians did. They launched an attack and then downed a passenger jet because they didn't bother to clear their own airspace of civilian flights.

      1. "Probably because it happened shortly after they’d launched missiles on the U.S. embassy, so they were anticipating a possible air strike from the U.S. in retaliation and were likely in heightened alert state."

        I could see that if they accidentally hit it with one of the missiles lobbed at the US embassy.

        However the claim being made is that it was hit with a surface to air missile, something designed to shoot down planes.

        It had just taken off from the Tehran airport. So what, they vetted it on the ground, gave it clearance to take off, then shot it down?

        1. It was at 8,000 feet altitude, which would seem appropriate for a stealth bomber, and I doubt the lines of communication were running all that smoothly.
          All signs point to sheer incompetence, but I don't know.
          There's just nothing to gain for Iran by shooting it down

          1. Anybody more knowledgeable than I about air strikes, please correct my assumption about the altitude if it's off

            1. I did not serve, or stay in a Holiday Inn Express, but AIUI, higher is better if the platform is really LO. Higher increases distance from the observer, takes the aircraft entirely out of the engagement zones of low and medium altitude systems, and gives more smash to the payload.

              Doesn't really matter if the observer can't tell the difference between a civilian aircraft squawking a clear transponder code, climbing at typical-heavy best climb speed, and an intermittent, weak, skin signature.

        2. So, an important point here is understanding how these SAMs work. The US Stealth technology is really awesome. It does a great job of rendering oncoming aircraft invisible from radar. So the way these Russian systems try to overcome this is by looking at aircraft flying through a narrow column straight up. Think about it- look at a jet coming straight at you, and then look at it directly overhead- the visual (and therefore radar) footprint is quite different.

          So likely you had a missile launch, and then a warning from Iranian High Command that there was a chance that the EEEEEEveeeeil Great Satan would be sending in aircraft as a response. They get a ping on their Look-Up radar. The bad thing about this radar is that it gets a very small time slice to see the incoming aircraft. And so some 19 year old conscript, or some 25 year old asshat looking to become a hero fires off the missile that a bunch of Ruskie salesmen trainers told him would totes embarrass those arrogant americans.

          1. So their LR surveillance radar and IADS were worthless at informing the SAM site of the current air-picture, and the SAM operators fired an unauthorized shot.

    2. Why the fuck would they shoot down a civilian flight that just took off from their airport? I can’t make that make sense. Does not compute.

      Really? (This statement is not intended to rationalize the policy or support Soave's position, just point out that there's plenty of rationalization/computing material to be found.)

    3. I can tell you my both my brother and a couple of my nephews spent some time over there dealing with some various Arabs and they're convinced that if it's true the Arabs invented algebra, it must have been the camels because the humans are some of the laziest and stupidest people you'll find this side of an Irish pub. (Well, they didn't actually say "Irish pub", but I didn't want to make racist insults and I'm not sure they even have opium dens in Mexico and besides, the Irish can go fuck themselves.)

      1. Persians aren't Arab
        They're actually Aryan...

        1. And as far as Persian intelligence goes, there's certainly enough of them in US universities' engineering and other STEM departments, tormenting students with their unintelligible accents and amazing facial hair.

          1. Don't forget the gold sunglasses and Gucci everything.
            Or is that just American Persians?

            Persians are by far the most capable people in the region.
            That's the crazy thing - if they weren't run by a theocracy and westernized, at least economically, they'd be the dominant power there without needing nuclear weapons or proxy paramilitaries all over the place

            1. I don’t know, man. People who die in a stampede...... cultural differences, I guess. Very racist of me. Haha.

              1. It was pointed out on another thread, that a stampede might actually have been a "stampede"
                Good way to explain knocking off some troublemakers.
                But this is nothing but supposition, I haven't heard anything contrary to the official story

              2. "People who die in a stampede…… cultural differences"

                Like British soccer fans (Hillsborough)? Or America kids trying to see The Who (Cincinnati stampede.) Or a bunch of dehydrated Germans on E (Stampede at one of their EDM festivals.)

                Shitty crowd control and too many people will do it every time.

        2. There's an old Arab saying: The only two living things Allah didn't create are flies and Persians.

      2. "if it’s true the Arabs invented algebra"

        It's not, though the word "algebra" is Arabic...

        The attribution is due to the fact that the original mathematical knowledge (most likely specifically Ionian, but definitely from some part of ancient Greece) was saved by the Arabs during the early Islamic conquests and then carried to Europe by the Moorish invasion of Spain. The knowledge passed back into Western culture/awareness after the Christian reconquest of the Iberian peninsula.

        Sorry, just rewatched 'The Day the Universe Changed' so that chunk of history is fresh in my mind. 🙂

  19. Alright. So here’s my conspiracy theory based on all my other ones earlier.

    What if, Iran has teamed up with... the deep state? To take out a common enemy - trump. The whole conflict seems awful contrived. They are essentially goading trump, and pelosi is waiting with her fingers crossed for him to drop the dime.

    The hurried impeachment, trumps initial silence for what 36 hours when Iran burst onto the scene.

    I mean look at Trudeau - obviously shilling when he says it must have been an accident. Horseshit.

    1. I mean look at Trudeau – obviously shilling when he says it must have been an accident.

      I'm sure it was an accident. But it was an accident caused by Iran's negligence in not clearing their airspace of civilian flights before launching a missile attack on a neighboring country.

      And Trudeau's response to Iran killing a bunch of his country's citizens is to let the Iranians off the hook, because he sees them as the real victims here. That'll lead to some interesting ads in his next election, one hopes.

      1. I just can’t imagine a military being that incompetent. It was planned well in advance. And yes you can make the argument that they were incompetent enough to put their general out in the open, but launching missiles at a fucking commercial jet is too outrageous.

        My whole theory may be bunk, but I stand by Iran’s intent until someone comes up with a plausible excuse. Negligence and paranoia don’t cut it.

        1. Iran showed they were **THAT** incompetent in their war with Iraq. Their various photoshopped "top secret" projects don't disguise their military incapability - much like with Saudi Arabia, throwing money at systems does not a competent military make.

          Major difference between the Ukraine shootdown and this one: The Ukrainians/Russians were probably blind drunk on vodka. These guys were probably too busy wanking and yelling Allah Akbar.

          1. Max Landsberger:
            Since the 1984 oil discovery in New Guinea, we have sold the Bu!kais hill tribesmen 20 of our S-24 fighters. At $21 million per unit, that's $252 million. This has started a local arms race between the Bu!kais, and their local neighbors the Kla!klalas. Now the Kla!klalas also happen to be sitting an a large amount of oil. And now the Kla!klalas want to buy 20 of our new Slash X-Ray Ultra Pursuit fighters for a total of $480 million.

            Pete Helmes:
            What are the chances of war between them?

            Bob Nixon:
            Very good sir. Our spare parts replacement contracts could be very lucrative.

            Pete Helmes:
            Who trains their flight personnel?

            Max Landsberger:
            Well, as near as we can assess it... well, they don't actually fly the planes. They sort of roll them down hills, crashing them into each other.

            Scott Dantley:
            Personally, I think that it's a shameful waste of incredible kill power.

            Pete Helmes:
            Make the deal.

            1. That's funny

        2. How many button presses do you think were required to do this? It was not planned.

        3. "And yes you can make the argument that they were incompetent enough to put their general out in the open, but launching missiles at a fucking commercial jet is too outrageous."

          It's worse than that. It was a commercial jet that just took off from their airport.

          If you are going to have a SAM missile site next to your own damn airport, I'd think it prudent to have the site operators listening in on local civilian air traffic control.

        4. I just can’t imagine a military being that incompetent.

          History is replete with examples of monumental military incompetence.


      2. No it was not an accident. It may have been a misidentified plane or some other error that led to bad decision to fire. But someone made the decision to fire and someone deliberately hit the button to fire the missile.

        1. Care to revise that theory? Bulldozers were immediately onsite to destroy the evidence and blame trump. I’m telling you - the commies are the deep state.

  20. This is the most intellectually feeble article to appear on Reason’s pages, as of yet! Wow!

    1. Not even close. Both Shikha and Binion top this nonsense with every article they crap out.

      1. IDK, their's is more of a low-level consistent or cumulative idiocy. For one off, top-of-the-lungs-screaming-at-clouds, batshit crazy, this tops Richman's correlating Adam Lanza and Chris Kyle (which previously held the top spot personally). Shikha's calls to purge certain books from our collective consciousness was pretty batshit crazy and her tweet about 'No legitimate criticism' was boneheaded but, to me, the objective denial of reality to make such an overt false equivocation for an entire article is a different level of batshit craziness.

        1. Yeah, Robby should stick to crazy college kids.

  21. Should Iranian foreign policy include the consideration of unintended consequences Robby? Just wondering what your thoughts are.

  22. "It is especially clear that the Trump administration is not blameless in this case, given the highly dubious manner in which the strike was approved. Trump did not consult Congress until after Soleimani was dead, even though it is Congress, not the president, that possesses the power to declare war."

    This makes no sense to me. Iran wouldn't care if Trump conducted the strike on Soleimani by properly alerting congress. They wouldn't have escalated if Trump provided the right justification and observed all protocols?

    And most (or enough) democrats would have voted in favor of taking out Soleimani. The guy killed American soldiers and our embassy was attacked days before the assassination. What were they going to do?

    1. Completely stupid. Someone has been watching too much cable news.

      They had the head of a terrorist organization meeting with the head of and sponsor of the terrorist network, in US occupied territory, in the immediate aftermath of multiple attacks on US citizens and property by that same terrorist organization.

      I'm not sure where you are getting the invocation of declaration of war here, but that ain't it. It isn't even close.

      Now, pretending that Iran had struck back with full military force, striking our naval presence and our troops in the region... now you have a case to take before congress for actual war.

      Remember, Obama maintained a secret kill list that didn't even merit a second signature, let along judicial or congressional review. This one was a slam-dunk, despite the desperate search for some legal standard by which Trump would be culpable.

  23. To be sure, I was looking forward to the podcast where Soave recites Heroic Iranian warrior poetry while the B-team, Binion, Britschgi, Brown and Boehm play lyres in the background and Shikha plays a liar all over.

    1. "the B-team, Binion, Britschgi, Brown and Boehm play lyres in the background and Shikha plays a liar all over"

      I usually include her as an honorary member: Shikha "B" Dalmia

  24. I'm pretty sure libertarianism allows for the retaliatory use of force against mass murdering terrorists regardless of the consequences.

  25. 2020: "If Iran Shot Down the Ukraine Jet, the U.S. Government Deserves a Little Blame".....

    1979: "If Iran held hostages in the US Embassy for 444 days, the US Government Deserves a Little Blame."

    Bulls**t then, Bulls**t now. Iran owns this 100%.

  26. Let's hope no one from the Burisma board was on that plane. Pelosi will declare WWIII toot sweet.

  27. Orange man Bad..TDS

    1. Most of the time you guys are full of shit with your TDS hysterics. This might be a case where the shoe fits.

      1. TDS comes in many forms.

        1. Yours is particularly virulent.

          1. Someone's a little testy tonight.

            1. Poor jeffy. Trump broke you.

              1. To be fair, we have no evidence of that.
                It's possible he's always been this way

  28. That Malaysian Flight 370 was hijacked by jihadists and ditched in the Indian Ocean over Usama bin Laden's watery grave.
    The bottom of the 777 was cut and the airliner sunk to settle over the shrouded body.
    The shrine is now a viewing/reception area where Islamic clerics, scholars, and world dignitaries take submersibles to pay their respects to the fallen holy warrior.

    1. I'm the OBL of black ops info.

      1. That's pretty good work

  29. Why you runnin'?

    Why you chasin' me?

  30. To blame the US in this case is to deny individual agency.
    The person who pressed the missile launch button is responsible.

    1. 24 hours and counting, jeffy. Just a minor technical hiccup.

      1. Okay, and?
        What do you want from me?

        1. Pretty wishy washy response from a supposed champion of liberty. But then again you were only ever fooling yourself with that claim.

          1. What exactly do you want from me?
            You want me to accept your claim that Reason is actively censoring you, based on no other evidence but your word alone?

            1. Aren't they *capable* of doing it, jeffy? And isn't that what matters?

              1. Fine, you're just here to antagonize me.
                Go join Tulpa in the ignore bin.

  31. Aside from this unfortunate incident it looks like Trump is going to come out a winner here. After a counter attack that is widely believed to have been designed to produce no casualties both the Trump administration and Iran are standing down and advocating deescalation.
    Trump is offering to negotiate directly with Iran. He hasn't said or done anything stupid or provocative since the attack on the Iraqi base. WW3 is not on the table and it's possible that we could be better off on the other side of all this. Of course that could all change tomorrow.

    1. Don't know how many links sends you to moderation so I'll leave this here.

      1. One link max per comment or you're sent to moderation purgatory until Robby as written 'to be sure' at least 1000 times and the other writers have at least 100 'both sides' each.

    2. At least compared to any other recent president, I can't see much to criticize in Trump's actions here. He doesn't seem to be trying to start a war or anything. I don't know if the attack on Gen. whatsisname was necessary or wise or not, but it certainly seems more justified than a lot of Obama's and Bush's "targeted attacks" on specific individuals.

      1. Had Sulamainie or whatevs been an American citizen then a drone strike turning him into chunks would have been totes OK. That was the precedent, right?

        1. No, it wouldn't have been "totes OK" unless Trump had never dropped the Democratic Party label. He did, though, so of course it's totally sickbadwrong.

          (Yes, sarcasm. The internet has disillusioned me about anyone recognizing it without a label of some sort.)

  32. Robby what were the unintended consequences of ignoring Iran's hostile activities for two decades?
    What were the unintended consequences of withdrawing from Saudi Arabia after the Riyadh bombings and withdrawing from Somalia after the Battle of Mogadishu? Was it possibly Bin Laden deciding that he could get away with attacking the US without consequences?
    Doing nothing or retreating in the face of hostile actions have unintended consequences as well. Often very bad ones. Ask PM Chamberlain.

    1. So what's the alternative? Stay there forever, otherwise, if we ever do decide to leave, the enemy will claim victory?

      1. No, the alternative is to not pretend like there isn't unintended consequences for inaction or withdrawing in the face of hostility. And quite possibility those consequences are worse then the ones from actually doing something. But I know you prefer to argue straw men.

      2. I don't know. Don't look weak when you do leave? Once you are in a place, even if it was stupid to get involved at all, the way you leave does have consequences. And giving the impression that the US will back down when attacked by terrorists probably does do something to embolden terrorists. Best not to get into shit like that in the first place if you don't really have to.

        1. This.

        2. "Best not to get into shit like that in the first place if you don’t really have to."

          True, but a bit too late for that at this point.

      3. And I offered an alternative last night. Wait a month or two until this is memory holed and then withdraw. As long as Iran behaves it would be a good compromise. Leave a carrier task force in the Indian Ocean (which we've done since like the 1950s) in case Iran does something stupid and shuts down international seaways in the Straits of Hormuz. But not run away when a state sponsor of terror is conducting terror activities. All that does is inspire the terrorist more.

        1. T. Roosevelt may have been wrong about a lot of things, but he was right about the secret of international diplomacy being "speak quietly and carry a big stick".

        2. I would rather withdraw when - FINALLY - there is actual open talk about the idea and it seems to be gaining a bit of momentum. If a month goes by, the moment will have passed. It is just important to get it DONE.

          1. I said the same thing last night. So not just finally. Actually I've said it several times.

            1. Oh I misread you, no you are still calling for running away right after an attack. Yep, you learned nothing on 9/11. We ran from Somalia and Saudi Arabia after being attacked and Bin Laden concluded flying planes into civilian targets would not elicit a response.

              1. 9/11 happened not because we were not imperialist enough. 9/11 happened because we were too imperialist. Bin Laden's major grievance was American bases on Muslim holy land.

                We should not have been in Saudi Arabia or Somalia in the first place.

                1. That skirt was damn short.

                  1. Look, I'm not defending what Bin Laden did. But his grievances were real. WTF were we even doing over there? Huh?

                    1. "Look, I’m not defending what Bin Laden did. But his grievances were real."

                      Totally not legitimizing. Both sides!!!!!

                      Unsurprising that you find that a compelling argument. Time to go punch some nazis, I guess -- all in the name of liberty, of course.

                    2. The government of Saudi Arabia invited us in. We were part of a multinational task force, enforcing a UN mandate and Bin Laden's grievances were real? How?

                    3. "WTF were we even doing over there?"

                      Maintaining security after the first Gulf War... Like soldiermedic76 said, we were *invited* there specifically to be a deterrent against Hussein trying to either retake Kuwait or invade another neighbor, or just continue lobbing SCUD missiles around the region.

                      Basically what I'm saying is that if al Queda committed the 9/11 attacks, Saddam Hussein deserves at least a bit of the blame...

                2. "We should not have been in Saudi Arabia or Somalia in the first place."

                  A lesson to keep in mind.
                  In the real world, we were in those places (and Beirut) just like we ARE in Iraq.
                  Leaving Iraq as a reactionary move in the face of being attacked will only encourage more attacks.
                  Having this proposal and debate now is ludicrously stupid.
                  We should leave Iraq when it's a decision made out of wisdom, not fear

                  1. If not now, when?
                    Wait a month and the issue will have been forgotten.
                    There will always be a downside no matter what date is chosen to leave.
                    Let's just get it done, while there is a bit of impetus behind the idea.
                    And no that doesn't mean OMG DROP EVERYTHING AND RUN AWAY, it means we can still have an orderly planned withdrawal, but let's not drag our feet on the matter.

                    1. Let's just get it done? You keep proving my point.

                    2. Yes. Let's just get it done. Which is not equivalent to OMG DROP EVERYTHING AND FLEE!!!!

                    3. Just get it done implies not paying attention to the situation, the tactical or strategic realities. Do you understand that?

                  2. It does not matter what date you pick on the calendar - the War Party will say "if you leave, you embolden our enemies! You're cutting and running! Why do you hate America?"

                    1. It does not matter what atrocities fanatics commit, the US will always be at fault.

                      Why DO you hate America?

                    2. The date you pick is very fucking important. And which is the war party again? Which party has started the majority of wars since 1900?

                    3. The date you pick is very fucking important.

                      Okay, how about February 1. Does that work for you?

                      And which is the war party again? Which party has started the majority of wars since 1900?

                      That would be the Uniparty which supports endless war and the permanent warfare state.

                    4. Not a Calendar date but the date in reference to the situation on the ground. But February first is at least a couple weeks off and would be preferable to tomorrow. As long as Iran behaves itself and keeps it's militias in check, that would work as long as the logistics work. Feb 1st as a start date of withdrawal is probably more realistic.

                3. Jeffrey doesn't believe Pence but he sure as hell believes whatever OBL says.

                  1. OBL was a lot more sincere in his convictions than Pence will ever be, that's for sure.

                    1. And your proof for this is what? Your hatred of Pence?

                    2. Look at what OBL was willing to do.

                    3. And that proves sincerity and opposed to fanaticism? They are different. Remember the Qu'ran allows adherents to lie to infidels to further the faith.

                    4. I noticed OBL was NOT on one of the planes, so I guess not that dedicated.

                4. Yep, how dare us dirty foreigners be in another country, one we aren’t worthy to set foot in

                  What is your position on immigration again?

              2. 9/11 happened because Bin Laden thought he could get Away with it. Nothing about not being imperial enough or not. Yes, he justified his attacks because of our bases in Saudi Arabia, and our support of Israel, and he also blamed the crusades. So basically, he was using whatever excuse he could. The decision to launch the 9/11 attack only came after the US withdrawal in Somalia and drawdown in Saudi Arabia after the Riyadh and Khobur tower bombing. I'm not stating what he used to justify his attacks but what prompted him to decide he could get away with those attacks.

                1. Do you think that if the US hadn't acted like a bunch of imperialist assholes for decades upon decades, that 9/11 would have still happened?

                  1. The post has no substance.

                  2. So 9/11 was all the US's fault. Ignore history and go with what the madman who got his jollies off of killing people used as his excuse to kill people. Rather you admit it or not this statement pretty much proves you are about blaming America first.

                    1. I am not saying it was all the US's fault. Bin Laden is alone responsible for his own actions. I am saying that the US, by acting like imperialistic dickheads, created the conditions for radicals like Bin Laden to thrive.

                      If there hadn't been American bases on Saudi Arabia due to the first Gulf War, I submit that there wouldn't have been a 9/11. There still would have been radicals, but it wouldn't have been as powerful of a cause as it turned out to be.

                    2. Explain to me how the US acting imperial created the Barbary Pirate states of the 18th century? Assholes like Bin Laden have always thrived in this area. So yes you are banning America. Wahhabism predates the founding of the US as an independent country. Wahhabism preaches violence against the infidels. This is what created conditions like Bin Laden. If you study history, you will find the Muslims attacked Europe and Christianity first. And have been at war with Christianity and Europe since practically the death of Mohammed.

                    3. Even the Crusades we're in response to Muslim aggression against the Christian Byzantine empire.

                    4. Wahhabism preaches violence against the infidels.

                      And which infidel was Infidel Number One? Oh that's right, the Americans, because they were currently squatting on holy land.

                      Al Qaeda didn't fly planes into buildings in London or Paris or Berlin, did they? No. But they're infidels too, right?

                      In fact, IIRC, several of the hijackers actually were students studying in Germany! Surrounded by infidels! Yet they decided to go all the way across the ocean and attack New York instead. Huh.

                      Yes, Wahhabism is a radical strain of Islam. There will always be radicals. But we don't always have to be their chief targets.

                    5. They had already attacked European targets in the past. Bin Laden wanted to attack the US to prove how powerful he was. It had never been done before. And for your information, both England and France also had forces in Saudi Arabia at the same time, and actually had a history of imperialism in the area. Additionally, most the hijackers trained in the US.

                    6. Now explain to me why they attacked US flagged vessels (wahhabist) in the years following the Revolution. Was it because two centuries later we would have bases in the Holy Land, along with several other European and UN countries? You do realize the US wasn't the only country with forces in Saudi Arabia at the time, don't you?

                    7. The Barbary Pirates were PIRATES. Not religious whackjobs.

                    8. Study your history. The Barbary pirates were islamist who only attacked Christians. They raised Christian Europe, enslaving Christians. They did it because they believed their religion commanded them to attack infidels.

                    9. And I noticed you ignored all the rest about us being there at the behest of the Saudi government. That it was an internal force, including French and British. Additionally, we were there protecting Muslims (Shi'a and Kurds). And that it was an UN operation.

                    10. It's fun watching Jeff constantly proof how ill educated he is.

                    11. The US were the imperialists, asking/being invited to pay for the privilege of being in another country.

                      The guys who militarily conquered everything between Casablanca and Jakarta, from Tours to almost Vienna, the ones who raped and enslaved tens of millions, they aren’t the Imperialists

                  3. And how is operating a military base as part of a UN operation, at the behest of the host country, which remains completely independent, acting imperial?

                    1. In the words of Inigo Montoya "you keep using that word, I do not it means what you think it means".

                    2. Jeff doesnt know what a lot of the words he uses means.

          2. And there has been open talk about withdrawing from Iraq since at least the fall of 2003. It was all John Kerry ran on as a candidate in 2004.

        3. "Wait a month or two until this is memory holed and then withdraw. As long as Iran behaves it would be a good compromise."

          Soldier, this won't happen and we know because we have seen it happen several times. In Afghanistan when we start pulling out (it doesn't happen over night, it takes time) some asshole decides to start making trouble with bombings SPECIFICALLY to make it appear that they are forcing us to leave.

          When the US abandoned Vietnam, it was largely after utterly destroying the NVA in the Tet offensive, and largely rendering the irregulars in South Vietnam to very rural areas. The country for all intents and purposes was as pacified as Iraq is today. And yet Vietnam is still seen as a catastrophic loss- an example of american defeat.

          When we leave Iraq, it will be the same- no matter if it happens tomorrow or in 6 months. It will be that way because no good expectations were set. Unless Iraq was a well functioning democracy on the order of Connecticut, it will be painted as if we are cutting and running before the job is done.

          1. Thank you. This is what I have been saying.
            There will never be the perfect "right time" to withdraw. We just have to do it. Sooner rather than later.
            It doesn't mean "chaotic panic", it can be an organized orderly process. It just has to get done.

          2. The VC were destroyed during Tet, not the NVA.

            South Vietnam would still be South Vietnam if we'd smashed the NVA 1975 offensive with air power the same way we smashed it in the 1972 Easter Offensive. Perhaps it would've ended differently if the US invaded up the Red River Valley in '65? I doubt Mao wanted another ass kicking like Korea. But perhaps not.

            Whatever. Our misadventure in Iraq will end similarly to our one in Vietnam. I only hope the US can trade with the survivors .

            1. The NVA was also completely obliterated. It is evidenced by the fact that it took quite a bit of time before NV was able to mount an attack into Vietnam.

          3. I didn't say Iraq will be stable afterwards. I was making the point that withdrawing because of Iranian aggression, or too soon afterwards, isn't advisable. I actually like your analogy. The best time to have withdrawn from Iraq would have been after the surge and the Battle of Ramadi. If the country goes to shit, oh well. We didn't withdraw after They. We withdrew after we forced the North Vietnamese to sign a peace treaty as a result of Operation Rolling Thunder. That is a good analogy.

            1. Linebacker 2, but yeah.

              Thank you for the compliment.

              1. Sorry, got the bombing the North Vietnamese back to the Stone age air operations mixed up.

            2. "I was making the point that withdrawing because of Iranian aggression, or too soon afterwards, isn’t advisable. "

              I get you man. My point is that even if we wait until some point when Iranian aggression is at its nadir, we will still be called out as having retreated. This will happen unless we are somehow able to turn Iraq into Connecticut prior to withdrawing- just as happened in Vietnam. If we wait 3 months and a chastened Iran doesn't react for another 2 years, we will still be called cowards when they react at that point.

              The red pill here is to accept that we really do have a choice- either stick it out for 50 years and turn Iraq into rhode island, or abandon it and deal with the fact that in 50 years people are pointing it out as a failure.

              I am willing to accept that we will "lose face" with tangible costs to american security if we leave. But you know what? It has been 15 fucking years. I am sick and tired of watching films of little girls seeing their dad for the first time in 2 years because we sent him to Iraq. I would rather we lose a little face, and even take on a little risk in return for getting those kids home.

              10 Years ago, I might have made a different calculation, due to the region's importance to the US. But yay, Fracking has made the ME as important as Rawanda. And we should treat it as such. Let them eat each other, and we can drone the shit out of anyone who thinks they can attack the US.

              (BTW: I completely reject ChemJeff's suggestion that we are acting like an empire here. We do not occupy and suck tribute from our client states. We occupy and pour our blood and treasure into them for some sort of ideology. But I end up on the same side as him when I say it is enough. Time to bring our boys and girls home.)

      4. More Motte and Bailey, jeffy? When is it permissible to strike an aggressor?

        When he points the gun at your head?
        Of course not because he hasn't akshually committed any violence yet.

        When he pulls the trigger?
        Well no, because the bullet hasn't hit you yet and might not.

        After the bullet strikes?
        Well no, because what's the point, it's already over.

        There will always be one more excuse.

        Cue the "yer just a warboner" and "the running pigdogimperialistneocon US is just as bad!"

        1. When is it permissible to strike an aggressor?

          What are you blathering about? The decision to leave Iraq *now* has nothing to do about "striking an aggressor".

          We went to Iraq to take out Saddam Hussein. We did that. He's gone.

          What is the point NOW to stay?

          1. Withdraw just do it smartly, not right after they attacked your embassy. Why do you keep ignoring that point?

            1. I addressed your point above.

              1. In your words-FINALlY. Yes I noticed, not without snark. Noticed after I posted.

              2. You didn't. Your answer is basically to always withdraw. You want to do it NOW because "there is actual open talk about the idea and it seems to be gaining a bit of momentum. If a month goes by, the moment will have passed. It is just important to get it DONE."

                So you don't think it should be planned or done smartly, just DONE.

                1. Basically, exactly what he accused Trump of doing, acting without thinking it through.

                  1. Read my comment below.

                  2. Jeff has no problems with acting based on emotions. He's made that perfectly clear over the years.

                    Oddly enough he's quite patient when it comes to reforming the welfare state. Favors it actually.

                2. Your answer is basically to always withdraw.

                  Pretty much, yeah. I am not a fan of American Empire.

                  So you don’t think it should be planned or done smartly, just DONE.

                  No - I don't favor a chaotic mess. It's possible to have a smartly planned withdrawal, but done sooner rather than later.

                  1. That isn't what you said.

                    1. I said I would rather not wait a month.
                      That is not equivalent to "leave RIGHT NOW in a chaotic mess!"
                      Get it?

                    2. No, that's exactly what you said. Get it?

                      "If a month goes by, the moment will have passed. It is just important to get it DONE.”

                      This is where you try to play semantic games around what "now" means.

                    3. This is Tupla-level pedantics here.
                      I said I don't want to wait a month.
                      Evidently, you interpreted that to mean "OMG he doesn't want a planned withdrawal!!!! " That is not what I said. That is your lack of reading comprehension of what I actually said.

                    4. This is where you try to play semantic games around what “now” means.

                      Called it.

                    5. You mean like the "semantic game" of stating what I actually wrote, not what you thought I wrote?

                    6. Look dude, you misread what I wrote. It happens. Just move on.

                    7. Let's play a game with jeffy. What is the correct amount of time required to withdraw? How long until it has to start?

                    8. SoliderMedic76 wrote:

                      Withdraw just do it smartly, not right after they attacked your embassy. Why do you keep ignoring that point?

                      Your response was:

                      I would rather withdraw when – FINALLY – there is actual open talk about the idea and it seems to be gaining a bit of momentum. If a month goes by, the moment will have passed. It is just important to get it DONE.

                      Your only concern in that statement is "to get it DONE." No where do you claim it needs to be planned or smart. There is clear and obvious urgency in what you wrote.

                      I'm sorry that that shows how impetuous you are.

                    9. "I said I would rather not wait a month.
                      That is not equivalent to “leave RIGHT NOW in a chaotic mess!”"

                      Yes, it is.
                      Overt largely agrees with you, but Overt has actually thought through the issue.
                      You've proposed getting out in a panic without regard for possible consequences

                    10. This is ridiculous and absurd. I did not say "leave in a panic", I did not say "drop everything and run", you are reading FAR MORE into what I wrote than what I actually wrote.

                      I wrote that I don't want to wait a month. I wrote that I want to get it done. Yes there is an element of urgency. Because if we wait too long, the moment will have passed. That doesn't mean "chaotic mess". YOU projected that onto my words. There is no contradiction between an organized withdrawal and having it done with urgency.

                      Sheesh. If I write "I drove to the store and got some bread", since I didn't EXPLICITLY say that I drove in my own car and purchased bread legally, evidently that means you're free to assume that I stole a car, ran over 7 pedestrians, and robbed the store at gunpoint. That is the level of your mendacity here.

                      I have wasted too much time trying to explain a completely obvious statement already.

                    11. SM76 clearly indicated the conditions he wanted. Your response to him only indicated urgency. You can try to revise your original statement now but you had every opportunity to agree with him or state your own preferences for an ordered and planned withdrawal. You chose not to. The only thing that concerned in your your response which you considered complete was the urgency of "get[ing] it DONE."

                      It's OK to admit that was impetuous and you should have qualified it, but don't pretend like you gave any indication that was anything you were concerned about.

                      Just what was your TOEFL score?

                    12. I will say this. I am quite relieved that this whole situation, at least as of now, hasn't escalated and tensions are calming.

                      Slightly related:


                    13. Sorry that should have been posted under the main article.

                  2. You have been consistent in stating to just withdraw. The sooner the better. Not precipitous withdrawal is stupid. Timing isn't the key, tactical considerations and strategic considerations, rather then time should be the deciding factor.

                    1. You are reading more into what I wrote than what I actually wrote.
                      Yes. Withdraw sooner rather than later. I am on board with that plan.
                      Yes it should be orderly and planned. I am totally agnostic about the precise details.
                      But I don't want it to drag on and on.

                    2. BS quotes you as saying just get it done and waiting a month will have meant the moment passed. Sorry, reading exactly what you wrote.

                    3. Meh, I'm playing Pyre. This is just a break in between Rites.

                    4. JFree was going to play it but instead just invited his friend over and had him watch as he posted on reason.

                    5. Hmm, not sure. I'm married so I've kinda forgotten.

      5. The alternative is to blow up the commander of the Iranian Quds forces while he's meeting with paramilitaries in Iraq

        1. And then blow up the next one? And the next one?
          How long must we stay there, Nardz?

          1. The alternative is to ignore the occupation of Austria and the Sudenland.

            1. The alternative it to try to bribe Iran to be quiet enough that your successor has to deal with them.

            2. Probably should've let the invasion of Poland slide too.
              After all, it led to war

              1. To be sure less people would have died in the Warsaw uprising.

                Less Germans, that is.

                1. Likely also not have had a state of Israel, and the jihadis would have to find another excuse to cover for their aggression.

            3. Because every international incident is JUST LIKE THE NAZIS and requires Team America World Police to step in and save the day. Is that it? Give me a break.

              1. Strange, it was fearmongers like you who were fretting over WWIII.

              2. I only pointed to it as an example of how appeasement towards aggression usually turns out.

  33. Sorry but no way the US is culpable. Iran choose its response and it chose to try and murder US soldiers and innocent civilians. Even if it was an accident, which I doubt, it is still their fault.

    Reason has chosen to take the most ridiculous stance against aggression and terrorism. The correct response is to never start a war but finish it. If Iran is still going to claim we started this bullshit because we overthrew Mosaddegh (or BP did, take your pick), and then supported Pahlavi they have long memories and no sense.

    Nobody wants a shooting war with Iran, least of all them. But if they don't back down they have decided their own fates.

  34. Yes, the US bears some responsibility and so does Reason. The Obama administration provided the resources for Iran to behave this way when they released $150BB to them to temporarily (maybe) halt their nuclear weapons program (which they didn't). Reason advocated for that appeasement and Danegeld so some of this blood is on their hands.

    To be sure.

  35. Robby's hairdresser deserves a little blame for this crappy article.

    No, that's mean. Robby's hair is probably trying to disassociate itself from the rest of him as we speak.

  36. I am convinced that if Trump resurrected Mother Theresa and gave her a 4 billion dollar budget to help the homeless, Robby would write an article about how that really was a violation of the separation of church and state.

    1. And his would be one of the more conservative takes...

  37. I blame the Ottoman Empire.

    I leave it to the reader to connect the dots.

    1. I blame those Damn Spartans and Athenians.

  38. This is fing stupid im going to read the comments and then not read any more stupid bullshit from this site

    1. Glibertarians dot com

  39. If Iran Shot Down the Ukraine Jet, the U.S. Government Deserves a Little Blame


    But it is not absurd to assign the U.S. some responsibility, given that Iran's combat offensive was prompted by the Trump administration's decision to kill Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike.

    Ah, I see. Dude punches me, I punch him back, he flails widely and hits a bystander - but I bear some responsibility. I should have just let him keep hitting me.

    Oh, and women who are raped shouldn't have dressed like that, I guess?

    Those Jews shouldn't have congregated together. If they had just spread out more so people wouldn't notice them so much no one would be trying to kill them.

  40. The man was in a war zone, in uniform, meeting with the head of an illegal militia, and was violating UN sanctions by being there. Killing him was not an act of war.

  41. I expect this take from the hate america always leftists, and the democrats. But Soave can only make this argument straight faced by abandoning the very principals of self governance and responsibility that form the foundation of libertarian thought.

    So, in that vein, I am going to say that Soave shares an equal amount of blame. If he had done better getting Hillary elected, then Trump wouldn't have been able to escalate things. See how that works?

  42. The word for the day was crossfire


    Gotta give Rico credit though, he went out of his way to convey the meaning, while scrupulously avoiding using the actual word.

    "...it came about in the middle of Iran's mostly ineffective counterattack..."

  43. The US deserves as much blame for the downing of the jet as Boeing for building the jet and Wright Brothers for inventing air travel. I like you Mr. Soave but when you miss you miss big....

  44. The most interesting reveal here is how deep Reasoners search for blame for America. Neither Dems nor Reasoners criticized Iran or Suleimani for bringing us closer to war. Only Trump. But when Iran kills people there's an immediate multi-level search for the most blame we can possibly give Trump.

    K.C. Johnson notes that the use of the word "middle" could perhaps be interpreted as suggesting equal blame, and again, there is no equivalence here.

    The offensive element is the careful, passive voice effort not to place blame. If it can't be blamed on Trump it just happened all by itself.

    Trump did not consult Congress until after Soleimani was dead, even though it is Congress, not the president, that possesses the power to declare war.

    It's interesting Robby and Reasoners are still pretending the Suleimani attack is a war thus triggering this requirement. Maybe someday they'll grow up and discuss the issues honestly.

    1. And ignoring the WPA gives Trump that authority. He doesn't need to notify Congress until 48 hours AFTER taking action. Disclaimer, neither supporting nor disavowing the WPA, just stating it is the law Congress passed and have never rescinded.

  45. I will say this. I am quite relieved that this whole situation, at least as of now, hasn’t escalated and tensions are calming.

    Slightly related:


    Although there is some funny business with the structure of the resolution. We will see.

  46. Blame Jake Bernoulli, the law of averages dude. Iran went 1 for 17.

  47. The first two comments at the top of this thread tell it all. Robby Soave is an ignorant sycophant trying to fill white space with his drivel.

  48. Quite a lot of blame, all of it rooted in Trump, who is bandwagoning with the warhawks (who have wanted war with Iran since the deposing of the shah) to distract from his treason, cover-up of it, and impeachment for that cover-up. Anyone who says otherwise is either lying or an idiot.

  49. As I write this comment, there are already 357 other comments here in response to Robby's hot take.

    All of you commenters are idiots, because so far as I can tell none of you have yet identified the weakest point of the post.

    They were killed, probably on accident, by Iran.

    "on accident"

    Are you fucking kidding me? What are you, a goddamn toddler, Soave? Reason, don't the fuckin' editors exercise even the slightest amount of style guidance? It's fucking *by accident*, you drooling, half-literate excuse for a member of homo sapiens sapiens.

    1. Thank you.

    2. I'm going to write a script that scans digital text for common grammar and spelling errors and then sell it for a modest price. Why hasn't anyone come up with this idea before?

  50. It is Bush Junior's fault. Or go back further and pin it on Carter. Turns out when you get a bunch of gung-ho assholes with fancy weapons one of them is bound to trip the trigger. US has done it many times and later developments have introduced failsafes. Iran's military tech has a different path of development and they haven't yet introduced the same failsafes. Ka spuck.

  51. The Iranians did it. They are fully responsible because they are normal human beings with agency who are responsible for their own actions.

    To say otherwise is bigotry. Stop being a bigot, Soave.

  52. Reason has long had a history of despising Trump. There's a lot of justification for that as there's a lot to despise Trump about.

    Of late however, it seems that the whole slate of writers at Reason have become infected with TDS - Trump Derangement Syndrome.

    And Mr. Soave here seem to have not just swallowed the TDS whole but to have been guzzling it by the pitcher full.

    The result is a truly embarrassing bit of "Orange Man Bad" rationalizations that is an insult to the previous quality of analysis that used to be found here on Reason.

    Mr. Soave owes his fellow Reason employees and all his readers and apology for this pathetic Trump hating screed.

    1. It's actually more about the fact that the majority of writers of Reason including Soave are against Military Interventions, in fact they did praise Trump in the past when he didn't resort to Military Action.

      The fact of the matter is that Trump did spoke out against Military Interventionalism during his campaign and before then, he even accuse Obama of trying to escalate a War with Iran during his re-election campaign. To many, the Air Strike seems to be a betrayal of his Anti-War Promises

      1. Trump never said he was "anti-war".

        Your citations fell off.

      2. Trump never claimed to be a pacifist. He does not seem to have much taste for the nation building occupations of terrorist supprting nations, but he did not say he was against reprisals, especially the people responsible.

        1. Trump has been very clear and consistent for years
          He's a counter puncher

      3. If Libertarianism now means no proportionate counter strikes after you have been attacked, then I guess the tent is going to get exponentially smaller.

  53. Ummm, how is this not entirely the UK's fault? If they hadn't colonized North America in the first place, then there would be no US to blame for this!

    Wait, how is it not the fault of the Franks and Burgundy under Charles Martel for winning the Battle of Tours? If they had just let the Umayyad Caliphate conquer western Europe then the West would be Muslim and not have any conflict with Iran! Oh wait, they were Sunni so we'd still be at war with the Shi'as in Iran.

    Never mind that last. Definitely the fault of the 16th and 17th century British, and I demand the crown apologize!

  54. So no matter what the provocation, the USA should never respond, in case something bad happens to someone somewhere, which would make it the USA's fault?

  55. Regardless of why it may have shot down the plane, Iran is primarily totally responsible for the deaths of those 176 passengers.


  56. And france was responsible for WW2. We;ve heard this logic before.

    1. That is why the British attacked the French fleet.

  57. Poor Soave.

    This article illustrates that pretty much anything unreason says, you should do or think the opposite.

    Soave thinks America has some blame so in reality America has 0% blame.

  58. So I guess the car manufacturers are responsible for all drunk driving?

  59. Yes, the power to declare resides in the Congress. How does that apply here?

    Congress has already given approval for military action in Iraq. Mileage may vary on whether it should have been given and for how long it has been in force, but the power to declare war is not a power that requires Congress to authorize every action taken once the military is engaged. This just seems to a talking point that is not really thought deeply about by the people touting it.

  60. Of course. Right on cue.

    I expected Democrats to take this position but held out hope Reason wouldn't go there.

    Superficially, sure I can see some may conclude this. But it's a shallow first impression and quickly dissipates once you ponder it deeper.

    For example, since they're holding on to the black box, we don't even know if it's just a coincidence and not a knee-jerk reaction or response. Until then, how can you even mildly put to print it's not absurd to pin this on Trump?

    I'd argue this is an absurd spin.

    1. I mean, it does fit with the larger narrative that a lot of libertarians follow, which is that most everyone would be better off if the US had never gotten involved in the politics of the Middle East. But if that is the threshold for assigning blame, then the US is partly responsible for every bad thing that has happened in the world since 1776.

    2. Holding the black box is secondary. It's the handling of the debris that matters - it will have the physical evidence of any SAM strike.

      When that goes missing, or gets otherwise gets altered, that will be absolute confirmation of what is currently suspected.

      1. There was a photo of the nose cone of a SAM on TV last night.

  61. Responsibility lies solely with whoever was closest to the trigger pull that knew this was a commercial flight. If no one in that unit knew it was a commercial flight, then responsibility lies with the commanding officer, a Colonel I'm assuming, for failing to properly train his men.

    This was a documented commercial flight taking off from a local airport. This isn't an unintended consequence. It's a mass murder.

    Also, I have to say Iran looks really, really bad right now, don't they? First they can't manage the crowd at their beloved general's funeral and dozens die in a stampede. Then they launch an expensive and completely ineffective attack on Iraq. Then they shoot down a commercial flight full of Iranians, Canadians and Ukrainians. Could they be any more incompetent?

    The Iranian state media is jumping through its own ass to cover things up, of course, but you can tell things are so unambiguous this time that their heart isn't really in it.

  62. WTF when did Reason become a far left Trump bashing publication? Its ok to bash Trump for the things he has actually done, but come one guys. Reason is supposed to be logical right?

    1. I think it was at the moment he won the election - - - - - - - - -

      1. I probably typed the phrase "stop making me defend Trump" on HnR 30 times that year.

        He has an amazing talent - the ability to make otherwise smart people take on the most ridiculous positions just to be on the other side from him. Meanwhile, everyone ignores what he is actually doing.

    2. You don't come around here often, do you? :/

  63. Come on guys... this is a goof.

    Robby used to have some really terrible "to be sure" takes, but he's matured a lot. He's just yanking your chain. There's no way he really believes this take. I know, proggies will rationalize around to this sort of thinking. But Robby isn't this stupid.

    It is a goof. He's trolling you.

    1. Clicks are clicks.

      1. Exactly. Like all media, Reason is in trouble. TDS posts are the only thing generating clicks these days.

        They used to do some awesome investigative reporting on libertarian issues like criminal justice reform and police abuse - back when Balko was around - but those days are over. Those stories take too long to develop, making them too expensive. Editorials and hot takes are cheap.

        Insane TDS-inspired takes are even cheaper.

      2. 470 or so posts to this thread. If trolling, he got what he wanted.

  64. Well, looks like our favorite, Tulsi, is all aboard the "this is a consequence of Trump's escalation" train.
    The Ds have staked out their position.
    I'm sure voters will love it

    1. Noooo... not Tulsi! She was my backup plan.

      Well, I suppose "no war over there" is kinda her thing. I'm gonna give her a pass. She's the only likable one they have.

      1. Her cult ties and being even more anti-gun than Bloomberg, outweigh her non-interventionist opinions and how good she looks in a wetsuit.

        Hard pass.

        1. her looks are massively overrated

          1. More pretty than hot

  65. The indirect blame game doesn't work very well. You can end up blaming anyone for anything.

    This article distracts from the important point that Trump should not have ordered this killing, and more generally, the president is not empowered to assassinate foreign officials.

    1. You’re saying he can only assassinate domestic officials?

      We can debate the wisdom of Trump’s actions but I don’t think there’s all that much debate about his authority to do it. The guy was a terrorist and enemy combatant in Iraq. The fact that he was a member of the Iranian military doesn’t give him immunity.

  66. I really hope this article is a joke from a site called "Reason.com". If I follow this line of reasoning, then I can keep going and blame it back on Iran for the things they did, particularly Solemani, leading up to Trump calling the drone strike. No wait, I can bring it back to Obama for the deal he made with Iran. No wait, let's put the blame back on Iran for what they did before Obama. No wait, I'm still not going back far enough....

  67. Not gonna lie, I was expecting that blackface wearing candyass Trudeau to blame the USA. Even he's not stooping this far with the garbage, or at least not that I've seen.

  68. OBL has a job!

  69. Give it up on always having to find a way to blame America and Trump. This line of reasoning is getting trite. We are getting to the point that we can blame the person for fueling the plane at exactly the time they did. If the fuel man had just waited maybe 5 more minutes to fuel the plane, this wouldn't have happened. Maybe we can blame the Wright brothers for inventing air travel by plane, because this surely wouldn't have happened if planes had not been invented.

    We need to give this tenuous linking in order to find a way to blame America a rest.

  70. Lordy! Suave really took one in the shorts on this TDS assault. And justifiably so.

  71. You haven't merely jumped the shark, now you're trying to make sweet, sweet love to it. Or rape it. Seriously, it's hard to tell....

  72. the Reason people are really frightening now

  73. It's strange how, even though Iran is supposedly "primarily responsible," every article I read seems most interested in showing how Trump is to blame. I mean, at this point, an article titled "It Really Is Iran's Fault," and straightforwardly arguing that Iran is to blame for shooting down a civilian airliner taking off from an Iranian airport while Iran was shooting rockets at Iraqi military bases, would be the edgy, contrarian take. If only we had an edgy, contrarian media outlet.

  74. Robby, the families of several hundred dead U.S. soldiers would like to have a word with you.

  75. It is possible for modern anti-aircraft systems to determine, from the signal emitted from flight transponders, what kind of aircraft one is targeting. To fail to avail oneself of this information is reckless. Under the best possible view of Soave’s case the U.S. could not be faulted for failing to anticipate reckless conduct from Iran anti-aircraft personnel. If the level of alert was such that the Iranians were not crediting these signals then they should have grounded civilian aviation.

  76. Aaaaaaabd Iran has finally admitted the obvious.
    I think it was all the videos of a missile shooting the plane down that forced their hand

    1. And my theory stands! It was planned and they were going to blame it on trump. I rule!

  77. Flight 752 - a microcosm of how a real war with the USA would go.

  78. Guess the staff at reason are dragging their feet on Iran admitting because they were *really* wanting to pin it on trump.

    Hey reason staff - is that paycheck worth selling out like a bunch of Soros bitch boys? Do any of you have any integrity at all or have you always put money before your country?

    Somebody get the chipper running.

  79. I continue to be amazed at some of the takes on this situation.

    The first parallel to your argument I think of might be Hawaiian civilians hit by antiaircraft fire directed by US personnel at the Japanese aircraft. Japan deserves their share of blame for that as they were attacking Hawaii at the time.

    But Tehran was not under attack. Iran was not under attack. Iran had not been under attack from the US in recent memory. When the plane was shot down, Trump was busy not retaliating from the most recent Iranian attack on US forces, which had taken place some 800 km from where the plane was shot down. The Iranians have been attacking everyone in the gulf area for decades, while receiving minimal responses. In September, they blew up Saudi oil facilities. In May and June of 2019, they mined shipping in the gulf.
    Blaming Trump for this is insane. Trump droned a car full of terrorist leaders on a road in Baghdad, without killing any civilians. A bit of trivia is that the road the drone attack happened on was called "Route Irish" when I was there, and was infamous as a place where Iranian proxy militias often killed Americans with IEDs.

  80. This is the dumbest thing i have ever read! The Trump Administration bears exactly zero responsibility for the collateral damage cause by the reckless actions of the Iranian government. Your argument that Trump did not consult congress is crap as well this was not some random out of the blue assassination it was a strike on a man who was responsible for the deaths of over 600 Americans. He was also the head of the IRGC a recognized terrorist organization by the U.S. State department.

    You parrot the talking point that the threat of an attack had to be imitate. that's garbage, the real question is was the threat of an attack credible. Secretary of State Pompeo says yes it was. Also if you wanna squawk about starting wars without congressional approval give your old boy Obama a call I'm sure hes got some great stories about Libya to tell you

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