Incorporating one report from the NY Times and two from Truthdig, we lay out clearly all that is wrong with what Trump has done and the peril in which he has placed our nation. Plus info about Saturday’s march.
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A Bit of Good News. Spain has just elected a Socialist coalition to govern the country. It was a razor thin win, but a win that ends a year of political chaos and threats from the right wing. Happy endings can happen. The story provides background on the issues at stake in Spain. Click here to read the story.
Saturday, Jan. 11, Noon-1:30pm, March Against War on Iran; Assemble at the Roundhouse east side
As this post makes very clear, President Trump has committed an entirely unnecessary, utterly stupid and impeachable act of war. We have no history of Congress ever intervening to slow or stop such behavior, so we must go to the streets. And we need all of you to share this post, to call friends directly, to ask them to join you in this entirely legal march. But to have an impact, we need thousands, not hundreds. So….
SHARE SHARE SHARE SHARE
Meet at the Roundhouse, chant and sing, and then march to the Plaza. We will have coordinators at every intersection to guide you through an entirely legal “intersection circle” where you cross when the signal allows, stand on the corner waving signs and chanting, then cross the street again and yet again until you march again toward the next block.
Please write to RetakeResponse@gmail.com if you would like to volunteer as an intersection coordinator on the day of the march. We also need volunteers on Friday from 3-5. We are going to print signs promoting the event and assign volunteers to high traffic intersections to wave the signs announcing the march. Finally, we are also asking people to join the Veterans for Peace in their weekly vigil at noon on Fridays at Cerrillos and St. Francis. We will have signs promoting the protest there, as well.
Impeachable, Stupid, Unwarranted & of Immeasurable Consequences
Today we provide excerpts and analysis based on three reports, one from the NY Times and two from Truthdig — one by Chris Hedges, “War With Iran,” and one from retired Major Danny Sjursen, “Trump’s Illegal, Impeachable Act of War.” Major Sjursen served terms of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. We begin with a quote from Chris Hedges to frame the discussion.
The strike [the killing of Soleimani] may temporarily bolster the political fortunes of the two beleaguered architects of the assassination, Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but it is an act of imperial suicide by the United States. There can be no positive outcome. It opens up the possibility of an Armageddon-type scenario relished by the lunatic fringes of the Christian right. ““War With Iran,” Chris Hedges
It didn’t have to come to this. In January 2017, the US was part of an international agreement with Iran that, from all independent accounts, was being honored by Iran. We had the most stable relationship with Iran in decades. Many decades. Without provocation and without consultation with allies, Trump withdrew from the agreement that had been the framework for improving relations with Iran.
Presidents Bush and Obama both had intelligence on Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, and likely could have killed him many times over. They chose not to, however, because of the likely repercussions. President Trump rarely thinks beyond the moment and is incapable of such calculations.
There were reports in the NY Times indicating that there are Pentagon officials who are skeptical of intelligence info indicating that an attack on Americans or US installations was imminent. This is bolstered by other reports indicating that the Ayatollah had called Qassem Soleimani back to Iran to continue to discuss possible actions. That doesn’t sound like an imminent threat. And who can forget the “intelligence” that was certain about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction?
So, in 2017, Trump enters the White House with the most stable relationship with Iran in years and an agreement that included most all of our European allies. Flash forward to today. Here is how Chris Hedges describes the likely Act II of this unnecessary and dangerous situation.
A war with Iran would see it use its Chinese-supplied anti-ship missiles, mines and coastal artillery to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, which is the corridor for 20% of the world’s oil supply. Oil prices would double, perhaps triple, devastating the global economy. The retaliatory strikes by Iran on Israel, as well as on American military installations in Iraq, would leave hundreds, maybe thousands, of dead. The Shiites in the region, from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan, would see an attack on Iran as a religious war against Shiism. The 2 million Shiites in Saudi Arabia, concentrated in the oil-rich Eastern province, the Shiite majority in Iraq and the Shiite communities in Bahrain, Pakistan and Turkey would turn in fury on us and our dwindling allies. There would be an increase in terrorist attacks, including on American soil, and widespread sabotage of oil production in the Persian Gulf. Hezbollah in southern Lebanon would renew attacks on northern Israel. War with Iran would trigger a long and widening regional conflict that, by the time it was done, would terminate the American Empire and leave in its wake mounds of corpses and smoldering ruins. Let us hope for a miracle to pull us back from this Dr. Strangelove self-immolation.”“War With Iran,” Chris Hedges
There is precious little comfort to be found in President Trump’s threats that he has identified 52 potential targets that could be attacked if Iran retaliates, even identifying sacred sites as potential targets. And there is little more comfort to be had from the recent history of US intervention in the Middle East. We invaded Iraq under the false premise of their possession of weapons of mass destruction. We are seen as an invading force and now have been told by the Iraqi parliament that they would like our troops out of their country. There is little wonder as to why the Iraqis would no longer welcome our presence given Hedges’ portrayal of the impact of our presence. Indeed, as Hedges points out, our entire Middle East strategy is a muddled mass of disingenuous and utterly counter-productive initiatives.
Iraq after our 2003 invasion and occupation has been destroyed as a unified country. Its once-modern infrastructure is in ruins. Electrical and water services are, at best, erratic. There is high unemployment and discontent over widespread government corruption that has led to bloody street protests. Warring militias and ethnic factions have carved out competing and antagonistic enclaves. At the same time, the war in Afghanistan is lost, as the Afghanistan Papers published by The Washington Post detail. Libya is a failed state. Yemen after five years of unrelenting Saudi airstrikes and a blockade is enduring one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters. The “moderate” rebels we funded and armed in Syria at a cost of $500 million, after instigating a lawless reign of terror, have been beaten and driven out of the country. The monetary cost for this military folly, the greatest strategic blunder in American history, is between $5 trillion and $7 trillion.”“War With Iran,” Chris Hedges
But we should not expect those most responsible for our misguided policies to admit their culpability. It is much easier to blame Iran and then infuse media reports with “experts” with titles that command respect to promulgate misinformation.
The generals and politicians who launched and prosecuted these wars are not about to take the blame for the quagmires they created. They need a scapegoat. It is Iran… The generals, the CIA, the private contractors and weapons manufacturers who have grown rich off these conflicts, the politicians such as George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump, along with all the “experts” and celebrity pundits who serve as cheerleaders for endless war, have convinced themselves, and want to convince us, that Iran is responsible for our catastrophe.”“War With Iran,” Chris Hedges
Ask yourself, have any of these talking heads asked the question: What we Trump do were Pompeo to be killed in a car bomb with Iran claiming responsibility? Imagine that for just one moment. And yet Trump is behaving that should Iran dare to respond, their ancient, sacred sites could be destroyed. Imagine now what the reaction of the entire Muslim world would be to that?
And who are allies in this current mess?
- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, under multiple indictments in Israel and seeking Knesset immunity from the charges;
- Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who ordered the gruesome assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi dissident, journalist and former general manager and editor-in-chief of the Al-Arab News Channel;
- Donald Trump, impeached by the US House, facing trial in the Senate, and facing a re-election battle in which he and his party are heading to disaster.
If you can tell a lot about someone’s character by the company you keep, we take little comfort from who are friends are now.
The stupidity of this move can only be understood if you consider what could be in play in the inner recesses of Trump’s demented mind. He has now successfully distracted attention from his impeachment and stirred up the rabid right in his defense. And if, as is frighteningly likely, we are headed to a growing conflagration, could it be that Trump’s ego-centrict mind is not only to distract from the impeachment but also to cancel the election? In the context of a war with Iran, I can almost hear the pronouncement, possibly in a Tweet: “Due to national security concerns and our need to focus upon our national defense, I am cancelling the 2020 election and will remain in office indefinitely.” Is this not what Trump has been preparing us for with his repeated references to a third and fourth term?
Click here to read the full “War With Iran” report from Hedges, who closes with the assertion that if we are not in the streets, we are complicit. Then he goes on to lay out what the future could bring if Trump is not stopped… And so, my friends, it is to the streets on Saturday. From Hedges:
The United States, like Israel, has become a pariah that shreds, violates or absents itself from international law. We launch preemptive wars, which under international law is defined as a “crime of aggression,” based on fabricated evidence. We, as citizens, must hold our government accountable for these crimes. If we do not, we will be complicit in the codification of a new world order, one that would have terrifying consequences. It would be a world without treaties, statutes and laws. It would be a world where any nation, from a rogue nuclear state to a great imperial power, would be able to invoke its domestic laws to annul its obligations to others. Such a new order would undo five decades of international cooperation—largely put in place by the United States—and thrust us into a Hobbesian nightmare. Diplomacy, broad cooperation, treaties and law, all the mechanisms designed to civilize the global community, would be replaced by savagery. “War With Iran, Chris Hedges
Hedges is not alone in finding Trump’s actions in violation of international law. In his article, “Trump’s Illegal Impeachable Act of War,” Maj. Sjursen noted that not only was Trump’s attack ill-conceived, it violates international law.
It doesn’t get any more illegal than a war with Iran or even the singular killing of Soleimani. The assassination of foreign leaders has long been prohibited under both national and international law, even if the U.S. hasn’t always followed such strictures.
Few of the reports on the mainstream cable networks have even bothered to mention this salient fact. Why would they? U.S. troopers are engaged in combat in West Africa, Somalia and Syria, to name but a few countries. Washington is not technically at war with any of them. Congress, for its part, has shirked its constitutionally-mandated duty to declare (or at least sanction) America’s wars for nearly two decades—at a minimum. One wonders if this latest act of unvarnished militarism will alter the calculus on Capitol Hill. I remain doubtful. ”Trump’s Illegal, Impeachable Act of War, Major Danny Sjursen
I would add, that with the exception of Democracy Now! and a handful of online publications like Truthdig, the media is largely swallowing hook, line and sinker Trump’s unsubstantiated assertions about imminent threats. The media has also been entirely uncritical of the underlying geopolitical framework in which all of this is transpiring: Iran has been invited into Syria and is both a neighbor and friend of Iraq. The US is 6,000 miles away and has never been invited anywhere into conflict in the Middle East. We are the invader; Iran the defender. In that context, is it surprising that the troops and contractors of the colonizing US would be in harm’s way?
So when Trump and the media wring their hands over threats to their “interests” in the Middle East, let’s be clear about what they mean: oil, profit, domination…and with it the subjugation of others who, according to our rules, are not allowed to resist. Major Sjursen comments on this point and anticipates what is likely Iran’s next step.
Call me treasonous, but I, for one, would hardly blame Iran if it decides to further escalate. It’s not that Tehran is innocent, of course. Its domestic repression is sometimes abhorrent; the foreign militias it backs are often destabilizing, and some even killed U.S. troops during the height of the last Iraq War. Nonetheless, it bears repeating that unlike the U.S., Iran was invited into Syria, has many friends in Iraq, helped fight ISIS in both of those countries, and, as a sovereign state, is allowed to set its own domestic policy. The United States military’s interventions in the Middle East, by contrast, frequently violate international law. “Trump’s Illegal, Impeachable Act of War, Major Danny Sjursen
To read Major Sjursen’s full report, click here.
See you on Saturday.
Paul and Roxanne