On the second day of the New Year 2020, the United States decided to "take out" someone he didn't like, Iran's top military commander and national hero, along with an Iraqi counterpart and four more individuals belonging to the "collateral damage" species. It was reminiscent of a street gang member doing a drive-by shooting - bullets fired into a group of people, enough to kill two particular targets. And, well, who cares about the bystanders?
Morally it's the same thing. In context, it's a whole lot worse.
The context here is that a sophisticated military drone was used, the assassination was obviously pre-planned to the last detail, and the murder victim was none other than Qassem Soleimani, Iran's top military commander. The killer, on the other hand, was backed by a government that sacrifices the welfare of its own people on the altar of military supremacy.
There is far more context to it than that.
This criminal act comes after decades of Washington-mandated economic warfare against Iran, coupled with threats of such things as the total annihilation of the country for reasons that are never perfectly clear. Officially Iran is "a terrorist state," whatever that means (which presumes, of course, that The United States is the opposite).
One Democratic [sic.] candidate for the presidency tweeted the following in the immediate aftermath of the assassination:
There isn't much there that isn't Trump. The first sentence calls Soleimani "a murderer" who is "responsible for the deaths of . . . hundreds of Americans." The Orange Ape probably wouldn't like the word "reckless," but other than that, Warren's message is not much different from the vain madness that infests the Oval Office.
First, this "murderer," as Warren describes Soleimani, did more than all the American troops combined to curtail ISIS. And that unquestionably involved killing a good number of ISIS fighters. But wasn't that what Washington claimed to be doing? Didn't we spend tons of money keeping troops in Syria and Iraq to "contain" ISIS?
ISIS was indeed a war machine - but also the product of U.S. policy in the Middle East, particularly our invasions of Iraq and Syria. So this Iranian "murderer," as she dubs him, simply doesn't come across as either a incorrigible monster or as the military leader of a "terrorist" state. Both of those awards, sad to say, must be handed to the military and political establishment in Washington.
And as for the American deaths, Warren is without doubt speaking of combattants. That rasies the big question: What right does anybody have to expect that heavily armed snipers, protect by deadly air power, should be "safe" in enemy territory? It is America who invaded them, not the other way around.
Imagine an Iraq or Iran as lopsidedly powerful over us as we are over them today. Say they use their far-superior military might to invade us. Their heavily armed soldiers kick in our doors and spray gunfire into homes, killing American civilians, men, women, children, babies, the elderly, with no one spared. Meanwhile others set fire to homes and stores, while huge bombs fall from the sky, turning the landscape into a heap of gutted, smoking rubble burying the dead and wounded alike. Would we be obligated to make sure these vicious invaders are "safe" here in America? That's insane!
It sounds implausible to speak of this happening on U.S. soil. But it's the real situation for a huge part of the world. And the source of their trouble is almost always the United States.
There's something inherently psychopathic about U.S. foreign policy. And it's not a new thing. It goes back even farther than the Cold War. The U.S. invaded Mexico in 1946-47, for a time hoisting the U.S. flag over Mexico City. In 1903, it engineered a confict that separated one part of Colombia into what is now Panama - all so U.S. hegemons could complete and control the canal. That year, the US also seized political control over Cuba and established the base at Guantanamo, now used as a prison for war captives charged with no crime but considered ripe for "enhanced interrogation." There were troops sent to Argentina in 1890; Chile and Haiti in 1891; the independent nation of Hawaii in 1894; Nicaragua in 1894, 1896, 1898 and again in 1899. That's just the 19th Century. From there it gets worse. The U.S. military was used repeatedly in Central America and the Caribbean to defend private corporate interests, to install dictators willing to sell out their own people to corporate profiteers in America or to ensure the "right" outcome of domestic revolutions.
Not one of these interventions did anything other than seriously set back national development, human rights and democracy for the affected people.
So now we're on the brink of war with Iran, a situation that could bring in all kinds of entanglements and alliances, pitting us against not only a militarily powerful Iran but possibly Russia and China, as well.
So what has this "terrorist state" of Iran ever done to the United States? Here's the list.
And what has the U.S. done to Iran? Here goes:
The U.S. has been conducting economic warfare against Iran since the ouster of the Shah and the resulting hostage situation at the U.S. Embassy. The sanctions have escalated over the years, putting the U.S. constantly on a war footing with regard to Iran ever since 1951 when the British Anglo-Persian Oil Company (later British Petroleum) finally ended its cruel dominance over an impoverished Iran's only source of income.
So who is the terrorist? According to Washington, the finger points to Tehran. And how could they so contradict facts known to all the world? Exceptionalism. That's the dogma that proclaims the U.S. to be the world's only significant nation - or as President Obama said to an American Legtion gathering in 2014:
The one indispensable nation! That's saying no others need even exist. Are we God now?
It is this kind of megalomania, this unvarnished arrogance, that feeds America's willingness to recklessly break treaties and promises, undermine the leadership and economies of nations it looks down on, and unleash unfathomable mayhem on people all over the world.
It will end. Either the world will go up in a radioactive ball of fire following an exchange of nuclear weapons, or the empire will come crashing down, leaving other powers to fill the void and America a nation without allies.
Is it too late for American exceptionalism to be supplanted by American humility? Most people would say the time has passed. Even if this country shut down every foreign military base and installation, if it disbanded its standing armies and retired it's top-heavy intelligence bureaucracies - and even if it went so far as to unilaterally destroy all it's nukes and renounce it's arms industries - who would really trust anything American?
A brilliant documentary about a small Israeli peace movement was broadcast about year or more ago by RT television. It featured an Israeli woman who had devoted her life to bringing peace with justice to the Palestinian people. In the midst of a confrontation between the IDF and a group of Palestinian youth, she risked her safety by offering something small, a bottle of drinking water perhaps, to one of the Palestinians. It was a sincere gesture, one of kindness and love.
But she was rebuked. The Palestinians just couldn't overcome years of suspicion. They've known nothing but treachery from "her side."
We can disarm. We can adopt peace and non-intervention as policy. But we may have to wait a while before we are trusted. Sooner or later, we're realize there is no choice but to let go of the contradictory ideas of U.S. supremacy on the one hand and America-under-seige on the other. Why not now while there's still a chance?
We stand between two vast oceans, bordered by two far weaker nations. The country produces enough to be self-sufficient without sending in troops to protect business interests and to steal the wealth that others produce. There need be no enemies.
We do not need fear, tensions, repression, deception, advanced weapons, and the threat of using space as "the newest war-fighting domain" to make us safe. What makes us safe is the absence of all those things.
The trillions of dollars that go into the military each year, as much money as is spent by the rest of the world combined, could be put to uses that would be far more profitable to the nation as a whole than the business of arming ourselves against invented enemies.
Washington need no longer jealously guard its preeminance as the world high priest of hoarded wealth. Rather it can let others rise and actually be happy for them. So what if Brazilians have as high a standard of living as U.S. citizens? What's the problem if Nigeria's economy ends up bigger than ours? We'll be richer. The rest will be richer. And we can have free trade across borders while doing away with that despicable urge to crush labor movements abroad in order to secure slave-wage labor and cheaper goods.
Let us give peace a chance.
Monaham, candidate for Vice President in 2020