American Murder

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair

Clausewitz said, “War is the continuation of politics by other means”, but  American Presidents have modified his apothegm.  No one knows when it was first judged–How to put it?  Not legal, no; not moral, no, surely not.  Conceiveable..?  Permissible..?–politically safe, for a nation to assassinate a human being, a foreign enemy.  There is no record of that meeting of our government’s most powerful men–only such a group could plan so radical an action–when one of them first dared to say, “Suppose we kill him?”

Those souls shocked and wounded by our latest murder, need to know that meeting was not recent: didn’t happen under the Suppurating Pustule that infects the White House today, nor the charming Grand Bullshitter who preceded him, nor the aphasic buffoon before him.  It was a century ago.  There’s no dating it to a particular hit but it was certainly held before our deviously arranged murder of Sandino in Nicaragua in 1934.

For the last century the US government has made it its regular business to execute, or to buy the execution of, men it deemed geopolitically damned.  There isn’t space here to review the long roster of America’s secret victims, nor any need for that.  The uninformed need to take their own education in hand or continue mooing meekly down the chute toward who knows what end?  Perhaps even their own date with the stungun.

Skipping past our more notorious standard issue deep cover CIA murders–Lumumba, Che, Allende, Diem–and excepting killings during phony “police actions” and “incursions”, gets us to the phase of dedicated, clandestine extermination outfits, to the era of “terminating with extreme prejudice” by quasi-military units like the Phoenix Program that murdered thousands of Viet Cong and NVA.  It was a short step then to creation of specialized military hit squads.  Navy SEALS with their Osama murder are typical.

In this era of magical tech innovations–GPS wizardry, HUMINT, SIGINT, IMINT and MASINT–America vaunts the uncanny accuracy of drones that slaughter wedding parties instead of jihadi honchos, and Hellfire missiles that maim and eviscerate more peasant children than diabolized hajjis.  Targeted assassination has, in its current iteration, thrown over the traces and expanded its lethal reach so that nailing its purported target is now irrelevant.  Busloads of Yemeni kids will do.  It’s now a case, as a Marine buddy told me in Khe Sanh, of “Kill ‘em all; let God sort ‘em out.”

It needs to be clear that none of this cowardly murder was done in the heat of authorized battle.  None of it has come during legally declared war.  These assassinations are just that: murders without acknowledgment, much less official justification that, when exposed, are flatly denied by implausible baldfaced bullshit from our robotic, faux-Christian Mandarins.  Our government always keeps, among its court jongleurs, trained slugs whose unique sociopathic gift consists in being able to look a clueless public in the face and solemnly assure them that dogshit is ice cream.

What is notable about this sordid history is not that it happened, since this country has foisted the dirtiest, most flagrant deceptions on the world and its own people as a matter of course for generations, but this: that from the beginning of our state murder program enormous effort has gone into  keeping the fact of it hidden or, at least, deniable.  It remained to Jabba, the President, not only to end that charade, to blow that cover in the Soleimani murder, but also, with idiot vanity, to celebrate himself as its author.

Quite apart from being astoundingly, stupidly reckless, since The Empire’s functionaries, military and other, become immediate potential targets, it is an offence against the laws of nations and of war.  America, the full rogue state, cares nothing for such laws, of course, but some quaint nations still do and it puts it in seriously bad odor with the few suckup lackeys it still may have despite Trump’s relentless campaign to demean and alienate them.  Candidates for another “coalition of the willing” to mask America’s brute adventurism are going to be scarce as birdshit in a cuckoo clock.

So much for side effects.  This murder of Soleimani was, to cop a line from Hamlet, a “Murder most foul, as in the best it is, but this most foul, strange, and unnatural”, because of his history as a once critical American ally.  He, with forces loyal to him, was key in defeating ISIS after our multi-billion dollar, half-assed, spit-and-baling wire Iraqi Army’s meltdown and flight.  America murdered no Takfiri barbarian, no crazed, fanatic Jihadi in him, but a temperate, judicious statesman, and a hero to most Iranian people.

If the intent was crude, direct provocation of war with Iran, that intent may now be realized.  With millions of Persians in the streets mourning him and Khamenei vowing stern vengeance, symbolic rockets are no expression of that outrage.  If retaliation does come, as it may, the world will know it.

At that point, Trump has to fish or cut bait.  If his authority is heeded then– which is not certain–by a military that much prefers no-risk bullying of weak entities that generate big money for little blood, and a Congress at once warmongering and cowardly, the balloon could go up.  If so, speculation is useless beyond one ineluctable reality: the US will be, at a minimum, badly hurt and the world economy will be shaken to pieces.  Needless to say, the results of Big Power war would be orders of magnitude more catastrophic.

Very Serious People, men who make regular appearances on the MSM– the PR arm of the Deep State–and their owners who don’t, are betting that nothing so insane as Great Power war could come about as a result of this murder and they’re probably right.  It would take an interlocking set of wild errors of judgment and calculation on the part of the powerful men who control world order, such as it is, for a major cataclysm to be triggered.

That was the case in 1914, as Tuchman detailed in The Guns Of August.  Men of broad experience and vaunted acumen, in charge of armies, fleets, and nations, slow marched in their egotism, arrogance, and wilful rigidity, into the most devastating war in history, mesmerized by their own folly.

A wag has said that history doesn’t repeat itself but it rhymes.

Wisdom and sound judgment are not unattainable by men who value them.  They forever elude the arrogant, the egoist, and the sociopath.  The men and women who now lead us are such people, enlisted by, and devoted to, our Capitalist rulers, and their voracious quest for dominion of the world and the acquisition of its wealth that is their only purpose and goal.  People of this barren, soulless, biophobic creed are incapable of rational, humane, and life-affirming decisions.  The impending dangers of rape economics, climate change, and world war do not appear to these defectives as the horrifying, immanent threats they are.  We are hostage to their inadequacy.

It is not impossible that the murder of Soleimani could result in a disaster of greater magnitude than did that of the Archduke Ferdinand, and that we may, in the days ahead, suffer our own 1914 and its dreadful aftermath.


Paul Edwards is a writer and film-maker in Montana. He can be reached at: