Soleimani death inflames tension

Lark Commanday

JOHN BARRETT, Columnist

President Donald Trump ordered an air- strike that assassinated a top general in the Iranian military, Qassem Soleimani.

According to the Washington Post, the attack was done without any reason based on substantial evidence and was orchestrated by the same U.S. officials that have repeatedly misled the American people into several catastrophic wars in the Middle East.

The international conflicts took the lives of millions of people, displaced thousands more and destabilized an entire region.

The illegal, extrajudicial assassination of Soleimani marks an unprecedented es- calation of tensions with Iran.

What is not unprecedented, however, is the same unthinking and inhumane attitude of the imperial American war machine. Public pushback has to be strong and unequivocal under one message—no war with Iran.

Pushback is the only way a true anti-war perspective centered in humanity and justice is articulated.

There have been some candidates running for the Democratic presidential nomination that have “opposed” the killing of Soleimani in precisely the wrong ways.

Their opposition threatens to nuance and capitulate us all into our graves.

The biggest mistake that has been made is the immediate concession that Soleimani was either a terrorist or criminal or evil person in some capacity.

Layered on top of this is often the misleading notion that Soleimani had the blood of Americans on his hands followed by a weak, milquetoast, process-oriented critique of the airstrike.

The illegal assassination was not wrong, but rather the non-traditional means by which it was executed. There are several reasons for why this is incredibly dangerous.

The first is that Soleimani was emphatically not a terrorist. He was a massively popular military general who was in very large part responsible for driving ISIS out of Syria.

Yes, the military under his command was involved in proxy wars with the U.S. military which resulted in the deaths of American soldiers over time.

Soleimani was a military commander at war—wars tend to result in the deaths of soldiers on both sides.

If we are to define him as a “terrorist” based on this, then every U.S. general in the history of our military is a terrorist by the same definition.

Second, defining Soleimani as a rogue terrorist cedes all ground to the pro-war bloodthirst of the right-wing.

If the premise is that Soleimani was an evil murderer that was responsible for the mass slaughter of American troops, yet the following argument is that we shouldn’t have killed him because Donald Trump didn’t make the right phone call, looks profoundly weak.

When anti-war movements are perceived as weak, unpatriotic, and soft on terror, the U.S. goes to war.

This pattern happened with Iraq, it happened with Afghanistan, and it will happen again with Iran.

Trump and his warmongering administration caused the current tension we find ourselves in with Iran.

Trump did this by tearing up the Iran nuclear deal which was perhaps the greatest piece of American diplomacy in our modern history.

Iran was complying with the terms of the deal yet Trump found it necessary to destroy it and impose sanctions on them that involved not allowing vital medicine into the country.

His sanctions left Iranians sick and starving as he continually provoked their military with targeted strikes and drone- flyovers.

Now he has illegally assassinated their top military official.

Trump is a war criminal, this is his war and nobody else’s.

A war threatens the lives of countless Iranian civilians and American soldiers, and jeopardizes our national security.

Do not falter, do not capitulate. No war with Iran.