Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 9 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 1/13/20

Death by Illogic, Lies and Stupidity

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages) (View How Many People Read This)   1 comment
Author 79840
Message Lawrence Davidson
Become a Fan
  (14 fans)

From To The POint Analyses

.Death to America. chant mourners in Tehran after Qassim Soleimani assassination ordered by Trump.
.Death to America. chant mourners in Tehran after Qassim Soleimani assassination ordered by Trump.
(Image by YouTube, Channel: The Telegraph)
  Details   DMCA

Part I -- The Back Story: The Need for Distraction

Donald Trump continues to be under fire. He has been impeached for a gross abuse of power: attempting to blackmail the Ukrainian government into libeling his likely 2020 Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, with allegations of corruption. To induce the Ukrainians to do this, Trump ordered the withholding of military aid. This was an illegal act. When a congressional investigation followed, Trump and his rather clownish minions in Congress tried to obstruct it. This constituted yet another impeachable offense.

There is an old adage: when a leader is in trouble domestically, the thing to do is start a crisis in the field of foreign policy, and this is what Trump proceeded to do. On 3 January 2020, Trump personally ordered the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani -- which, by the way, may well have been unconstitutional because it was done without prior consultation with Congress. Soleimani, who was the head of Iran's elite Quds Force, was killed by a US drone attack at the Baghdad International Airport. At the time, he was carrying the Iranian reply to a Saudi request for talks aimed at reducing tensions in the region. Reportedly, Trump himself had encouraged this contact.

The rhetorical firestorm that immediately followed this attack brought predictions of World War III and, of course, overshadowed the impeachment crisis. However, it did put Trump in a position of having to make up all manner of rationalizations for what was, after all, blatant murder (aka a "targeted killing"). Those rationalizations came in two interrelated forms: illogic and lies.

Part II -- Illogic and Lies: "We Did It to Stop a War."

General Soleimani was one of Iran's top military commanders. Assassinating him was the equivalent of Iran's killing a member of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. The comparison gives one the sense of the audacity of Trump's act. Soleimani was also the most effective military strategist in the war against the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS. He, along with elements of the Iraqi Shia militias, also stood against the military presence of the United States in the region -- a presence originally established through George W. Bush's illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003. Soleimani's role in this resistance led to charges that he was a terrorist (anyone who opposes U.S. policies in the region is ipso facto a terrorist or supporter of terrorism).

A contrasting picture was offered by Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, a national security, intelligence and terrorism analyst: "He [Soleimani] has been in combat his entire life. His soldiers love him. He's a quiet, charismatic guy, a strategic genius and a tactical operator. These are all the kind of things, looking at him from the enemy's perspective, [that] are going to create a great deal of angst in this part of the world."

Oblivious to other people's angst, Trump immediately put out the claim that Soleimani was responsible for the deaths of "thousands" of Americans and was planning "imminent" new attacks on American soldiers and diplomats. These claims, for which the White House refused to give evidence -- conveniently claiming it was classified -- were at best exaggerations and at worst outright lies.

The claim that General Soleimani was a dangerous terrorist was picked up by the American press and soon formed the basis for more administration lies. The first of these was that t he general's murder was committed in order to stop a war and not to start one. It is probably true that Trump was not looking to start a war, but rather to provide a distraction from his domestic troubles. Nevertheless, the claim that he sought to stop a war belied the fact that Soleimani was carrying proposals that may have led to a reduction in tensions -- and that Trump was aware of this.

Thus, the president's deceitful claim made no sense -- it was illogical. The second lie was the related claim made by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who had reportedly urged Soleimani's murder, that the assassination of Soleimani made the Middle East safer for Americans. He made this claim at the same time that Americans were being urged by the State Department to evacuate Iraq, and Iran was throwing off the last remnants of the nuclear treaty Donald Trump had overthrown upon coming to office.

The illogic was pushed further by Pompeo, who went on to claim that the murder demonstrated that the U.S. was committed to "de-escalation." However, if the Iranians have the audacity to respond, the U.S. will escalate. It is at this point that Trump made the threat to attack 52 Iranian targets among which are the country's cultural sites. Trump seemed totally unaware of the fact that attacking cultural sites violated the 1954 Hague Convention on the protection of cultural property and thus would constitute a war crime.

On 5 January 2020, the Iraqi Parliament voted to set a timeline for the removal of all foreign troops, which meant principally the 5,000 U.S. troops now in the country. This upset Trump, who immediately announced that he would put significant sanctions on Iraq if they did so, and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper proclaimed that the U.S. had no intention of leaving Iraq. He said the Trump administration "remains committed to the campaign to defeat the Islamic State group in Iraq and the region." The meaningfulness of such a statement, coming on the heels of the administration's murder of the most effective strategist in the fight against ISIS, seems in doubt.

Part III -- American Reactions: Fear and Gullible

The picture of General Soleimani as a terrorist, responsible for killing and maiming Americans was accepted by most of the American public, including those who had served and been injured in Iraq. This was due to much of the media's over-cautious and un-analytical reporting of Washington's claims, even though those claims came from known liars. This was a practice many U.S. media corporations swore never to repeat after the debacle of Vietnam and invasion of Iraq under George W. Bush. This obsequiousness even reached the level of "how to talk to kids about the situation with Iran." Time magazine's children's edition, Time for Kids, offered an essay on this subject that turned out to be little more than a compendium of administration assertions.

Next Page  1  |  2


Rate It | View Ratings

Lawrence Davidson Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Lawrence Davidson is a history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He is the author of Foreign
Policy Inc.: Privatizing America's National Interest
; America's
Palestine: Popular and Offical Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli
; and Islamic Fundamentalism. His academic work is focused on the history of American foreign relations with the Middle East. He also teaches courses in the history of science and modern European intellectual history.

His blog To The Point Analyses now has its own Facebook page. Along with the analyses, the Facebook page will also have reviews, pictures, and other analogous material.

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Domestic Terrorism American Style -- An Analysis

Nationalism vs. Capitalism: Guess Which One Wins?

Who is Right in Syria?

Australia and the Fight for Justice in Palestine

More On Savage Israel -- An Analysis

Global Warming Revisited: Reality vs Republican Theology

Comments Image Post Article Comment and Rate This Article

These discussions are not moderated. We rely on users to police themselves, and flag inappropriate comments and behavior. In accordance with our Guidelines and Policies, we reserve the right to remove any post at any time for any reason, and will restrict access of registered users who repeatedly violate our terms.

  • OpEdNews welcomes lively, CIVIL discourse. Personal attacks and/or hate speech are not tolerated and may result in banning.
  • Comments should relate to the content above. Irrelevant, off-topic comments are a distraction, and will be removed.
  • By submitting this comment, you agree to all OpEdNews rules, guidelines and policies.

Comment Here:   

You can enter 2000 characters. To remove limit, please click here.

Please login or register. Afterwards, your comment will be published.


Forgot your password? Click here and we will send an email to the address you used when you registered.
First Name
Last Name

I am at least 16 years of age
(make sure username & password are filled in. Note that username must be an email address.)

1 people are discussing this page, with 1 comments  Post Comment

John Rachel

Become a Fan
Author 66223
Follow Me on Twitter (Member since Jun 2, 2011), 43 fans, 77 articles, 3568 comments, 2 diaries (How many times has this commenter been recommended?)
Not paid member although Facebook page url on login Profile is filled in Not paid member although Twitter page url on login Profile is filled in Not paid member although Linkedin page url on login Profile is filled in Not paid member although Instagram page url on login Profile is filled in

  New Content

OMG! ... the POTUS did something which may be unconstitutional? Holy moly!

But let's not forget ... we abetted the imperial presidency by electing spineless blowhards to Congress, pathetic lapdogs to the ruling elite and Deep State who gladly duck their responsibilities and abdicate their constitutional role.

We only have ourselves to blame.

Submitted on Monday, Jan 13, 2020 at 10:26:28 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
  Recommend  (2+)

Want to post your own comment on this Article? Post Comment