War With Iran Would be a Huge Sellout for Trump

In the 2016 Republican presidential primary, Trump was quick to set himself apart from the rest on one issue in particular: the Iraq War.

“Remember this,” he said in a primary debate in New Hampshire. “I’m the only one up here” who said, “‘Don’t go [to Iraq], don’t do it, you’re going to destabilize the Middle East.’” And when he ran against Hillary Clinton, he chastised her: “You shouldn’t have been in Iraq, but you did vote for it.”

Candidate Trump said he’s not “one with a trigger.” Yet President Trump has surrounded himself with people who absolutely do have a trigger. And now the U.S. seems to be inching closer to war with Iran.

Trump appointed John Bolton as National Security Advisor and Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State just over a year ago. With Bolton and Pompeo, Trump now has a war-hungry national security team happy to go it alone against the wishes of long-time U.S. allies in Europe and elsewhere.

Bolton, who served in the Bush administration, was a strong proponent of the Iraq War, a decision he still defends today — despite the war’s horrible consequences, and even after many Republicans have changed their tune.

Since Bolton and Pompeo came on board, the Trump administration has pulled out of the Iran deal (despite Iran’s full compliance), brought back hefty sanctions, and increasingly threatened war.

Now they’re entertaining a plan to send up to 120,000 U.S. soldiers to the Middle East — about as many as were involved in the invasion of Iraq.

One anonymous U.S. official told a reporter that these plans were an effort to “draw Iran into an armed conflict.” And officials are said to be drafting legal justification for war with Iran to bypass congressional approval using the military authorization resolution passed after 9/11 — almost 18 years ago.

Even if President Trump says he doesn’t want war with Iran, such escalation risks creating one. Accidents happen. And escalation allows for wars to be manufactured under false pretenses.

It’s happened before. The USS Maine sinking — an accident that some falsely claimed was a Spanish attack — led in part to the Spanish-American War in the 1890s. The Gulf of Tonkin incident — another accident falsely reported as a naval attack — paved the way for greater U.S. involvement in Vietnam in the 1960s. And, of course, the Iraq War was justified by false claims that Iraq was producing weapons of mass destruction in the early 2000s.

As of last year, by the most conservative estimates, over 182,000 civilians and nearly 5,000 U.S. soldiers had been killed in Iraq as a direct result of war since the U.S. invasion. The war has cost the U.S. $2.2 trillion, and Iraq has become a failed state.

By all accounts a war with Iran would be more catastrophic.

Many thousands of Iranians and Americans would die. The region would fall into further turmoil, with potentially serious repercussions for Syria, Israel, Yemen, and many other countries. It would cost trillions and bring the oil market to a standstill.

Trump and his colleagues in Congress need to hear from us, the American people: We don’t want another war.

In 2016, in part due to candidate Trump’s prodding, many Republicans finally admitted what Trump called the “big, fat mistake” of war with Iraq. If we don’t act now, it isn’t hard to imagine a future debate stage where Republicans finally admit President Trump’s own “big, fat mistake” of war with Iran.

Noah Habeeb is a writer and activist with Jewish Voice for Peace. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Distributed by OtherWords.org.

More articles by:
July 01, 2020
Melvin Goodman
De-Militarizing the United States
Kenneth Surin
UK’s Labour Leader Sacks the Most Left-Wing Member of His Shadow Cabinet
Ruth Fowler
Then as Farce: the Commodification of Black Lives Matter
Kent Paterson
Crisis After Crisis on the Border
Rick Baum
The Pandemic and Wealth Inequality
Michael Welton
“Into the World of Bad Spirits”: Slavery and Plantation Culture
James W. Carden
The Return of the Anti-Antiwar Left
Dan Wakefield
Charles Webb Enters Heaven
Julian Vigo
A Call for Radical Humanism: the Left Needs to Return to Class Analyses of Power
Binoy Kampmark
A Trendy Rage: Boycotting Facebook and the Stop Hate for Profit Campaign
Michael D. Knox – Linda Pentz Gunter
As Monuments to War Generals Come Down, Let’s Replace Them with Monuments to Peace
Cesar Chelala
Attorney General William Barr’s Insomnia
Raphael Tsavkko Garcia
Is Bolsonaro Plotting a Self-Coup?
Mandy Smithberger
COVID-19 Means Good Times for the Pentagon
Joe Emersberger
On Pablo Celi, Ecuador’s super shady “Auditor General”
June 30, 2020
James Bovard
Bill Clinton’s Serbian War Atrocities Exposed in New Indictment
Bianca Sierra Wolff – Lisa Knox
ICE is Leaving Immigrants to Die in Detention, and Retaliating When They Speak Out
Don Fitz
Should NYC’s Wall Street Be Renamed “Eric Garner St.?”
Chris Hedges
My Student Comes Home
Richard C. Gross
Obamacare Vulnerable
John Feffer
The Hatchet Man’s Tale: Why Bolton Matters
Thomas Knapp
Afghanistan Bounties: Pot, Meet Kettle (and Turn Off the Stove!)
Charles Reitz
Anti-Racist Engagement in the Kansas Free State Struggle, 1854-64: Horace Greeley, German 48-ers, and the Civil War Journalism of Karl Marx, 1861-62
Howard Lisnoff
A Student Murdered in Cold Blood and a Kids’ Bike Ride Through Queens, New York
David Swanson
Hey Congress, Move the Money
Aparna Karthikeyan
Memories of Pox, Plague, and Pandemics in Tamil Nadu
John Kendall Hawkins
Democracy Chasers in a Badly Injured Nation
Binoy Kampmark
Wasteful, Secret and Vicious: the Absurd Prosecution of Witness K and Bernard Collaery
Norman Solomon
Ro Khanna and Barbara Lee Could Defy “the Madness of Militarism” as Co-Chairs of the Democratic Convention’s Biggest Delegation
Jon Hochschartner
Imagining a Vegan Superman
Arianna Amehae
ESPN to Follow “Somebody’s Daughter” in Bringing International Attention to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Tragedy
CounterPunch News Service
An Osprey Forest in Humboldt County is Being Defended by Treesiters
June 29, 2020
Patrick Cockburn
The Blundering British Political Class has Shown the Same Incompetence in Both Fighting Wars and Coronavirus
Robert Hunziker
Arctic Heat Overwhelms Green Infighting Issues
Kathy Kelly
Battleground States
Eileen Appelbaum
The Pandemic Shows the Importance of Funding Early Childcare and Education Infrastructure
Gregory Elich
Will South Korea’s Moon Defy Trump and Improve Relations with North Korea?
Dean Baker
On the Recession, Stimulus and Economic Recovery
Sam Pizzigati
Defund the CEOs
Mitchel Cohen
Bolton and the Pandemic
Paul A. Passavant
Protest and the Post-Legitimation State
Ralph Nader
Congress Must Hold President Trump Accountable!
George Wuerthner
Missouri River Breaks: How BLM Neglect Threatens a Wild and Scenic River and National Monument
John Feffer
The De-Trumpification of America
Christopher Brauchli
Great Minds Think Alike: Bolsonaro and Trump