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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Mageau again tries to defend the indefensible

Argues that no one should criticize Trump for pushing the US toward war with Iran
By Will Collette

Charlestown’s preeminent historian, political scientist and seer James Mageau wrote yet another letter to the Westerly Sun, this time to lambast anyone who would dare criticize Donald Trump’s unilateral decision to assassinate Iran’s top general.

The drone killing of General Qassem Soleimani on January 3, took the US campaign against Iran to a new level. 

The US and Iran have been enemies since the 1979 Iran hostage taking crisis though never actually at war even after the US shot down an Iranian passenger jet in July 1988 killing 290 people.

Until Trump came along, the United States and other world powers had reached a state of relative albeit nervous peace with Iran after the 2015 signing of an agreement that halted Iran’s march toward acquiring nuclear weapons. The deal was signed by China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States, and Germany together with the European Union.

According to our allies and the international arms inspectors who went on-site, Iran was abiding by the terms of the agreement to take no action to build nuclear weapons. Nonetheless, Trump decided the US would pull out of the agreement largely because Trump cannot tolerate (or is it “toleride?) any policy that bore President Barack Obama’s name.

Since Trump’s sabotage of Iran nuclear deal, it’s been all downhill as fighting has intensified all across the Middle East from Yemen to Syria mostly involving groups backed variously by the U.S., Russia, China and Iran. Turkey has gotten into the act after Trump sold out the Kurds, our best allies in the fight against ISIS.

Image result for soleimani body on fire
Fox News
Soleimani’s job was to coordinate Iran’s side in all these conflicts similar to the way the US Central Command coordinates US troops and forces backed by the US.

In no way do I praise Soleimani who by all accounts directed countless attacks – including acts of terror – against US interests and US citizens.

But I do criticize Trump’s decision to escalate and to push us closer toward war against Iran with no sign of any planning, forethought, intelligence or consultation. 

I do criticize the complete lack of evidence that Soleimani posed such an imminent threat that we needed to risk war to take him out. I do criticize Trump’s constantly changing story about why he did it. Even his own top officials can’t back him up as he pulls new rationales out of his butt.

Trump's story changes from day to day. One day, he says Iran was going to hit four US embassies. His Secretary of Defense says he saw no such intelligence...and no embassies were notified

Then Trump says, finally, "It doesn't really matter" after apparently running out of stories to tell.

Here is Mageau's letter to the editor with my comments in Bold Red.

By James M. Mageau, Jan 8, 2020 

At Westerly High School in the late 1950s during one of our classes, I remember being taught that all of the American embassies around the world were sovereign to the United States. Later while serving in South Korea in the U.S Army, we learned that our embassy there was to be protected like it was located in the United States.

Well, Jim, you were taught wrong. While embassies are protected by international law (especially the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 1961), the land on which the embassy sits still belongs to the host nation. 

The US follows the precedent set by the 1983 US Court of Appeals ruling in McKeel v. the Islamic Republic of Iran that “A United States embassy remains the territory of the receiving state, and does not constitute territory of the United States.”

Now comes [SIC] the attacks on President Trump for the military strike that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani at the Bagdad [SIC] International Airport in Iraq. The loons that are complaining are among the same left-wing radicals who shouted from the rooftops in praise of President Obama after he authorized the successful secret invasion of Pakistan (without Pakistan’s approval) to kill Osama bin laden [SIC].

Actually Jim, the complaints came from members of Congress (both parties), military and diplomatic leaders (active and retired), our allies and more.

Trump was criticized for the usual misdeeds: no evidence to support the action, no plan, no consultation, no consideration of consequences. The military leaders who put killing Soleimani on the list of executive options did not actually expect Trump to choose that option and were shocked when he did.

Bombing our supposed ally Iraq’s international airport in Baghdad was an act of war on Iraq, as well as our adversary Iran. After the attack, Iraq’s parliament and prime minister have called for all US forces to leave Iraq. Trump says we’re not leaving unless Iraq pays us for our costs in conquering and occupying Iraq.

And, Jim, are you saying that President Obama was wrong to take out Osama bin Laden?

The most despicable criticism comes from the Democrats in Congress. Soleimani was an intelligent terrorist thug who was responsible for murdering thousands of men, women and children, including many Americans, all over the Middle East. He was responsible for the recent attacks in Baghdad that killed an American civilian contractor and wounded four American soldiers. He also orchestrated the recent attack on the American embassy there.

There is no evidence that Soleimani orchestrated the attack on the US embassy in Baghdad. Yes, Soleimani was a bad guy and our enemy, but in Iran, he was also roughly the equivalent of our Chief of Joint Chiefs of Staff. If Iran had taken out our guy, we’d go nuts. 

Soleimani was not immune to attack, but you’d expect such a decision to attack to be carefully planned, and not done in brash, isolated and demented fashion as Trump did.

Our embassy there is the residence of the American ambassador and the property is sovereign to the United States. Any attack on it is tantamount to a direct attack on this country!

See earlier note that Jim is WRONG in characterizing our embassies as sovereign US territory.

In 1980, Ronald Reagan made a secret deal with the Iranians to settle the Iranian Embassy Hostage Crisis, not by going to war but by ultimately making the Iranians key players in the Iran-Contra scandal in 1985. Reagan gave Iran Hawk missiles – ironically, the precursors to those they fired on our air base – and in return, Iran laundered money the Reagan covert team (led by Oliver North) illegally funneled to the Nicaraguan Contras. So much for the sanctity of embassies.

President Trump’s enemies in the Democrat Party and in the press know that! (They don’t because it’s not true.) But because of their hatred of him they call him a warmonger and criticize him for defending Americans. Instead of praising him for ridding the world of a murdering terrorist thug, as they praised President Obama after he had Osama bin Laden killed, they call President Trump a war criminal.

The media and Democrats have been very clear in noting that Soleimani was a bad guy while also noting how flimsy Trump’s rationale is for killing him. It doesn’t help that Trump changes his story almost daily. The evidence mounts that Trump made the decision to kill Soleimani without a plan or forethought or any consultation with anyone other than his inner circle of Yes Men.

All of these fools would like the Democrat nomination to run for President of the United States.
They would be well ahead of the game if they nominated one of the Three Stooges.

I’m not sure what these two sentences mean. It seems like Jim is saying that Democrats would like to see a Democrat win the 2020 election (that’s certainly true). And Jim seems to be comparing whoever becomes the Democratic nominee with the Three Stooges. Let us pause and reflect on the current occupant of the White House, maybe after watching Trump’s addled speech on Iran.