OPINION: Trump and Iran

Shams Mustafa Columnist

Like most Republicans, Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times that justifies President Donald Trump’s action in terminating the Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani. But Trump is not God to decide who should live and who should not.

Republicans want us to cheer on Trump like a superhero for killing the vicious mastermind Soleimani and saving the world from his brutality. 

The story began when a rocket by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps killed a U.S. contractor and wounded another. There is no doubt that the U.S has the right to defend and avenge its citizens. The U.S. responded by striking five facilities in Iraq and Syria linked to Iranian militia and killed at least 25 people, CNN reported.

But that didn’t seem to be enough. Trump ordered a strike to terminate Soleimani protestors attacked the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. There was no report of any injuries, so what was the reason behind this move?

By using the fear strategy, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on CNN the reason was to disrupt an “imminent attack” from the top Iranian commander that could have cost American lives in the Middle East. However, Pompeo failed to give any further explanation: “I can’t talk too much about the nature of the threats. But the American people should know that the president’s decision to remove Soleimani from the battlefield saved American lives,” Pompeo said on CNN.

It is not a surprise that Trump acted fast to take revenge for an American citizen living abroad, but it is shocking that he fails in protecting American children from active shooters and protecting malls and houses of worship. There are also American people who need to feel safe in their country and need quick action for gun ownership.

In a YouTube video posted to MSNBC’s channel in 2011, Trump claimed former President Barack Obama would start a war with Iran to increase his chances of being re-elected because “Obama is weak and can’t negotiate with Iran.”

“He’ll start a war, you know, lives will be wasted for no reason,” Trump said about Obama in 2011. 

But now Trump is using the same strategy to start a war before his impeachment trial, because he knows impeachment means he will be gone forever and his sham of a legacy won’t be mentioned in history books.

Unfortunately, the consequences are the same: fathers, brothers and sons will waste their lives for another rich man’s war.

Thousands of soldiers died in Afghanistan and Iraq and others returned home with either physical disabilities or mental disorders and yet Trump is sending more to be killed. Over 3,500 soldiers were deployed to the Middle East after the incident, including Kuwait, Syria and Iraq. 

Officials claim the American forces are in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi government. Now, this may be true, but this government was already there because of the U.S. support; they will agree with anything that Trump says only to keep their seats in the government.

When it comes to the people it’s different and that’s what led to the U.S. Embassy attack. Let me put this straight as a person who is from the Middle East: there is no single person who would accept any military interference in their country from another foreign country, especially when there was a history of war. 

There is no doubt that Soleimani was a brutal killer. He killed more Middle Easterners than Americans and his assassination was a relief to many, but that doesn’t give Trump the right to decide to terminate a person.

Contact Shams Mustafa at [email protected].