Saturday, January 11, 2020

Trump Wants War With Iran

Recently President Trump ordered the assassination of Iranian general Qassim Suleimani. Trump did so without informing Congress, asking permission of Congress or certainly not doing anything as old fashioned as asking for a declaration of war on Iran. 

Shortly afterwards Iran responded with missile launches on American bases in Iraq. It appears that Iran may well have provided advanced warning of their response because from what we know now there were no American casualties inflicted.

I don't have much to say about all of this because (1) I've said most of it before ; (2) I'm disgusted at the ugly Pavlovian response to bloodshed by some people, generally conservatives, including one former Facebook friend who joked that Suleimani's funeral would be a good target of opportunity; and (3) this is a very busy time of year for me at the Day Job. 

As I wrote when President Obama got trigger happy with drones, Obama was not going to be the last President!!! To paraphrase a certain moralistic fictional character from a popular book series and HBO show, killing becomes too easy when someone can do it from afar or order other people to do it. War is such serious business that (1) it should not be undertaken unless there is no other choice and (2) Congress gets to declare war and commit the country to bloodshed, not the President. 


Presidents have always chafed against point 2. But this is a critical or rather was a critical limit on tyranny. Trump has usurped not only Congress' power to declare war but also Congress' power of the purse. And even some Republican Senators are saying that Trump was less than honest about the alleged threat.

It may not happen in my lifetime, but eventually there will be a President who relegates Congress to an ineffectual debating society while he or she decides what the laws are, how the laws should be interpreted and enforced, what public policy should be and whether monies should be spent and if so how much.  Heck that President may even just close Congress and send Senators and Representatives home.

In short all decision making authority will be concentrated in one person. Conservatives may like that, as long as the one person is a conservative but that's actually not how America is supposed to work.

But Suleimani's assassination wasn't just wrong on process grounds. It was wrong on  deontological moral grounds and consequentialist ones as well. If Iran murdered the US Joint Chiefs of Staff while he was visiting Saudi Arabia and then accurately claimed that he had Iranian and/or Muslim blood on his hands, would the people cheering Trump accept Iran's equally rational and valid justification for splattering the American general like a roach under a shoe? You know the answer to that question. If you're unwilling to live under the rules you apply to others, you're not a good person.


Iran is going to be more, not less, likely to seek nuclear weapons and make closer alliances with US geopolitical rivals such as Russia and China. 

And since apparently their initial response didn't kill anyone we can probably expect more attacks down the line, perhaps when we've forgotten about it. When you hit people, they want to hit back. The murder of Suleimani hinders, not helps, the regional push against ISIS.

Outside of Trump and a truly deranged group of neo-cons, the only people who want war with Iran are in Ridyah and Tel Aviv. There is no US interest in war with Iran. This country has been fighting for almost 20 years in Afghanistan and can't beat a bunch of boy-loving goat herders. And now the same brain trust who lied us into Iraq want war with Iran? No thank you. War in Libya. War in Somalia. War in Syria. War in Yemen. War in Niger. War in Iran. Where does it stop? 

Lies and Propaganda. People who couldn't tell you a month ago where Iran is, what languages are spoken there, or distinguish between Qassim Suleimani and Solomon Burke suddenly can confidently opine on what a horrible "terrorist" Suleimani was. Orwell would be flabbergasted. Molotov and Goebbels would be taking notes.

This country is addicted to war. As with any junkie you have to stop funding the habit.
The only way to recover some serenity and democracy is for Congress to refuse to fund any more overseas military actions. 
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