The Iranians may have shot the drone down with the new TOR M-1 surface-to-air missile system it bought from Russia, but that doesn’t really matter either. What matters is that if the U.S. flew a military aircraft, piloted or not, into Iranian airspace, Iran had a right to shoot it down.
That's assuming, of course, that the drone really flew into Iranian airspace and the Iranians really shot it down.
Central Command spokesman Captain Frank Pascual says that, "There has been no loss of any of our drones or UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] and as a result, the claim that the Iranian government is making is false."
Who are we to believe? The Iranians aren't the cuddliest toys in the playpen, but as far as we know for sure, they haven't lied to us yet, which is a lot more than we can say for Central Command (think Jessica Lynch, Pat Tillman, etc.) and the rest of the Pentagon and Bush administration information sources.
The truth in this story may lie anywhere (pun intended) along a spectrum of likelihoods. At one extreme, the reported shoot down may a complete Iranian fabrication designed for both domestic and international consumption. At the other end, Central Command may be covering up. Somewhere in between is the possibility that the drone did enter Iranian airspace, and the Iranians shot at it and missed (that scenario would jibe with Central Command's Rovewellian non-denial denial that "there has been no loss of our drones").
But, as with so much of what has happened during the Bush II era, we don't know what really happened, and we probably never will.
If there's one thing we do know, it's that our government is not telling us the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. The party of Abraham Lincoln based a successful political strategy on a policy of fooling "most of the people most of the time" through largely nonsensical talking points and frightening images crafted at conservative think tanks like the Hoover Institution, the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, and the Project for the New American Century.
At this point in the failing American experiment, our information environment is so polluted that no message delivered through any media source can be taken at face value. We can't tell for sure if something cited to an "unnamed" government official is a genuine piece of whistle blowing or a deliberately planted tidbit of misinformation/disinformation/propaganda.
The best we can do is filter out the noise and look at as much "factual" information as we can find, and if we do that, we'll find a situation that bodes ill for the United States under the neoconservative Bush doctrine.
Saying and Doing and a Strategy of Ignorance
"If ignorant both of your enemy and of yourself, you are sure to be defeated in every battle."
"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."
-- Sun Tzu
Foreign policy-wise, we've blown it. Iraq is unwinnable. Afghanistan is irretrievably squandered. Our recent incursion into Somalia is just another lit match applied to an ocean of kerosene.
Punky little Iran has us by the zipper, and its biggest, bestest buddies--Russia and China--are on the cusp of reemerging from their Cold War defeat, and they're about to do it "without fighting." Why should they pour blood and treasure into the fan through war and a pointless, symmetrical arms race. It's far wiser for them to sit on the sidelines and let us bleed and spend ourselves into the sand on our own.
Mr. Bush continues to heed he advice of neoconservative point talkers like Fred Kagan, whose understanding of the enemy and himself would fit comfortably in the fold between his chins.
A former professor of military history at West Point, Fred Kagan is the brother of Bob Kagan and son of Donald Kagan, both of whom are neo-cronies of Weekly Standard editor and Project for the New American Century founder Bill Kristol (who is the son of Irving Kristol, considered to be the "godfather" of American neoconservatism).
None of these surly characters have any experience of military service, which brings to mind another cogent Sun Tzu quote:
It is only one who is thoroughly acquainted with the evils of war that can thoroughly understand the profitable way of carrying it on.
Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes from Virginia Beach, Virginia. Read his commentaries at Pen and Sword.