OK … OK… let’s … dear God … let’s talk about what’s happening with us and Iran.
The first thing we have to remember is that our government lies to us about wars. This is a matter of record: we invaded Iraq and toppled Saddam Hussein because our government swore it had strong intelligence that he was hoarding weapons of mass destruction. It turns out that he was not, and that most of that intelligence was manufactured or willfully obtuse. And our world is more dangerous, not less, because of those lies.
We invaded Afghanistan for legitimate reasons, but recently released documents show that the government under three presidents — Bush, Obama and Trump — has systematically lied to the American people about how the war was going and about the chances of success.
Our government lies to us about wars. We must keep that foremost in our minds as we think about what is happening with Iran.
The idea that Suleimani was actively planning an imminent attack on Americans does not appear to be based on any facts. No evidence of this has been presented. Vice President Mike Pence, in an attempt to justify our killing Suleimani, even went so far as to suggest that he had been involved in the Sept. 11 attacks. That reeks of desperation — first of all, Sept. 11 isn’t an imminent attack, it happened 19 years ago; secondly, if there had been any evidence of Iranian involvement, the Bush administration would have pounced on it; thirdly, Sept. 11 was almost entirely pulled off by Saudi nationals and we’re selling them weapons.
Even if Suleimani were planning an imminent attack on Americans, the idea that killing him would scuttle the operation is absurd. Suleimani wasn’t a lone wolf terrorist or the charismatic leader of a small band of fanatics; he was a member of a military with a chain of command. Military forces don’t stop operations just because a general is gone. Suleimani’s subordinates would continue the plan. Of course they would — that’s how militaries work. I mean, we didn’t stop the war in Afghanistan when Gen. Petraeus was replaced, did we?
All of which means that it is extremely unlikely that Suleimani was killed because he represented an imminent threat to American lives. However, by killing him — and effectively declaring war on Iran — Trump has created a situation in which American lives are very much at risk across the world. Even at home, if Iranian cyber attacks can reach our infrastructure in places like power plants, dams or hospitals.
We have no idea what Iran is going to do — and Trump has created the very situation that he ostensibly was trying to prevent.
This is a thing he does a lot. It’s practically his signature move.
He started a trade war with China to help boost our economy — and instead ended up hurting almost every sector of our economy, for concessions that may or may not really happen and may or may not be meaningful. A conflict that he swore would be “cheap and easy to win” hurt American business across the board.
This is particularly true in manufacturing, which Trump vowed to save and pursued aggressive policies to prop up, particularly of deregulation. Instead, American factory activity went down for the fifth consecutive month in December and the Institute of Supply Management’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index hit its lowest level since June 2009. America’s manufacturing under Trump isn’t rebounding — it’s shrinking, despite his overt attempts to help it.
Whatever Trump touches turns to swamp. And now he is going around Congress’ back to start a war with a country that is three times the size of Iraq, has terrorist cells around the world and a demonstrated cyber warfare capability. Before he started, we had international inspectors in Iran confirming that it was not advancing its nuclear program. Now, Iran has declared it’s resuming that program.
Before Trump started, we could count on our NATO allies and our partners around the world. Now, we stand alone, loathed by our former allies. Right now much of the world looks at us and looks at Iran, and has a hard time deciding who the good guys are.
Trump’s actions have put us at much greater risk, not less, and it looks like he is hell-bent on pushing us further in. And what did we get out of this? How did it benefit the United States?
It doesn’t. President Trump doesn’t do anything because it benefits the United States. He takes our trade policy and uses it to hurt the American economy; he pushes manufacturing and causes it to shrink. He uses our military, the greatest on earth, to make us less safe.
And the more he pushes, the less safe we are likely to be. All we can be sure of is that he’ll lie about it. Our world is more dangerous because of his actions.