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President Donald Trump is only half-lying when he claims to be the “most transparent president” in history. It’s true that Trump has gone to great lengths to obstruct any and all investigations into his own criminal misconduct most of his adult life, including his past three years as commander-in-chief of the world’s last remaining superpower.
But it’s also true Trump has shattered the norms of presidential behavior, laying bare for all to see the foundering of the American empire on the rocky shoals of forever wars.
The dishonorable high-tech assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani by targeted drone strike near Baghdad ordered by draft-dodger Don from the comfort of Mar-a-Lago on Jan. 3 is the latest case in point. Through this naked act of war, Trump has once again demonstrated his campaign promise to end America’s forever wars was and is a blatant lie. For all his railing about the deep state, he’s given elements of the congressional-military-industrial-intelligence-media complex, the real deep state, their long sought-after war with Iran.
Soleimani was head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force and as such organized and sometimes fought with local Shia militias throughout Iraq, Lebanon and Syria during the past two decades, most recently on the side of the United States in the fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
Contrary to nearly every mainstream media report on his death, neither Soleimani nor Iran provided the “explosively formed projectiles” Iraqi forces resisting the 2003-2011 U.S. invasion and occupation used in roadside bombs to kill and maim hundreds of American troops.
Turns out that’s just another bogus claim made by the Bush administration, previously debunked like Iraq’s non-existent Weapons of Mass Destruction but nevertheless resurrected and dutifully recycled by today’s cable TV, talk radio and podcasting pundits across the political spectrum. They’re hell-bent on convincing all of us Soleimani was a terrorist on par with Osama bin Laden, rather than a battle-hardened soldier from a war-torn region who’d risen through the ranks to become the second most revered figure in Iran.
Name any recent U.S. general who’d have millions of mourners turn up for his funeral.
In fact, Soleimani worked with the U.S. military to identify Al Qaida targets in Afghanistan immediately after 9/11, organized the local Iraqi Shia militias that brutally re-established law and order in Iraq in the wake of the U.S. invasion, and was instrumental in helping defeat ISIS in Syria and Iraq with those same local Shia militias, right up until Trump snuffed him out.
He was our guy … until he wasn’t. A familiar story in the Middle East.
Meanwhile, let’s examine the evidence for Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s justification for Soleimani’s assassination, that the Quds commander was about to launch imminent attacks against Americans in the Middle East. Oh, wait! There is no such evidence, and therefore no justification, nearly two weeks later! What then was the rationale for taking out Soleimani?
Because he was on a peace mission brokered by Iraq between Saudi Arabia and Iran, as Iraq’s president claims? Well, come to think of it, the deep state isn’t so keen on peace, so that could be reason enough.
It’s much more likely that Trump the TV reality show personality, a creature of the degenerate liberal Hollywood culture his supporters decry, has seen the 1997 film “Wag the Dog.” In the dark comedy, a fictitious president facing reelection amid credible child sexual abuse allegations hires a hard-nosed political consultant and a billionaire Hollywood producer (hilariously played by Robert De Niro and Dustin Hoffman), who concoct a fake war with Albania to distract from the sex scandal. It works.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Trump, who has already been impeached by the House for the Ukrainian affair and may face trial in the Senate as early as next week, impulsively chose to wag the dog when presented with a series of Middle East options by End Times-believer Pompeo.
Naturally, Trump picked Armageddon. He is the Lamb of God, after all.
War with Iran is the option favored by the aforementioned deep state elements, Republicans and Democrats alike. It also happens to jibe with Trump’s right-wing evangelical base, right-wing American Zionists such as casino magnate Sheldon Adelson (the Republican Party’s largest donor), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (who quickly distanced himself from Soleimani’s assassination, which tells you how over-the-top it was) and Saudi Arabia’s chief head-chopper, Mohammed Bin Salman.
And don’t kid yourself. Mainstream corporate media from Hannity to Blitzer to Maddow is itching for Trump to pull the trigger again. War is good ratings and they prefer to be paid well for disseminating government disinformation.
But here’s the deal. In 2016, Trump convinced millions of working-class men and women he knew the score when it comes to the forever wars draining U.S. blood and treasure, including me. There are several studies out there on the web that claim antiwar sentiment is what got Trump elected.
He did put on quite a show. By now, everyone’s seen the 2011 tape of Trump predicting President Barack Obama would “wag the dog” and start a war with Iran just to win the 2012 election. It played well at the time, because despite inking the Iran nuclear deal, Obama expanded our military footprint in the Middle East and North Africa—after promising not to do so during his first campaign.
At his rallies, Trump railed about the trillions of dollars wasted since 9/11 and the tens of thousands of American service members who’ve died or been injured. (Not a word of course about the millions of people U.S. troops have killed in Iraq alone.) Bring the troops home he said, and the money (because it’s always about the money with Trump), and let’s make America great again!
Trump’s assassination of General Qassem Soleimani is exactly the opposite of that.
Right now, corporate mainstream media is trying to convince us the accidental shootdown of a Ukrainian jetliner carrying Iranians of various different nationalities by the Iranian aerospace forces after taking off from Tehran during the fog of war is somehow going to lead to regime change.
Don’t bet on it. The Iranians were smart to warn the U.S. military in Iraq that a volley of ballistic missiles targeting two U.S. bases would soon be on the way. The result was a perfectly targeted warning shot across America’s bow with zero American casualties.
Trump the stable genius would be wise to heed the warning, as well as Iraq’s request that we pull all of our troops from their country. And why stop there? All U.S. troops out of the Middle East and North Africa! After all, isn’t that exactly what he promised way back in 2015?
Sadly, Trump is insane, a certified malignant narcissist by scores of psychiatrists who’ve observed the president’s transparent behavior patterns, a diagnosis confirmed by three-quarters of the planet after Soleimani’s assassination. After junking the nuclear deal and waging a “maximum pressure” economic sanctions campaign against Iran, no Iranian citizen believes Trump when he says he’s cared most about them from the very start.
Neither should working class Americans, the families whose kids get sent to our forever wars, believe Trump gives a damn about them. He’s a spoiled rich kid with a joystick, and he’s going to get our sons and daughters killed if someone doesn’t stop him.
Iran will play the long game. Expect things to ratchet up soon.
There’s one silver lining amidst these dark clouds. People are waking up. If Trump thought this was going to help his impeachment trial, he appears to be sadly mistaken. He may survive conviction by the Senate, but he’s all but ensured he’ll lose the working class vote this November.
Without them, he’ll lose, badly.