Monday, January 06, 2020

Milestones Along the Endless War Road: Was Thursday the Day That Will Live in Infamy?

On Being Led to War by a Madman

by Rob Slane - The Blogmire

January 7, 2020

It is hard to fathom which group of people are the most foolish: The present occupant of the White House and the deranged group of warmongers he has surrounded himself with, or those who are cheering them on for the assassination of another country’s top general, who most of them had never heard of less than a week ago, on the grounds that he was apparently about to launch an attack on US interests, and that this has somehow made Americans safer.

Assassinated General Qassam Soleimani

On the issue of the imminent attack, evidence for this would be nice, but for some reason the State Department doesn’t appear to think it necessary. In fact, as their spokesperson’s response to a questioner’s reasonable request for evidence shows, they believe that it to be sheer audacity to even ask for it:

“Jesus, do we have to explain why we do these things?” they said in exasperation.

Yet even leaving aside the issue of lack of evidence of an imminent attack, and the obvious lawlessness of the action taken, like so many issues in the permanent-warfare state we now appear to be in, the claims that Qassam Soleimani was an enemy of the United States and was responsible for the deaths of US servicemen and women, while true, conveniently forgets to fill people in on the historical context. And by historical context, I’m only talking 17 years, which one would have thought would be manageable even for those who have been fed a diet of liquid manure in the form of TV, Hollywood and commercials.

But if they could cast their minds back to that dim and distant past of 2003, they would find that it all began with the United States invading Iraq on a false pretext (ironically, just prior to this Soleimani was actually co-operating with the US in Afghanistan, sharing intelligence with them on the Taliban and al-Qaeda-linked terrorists). Among the many other unintended consequences of that utterly stupid and fraudulent war, was the increased influence of Iran and its forces in the region. That apparently wasn’t something the foolish architects behind that war foresaw or intended. But you know, the law of unintended consequences and all that.

After destroying Iraq, they went and did more or less the same to Libya, before setting their sights on Syria. And there, allied with the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism, implacable enemy of Iran, and masterminds behind 9/11 — Saudi Arabia — they armed and funded al-Qaeda affiliated jihadist groups (you know, the sorts of terrorists the US Government keeps telling its people it is fighting), with the intention of toppling the Iranian-friendly Government there. My guess is that the plan (probably drawn up on the inside of a matchbox) was then for America to come along and save the day, turning on those “moderate rebels” once they had served their purpose, re-labelling them as Islamic terrorists, and then installing a US-friendly, anti-Iranian Government in their place.

Well whaddayaknow, the removal of Iran’s enemy, Saddam Hussein, and the vacuum it caused gave Iran the opportunity to increase its dominance in the region. And whoodathunk it, but the plan to topple its Syrian ally, and replace it with Saudi-backed terrorists, was apparently not something Iran was fantastically keen on. And so Soleimani and those under his command became a thorn in the side of US Government objectives, both in Iraq and then later in Syria, fighting against the Saudi and US-backed al-Qaeda terrorist proxies, no doubt killing US servicemen and thwarting US Government plans along the way. Not quite the story that Global Pravda (aka mainstream media) has been telling the people, I know, but it is nonetheless true.

Please don’t let the monstrous irony of this escape you. Soleimani was killed for being a terrorist by the Government that armed and funded the various al-Qaeda terrorist factions in Syria that he was fighting. If that sounds ever so slightly cuckoo, it’s because it is, but then that’s because US foreign policy is yet to enjoy its first moment of sanity this century.

If American patriots really want justice on the people that caused the needless deaths of thousands of US servicemen, they should look much closer to home to the likes of George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, John Bolton, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and probably very soon Donald Trump – the architects and instigators of the deliberate, lawless, arrogant, pointless, diabolical rampage through the Middle East, which led to the mass slaughter of thousands, the rise of the Islamic State and other jihadist organisations, the increase in Iranian power, blowback from the likes of Soleimani, and of course the deaths of thousands of US service personnel. If they had not carried out their demented work, and instead left the region well alone, none of these consequences would have happened and thousands of dead US service personnel would still be alive. I don’t, however, recommend extra-judicial drone assassinations as the way to go about obtaining justice!

The question of why the US targeted Soleimani at this particular point in time is extremely interesting. Was he really masterminding some imminent attack that the State Department won’t tell us about? Or was there something else?

The biggest clue so far, I think, has come from the speech made by Iraq’s caretaker Prime Minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi, in their Parliament. Not only did he claim that the United States had asked Iraq to mediate between the US and Iran, but he also dropped this huge bombshell:

“I was supposed to meet Soleimani at the morning the day he was killed. He came to deliver me a message from Iran responding to the message we delivered from Saudi to Iran.”

In other words, not only did the US assassinate Soleimani on Iraqi territory after asking Iraq to act as a mediator between it and Iran, which makes the assassination duplicitous as well as lawless, but he was on a diplomatic mission as part of a possible rapprochement with Saudi Arabia. Could it be that certain actors within certain countries were horrified by that prospect and wanted to nip it in the bud there and then? Quite possibly.

Whatever the reason for this action, it is perhaps the most reckless decision taken by the American Government in my lifetime, and it has to be said it is up against some pretty stiff competition. The idea of assassinating another country’s top general, on the territory of a third party, when no war has been declared, is one of those things that most sane people would have thought unthinkable this time last week. But unfortunately, blinded by the supposed invincibility of the US military, filled with an unshakeable arrogance that it can do what it likes, when it likes, to whom it likes, wherever it likes, the current US Government has just taken an action, the consequences of which will reverberate for years, nay decades to come. If Americans believe it has made them and their fellow countrymen safer, I can only grieve at their stunning naivete.

Peter Hitchens – a man whose insights and grasp of history are seriously impressive, and who is most certainly not given to hyperbolic statements – gave the following bleak assessment:

“Did World War Three begin last Thursday night? I fear it may have done. Forgive my language, but on this occasion I think it justified. How can anyone possibly have been so bloody stupid? We know from history that assassinations can have limitless effects. And when the President of the United States orders the state murder (for this, alas, is what it was) of an Iranian general, it is hard to see a good end.”

With the dispensing of all norms of international behaviour setting a precedent for similar assassinations, and a strong Iranian response practically guaranteed by the hoisting of the Red Flag for the first time in its history over the Jamkaran Mosque in Qom (indicating that Iran considers itself to be at war and seeking revenge), it is indeed hard to see a good end.

However, if there is one possible light at the end of the tunnel, I do get the sense that there are many in the US Government who are profoundly disturbed by the turn of events, as this interesting chain of Tweets suggests. It appears to have dawned on some officials that not only has their Commander-in-Chief just effectively declared war on Iran, with little or no thought for the consequences, but in the days following he has shown by his Tweets — in which he threatened actions that are war crimes, warned of a disproportionate response to anything Iran might do, and informed Congress that he will let them know of his military decisions by Twitter — that he is really quite unhinged.

Another hint of this was seen in the New York Times, which carried a report where the Pentagon appeared to distance itself from what happened, pinning it all on Trump (you can read the report here):

“In the chaotic days leading to the death of Major-General Qassem Soleimani — Iran’s most powerful commander — top American military officials put the option of killing him, which they viewed as the most extreme response to recent Iranian-led violence in Iraq, on the menu they presented to President Donald Trump.

They did not think he would take it.

In the wars waged since the Sept 11, 2001, attacks, Pentagon officials have often offered improbable options to presidents to make other possibilities appear more palatable.

After initially rejecting the Soleimani option on Dec 28 and authorising airstrikes on an Iranian-backed Shi’ite militia group instead, a few days later Mr Trump watched, fuming, as television reports showed Iranian-backed attacks on the US Embassy in Baghdad, according to US Defence Department and administration officials.

By late Thursday, the President had gone for the extreme option. Top Pentagon officials were stunned. Mr Trump made the decision, senior officials said last Saturday, despite disputes in the administration about the significance of what some officials said was a new stream of intelligence that warned of threats to US embassies and military personnel in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.”

Frankly, I find that astonishing, and almost unbelievable. Yet the fact that it is being reported looks to me like the beginnings of a campaign to ensure that Trump and Trump alone takes the blame if things go spectacularly haywire. There is even a part of me that wonders whether he was set up for this by people who were more than happy to exploit his ego, sock it to Iran, and stand back to see him take the fallout for it if it goes horribly wrong.

Those officials who are seriously disturbed by what has happened are right now the best hope for peace, and they seriously need to speak out publicly and urgently. I urge you to pray to God that they will, and that their doing so might serve to awaken the public to the true danger of the situation, and avert the war that now appears to be imminent. Longer term, I pray that the US might deeply repent of the Messianic complex that has grown up since the Second World War, and that it might once again be the nation envisaged by the Founding Fathers — a normal country, seeking peace with other nations, and not going about the world in search of monsters to destroy, as John Quincy Adams so memorably put it.

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