TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - “There is no possibility that Iran would ever start a war with the United States. All of its military actions would be defensive in nature. For centuries, Iran has historically not been a nation that initiated hostilities. The real danger is that Bolton and Pompeo will artificially heighten tensions until war breaks out,” Senator Black told Tasnim.
Richard Black represents the 13th District encompassing parts of both Loudoun and Prince Williams Counties. He was previously a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1998 to 2006. Black was a career military officer. He served in both the US Marines and in the US Army JAG Corps. He served a total of 31 years active and reserve, rising from the rank of private to full colonel. He is a graduate of the US Army War College, Command and General Staff College, and Naval Aviator’s Flight School. Black served as a pilot in the US Marines during the Vietnam War, earning the Purple Heart medal. He flew 269 combat helicopter missions with HMM-362’s “Ugly Angels” squadron, which operated out of Ky Ha, Vietnam.
Following is the full text of the interview.
Tasnim: Late Sunday night, the White House made an announcement that the USS Abraham Lincoln and a bomber task force were being deployed in response to unspecified "troubling and escalatory indications and warnings." What is your take on the deployment?
Sen. Black: The USS Abraham Lincoln was already on a routine deployment to the Persian Gulf. The only unusual moves by US military forces is the possible movement of several B-52 bombers into the region.
The extreme rhetoric about military movements is tied to vague claims of Iranian threats towards American interests in the region. Since the source of these “intelligence reports” appears to be the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, information received from them is highly suspect and is probably a continuation of Mossad’s long-term effort to prompt a US attack on Iran. Even at this point, the administration has done little to explain what the “troubling and escalatory indications and warnings” might be. It is highly unlikely that there are any genuine hostile initiatives being taken by Iran, and there seems to be skepticism among experts about the veracity of those claims
Tasnim: A statement from US National Security Adviser John Bolton said the deployments were intended "to send a clear and unmistakable message to Iran that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force." Why do you think Bolton, Pompeo and the Israeli PM are pushing the US into a war with Iran?
Sen. Black: National Secretary Adviser John Bolton was a cowardly draft dodger during the Vietnam War. He avoided military service when his own life was in danger, but he has never hesitated to advocate armed violence against others.
Bolton is a violent, militaristic individual whose philosophy has no moral foundation; it is simply a Machiavellian reflection of power politics. He was an early and enthusiastic advocate of the disastrous war against Iraq. He has long advocated war against Iran, always seeking ways to create tense situations. There are obviously no actions being taken by Iran that present a threat to the United States. For Iran, attacking the US would be irrational and would serve no purpose whatsoever.
Western media has accused Iran of certain “malign activities” in Syria. I see nothing “malign” in what Iran has done in Syria. Iran’s principal actions in Syria were effectively fighting ISIS and al Qaeda. But this has not pleased the US, since it has interfered with our plans to topple the Syrian government.
According to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Seymour Hersh, in 2013, the Defense Intelligence Agency did an intelligence assessment of CIA Program Timber Sycamore. They determined that the CIA was providing vast supplies of advanced weapons indiscriminately to terrorist groups, including ISIS and al Qaeda.
From the beginning of the Syrian War, many Americans have been concerned that the war was not a domestic uprising. Instead, it was an attempt to overthrow Syria, using Wahhabi terrorists, including al Qaeda. This is ironic, because the United States was attacked by al Qaeda during the infamous attacks on the Pentagon and Twin Towers, which killed 3000 American citizens.
General Wesley Clark, the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, explained how plans were laid to overthrow seven countries in the Middle East during the five-year period following the 9-11 attacks in 2001. Although the time schedule has not been met, our military actions have followed those plans with disturbing regularity.
Among the counties targeted, were Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Iran. Although President Obama’s foreign policy record was extremely violent and militaristic, he appeared intent on stopping the incessant march toward war when he finalized the Iran Nuclear Agreement. However, when that agreement was renounced by the (Trump) Administration, the march toward war seemed to resume.
The appointment of John Bolton and the installation of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo seems to have rounded out a war cabinet that is intent on promoting militaristic approaches to foreign policy across the globe. During the past week alone, for example, the US attempted to overthrow the government of Venezuela; it threatened military action against Russia and China in the Arctic Ocean; and it made bellicose pronouncements about Iran.
Fortunately, however, the American people are showing signs of weariness with wars in the Middle East, which have dragged on for 18-years without the slightest benefit to America. These wars have increased the US national debt by one-third; they have left thousands of American soldiers dead or amputees; they have killed at least one-million people in the Middle East; and they have left a number of countries in those nations in ruins and poverty.
While the public embraced the Iraq war enthusiastically for about 18 months, there was a strong anti-war backlash afterwards. I do not believe that the public would be nearly that patient with a war waged against Iran. Hopefully, that realization will cause President Trump to refrain from military action against Iran.
Tasnim: Many critics of the administration fear a developing drumbeat towards a conflict which, they fear, could erupt either by accident or by design. Iranian state and military officials have repeatedly stressed Iran will never start a war and it will only defend itself. What are your thoughts on this?
Sen. Black: There is no possibility that Iran would ever start a war with the United States. All of its military actions would be defensive in nature. For centuries, Iran has historically not been a nation that initiated hostilities. The real danger is that Bolton and Pompeo will artificially heighten tensions until war breaks out.
The CIA has a long history of employing false flag attacks as pretexts for military action against other nations. In Iraq, for example, Secretary of State Collin Powell addressed the United Nations, waving a test tube of simulated Sarin gas, falsely claiming that Iraq had such gas and intended to use it. This, and other statements were employed by the CIA to deceive the American people and people of other nations into launching a war of aggression that had no justification whatsoever. Such false flag strategies are deeply embedded within the National Clandestine Service of the CIA and within other elements of the government.
So far, John Bolton’s and Secretary Pompeo’s aggressive moves against Iran have not generated much enthusiasm among the American people to support military action against Iran. Writers have expressed concern or skepticism about the military threats, and the public appears unimpressed by the war-like rhetoric. It is difficult to believe that the recent debacle of John Bolton’s failed coup attempt in Venezuela has not diminished the President’s confidence in him. The amateurish effort by the United States proved embarrassing to the Administration. I believe that President Trump may want to avoid another such debacle and that he will sense the lack of enthusiasm for military actions against Iran. With the 2020 elections approaching, President Trump and the Republican Party would be wise to avoid a further escalation of tensions.