Janine Jackson: August 5 marks the anniversary of the Gulf of Tonkin incident, when journalists reported official claims about an unprovoked attack by North Vietnam on American destroyers as absolute truths, ignoring countervailing evidence and opening the floodgates for the bloody escalation of the war, and the deaths of millions of Southeast Asians and over 50,000 Americans. The Johnson administration was able to use media, and their credulity when it comes to official enemies, to put through a plan they intended anyway.
Donald Trump is not obscuring—successfully—that he wants what is blithely referred to as “regime change” in Iran. And media aren’t really hiding that drive either. But is that the same thing as challenging it, or interrogating the premises the White House is lining up—the talk of Iran’s maligned behavior, support for terrorists, pursuit of nuclear weapons, its mistreatment of its own people, and all of that?
Joining us now to talk about how to get off what feels like a path to war with Iran is Trita Parsi, founder and former president of the National Iranian American Council and author of, most recently, Losing an Enemy: Obama, Iran and the Triumph of Diplomacy. He joins us now by phone from Washington, DC. Welcome to CounterSpin, Trita Parsi.
Trita Parsi: Thank you so much.
Well today’s reports have it that Donald Trump says he is willing to meet with Iran’s leadership, without preconditions, whenever they want. That’s a week after tweet-threatening Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani with “consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before.
CNN called Trump’s recent statement “an abrupt shift in tone.” That…