Two things happened yesterday of enormous consequence.
First, it was confirmed late last night that the most revered military leader in Iran, General Suleimani, was killed by a US drone strike at the Baghdad airport in Iraq. He was killed along with several other top regional military leaders, and his death sent shock waves through the Iranian leadership in Tehran. It’s akin to a drone strike killing our Secretary of Defense or the Chairman of our Joint Chiefs of Staff. Suleimani was a revolutionary war hero and one of the most popular military figures in Iran. Bush and Obama both declined to take out Suleimani. Trump ordered the hit, perhaps in retaliation for the assault by an Iranian-backed militia on the US Embassy in Iraq. But regardless, the hit will escalate hostility between the US and Iran–with possibly catastrophic consequences. Iran’s supreme leader warned that “a harsh retaliation is waiting.”
Many Middle East experts were highly concerned, including journalist Peter Beinart, who called the hit “the single most reckless act of American foreign policy since the Iraq war.” And from conservative Joe Scarborough, “a Middle East official told me tonight that this is the single most significant event in the Middle East since the US invaded Iraq.” Speaker Pelosi issued a statement: “The Administration has conducted tonight’s strikes…without an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Iran. Further, this action was taken without the consultation of Congress. The full Congress must be immediately briefed on this serious situation.”
It will surely be a fraught and terrifying time to be an American citizen in Iraq, especially in and around the embassy, as well as the broader region. Trump’s cult have already been celebrating the assassination, but it’s reasonable to wonder if Trump is trying to start a war with Iran to distract from his impeachment and the recent document releases that further implicate him in an abuse of power. Activists must be ready to mobilize if Trump approaches Congress for explicit war authorization, or especially if Trump tries to move further toward war without authorization. We can’t let the liar who campaigned on “no more foreign wars” drag us into a disastrous conflict for any reason, much less as a diversion from his abuses of power.
For more background on Suleimani, expert Dexter Filkins published an extensive profile in the New Yorker back in 2013:
The oil markets were spiking last night in response to this news, and it’s likely that the equity markets will hate this news as well.
Closer to home, the Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in March on the constitutionality of Louisiana’s recent abortion law requiring abortion clinic doctors to have admitting privileges at local hospitals. House and Senate Republicans yesterday sent a brief to the Court calling on the Justices to reconsider Roe v. Wade, claiming “the unworkability of the ‘right to abortion’ found in Roe and the need for the Court to take up the issue of whether Roe and Casey should be reconsidered and, if appropriate, overruled.” The Supreme Court now includes conservative partisans Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, who seem clearly committed to overturning Roe v. Wade either directly or by chipping away at it until it’s effectively gutted. Republicans blather about liberty, but there’s nothing more antithetical to liberty than controlling women’s bodies. Republicans argue that their anti-abortion fervor arises from a concern for babies, but zygotes and embryos are neither babies nor people.
So much is at stake in the upcoming election.
Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.” Or as a recent Facebook meme put it, “Flush the Turd on November Third.”
Have a safe and restful weekend.