by Renee Parsons
The entire world now knows, as reported by the NY Times, that President Donald Trump personally “opted for the most extreme” option as he ordered the assassination of Iranian Gen. Qaseem Souleimani. In an article entitled “As Tensions with Iran Escalated, Trump Opts for the Most Extreme Measure,” the Times reported that “Top Pentagon military officials were ‘flabbergasted’ at Trump’s decision” even as the level of ‘imminent’ attacks on US personnel was speculative and unconfirmed. Other options identified were strikes on Iranian ships or missile facilities or against Iranian-backed militia groups in Iraq.
It was further reported that “When Mr. Trump chose the option of killing General Suleimani, top military officials, flabbergasted, were immediately alarmed about the prospect of Iranian retaliatory strikes on American troops in the region. It is unclear if General Milley or Mr. Esper pushed back on the president’s decision.” VP Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, however, each representing the Prince of Peace, argued for a hawkish response to “Iranian aggression.”
It is true that Iran has been a thorn in the US side since 1953 when the CIA overthrew the democratically elected government of Mossadegh who refused to recognize the Empire’s right to steal Iranian petroleum as he nationalized the country’s energy sector. Iran has never been a military threat to America and, like every other middle east country, neither is it willing to kneel to the American Empire.
Thin skinned and defensive, Trump cannot stop bragging as he exhibits no glimmer of empathy or understanding of the gravity that his decision has wreaked upon his own country and the world. He seems incompetent to grasp that his bombastic speech only serves to deepen the crisis. In response to Iran’s “forceful; revenge” promise, Trump tweeted:
“….targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. The USA wants no more threats! “
In announcing the strike, Trump said:
“We successfully executed a flawless precision strike that killed the Number One terrorist anywhere in the world. Soliemani was plotting imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and American personnel but we caught him in the act and terminated him.”
“We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war. We do not seek regime change. However Iran’s aggression in the region must end and it must end now. If Americans anywhere are threatened, we have all of those targets already fully identified, and I am ready and prepared to take whatever action is necessary.”
The rationale for Soleimani’s death is based on accusations as the world’s number one terrorist and being responsible for hundreds of American deaths in pursuit of Iranian aggression. Any claim of aggression by middle eastern countries glosses over the fact that they are defending their homelands in opposition to US military invasions. It is the US who are the aggressors by invading a country 6,000 miles away to steal their natural resources and to fight on behalf of creating Israeli hegemony throughout the Middle East.
Does any Middle East country have the right of self-defense when a foreign army invades their sovereign soil and what does it say when the world’s leading purveyors of war, death and destruction point the finger to those fighting to defend their homeland? The truth is that every country where the US has initiated conflict is no military threat to the US – until they are invaded as they respond to protect their home turf.
Operating under the delusion that the US is still a respected world leader, Trump’s barbaric pre-emptive assassination on Soleimani has all the markings of an Israeli ‘quick and decisive’ hit used to liquidate the opposition. There is no longer any pretense that the candidate who promised no new interventionist wars never meant to include any conflicts that might benefit Israel. It is elementary that every conflict in the Middle East benefits Israel.
As he talked the talk about no new war to get elected, he has not walked the walk as his speech on Sunday to the VFW National Conference proved. While on one hand, Trump has revealed a frightening bloodthirsty side of his character with his chosen method of assassination 48 hours after the assassination, he told the veterans:
“I withdrew the US from a horrible one-sided nuclear deal and Iran is not the same country any more; that I can say. We’ll see what happens but we’re ready to make a real deal; not a deal that was done by the previous administration which was a disaster.”
What on earth is he saying? Has he totally lost his mind? Does he seriously believe that the Iranians will sit down to negotiate a new nuclear deal with him or any other American president?
Trump began with a quote representing two hundred year old thinking by President George Washington that ‘the best way to preserve the peace is to be prepared for war.’ My thinking is always on military and military strength. We are now undertaking the greatest rebuilding of the US military in its history. We have secured $700 billion for defense and $716 billion next year. We’re ordering 147 F35 Lightening fighters. We make the best military equipment in the world and remember this = jobs. We’re ordering 239 Apache and Black Hawk helicopters, 19 major Naval vessels and nearly 8,000 Humvees and humbees used by our great soldiers…all made right here in the USA and we’re adding nearly 30,000 new soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines. America is a peace-loving nation. We do not seek conflict but if conflict is forced upon us, we will defend ourselves and if we must, we will fight and do nothing but win.
Trump is living in a merciless world of deep denial which is in preference to human compassion. He is woefully uninformed about the last time the US “won” a war which was WWII in 1945. He apparently cares nothing about the cost overruns and history of F35 defects nor does the $4 – $7 trillion already spent on Middle East wars appear to keep him up nights.
The truth is, since 2016, Trump has proven to be just another mediocre American President to be neutered by Israel, the IC and the neocons, many of whom he brought into his administration. He has ceded his authority to the likes of Pompeo and Pence and has proven to be easily manipulated, unable to analyze when he is being played, including by his own family. While others make excuses that he is being lied to, it is time for him to take adult responsibility for his decisions. With an inappropriately verbose personality, Trump has proven to have no backbone. We now know that he also has no honor, no courage and no heart as he joins GW and Obama in the ranks of the Presidential War Criminals Club.
Renee Parsons has been a member of the ACLU’s Florida State Board of Directors and President of the ACLU Treasure Coast Chapter. She has been an elected public official in Colorado, an environmental lobbyist with Friends of the Earth and staff member in the US House of Representatives in Washington, DC. She can be found on Twitter @reneedove31.