Four months ago the satirical news site The Onion posted the headline, “John Bolton: ‘An Attack On Two Saudi Oil Tankers Is An Attack On All Americans’”.
I remember the post because it cracked me up a the time. Like many Onion headlines, the joke came from a cartoonish exaggeration of something that we all kind of know to be basically true but which no official would actually say, in this case the fact that the drivers of the US war machine are always trying to spin their imperialist resource control agendas as something which protects ordinary Americans instead of plutocratic investments and geostrategic hegemony. It was quite clever, and it was very clearly satirical.
At the time.
— The Onion (@TheOnion) May 15, 2019
.@SecPompeo: An attack on Saudi oil is NOT an attack on America. If you want a war, come to Congress to make your case. We will not let you drag the American people into another catastrophe in the Middle East.
Your job is to use diplomacy to resolve conflict—not incite more war. https://t.co/GcpacxodOd
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) September 18, 2019
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday about an attack on a Saudi Aramco oil refinery last weekend, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo proclaimed that not only was the attack definitely perpetrated by Iran, but that it was an “act of war” and a threat to American lives.
“This was an Iranian attack,” Pompeo claimed without evidence. “We were blessed there were no Americans killed in this attack, but anytime you have an act of war of this nature, there’s always a risk that could happen.”
Indeed, despite the Saudi government hilariously labeling the wounding of an Aramco facility “their 9/11“, nobody was killed in the incident at all. The most significant casualty of the attack was Saudi oil export capacity, which has reportedly been cut in half for the few weeks it will likely take to repair the damage.