By Tom H. Hastings
Trump is blustering at Iran and to the world that we might just need to crush that pipsqueak terror country.
Um … it took nine years to invade, occupy and finally limp out of Iraq, 288,000 Iraqi and American deaths later. Iraq is a third the population of Iran. War there would be many times more destructive, just when we need the militaries of the world to wake up to climate chaos and stop consuming vast quantities of fossil fuel.
Let’s also recall that the invasion of Iraq was only sold to the American people by the creation of Fake News, by the incessant repetition of two categorical lies: 1) Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, 2) Saddam might give one or more of his nuclear weapons to Osama bin Laden.
Why is Trump doing this now? Is this drumbeat also based on lies?
Well, to misquote Mae West, “Is that a subpoena in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?”
Trump’s coterie, his closest, his family and his henchpeople are either in prison, heading there once they are through cooperating with prosecutors or special counsel, or about to get a congressional force-of-law subpoena to come testify and/or hand over germane documents. The stench of corruption is revealing that Trump’s promised plan to “drain the swamp” worked only because he brought in a cesspool with which to replace it.
More from Trump’s inner circle have traded their charcoal Brooks Brothers power suits for orange jumpsuits as more evidence comes to light. More than 200 separate criminal charges have already been filed just in the Mueller investigation against several entities and at least 34 individuals associated with Trump’s campaign or his administration.
The protracted and determined effort to get Trump’s tax returns is also proceeding with force of law and virtually all his financial dealings — personal, family “charity,” campaign, inaugural committee, business entities — are being revealed as corrupt, illegal, cheating and often literally bankrupt. His horde of lawyers are suing everyone they can think of — Deutsche Bank, Capital One, Mazars, House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings — in a flustered attempt to contain each damning revelation.
We are reminded now on a daily basis of Trump’s declaration that he could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and not lose any voters. He’s stonewalling every congressional subpoena and refusing to allow anyone to answer any of those subpoenas to come testify and answer questions by any congressional committees. What’s next for this wannabe monarch? Declare Divine Right? Summary executions? Jus primae noctis?
Even Richard Nixon, in his worst criminal noncooperative period, didn’t go as far as Trump is now, desperate to prevent any truth at all from reaching the American people.
We deserve to know what Trump and his people did during the 2016 election; we deserve to know what the Russians have on Trump and his people that allowed them to exert so much leverage on Trump then and now; we deserve to know just how many election and financial and national security laws Trump violated then and now.
Instead, it’s “wag the dog” time; scream bloody hell about Iran, let loose the dogs of war under kennel master John Bolton and dictator whisperer Mike Pompeo and leap around madly, hoping to distract us all, even if it takes another war of choice based on lies in the Middle East, even if it credibly threatens millions of human lives, even if it consumes literally billions of gallons of absolutely unnecessary fossil fuel by naval battle groups already on their way and thousands of provocative military jet flights taunting and then possibly attacking Iran.
Will we fall for this move? Will Trump attempt to do what so many autocrats have done when they feel imperiled by popular disapproval and launch a war, initiated by a false flag operation or concocted, false intelligence reports?
Will we the American people insist on justice and defense of democracy or will we sit back and take more of this abuse?
Tom H. Hastings is the director of Peacevoice, a project of the Oregon Peace Institute.