US "Terrorism" Against Iran: Are We Already at War?

Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan
The other day another Iranian nuclear scientist was murdered in Iran.  Did the Iranian government do it and blame it on the west for propaganda value?  It doesn't matter, per se. What matters is the ever increasing likelihood that the West is already or soon will be at war with Iran.

The image at top right is that of Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, an Iranian nuclear scientist who was murdered a few days ago, along with one of his children. Iran is blaming the death on Israel and the US.

This NYTimes article notes the increasing tensions, but refers to them as "an alternative to war".  Maybe the better word would have been "antecedent"?
Like the drone strikes that the Obama administration has embraced as a core tactic against Al Qaeda, the multifaceted covert campaign against Iran has appeared to offer an alternative to war. But at most it has slowed, not halted, Iran’s enrichment of uranium, a potential fuel for a nuclear weapon.

Did we kill Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan? It's not clear, but regardless of whether we did, there are Americans who think we should have. Rick Santorum, currently a candidate for President of the United States, says in the video clip below that whether we did or not, it would be okay for us to do so.

Sounds to me like we are already at war with Iran, although it hasn't been officially declared. If we weren't already at war, everyone in the highest circles of leadership would be denouncing from the rooftops the murders of Iranian scientists.

But not Santorum. Isn't what Santorum said at least an advocacy of terrorism?  Not according to neo-conservatives like Santorum. Santorum is a dangerous man. His moral justifications would make the most seasoned Taliban commander blush.

Andrew Sullivan calls it terrorism (the kind of thing that Santorum supports).  I agree.
I'd like to raise another simple question: is not the group or nation responsible for the murder of civilians in another country terrorists? Do not car-bombs of civilians count as terrorism?

Another act of moral imagination: what would the US do if another country started placing car bombs on US soil to kill American scientists? And how do we effectively condemn terrorism when we are simultaneously either conducting or condoning it?
But there are quite a few among us who think that whatever the United States does is de facto the right thing to have done. Salon's Glenn Greenwald writes
In the few venues which yesterday denounced as “Terrorism” the ongoing assassinations of Iranian scientists, there was intense backlash against the invocation of that term. That always happens whenever “Terrorism” is applied to acts likely undertaken by Israel, the U.S. or its allies — rather than its traditional use: violence by Muslims against the U.S. and its allies — because accusing Israel and/or the U.S. of Terrorism remains one of the greatest political taboos
Are we already at war with Iran, and the American people just don't know it yet? Unfortunately, and dangerously, I think so. At the very minimum, the official stance is that the United States is preparing for such an eventuality.  
The United States is not at war with Iran yet, but just in case,the Pentagon says they want to be prepared. To do so, the Department of Defense has dispatched 15,000 troops to the neighboring nation of Kuwait.

Gen. James Mattis, the Marine Corps head that rules over the US Central Command, won approval late last year from the White House to deploy the massive surge to the tiny West Asian country Kuwait, which is separated from Iran by only a narrow span of the Persian Gulf.
In the past year, quite a few people associated with the Iranian nuclear industry have been killed, along with several other civilians who--conveniently or inconveniently--were in the way at the time. 

Some Americans, including those in high places, are cheering the deaths of these Iranian people. That's a pretty good way to ensure that your friend becomes your enemy, and then to ensure that your enemy does enough to provoke you into destroying him.

That's incitement to war. And that's terrorism.


  1. Interestingly (see Greenwald's article), many people think that "a targeted killing cannot be Terrorism". Strange. That's exactly how the Iranian regime controls its population--by targeting sniper shots at random people in the crowd--and the Iranian people call that terrorism.

  2. Frank, thank you for this blog post. I *do* think we strangely justify terrorizing populations as long as it's *our* government deciding who to terrorize. Our drones circling villages in Pakistan, our agents maybe targeting and murdering scientists one by one if they choose to study nuclear physics in a country our Empire doesn't have tight control of, etc., etc. It's weird. And wrong, imho.

    Are all nuclear scientists fair game now? I mean, you know, if you're on the other side of some national alliance? Is war just presumed to be perpetual? Should LDS Apostle (and nuclear engineer, by trade) Richard G. Scott be given round-the-clock secret service protection and stop visiting other nations?

    I don't think our hypocrisy and bloodlust for war with Iran serves any helpful purpose. Rather I think it has very real consequences and I wish more of my fellow-citizens would wake up to considering it. Thanks for doing something to get that conversation going in your circles!


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