The following content is not a traditional article, or even an editorial by journalistic standards. It’s more akin to a cloud of thoughts I’ve had since the strike in Iraq. Feel free to comment below.
Like most average Americans, I have no clue what’s happening in the Middle East. Since 9.11 there’s been the perception that ‘they’ are the enemies, and a threat to our way of life. But ‘they’ is an ill-defined collection of stereotypes having been otherized — Muslims and brown people with olive complexions. Nationality and heritage having no rational meaning — Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan — it’s all the same over there. If their name sounds foreign and they wear religious garb they have likely been profiled as a terrorist at some point. Perhaps their loyalties or patriotism have come into question. It is too easy and far too often that ‘they’ are scapegoated for our own misgivings. Four days ago, maybe 2% of Americans knew who Qassem Soleimani was. Now everyone in the country has views on his assassination - not for his actions but our intervention.
If you don’t know US politics, I seriously doubt you know geopolitics and global affairs. Right now is a moment of potentially tremendous impact and it would serve us all well to better understand the history before spouting opinions on current events.
I find it ironic that now people are relying on information from the intelligence community to support the strike. The CIA, DOD, FBI, and other federal agencies previously slandered as the “Deep State” are responsible for analyzing the data and conducting counterintelligence operations. So are they providing verifiably credible and substantive information about our global wellbeing? Or are they leakers, liars, and scumbags as the President has described them on several occasions?
Since the White House Press Secretary stopped doing daily briefings almost a year ago, a free press has been the main source of information about presidential affairs. If we are in a “war-like stance”, aren’t we entitled to daily updates — and to have questions asked by legitimate reporters? Whether we are deterring or beginning a conflict, the people deserve transparency.
It’s not a war until Iran strikes back. How they will retaliate is a question every American domestic and abroad should be concerned with for the foreseeable future.
When we kill a traditional terrorist, they are often stateless actors — meaning they represent an organization but not a country. By civilian standards, Soleimani is a terrorist and I personally believe he committed genocide against Americans. That’s an extreme view, but when I hear he killed tens of thousands of our soldiers over the years I don’t know how else to characterize it. However, the difference between Soleimani and a traditional terrorist is his standing in the Iranian military and that region of the world. We didn’t kill an average militant, we killed a statesman. Though it’s disgusting to think about in those terms, that is the simple fact of the matter. The calculations and consequences differ significantly.
I support the power of the Commander-in-Chief as having a bit more autonomy when it comes to military matters. Congress is really just a glorified budget maker in this regard. The issue is whether this attack constitutes an Act of War. The severity in this case is determined by his rank and status. To you and I he’s just another foreign enemy. To many people in the Middle East, he was of great stature.
For those celebrating, I wish someone could explain what is to be happy about. This hasn’t immediately done anything to advance our interests. Do you aspire to harden conflict? Or does undiscerning loyalty to President Trump prevent you from asking is this good for our country?
The President may or may not be here in just over a year. Assuming he survives Impeachment, I believe he will lose the next election. He may have just sparked an anti-war voter surge. Regardless of the factors, it is more likely his successor is forced to deal with the fallout.
If in fact he stays in office, disdain for Congress and his unpredictability show he is ready to take action without fear of rebuke. The Cabinet is threadbare — full of acting positions and B-list talent. Many that serve him seem to be yes-men and Trump exhibits poor judgement. He could make a bad decision based on the inexperience, toadyism, or incompetence of those surrounding him. This is a man under threat of removal from office, facing reelection with the possibility of criminal prosecution if unsuccessful. Now is a time to tread carefully and be clear eyed about where your faith is placed.
Disclaimer: The views expressed herein are my own and do not reflect those of my employer. If you enjoyed thinking harder please leave a clap below.