The US administration has adopted an interesting stance regarding Iran’s attempt to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to Washington. "We believe that even if at the highest levels there was not detailed operational knowledge, there has to be accountability with respect to anybody in the Iranian government engaging in this kind of activity," President Obama said.
This seems reasonable to me. After all, if Iranian leadership did indeed plan an operation in flagrant violation of international law, it only makes sense that they should be held accountable. And given the likely results of that operation – the death of the Saudi ambassador and/or his entourage and/or innocent bystanders, with all the related effects upon the relations of involved nations, it beggars belief to claim that it could have been planned without clearance from Tehran.
Contrast this, though, with Washington’s position regarding the infamous “Operation Fast and Furious,” in which we are expected to believe that low to mid-level operatives in the U.S. government decided for themselves to allow thousands of weapons to be sold and delivered to a murderous organization bent on the destabilization of the Mexican government. It is no more reasonable for us to believe that Fast and Furious happened without high level consent, than it is for us to believe that the Iranian assassination attempt happened without permission from above.
But while the Iranian operation ended without loss of life, Fast and Furious resulted in multiple deaths in Mexico and the United States, and inestimable damage to relations between our countries. It represents a far more serious transgression than Iran’s bungled assassination attempt. It was a betrayal of the American people – a steadfast refusal to enforce laws, which resulted in the endangerment of the citizens those laws are designed to protect. It also provided material aid to a brutal gang, and facilitated its countless acts of torture, murder, and intimidation. The Iranian operation was conducted by a nation known to be hostile to the US, but Fast and Furious was a stab in the back of a government with which we are supposed to be on friendly terms.
In his demand for accountability, President Obama referred to the Iranian operation as “dangerous and reckless behavior.” I agree wholeheartedly, but this description could apply just as well to Operation Fast and Furious. When will Washington meet the standard of accountability it’s trying to apply to Tehran?