This past week, the world saw Iran make a mistake. Then, the Iranian government lied and said they did not make a mistake, and asked anyone with proof that they were responsible for shooting down a passenger jet that crash landed in their country to come forward. Finally, three days after the plane was shot out of the sky, Iran’s military admits it was human error, perpetrated by their forces, that caused the Ukrainian airliner to be shot down while in Iranian air space.
I was immediately suspicious of the news that a passenger plane had crash landed in Iran on the same day that Iran had launched a missile attack against U.S. forces in Iraq. Iran’s missile attack took place six days after the U.S. drone attack that killed Qassem Soleimani, a top Iranian general. While the Iranian military was undoubtedly on high alert after launching a missile strike, it is hard to understand how anyone even somewhat familiar with a radar screen could mistake a large passenger jet with a drone or even a military jet plane. Iran had to admit that one or more people entrusted with weapons capable of shooting planes out of the sky probably would have trouble distinguishing an orange, from an apple, from a banana.
When official stories like this change, it reminds you of the many times that other governments have lied, and it makes everyone more suspicious of anything government officials say. I am curious what the final version of the story will be surrounding the killing of Soleimani. Back in 2011 and continuing into 2012, Donald Trump accused President Obama of possibly timing an attack against Iran to help his reelection campaign. Once you are open to the idea of the United States military being used for political gain and not national defense, it would be hard to think only one political party would do such a thing. It is therefore logical to wonder if the timing of the Soleimani attack was an effort to boost President Trump’s reelection chances in 2020.
Such conjecture is hopefully absurd and any belief that President Trump or President Obama would use our military as pawns for a political gain is false. I would love to think this is just a conspiracy theory comparable to the moon landing never occurring, or the twin towers being bombed and the planes crashing into them being just a distraction. Unfortunately, sometimes conspiracy theories are proven to be correct.
Until a few days ago, the idea of a passenger plane being mistaken for a military aircraft and shot down by any government’s military would be thought a fringe theory only considered by the extremely paranoid. The 176 passengers onboard Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 are a painful reminder to the world that sometimes terrible, unthinkable events take place. My wish for the future is that the military forces of the entire planet take a deep breath and reevaluate their procedures and practices. We cannot endure another passenger plane being shot out of the sky if we one day dream of peaceful world.
Eric lives in Suwannee County and is a public school educator. He is an independent contractor. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.