Why shoot a fishing boat?

Sometimes a small tragedy can shed light on big events and draw a clear picture of the forces involved. This was the case in mid-July when the USNS Rappahannock, a U.S. refueling ship deployed in the Gulf near Iran, opened fire on an Indian fishing boat.

You may ask why a U.S. warship would find it necessary to spray a fishing boat with machine-gun shells, killing one and wounding three of the fishers on board. That’s certainly what the Indians on the fishing boat asked. They told the media that they were doing their best to avoid the warship and that the gunfire hit them without warning.

The U.S. Navy, on the other hand, had an answer. When U.S. military fire kills innocent civilians, the first step of the Pentagon’s standard operating procedure is to lie. The next is to provide a pretext, then to get arrogant and self-righteous. Pentagon and/or NATO statements have followed this pattern dozens of times in Afghanistan.

In this case, the Navy first claimed that they warned the boat and that the boat ignored them. Then they said that U.S. ships have to be careful, because a boat might be carrying a bomb and the people on board might be on a suicide mission.

Then a Naval spokesperson came right out with it, saying more or less that they’d blow any boat out of the water that comes within eyeshot of a U.S. vessel and has the slightest probability of being armed.

These U.S. ships are not on a pleasure tour. They are not bringing aid and assistance to people hit by a cyclone or tidal wave. Nor are they doing people-to-people diplomacy to encourage worldwide solidarity.

On the contrary, these are warships off to conquer. In this case, the Rappahannock is part of a fleet of U.S. ships moving in and around the Gulf to prepare for warfare against Iran. In other words, they are playing a role in what could be a much bigger tragedy.

The U.S. Navy, whatever its public relations officers say, knows that it is a threat to the people of the world, of the region and especially the people of Iran. That’s what it does. It is the armed enforcer for a tiny number of super-rich people who own and rule the world.

Perhaps that’s why the Naval officers see a threat from every innocent fishing ship. What the Navy is planning to do is so destructive and heinous that someone might want to stop it. So just to be sure, the Navy shoots first and doesn’t ask questions at all. And only makes it clearer what its role is.

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