Trump’s Iran Aggression Deserves Full-Throated Opposition

In a full-blown U.S. war with Iran, up to a million people could die initially.

Hundreds of thousands more could die in the vacuum to follow. Millions would be made refugees. That’s the conclusion of experts surveyed by Vox reporter Alex Ward. “The worst-case scenarios here are quite serious,” Middle East scholar Michael Hanna warned.

With the brazen assassination of Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani in Iraq, President Trump has brought us leaps and bounds closer to that conflagration — a decision Trump appears to have made while golfing at Mar-a-Lago.

Lawmakers need to move before it’s too late.

The Iranians may respond cautiously, perhaps forestalling a full-blown conflict. But there can be no doubt the White House has been driving in that direction from day one.

In a few short years, Trump has blown up the Iran nuclear deal, put a horrific economic stranglehold on the country, and sent a stunning 14,000 new troops to the Middle East since just last spring. Some 3,500 more are now on their way.

“Hope this is the first step to regime change in Tehran,” John Bolton tweeted about the assassination. Bolton may have left the White House, but clearly his spirit lives on.

What next? Get ready to hear a lot about what a “bad guy” Soleimani was, and how Iran is a “state sponsor” of terrorism.

No doubt, Soleimani had blood on his hands — he was a general. Yet after two decades of U.S. wars in the Middle East, that’s the pot calling the kettle black. It was the U.S. who invaded Iraq, started a civil war, and paved the way for a literal terrorist state, ISIS, to occupy the country afterward (a force Soleimani himself was instrumental in dismantling).

That senseless war caused hundreds of thousands of deaths, exploded the terrorist threat, and is destabilizing the region to this day. Yet somehow, war hawks like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo can go on TV and — with a straight face — predict ordinary Iranians will essentially thank the U.S. for murdering their general.

“People not only in Iraq but in Iran will view the American action last night as giving them freedom,” Pompeo said the morning after the assassination. You couldn’t caricature a better callback to Dick Cheney’s infamous prediction that Iraqis would “greet us as liberators” if you tried.

This war-mongering should be as toxic politically as it is morally. Trump rode into office promising to end America’s wars, winning him crucial votes in swing states with large military and veteran populations. Huge bipartisan majorities, including 58 percent of Republicans, say they want U.S. troops out of the Middle East.

Trump is betraying them spectacularly.

Yet too many Democrats are merely objecting to Trump’s failure to consult them. Speaker Nancy Pelosi complained the strike “was taken without the consultation of the Congress.” South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg offered colorlessly that “there are serious questions about how this decision was made.” Others complained about the apparent lack of a “strategy.”

It’s illegal for a president to unilaterally launch a war — that’s important. But these complaints make it sound like if you want to kill a million people for no reason, you just have to go to the DMV first. As if Trump’s base doesn’t love it when he cuts the line in Washington.

Senator Bernie Sanders, who warned that “Trump’s dangerous escalation brings us closer to another disastrous war in the Middle East that could cost countless lives and trillions more dollars,” came closer to communicating the real threat.

Millions of lives are at stake. Trump’s aggression demands — and voters will more likely reward — real opposition. Call him on it before it’s too late.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
February 21, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Election Con 2020: Exposing Trump’s Deception on the Opioid Epidemic
Joshua Frank
Bloomberg is a Climate Change Con Man
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Billion Dollar Babies
Paul Street
More Real-Time Reflections from Your Friendly South Loop Marxist
Jonathan Latham
Extensive Chemical Safety Fraud Uncovered at German Testing Laboratory
Ramzy Baroud
‘The Donald Trump I know’: Abbas’ UN Speech and the Breakdown of Palestinian Politics
Martha Rosenberg
A Trump Sentence Commutation Attorneys Generals Liked
Ted Rall
Bernie Should Own the Socialist Label
Louis Proyect
Encountering Malcolm X
Kathleen Wallace
The Debate Question That Really Mattered
Jonathan Cook
UN List of Firms Aiding Israel’s Settlements was Dead on Arrival
George Wuerthner
‘Extremists,’ Not Collaborators, Have Kept Wilderness Whole
Colin Todhunter
Apocalypse Now! Insects, Pesticide and a Public Health Crisis  
Stephen Reyna
A Paradoxical Colonel: He Doesn’t Know What He is Talking About, Because He Knows What He is Talking About.
Evaggelos Vallianatos
A New Solar Power Deal From California
Richard Moser
One Winning Way to Build the Peace Movement and One Losing Way
Laiken Jordahl
Trump’s Wall is Destroying the Environment We Worked to Protect
Walden Bello
Duterte Does the Right Thing for a Change
Jefferson Morley
On JFK, Tulsi Gabbard Keeps Very Respectable Company
Vijay Prashad
Standing Up for Left Literature: In India, It Can Cost You Your Life
Gary Leupp
Bloomberg Versus Bernie: The Upcoming Battle?
Ron Jacobs
The Young Lords: Luchadores Para La Gente
Richard Klin
Loss Leaders
Gaither Stewart
Roma: How Romans Differ From Europeans
Kerron Ó Luain
The Soviet Century
Mike Garrity
We Can Fireproof Homes But Not Forests
Fred Baumgarten
Gaslighting Bernie and His Supporters
Joseph Essertier
Our First Amendment or Our Empire, But Not Both
Peter Linebaugh
A Story for the Anthropocene
Danny Sjursen
Where Have You Gone Smedley Butler?
Jill Richardson
A Broken Promise to Teachers and Nonprofit Workers
Binoy Kampmark
“Leave Our Bloke Alone”: A Little Mission for Julian Assange
Wade Sikorski
Oil or Food? Notes From a Farmer Who Doesn’t Think Pipelines are Worth It
Christopher Brauchli
The Politics of Vengeance
Hilary Moore – James Tracy
No Fascist USA! Lessons From a History of Anti-Klan Organizing
Linn Washington Jr.
Ridiculing MLK’s Historic Garden State ‘Firsts’
L. Michael Hager
Evaluating the Democratic Candidates: the Importance of Integrity
Jim Goodman
Bloomberg Won’t, as They Say, Play Well in Peoria, But Then Neither Should Trump
Olivia Alperstein
We Need to Treat Nuclear War Like the Emergency It Is
Jesse Jackson
Kerner Report Set Standard for What a Serious Presidential Candidate Should Champion
Home Sweet Home: District Campaign Financing
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Latest BLM Hoodwinkery: “Fuel Breaks” in the Great Basin
Wendell Griffen
Grace and Gullibility
Nicky Reid
Hillary, Donald & Bernie: Three Who Would Make a Catastrophe
David Yearsley
Dresden 75