Trump’s stupid, arrogant, unauthorized execution of Iran’s General Qassem Soleimani has been rightly denounced as a wildly reckless act of state terror, a capricious “lighting a match on a powder keg” and blundering into “a crisis of his own making” that represents “foreign policy as performance art, devoid of strategic logic or purpose.” The early-morning assassination of Soleimani, powerful head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds Force supporting Iranian allies in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and beyond, didn’t just kill a top-ranking general in a sovereign country we’re not at war with. It also killed Iran’s most popular political icon of national resistance to America’s decades of meddling in the region – one who, ironically, had spent much of his time recently, reportedly effectively fighting ISIS. Still, he remained a figure hated by U.S. hawks for arming insurgents who fought the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and loved enough by Iranians that both Bush and Obama, who had opportunities to kill Soleimani, declined to do so.
Lacking such (relative) restraint or virtually any strategic understanding – says one U.S. analyst, “We’re playing checkers. The Iranians are playing chess” – Trump has bumbled his way into an escalation that could prove disastrous on all sides. Experts say it will give a lifeline to Iran’s leaders and allies by sparking nationalist fervor, increase their influence in Iraq, risk bloody reprisals against Americans, launch yet another intractable war, or some grim combination of them all. Trump – who until recently had never heard of Soleimani or the Quds – committed his idiotic crime in his usually conscientious way: On vacation, without national security processes in place, surrounded by “the yes men and nodding dogs that now constitute his inner team,” coyly boasting to golf-course hangers-on and his moron son but not telling top Dems, announcing it with bad cheap clip art – Samantha Power: “A flag is not a strategy” – lying about the why and how of it, and remaining dumbly, stubbornly senseless of the broader repercussions facing millions of innocent people.
Still, “Don’t worry!” urges Alexandra Petri in her bleakly comic take on the murderous Clown-In-Chief. “This is Donald Trump we are talking about,” she notes. “Surely Donald Trump would not have taken such an action without fully thinking through all of its possible consequences. Donald Trump does not just do things.” She hopefully adds that of course the guy who put Jared in charge of the Middle East wouldn’t now be “just flailing haplessly around,” even if the official statement about the extra-judicial killing of Soleimani did get the name of his organization wrong. “He is surrounded by the best people,” she writes. “He does not randomly turn on the TV and implement whatever the blondest man suggests (and he) understands the cost of war,” which is why he personally intervened to clear a sociopathic Navy SEAL so he could sell “KILL BAD DUDES”-themed merch. “Who better than Donald Trump to lead us,” she mordantly concludes, “with his keen sense of history and equally keen sense of reality?”
More bitterly yet, Ryan Cooper calls out the bottomless hypocrisy of war hawks celebrating their recent kill in the searing piece, “America Is Guilty of Everything We Accuse Iran of Doing.” Despite the right’s myth “the American military is composed of saintly warrior-poets,” he writes, “The truth is that Soleimani was not all that different from any of about five dozen current and former American politicians,” including the blood-drenched likes of Kissinger, Bush, Cheney, Petraeus. Yes, Soleimani killed many people directly or indirectly, but over half the wars he fought in were started or fueled by a “lumbering American colossus” that unleashed “decades of pointless atrocities” across the region. The “perfect capstone” to that violent chaos was Soleimani’s murder by drone at a U.S.-funded civilian airport – “a robot plus a gamer in a box 10,000 miles away vaporizing somebody who can’t defend themselves.” “If any accused war criminal at an airport is fair game,” he warns, “there are a lot of people in D.C. and Northern Virginia who better start traveling by train or ship.” The U.S. has yet to “pay for its imperial hubris.” But hundreds of thousands of Iranians have now taken to the streets to rage, weep, mourn what is now the martyr Soleimani, and vow to take revenge against America, “the Great Satan.” Who can blame them?