There’s a lot of bickering back and forth about the wisdom of the assassination of Qasem Soleimani and the implications of the Iranians’ having shot down a Ukrainian jet, as they now acknowledge they did.
I’ve already expressed my opinion of the former and now I’ll tell you what I think about the latter. The Iranian regime’s position, that it was a “mistake”, is a laughable understatement. If it were just a mistake, not merely the Iranians but we would be shooting down airliners taking off from our airports regularly. People make mistakes all of the time.
What it actually tells you is that the Iranian military is on a hair trigger and they have no effective command structures that could prevent such ghastly actions from being taken.
Now imagine a nuclear-armed Iran.
The Guardian’s editors make an observation very closely allied to mine:
These and other catastrophic shortcomings suggest a startling lack of military and technical proficiency on the part of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, from whose base outside Tehran the fatal missile was launched. Few in Iran have hitherto dared to challenge the IRGC, which enjoys the patronage of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has large financial and commercial interests and operates independently of the armed forces and foreign ministry.
Recall that during the Iran-Iraq war Iran’s military doctrine was, essentially, a century behind the times. Maybe they’ve matured. This incident suggests they have not.