For those of you too young to remember, the Iraq War – now considered at the very least a mistake by just about everyone – was justified at the time with propaganda including the following:
1. A preposterous claim Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11
2. Claims Saddam had “weapons of mass destruction” and was planning “imminent attacks” on the US that could occur “within 45 minutes” (BTW, the definition of “imminent” has been greatly expanded since then)
3. Claims the Iraqi people would thank us for the invasion, later supported by laughable tight shots of a few dozen people (in a city of about 8 million) supposedly celebrating the arrival of US troops in Baghdad.
Like all those 1950s movies about nuclear missile testing creating giant monsters to destroy American cities (a giant octopus, giant ants, a giant lizard, etc), the DC empire simply dusts off the same, tired old script, changing only the names and places. And Americans flock to the ticket booth; then chant USA! USA! all the way to their seats.
This time around, we have Pence claiming Soleimani was involved in 9/11, Pompeo saying the Iraqi and Iranian governments will be upset but the people will thank us (take a look at some pictures of Soleimani’s funeral), and the persistent, decades-old claim Iran is just months away from developing a nuclear weapon.
The United States has not had a war on its soil since 1865. While that is a good thing in and of itself, it seems to have produced generations of Americans who require virtually no justification to support yet another war on somebody else’s soil.
Donald Trump was supposedly elected to end “endless wars.” His destruction of Jeb Bush in a South Carolina debate and subsequent win in its primary was one of the most extraordinary moments of his candidacy. So, why aren’t his supporters holding his feet to the fire as he morphs into George W. Bush? Could it be he was elected in spite of, rather than because of, his sincere-at-the-time promise of a less interventionist foreign policy? Perhaps Trump’s voters elected him purely based on his mercantilist economic and hardline immigration rhetoric, with foreign policy being a non-issue for most. It’s hard to find evidence to the contrary.
And why the seeming abandonment of that “America First” foreign policy (which was itself riddled with wiggle room) by The Donald himself? Is it possible that the Lindsey Grahams of the Republican Party, while no longer in the majority (or are they?), nevertheless represent enough votes in the Senate to join with Democrats in removing him from office and are using that leverage to bend Trump to their will?
That certainly seems more plausible than the monster movie script.
Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.