US SecDef Threatens Preemptive Attack on Iran

Esper insists that 'the game has changed' with Iran

In comments on the recent escalation in Iraq, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper once again followed the administration’s strategy of making everything about Iran. Esper declared that “the game has changed,” following that up with the least-changed proclamation possible, threatening a US preemptive attack on Iran.

Esper conditioned the US attack on getting “word of attacks or some type indication” by Iran, by which he means Iraqi militias. He also said during his comments that the US already has “some indications out there that they may be planning additional attacks.”

Esper also tried to blame the protests at the US Embassy in Baghdad on Iran, saying that “Iranian-backed Shia militia members showed up wearing their uniforms.” The protests were a response to the US attacking Iraqi militia sites, so indeed many of the protesters were from that same militia.

Positioning the militia that they attacked as “Iranian-backed,” then blaming Iran for the protests by the people they attacked, then threatening to attack Iran if they think the militia is going to retaliate for being attacked. Since that militia already threatened retaliation days ago, that’s a set plan for the US to sucker itself into a war with Iran.

And while President Trump continues to say he doesn’t want or envision a war with Iran, his administration continues to suggest that a war is all but a foregone conclusion. Even if the US stops short of attacking Iran, they’re liable to attack any number of targets that they pretend are Iran for the sake of talking points.

Iran’s actually government has denied anything to do with the embassy protests or the militia’s talk of retaliation. They were, however, deeply critical of the US attack on the bases in Iraq and Syria.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.