Poll Position: Was Iran murder plot an act of war against U.S.?

There have been few assassination plans more outrageous than the one recently prevented in Washington and revealed Tuesday. An Iranian-American man and an officer in the Iranian military’s elite Quds Force are charged with attempting to hire Mexican drug traffickers to kill the Saudi ambassador to the U.S., and perhaps dozens of bystanders, at a Washington restaurant. The plot was foiled because the man the Iranians contacted, believing he was a member of the Zetas drug cartel, was an informant for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

Would the assassination of a Saudi diplomat in Washington have constituted an act of war?

  • No (120 Votes)
  • Yes, and we should have retaliated (98 Votes)
  • Only if Terhan was fully behind it (50 Votes)
  • Yes, but deserving of a non-military response (30 Votes)
  • Only if Americans were killed (27 Votes)

Total Voters: 325

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One doesn’t have to be a “truther” about the alleged plot to wonder why the Iranian government — or elements of it; it’s unclear exactly how high up the chain of command in Tehran this operation went — would try to kill a Saudi official on U.S. soil, and particularly in this manner. For now, we can only speculate about that answer. But we can ask: Would this assassination, if successful, have been an act of war against the United States?

On the one hand: This would have been members of a foreign military, from a nation which calls us “the Great Satan,” conspiring with members of a drug cartel against which we are unofficially at war (via the war on drugs) entering our nation’s capital to kill a fourth country’s diplomat and, in all likelihood, a great number of U.S. citizens. It would have been inseparable from the broader war on terror which, despite the Obama administration’s changes in terminology, we are still fighting in many countries.

On the other: It’s unclear whether the plot had the approval of Iran’s leaders (either President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Ayatollah Khamenei) and, barring any new information, American citizens and interests appear to have been only incidental targets.

That’s this week’s Poll Position: Would this have been an act of war? Answer in the nearby poll and in the comments thread below.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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91 comments Add your comment

Bigjim

October 14th, 2011
5:27 am

They should have used a predator drone.
It’s OK to assassinate people with predator drones.

Rick Patel

October 14th, 2011
5:27 am

Who knows if there was a plot that wasn’t cooked up by the DEA? It all seems too phony..

Reality

October 14th, 2011
5:33 am

It was an act of War. But then so is our years of funding of Kurds & Iranian seperatist to launch attacks into Iran.

ngchuanling

October 14th, 2011
5:34 am

Ahhh, may be caused by declining fiat money influences, thus your country need to start a new war to save the petrodollar….QE 1&2 fail to kick-start the economy, hmmm maybe a war will support the dollar. Bush’s Iraq and Afgan have saved the dollar…now the Iran turn.

Robert

October 14th, 2011
5:40 am

My concern is that this is a false flag operation to get us involved in bombing Iran at Israel’s bidding.

Joel Edge

October 14th, 2011
6:28 am

If there was an actual plot.

[...] plot is more Mr. Bean than 007CNN InternationalAsia Times Online -New York Times -Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)all 9,448 news [...]

decentdiscourse

October 14th, 2011
6:43 am

This is so embarrassing. Nobody outside of the US finds this even remotely credible. It will undoubtedly come out that this guy was minding his own business when some informant just happened to come across him and “discover” this plot. As is usually the case in these situations, it will be seen that the informant was the key to the entire escapade. As his friends have pointed out, this guy couldn’t plot a straight line on a map, let alone a complex assassination. And you think for a moment Iran’s QUD folks would get involved with somebody like this? Dream on.

Ayn Rant

October 14th, 2011
6:47 am

This preposterous situation presents an opportunity to “bomb something”. Whoop it up, Kyle!

jconservative

October 14th, 2011
7:50 am

Only if the US attack in Pakistan to kill Bin Laden was an act of war against Pakistan.

ByteMe

October 14th, 2011
7:50 am

The destruction of the US or its vital interests wasn’t the goal. Not an act of war.

Like most of the “war on terr’uh”, it’s really just a police (or in this case, FBI + Secret Service) issue and not anything for the military. In this case, we should take the same steps we took against AQ and start cutting off the flow of money to the Iranian military (by targeting all their offshoot businesses and foreign interests).

independent thinker

October 14th, 2011
7:53 am

I find it hard to believe that the Saudis are not somehow behind this to gain US sympathy after their involvement in 9-11. Recent disclosures make it clear that we have more to worry about with Saudi religious zealots and terrorists than Iranian spies.

Kevin

October 14th, 2011
7:57 am

What will Iran do when they obtain full nuclear capabilities? That’s the bigger question that remains unaddressed.

Joe the Plutocrat

October 14th, 2011
7:58 am

you know folks, it’s not too out of the realm of possible that Iran is trying to bait the USA (especially a potentially 1 term POTUS, who is passive/aggressive when it comes to warfighting) to commit an act of war. regardless of how one feels about 9/11 (terrorist act or inside job), the end result was a 10 year, multi-trillion war, that crippled the US. do you not think that perhaps the sneaky folks at Quds, might not roll the dice to see if they can lure the US in the war that will effectively remove the great satan from the chess board (having moved us from King to pawn). if this story is legit, we need to send our thanks and congratz to the NSA, CIA, FBI and DEA for a job well done (your tax dollars hard at work). better yet, why don’t we counter the terrorists by leveling the Iranian embassy in Saudi Arabia (doubt they have one in Israel).

HDB

October 14th, 2011
8:03 am

If the Iranians had assassinated the Saudi ambassador on US soil, it was an act of war to the Saudis primarily….and the US secondarily!! As allies, it may have led to a joint operation against Iran….but the US would’ve taken the lead!!

The question remains, however: was this plot LEGITIMATE??

ragnar danneskjold

October 14th, 2011
8:07 am

Good morning all. I take the validity of the allegations at face value; while there is little doubt that Chauncey needs a boost from any possible source, even this administration would not manufacture a phony war for the sake of a few extra points of job approval. A foreign power planting a bomb in this country is an act of war. The fact that the effort was frustrated by good police work does not make it any less an act of war.

Last night O’Reilly raised the possibility of targeting the Iranian leadership with drones, much as we have used against al Qaeda, If it can be done, it ought to be done.

JDW

October 14th, 2011
8:07 am

Was it an act of war? IF and that’s a big if, the Iranian Government sanctioned, planned and funded the plot the attempt in and of itself was an act of war. The baseline definition that would cover it is:

Act of War (B)armed conflict, whether or not war has been declared, between two or more nations

I think the attempt meets that definition.

Now the reality…at best a splinter faction comprised of low level Government or Government Associated Iranians. Those guys are nuts but they aren’t this nuts. If it had truly been a high level government plot they would have done a much better job of it and most likely picked a far easier target. Besides that follow the money, or in this case the benefit, Iran would gain nothing from this so why would they proceed? A far more interesting question is who would gain…

It does present a wonderful opportunity to tighten the screws on them and we should take full advantage.

JKL2

October 14th, 2011
8:20 am

Since the target was a Saudi, it would have been an act of war against them not us. Collateral damage is what it is. We do this kind of thing in other countries without blinking an eye. It’s just that American’s are spoiled because we always fight somewhere else and never have to deal with any of the effects of war ourselves.

1961_Boomer

October 14th, 2011
8:26 am

Really, it is an act of war against the Saudis and designed to make the US look weak. It also emphasizes the importance of enforcing border control at the Mexican border.

1961_Boomer

October 14th, 2011
8:26 am

p.s. We killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. Is that an act of war against Pakistan?

JDW

October 14th, 2011
8:42 am

@1961_Boomer…”We killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. Is that an act of war against Pakistan?”

From our perspective we brought a wanted fugitive to justice within the borders of an Ally…

carlosgvv

October 14th, 2011
8:46 am

It’s not at all reasonable to assume the CIA would never plot to have some personage in Iran killed. Would that be an act of war from Iran’s viewpoint?

jt

October 14th, 2011
8:51 am

On August 17, 1998 President Clinton finally admitted getting a “Lewinsky” on national television.
On August 20, 1998 President Clinton started bombing an aspirin factory in the Sudan.
At least no American lives were in danger.
.
Obama/Holder should think twice, although I doubt that they care.

Cosby

October 14th, 2011
9:00 am

No problem, our dear leader will talk to Iran and send them to bed with out supper…that will teach them…the annoited ones plan really works!!!

Bart Abel

October 14th, 2011
9:02 am

KYLE: “It would have been inseparable from the broader war on terror which, despite the Obama administration’s changes in terminology…”
———————————————————————————
The “War on Terror” phrase is used by some to justify perpetual war, usually against oil-rich countries. If a middle-Eastern man spanks his child, then the warmongers will go on television, express that this terrorist act is “inseparable from the broader war on terror” and insist that we go into another Iraq-like mess…deficits, troop capacity and well-being, and innocent lives be damned (Halliburton and Exxon, on the other hand, would do quite well).

Personally, I don’t believe the appropriate response to a terrorist act is perpetual full-scale war. For our own sakes and safety, we need to maintain a sense of context and proportion. Some haven’t learned from Bush-era mistakes in Afghanistan and Iraq. As voters, we should.

Barry Soetoro

October 14th, 2011
9:11 am

Let Me Be Clear:

Judge me not by the color of my skin, nor the incredibly POOR job I am doing as President, but by the content of my teleprompter.

Lee

October 14th, 2011
9:25 am

Maybe if the traitorous politicians hadn’t been allowing a third world invasion of this country for the past fifty years, we wouldn’t be discussing “Iranian-Americans”.
————————————–

If there is a conspiracy, I would look first toward the Israelis, who have a history of “false flag” operations against the US. Remember the USS Liberty.

UGA 1999

October 14th, 2011
9:41 am

It was an act of war against the US and Saudi Arabia…..This is not going to end well.

GT

October 14th, 2011
10:31 am

War our first impluse, we are in wars up to our necks now. There will be another attempt like this, and going to war will not stop it. If we legallized drugs we would not have that back to watch and the terrorist would not have that card to play. We are losing the drug war and now it is becoming on the radar of our other enemies, as a weakness of our country. We need to negate this option.

MrLiberty

October 14th, 2011
10:41 am

Virtually every instance of “terror plots” on US soil have been of the same nature. The CIA/FBI/NSA finds some disgruntled muslim man, encourages him, riles him up, offers to provide such and such to attack such and such and then busts him and says that he was planning this all along. Total entrapment by the keystone cops of someone who never had the inclination, ability, or serious desire. Meanwhile we continue to kill innocent Afghanis, Pakistanis, Iraqis, Yemenese, Somalis, Libyans, and others thus creating more hatred and more motivation for REAL terrorist plots.

This sounds about the same. The powers that actually control this country (Israel) have been itching to have the US attack Iran for over a decade at least. As many have commented, only the idiots in the US actually believe any of this story. The world press is having a field day over exposing all of the lies while the complicit american media (YOU AND THE AJC INCLUDED KYLE) continue to parrot the administration lies without investigation or questioning.

Iran is a country of 40+ million people. Are we to kill several million of them on lies just like we did in Iraq? Is the left now going to go along with this because Obama is the current dictator? Is the neocon right going to go along because they just love killing innocent brown people without question so that we can steal their oil?

From the comments it is nice to see that many americans are not just believing the lies this administration throws out to deflect attention from its other war crimes and criminal behavior running guns for the Mexican drug cartels. The more americans stop trusting their government the better off we will all be.

Time for sanity to be restored to american politics and the White House. Ron Paul 2012.

MrLiberty

October 14th, 2011
10:49 am

And lest we not forget, the CIA orchestrated the overthrow of the democratically elected president of Iran in 1953 and imposed the murderous, tyrranical SHAH on the Iranian people. Was that not and act of war? Certainly it laid the foundation for the Ayatollah and the overthrow of the Shah, the america hostage crisis, and the continuing hatred of americans. Should we really be surprised??

As always, for the ignorant mass of american citizens, history begins only when someone harms us (although I still think this incident is complete BS), and america is allowed to do anything to any other country with no expectation of consequences, retribution, or otherwise and the other guys are always the evil ones no matter what we did first. American exceptionalism at its finest.

MrLiberty

October 14th, 2011
10:50 am

ragnar danneskjold – sheep

hsn

October 14th, 2011
11:24 am

Kyle: You want the US to be involved in another war, don’t you?
When will you right-wing nutcases’ appetite for bloodshed, mayhem, and chaos be satiated?

Our national debt is going through the roof, thanks to two simultaneous wars you lot started. The deficit is out of control. Yet, you are already beating the drums and itching for more wars. The word to describe your type has not been invented yet. Vampires and draculas!!!

MrLiberty

October 14th, 2011
11:37 am

There seems to be the assumption that there are not “others” pulling the strings of this administration. What leads you to believe that this administration can be trusted any more than the previous one?? The same people are in charge virtually everywhere else in the CIA, FBI, NSA, and other elements of the police state. As well, the same global players are exerting their influence through the banking system, the military industrial complex, AIPAC, etc. There is nothing to show that this administration acts independent of those influences. There is no voting history, no principled stands for liberty and independence. The last administration had ties to Halliburton, the CIA (W’s father), etc. and this administration is similar in so many ways.

Why would this administration NOT manufacture a war for a few job approval points? The american people have shown that it works. They seem to love war and applaud any president that starts one, regardless of the consequences or the lack of evidence. Clinton murdered innocents in the Sudan just to deflect attention away from his criminal behavior. Those who did not know of all the people associated with the Clintons who have died under mysterious circumstances would not have believed that he would be so callous either. And let’s not forget, this is not just about approval ratings. The administration is currently embroiled in the scandalous and absolutely criminal “fast and furious” program that provided guns to mexican drug cartels that were likely involved in dozens of murders including and american border agent. Calls are already out for an indictment of Eric Holder on accessory to murder charges along with many others. Only time will tell if Obama suffers similar consequences.

A cornered rat is unpredictable. As the american people begin assembling in the streets against the powers that be, expect the worst. Question everything. Seek out the truth as it will be the only thing that will protect our liberty.

LeeH1

October 14th, 2011
11:57 am

Nuke ‘em till they glow, then use their butts for runway lights!

markie mark

October 14th, 2011
12:02 pm

I see this as an act of war, but on Saudi Arabia….

Tommy Maddox

October 14th, 2011
12:10 pm

“We killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. Is that an act of war against Pakistan?”

Was Osama a member of the Pakistani government or a Pakistani citizen? Didn’t think so either…

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

October 14th, 2011
12:12 pm

This would only have been an act of war against Saudi Arabia, not us.

As such, they would have been free to beat the crap out of Iran if they could.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

October 14th, 2011
12:17 pm

And btw, the more I’m hearing about this (from both FNC and liberal media outlets) there is a healthy skepticism about this so-called plot. This guy doesn’t seem to be the brightest bulb in the circuit. Makes you wonder what Holder and the FBI really have on this “plot”.

ragnar danneskjold

October 14th, 2011
12:36 pm

Dear Mr Liberty, BAA. As to substance, I do not share your theories of dark motives. I have no affection for Chauncey, but that is due to his personal incompetence and his flawed ideology. I do not think he is a crook, Solyndra notwithstanding.

MrLiberty

October 14th, 2011
12:50 pm

Who said crook. I was implying dupe, tool, puppet, front man, manchurian candidate…you get the picture. Presidents are kept ignorant but those behind the scenes are not. One need not see a sinister motive in Obama to have him out front ignorantly pushing the agenda of those with significant financial/power motives. Again, just look at the truths behind virtually every “plot” that has been uncovered and you will see absolutely nothing except massive efforts by OUR agencies to set pawns up for the fall – with every “revelation” serving the interests of those who would keep us in fear and supportive of the perpetual war on freedom. Government’s lie. That’s what they do. The truth is not a friend to those who seek power. Never has been in the history of mankind. Not going to change with Chauncey.

@@

October 14th, 2011
12:51 pm

Who knows what Obama’s capable of?

He has yet to show us.

Thankfully, he saw the wisdom of Bush’s wiretapping program. If there’s evidence that Mr. Arbabsiar was in contact with someone within the Iranian regime, we can get Israel to drop those bunker busters Obama sold ‘em.

@@

October 14th, 2011
1:01 pm

And let’s not forget that in 2010, the DoD released a report that indicated the IRGC-QF was operating in Venezuela.

@@

October 14th, 2011
1:07 pm

Mohammad Reza Sadeghnia ring a bell? Orchestrating a plot in California, he was.

Iran Who?

October 14th, 2011
1:10 pm

Peace Through Superior Firepower!!!!

@@

October 14th, 2011
1:10 pm

Might I add…I’m shocked that there are those among you, who don’t take Eric Holder at his word.

The Department of Justice has indicated that the IRGC’s Quds Force was behind the plot.

schnirt

Rafe Hollister

October 14th, 2011
1:12 pm

Tiberius, I am with you. I have not kept up with this story as I should, but it just smells rotten to me somehow. I question how much Holder had to do with the investigation and timing of the release of info. You can just not trust that guy, he has proven to be conniving and deceitful before. It is kinda like Solyndra in that this Regime is trying too hard to make positive things happen and their incompetence just jumps up and bites them.

BkNYChick

October 14th, 2011
1:28 pm

It was an act of war perpetrated by our government… i.e., it was a:

FALSE FLAG ATTACK!!!!

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

October 14th, 2011
1:44 pm

Maybe I’ve become a bit too jaded as I get older, Rafe, but something just doesn’t smell right about this.

Jack

October 14th, 2011
1:56 pm

The Libs will give Iran a pass regardless of what they do. Or don’t do.