The Trump regime is attempting to gin up a war with Iran. First Trump reneged on Obama's nuclear deal with the country for no reason, then he slapped them with more economic sanctions for no reason, and then, pushed by National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, he moved massive military forces onto Iran's doorstep to heighten tensions further. Now, after a series of attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman — none of which were American—that the administration blames on Iran, Pompeo says the U.S. is "considering a full range of options," including war. (Iran has categorically denied any involvement.)
The American people appear largely uninterested in this idea. But unless some real mass pressure is mounted against it, there is a good chance Trump will launch the U.S. into another pointless, disastrous war.
The New York Times' Bret Stephens, for all his #NeverTrump pretensions, provides a good window into the absolute witlessness of the pro-war argument. He takes largely at face value the Trump administration's accusations against Iran—"Trump might be a liar, but the U.S. military isn't," he writes—and blithely suggests Trump should announce an ultimatum demanding further attacks cease, then sink Iran's navy if they don't comply.
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Let me take these in turn. For one thing, any statement of any kind coming out of a Republican's mouth should be viewed with extreme suspicion. Two years ago, the party passed a gigantic tax cut for the rich which they swore up and down would "pay for itself" with increased growth. To precisely no one's surprise, this did not happen. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) was just one flagrant example of many who got elected in 2016 while lying through their teeth about their party's efforts to destroy ObamaCare and its protections for preexisting conditions. At time of writing, the Washington Post has counted 10,796 false or misleading claims from Trump himself since taking office. Abject up-is-down lying is basically the sine qua non of modern conservative politics.
Republican accusations of foreign aggression should be subjected to an even higher burden of proof. The Trump regime has provided no evidence of Iranian culpability aside from a video of a ship the Pentagon says is Iranians removing something they say is a mine from an oil tanker—but a Japanese ship owner reported at least one attack came from a "flying object," not a mine. Pompeo insists "there is no doubt" that Iran carried out the attacks — the exact same words that Vice President Dick Cheney said in 2002 about Saddam Hussein's possession of weapons of mass destruction and his intention to use them on the United States, neither of which were true. (This is no doubt why several U.S. allies reacted skeptically to Trump's claims.)
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