History never repeats itself exactly. But the current escalation in tension and rhetoric between the United States and Iran has revived memories of the Persian Gulf tanker war of the 1980s.
As an offshoot of the war taking place back then between Iran and Iraq, the U.S. offered protection to Kuwaiti ships carrying oil through the Straits of Hormuz. This led to attacks on multiple military and civilian ships. In addition, the U.S. Navy in 1988 shot down an Iranian airliner that was mistaken for a jet fighter.
The top lawyer at the Pentagon offered a strong defense of the Obama administration's targeted killing program Wednesday, arguing the use of lethal force against the enemy is a "long-standing and long-legal practice."
In a speech at Yale University's Law School, Jeh Johnson said there's no real difference between high tech strikes against members of al-Qaida today and the U.S. military decision to target an airplane carrying the commander of the Japanese Navy in 1943.
Originally published on Wed February 22, 2012 2:44 pm
What is America's policy when it comes to dictators? Well, it depends.
The U.S. has adopted different approaches toward different dictators and authoritarian regimes in recent years. In some cases — notably Iraq and Afghanistan — the U.S. military invaded to change the leaders of those countries.
But American presidents have also hosted friendly visits with leaders from undemocratic countries with questionable human rights records.