Well, major escalation at any rate. The New York Times tries to walk it back in a pro forma attempt to identify the aggressor. They get an “A” for effort, but “How did the confrontation escalate?” is not an answer to “Who initiated the aggression?”or “Who, if anyone, is the aggressor?” I discussed that issue here a few months ago. It’s come up here as well. (And here: Vicente Medina’s response to me.) I’m inclined to think that we’re the aggressor.
Here, by the way, is the Trump Administration’s idea of the case for war. Impressive, isn’t it? Reminder: the Iraqis danced a bit when we invaded Iraq, too. That was back in 2003, in case you’ve forgotten. The dancing didn’t last long; people found it hard to dance their way through the civil war that followed the invasion. Rest assured that some of the same people will dance on our graves when we finally prepare to leave the region. But never mind: I don’t at this point expect Secretary Pompeo to understand what would induce us to dance in the streets. No man can serve two masters.
A few relevant anti-war posts from PoT: one on the Gulf of Oman crisis this past summer (a slightly more distant instance of escalation); one on what we’re supposed to have learned from the Afghan War; one on what we’re supposed to have learned from our experience with wars generally; and one on complicity in and dissent against one’s nation’s wars. Feel free to add some more to the combox, if you feel inclined. (Anything relevant is fine, pro- or anti-war. I doubt I’ll have any sympathy for the former, but I enjoy the challenge of trying to figure out what the other side is thinking.)
There’s no way I will be able to keep up with the twists and turns of our leaders’ drive toward war (if that’s what this is). Suffice it to say that I’m against any such move toward war, and encourage anyone who agrees with me to make their sentiments known by the loudest and most effective means at their disposal.
As I was saying, there’s no feasible way of keeping track of the relentless bullshit artistry of political leaders bent on having a war. And hyper-conscientiousness aside, there’s no reason to. Once a regime engages in blatant gaslighting of this sort, it forfeits its right to be believed.
Here, for whatever it’s worth, is the text of a letter I sent to Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ, 7th district), and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), neither of whom had (or has) issued statements on the Iran crisis. Meanwhile, Cory Booker issued a non-committal statement yesterday, focused entirely on procedural matters. Now that the Democrats confront a matter of substance unrelated to impeachment, they find themselves eagerly interested in procedural matters–the maneuver they find so objectionable in the Republicans during the impeachment hearing. Procedure is a wonderful thing, but fixating on it to the exclusion of substance suggests that you have nothing in particular to say about substance–which is less than we deserve when war looms.
I’m writing to inquire about your views on the Trump Administration’s recent military escalation with Iran in Iraq. As someone who strongly opposes both the escalation and the prospect of war, it seems crucial that our elected leaders take a public position on the matter before we’re told (as we’re already being told) that it’s either “too late” or “too early” to register dissent. If you are skeptical of the need for war, or against it, the time to make that view known is now, when there is still some possibility of averting all-out war. The Administration can only be deterred by the knowledge that the American people are not with them. If we “unite behind our troops,” we are uniting behind war.
The hard truth is that we, not the Iranians, are the aggressors in this conflict. The Trump Administration’s unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, and its subsequent imposition of sanctions on that country, constitute the initiation of force that led us to our current predicament. I voted Democratic in the last several elections partly on the assumption that Democrats were more likely than Republicans to oppose continued military intervention around the globe. It’s not clear to me that my assumption has been borne out by evidence. How I vote in the next election turns on whether or not it is.
I look forward to your response.