So a few days ago, on my Facebook page “Politics Hawai‘i with Stan Fichtman”, I posted an article by CNBC, outlining how the order came down to take out Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani, by a US drone. It talked about the conversations made to the President, Donald Trump, by advisers who, at Mar-A-Lago, presented options to the President in response to Iranian attacks in the Green Zone in Baghdad.
One of the things that the article said was that, within the list of options presented, one of them was the assassination of this Iranian Major General. It was said in the article that this was the “most extreme” reaction that the President had as an option, among others.
Wait, so there was an option, a viable option, presented to the President of the United States to assassinate a member of the Government of Iran, a sovereign nation? Let that sink in for a second.
For a long time, the United States has differentiated who it went after when it came to targeted individuals. When it came to people like Osama Bin Laden and ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the veneer of them being “state agents” didn’t exist. They were nothing more than violent rebels that the United States targeted, and took their shot without worry.
In this case, here, the President and his advisers decided that a governmental leader of a sovereign state should be downgraded to the same level as the violent rebel, and treated as such. Needless to say, as a scholar of traditional political science, the fact that the Untied States at this current time has taken this step is quite surprising.
The reason I say that is because for many years during the cold war, the United States would be a major player in the “taking out” if you will of sovereign leaders and their people. From President Allende of Chile in 1973 (the Central Intelligence Agency (“CIA”) backed that one) to the 1963 South Vietnamese coup that took out President Ngô Đình Diệm, again with CIA oversight but all linked to the desires of the administration at the time.
After these events, and a few more, scrutiny and criticism of these actions led the United States Congress to tell the President that it didn’t want the country to be in the business of killing off governmental leaders in other sovereign countries. After all, if we went and took out any bad guy we wanted to, even if they ran a legitimately recognized country, we could be seeing the same activity happen on our shores, with international players assassinating our leaders.
So, despite this logical equivalency of “if you take out mine, we can take our yours” as the justification for not killing off governmental leaders in countries we don’t like, has the United States decided, still, to re-engage in this activity?
It is my
hope that we have not. Going back to the aides that provided the President the
option to kill Soleimani as an option to respond to Iranian action in Baghdad,
I cite a quote from the 1979 movie “Time After Time”. HG Welles, played by Malcolm McDowell, says to
Amy Robbins (Mary Steenburgen) says “The first man to raise a fist is the man
who’s run out of ideas.”
Did the aides giving this recommendation to the President do this because they have run out of ideas? I really hope not, for the sake of this country.