The “Little Boy” for Japan, the “Vincennes” for Iran

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Amir Hossein Yazdanpanah
Expert on International Issues

Persian Gulf, July 3, 1988

It was not yet 10:20 local time on July 3, 1988, when Captain Mohsen Rezaeiyan, the pilot of the Iran Air Flight 655 took off from Bandar Abbas airport in south Iran to head for Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Out of 290 passengers on the plane, 44 were non-Iranian and 66 were children. Five minutes after the Iranian passenger plane took off from Bandar Abbas airport’s runway, the United States’ USS Vincennes, whose mission was to deal with aerial threats including ballistic missiles and warplanes, and had entered Iran’s territorial waters in violation of international regulations, was ordered by its commander, William C. Rogers III, to fire two missiles toward Iran’s passenger plane, killing all those on board.

A report issued later by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) noted that before firing the missiles, the Vincennes had issued seven warnings to the Iranian airplane, but interestingly enough, the warnings were sent on a radio frequency special to fighter jets, not passenger planes. Later on, David Carlson, commander of another American warship, which was close to the USS Vincennes on the day of the attack, said in an interview that downing of the Iranian passenger plane over the Persian Gulf was the climax of Captain Rogers’ aggressive behavior, which had been intensified since four weeks ahead of the attack. Many things have been said about the motivation and reason behind Capitain Rogers’ decision, but none of them, even comments denoting that the incident was among 10 top worst air crimes in history, could prevent the angry commander of the Vincennes from being conferred a Navy Commendation Medal. His colleagues on the ship have been quoted as saying that if Rogers was feeling good on that day, he would have been able to discern even with his bare eyes that the Iranian aircraft was not a warplane. Of course, these issues were not of import to Rogers and the medal conferred on him later, proved that American leaders were totally content with Rogers’ performance.

Hiroshima, August 6, 1945

In the summer of 1945 and just three days after Hiroshima nuclear disaster on August 6 in which a US nuclear bomb called the “Little Boy” killed about 70,000 people in an instant, the Japanese city of Kukura was to host another atomic bomb: the “Fat Man.” The sky over the city, however, was cloudy on August 9, 1945, forcing the pilot to circle the city three times in a bid to find a good opportunity and drop his five-tonne bomb. That opportunity never came up and the pilot was forced to head for the second goal, that is, the city of Nagasaki. Perhaps if the weather condition was a little worse on that day, the pilot would have had to go for the third option and in order to prevent anything happening to his plane as a result of fuel shortage, would have had to drop the five-tonne Fat Man somewhere in the oceanic waters of Japan around the island of Okinawa.

This means that the factor, which affected the decision of the American bomber plane, was not moral issues, nor the rights of civilians in war, or even the human rights concerns, but the “amount of fuel,” “weather conditions,” and “submission” of Japan were the main determining factors deciding people in which Japanese city should be turned to ashes by the American nuclear bomb. Roughly a month ago and 71 years after human catastrophes created by American atomic bombs in Japan, which killed more than 200,000 and reduced two Japanese cities to ashes, the US President Barack Obama made a speech in front of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, noting that after experiencing the calamity of war, it was time for the world to take steps toward promotion of peace and creating a world free from nuclear weapons. Among countries with nuclear weapons, it is perhaps the US president who can talk to people so frankly and, at the same time, hypocritically, or as put by Japan’s the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, with “the most powerful gesture,” without apologizing for what his country has done.

The president of a country, which has tested nuclear weapons more than 1,000 times after the end of the World War II and according to available official and unofficial figures, has more than 5,000 nuclear warheads ready to use, talks about “peace” 71 years after the nuclear catastrophe in Hiroshima and in front of the city’s peace memorial. The bitter irony is that he was not even willing to apologize. This was quite similar to the catastrophic case of downing Iran’s passenger plane over the Persian Gulf. There is no guarantee that such incidents will not be repeated. Why? Let’s look at this issue from a different standpoint.

The story of a coups d'état in Iran

Some 47 years after the coups d'état on August 19, 1953, the then US Secretary of State Madeline Albright took part in a meeting of the NIAC (National Iranian American Council) in 2000, officially and explicitly admitting to the role played by the United States in that coups d'état, which led to the downfall of the popular government of Dr. Mohammad Mosaddeq in Tehran. A few years later, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) released official documents of the coup. Even Obama has on a number of occasions talked about the toppling of Dr. Mosaddeq’s government. For example, in an address to the United Nations in 2013, he said that Iranians have been always complaining about the United States’ interventions in their country and the role played by Washington in the downfall of Mosaddeq’s government during the Cold War. Obama has made similar remarks elsewhere. However, everybody knows that reference to historical events without taking clear stances on them and without attention to their impact on current policies would not solve any problem. On the contrary, they only serve to strengthen the hypothesis that hypocritical expression of populist remarks without admitting to one’s mistake and apologizing for it, which logically speaking, is the first step toward a change in behavior, could be only considered as a means of deviating the public opinion and depicting a false picture of change instead of making the real change.

The interesting point is that the same person, who takes such positions “in words,” has been orchestrating – as he himself has described – crippling sanctions, the strictest regime of sanctions, and global consensus against Iran. He is the president of a country whose decision about dropping atomic bomb on tens of thousands of Japanese civilians depends on climatic conditions rather being based on ethics, human rights and similar concepts, which have been frequently used by officials in Washington to incriminate other countries. A country where annihilation of a passenger plane and killing scores of women and men and children, apparently depends on the instantaneous mood of its military commanders; that is, in this country, beautiful remarks and an atomic bomb are considered on an equal footing. From his viewpoint, both remarks made without any change in position or apology, and the effort made to bring about a real change are means of forcing the opposite side into submission. For them, both the atomic bomb and the USS Vincennes are just tools in order to force the opposite side into submission.

The interesting point is that according to an opinion poll whose results were released by the Wall Street Journal last month, people in America follow the same view of their statesmen that in order to make another nation submit to the United States’ demand, it is advisable to use the atomic bomb. According to that poll, at least 59 percent of Americans support nuking Tehran and killing at least 100,000 people in order to make the Islamic Republic give in to the United States’ demands. This is the same logic according to which about 220,000 Japanese were massacred in 1945 and hundreds of thousands of others are still suffering the lethal consequences of the use of nuclear weapons. This logic had been officially announced by the then U.S. President Harry Truman following twin nuclear bombings in Japan, when he said, “We may be grateful to Providence that the Germans got the V-1's and V-2's late and in limited quantities and even more grateful that they did not get the atomic bomb at all…. We have spent two billion dollars on the greatest scientific gamble in history -- and won…. If they do not now accept our terms they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth.

Key WordsIran Air Flight 655, Bandar Abbas, Dubai, USS Vincennes, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Persian Gulf, Captain Rogers, Commendation Medal, Hiroshima, Nuclear Disaster, Nagasaki, Little Boy, Fat Man, Coups d'état, Madeline Albright, Mohammad Mosaddeq, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Cold War, Harry Truman, Apologizing, Yazdanpanah

Source: Khorasan Newspaper
Translated By: Iran Review.Org

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