The decision to kill the high ranking Iranian official continues America’s ill-fated history with Tehran.
Tensions between the United States and Iran have escalated in the past month towards the point of war, only to cool down again before a breaking point.
This spike in international tensions all started on Friday, Jan. 3, when the United States Military launched an airborne missile attack on Baghdad’s International Airport in order to kill Qassim Suleimani, a top-ranking Iranian Military official. Suleimani was a diplomat and the head of the Quds Force, a powerful paramilitary fighting force in the region. This decision, though not without its apologists, was criticized by various figures in the international community for being a senseless provocation of Iran. The U.S. had wanted to kill Soleimani for a long time, believing him to be responsible for an attack in the Middle East that killed one American and injured four others. Iran, however, sees Suleimani as a hero who helped fight extremist groups like IS in the region.
Suleimani was one of the most powerful and beloved figures in Iran, meaning that his killing couldn’t come without retaliation. Iran recently struck back by firing missiles at U.S. bases in the region, though without American fatalities. It’s thought that Iran didn’t actually want to kill anybody with these strikes, since that in itself could give the U.S. and President Trump just cause for war.
Thankfully, tensions have since decreased, leading many to write this off as just another diplomatic incident. But with this being the second close call for a U.S.-Iran war in the last year — the other being an incident caused by a U.S. drone that was shot down in the Strait of Hormuz — many are worried that it’s only a matter of time before one of the two countries crosses the line. That’s why it is now more important than ever that Americans support anti-interventionist policies in the federal government.
It goes without saying that a war with Iran would be disastrous for America in every way possible. Iran is not as mighty as Uncle Sam, but they are not a pushover either. They have the world’s eighth largest army based on active personnel, and they feel wronged, too. It would not be as easy as one would think to capture Tehran and plant the American flag there, and if we did, we would likely face the same steadfast guerilla insurgency that drained morale and pocketbooks, just like the wars in both Vietnam and Iraq. Additionally, Americans would be faced with their own aggressiveness, as this would be the sixth regime change war the U.S. would have to fight in the Middle East in this century alone. Yikes!
Plus, we already went into Iran and overthrew their government back in 1953. Back then, Iran had a democratically elected leader and a strong economy. But all that changed when Teddy Roosevelt’s grandson Kermit organized a coup d’etat with the help of the CIA and the BP Oil Company (Author’s Note: No, that last passage is not made up). This was the first time in American history that we waged a regime change war, and we would go on to do it again in Iraq in 2003. That, as you might know, was a disaster. So why then, would we risk provoking another disaster by killing a state-sponsored military leader?
Do the people who plan these bogus kinds of wars think everything will magically work out in the end? The Iraq war killed 4,500 Americans and cost $2.4 trillion and counting. A war with Iran would probably cost even more. And over what? To kill a man who carried out extraterritorial, clandestine military operations? We literally had to carry out an extraterritorial, clandestine operation to kill Soleimani. Where is the high ground in that?
I would like to play a game with you. It’s called: “How would you feel if it were done to you?” Don’t wanna play this game? Don’t worry, it’s really very easy. All you have to do is imagine that the U.S. Joint Chief of Staff was in Canada on Official state diplomacy, only to be killed by a bomb while at Toronto’s International Airport. And while you’re at it, also imagine that the same country that killed your Chief of Staff also toppled the leader your country chose in the past, and appointed a different leader – who was more in tune with their economic interests – without asking you. Would you want revenge against this country for violating your sovereignty? Congratulations, you win the game! Your reward: an increased understanding of how Iranians must feel.
As things move forward, there will probably be increased sanctions against Iran, which will hurt their economy and make them bitter, and deep distrust on both sides. Because of this, it’s not hard to imagine that it could only take one more skirmish to break the camel’s back. That’s why Americans should push for the adoption of non-interventionist foreign policies, policies that will prevent an international crisis such as this one from ever taking place before it can spark a war.
What better time is there to push for said policies than with a presidential election on the horizon? Hopefully one of the two candidates will be tangibly anti-war, and if they are, you should vote for them. Because the next $2.4 trillion that is spent on the Military Industrial Complex should instead be spent on you.