Should The U.S. Be The Globe’s Judge, Jury And Executioner?


By ilana mercer

Qassim Soleimani, an Iranian major general, was assassinated by a U.S. drone air strike, at the Baghdad International Airport (BIAP). Soleimani was traveling with one Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. Al-Muhandis was an Iraqi, born and bred. He was even elected to the Iraqi Parliament, in 2005, until the U.S. intervened. (Yes, we intervene in other nations’ elections.)

Iraq’s caretaker prime minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi, was furious, denouncing “What happened [as] a political assassination.” Unanimously, Iraqi lawmakers “responded to the Soleimani assassination by passing a nonbinding resolution calling on the government to end foreign-troop presence in Iraq.”

Yes, it’s a complicated region. And America, sad to say, still doesn’t know Shia from Shinola.

The consensus in our country is that “Soleimani deserved to die.” That’s the party-line on Fox News—and beyond. It’s how assorted commentators on all networks prefaced their “positions” on the Jan. 3 killing of the Iranian general.

Even Tucker Carlson—the only mainstream hope for Old Right, anti-war, America-First columns like this one—framed the taking out of Soleimani as the killing of a bad guy by good guys:

“There are an awful lot of bad people in this world. We can’t kill them all, it’s not our job.”

However you finesse it, the premise of Tucker’s assertion is that the American government, and the smart set who live in symbiosis with it, gets to adjudicate who’s bad and who’s good in the world.

The debate is only ever over whether the U.S. government should or shouldn’t act on its divine rights as transnational judge, jury and executioner, never over what’s right and what’s wrong.

Stateside, the only inquiry permissible is a cost-benefit calculus. Will the assassination of Soleimani, a military official of a sovereign state, and an avid and effective slayer of Islamic State terrorists—pay strategic dividends for America in the long run?

This is crass pragmatism bereft of principle. It’s currently on display everywhere, even surfacing on BBC News, where a female analyst, an American, was deploying the childish “bad man” meme to outline America’s Disneyfied foreign policy.

This angels-and-demons production always starts with the prototypical evil dictator who was alleged to be messing with his noble people, until the avenging, angelic empire sent a drone to the rescue.

Again, even Tucker, whose antiwar credentials in recent years have been impeccable, conceded that this Soleimani guy probably needed killing, which is the same thing Iraqis old enough to remember America’s destruction of Iraq, circa 2003, would say about President George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld and Ms. Rice.

So, who’s right? Or, is blind patriotism predicated on accepting that it is up to the U.S. government and its ruling elites to determine who lives and who dies around the world?

“Soleimani deserved to die,” an atavistic bit of jingoism, made by Republicans and Democrats alike, on Fox News and on CNN—it holds true only if you believe that the U.S. government is the keeper of the flame of an immutably just, universal code of law, which it is deputized to uphold, wherever it takes-up residence.

Such a chauvinistic impulse is true only if you believe that the U.S. government’s might gives it the right to be universal judge, jury and executioner, deciding who may live and who must die the world over.

As to whether the U.S. government has a right to eliminate an Iranian state actor by declaring him a “terrorist”:

Like it or not, Soleimani was a uniformed official of a sovereign state. He was the equivalent of our Special Operations commander.

We Americans would not tolerate it were Iranians to designate America’s Special Operations commander, Gen. Richard D. Clarke, a terrorist.

Moreover, if Iranians took out America’s Special Ops commander somewhere in North America—which is analogous to the assassination of Soleimani—Americans would consider it an act of war by Iran.

Soleimani was the commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ clandestine and regional operations arm, the Quds Force. Iranians look upon him as we Americans view the commanders of our clandestine Special Operations forces the world over.

With a distinction: Our Special Operations forces and their command encroach on the Iranian neighborhood much more so than Iranians and their special force command encroach on American territory, unless you consider the Middle East to be American turf.

To repeat: The crucial difference between Iran’s Quds Force and America’s Special Operations forces (SOF) is that the former is regional, the latter global.

As I write, America’s SOF, upwards of 8,300 commandos, are engaged in secret operations the world over. Unknown to all but a few Americans, “U.S. commandos deploy to 149 countries—about 75 percent of the nations on the planet,” reports investigative journalist Nick Turse. Expect that by the halfway mark of this year, “U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM or SOCOM), America’s most elite troops, will have already carried out missions in approximately 133 countries.”

“If Iran should not be allowed to interfere in neighboring countries,” pondered Sara, an Iranian mourner interviewed at Soleimani’s million-strong funeral, “why should Americans be allowed to come to our region all the way from the other side of the Earth?”

Correction: Soleimani patrolled only Iran’s very dangerous neighborhood. His mission was far more modest and nationalistic than that of the U.S. government, which bestrides the globe, arming and training foreign troops all over it.

Unlike America’s proxy militias, Iranian proxy militia operate in the region.

As to the “imminent danger” a single individual, Soleimani, was said to pose to “American lives”: Arrayed against the veracity of the intelligence to that effect are Republican Sens. Mike Lee and Rand Paul. They characterized Wednesday’s intel briefing as positively “insulting”; “the worst briefing” they had received.

No wonder. The intelligence was produced and pushed by the same spooks who’ve been agitating against President Trump and all vestiges of his original “America First” plank.

The intel justification for the Soleimani assassination came from the same intelligence community that cooked up the anti-Trump Russia monomania and the WMD-in-Iraq casus belli.  

These disgraced sources now insist that Soleimani was planning future, precision strikes—nefarious atrocities against U.S. soldiers—and, therefore, needed to be dispatched right away.

However, other more credible sources, including Rand Paul’s dad, allude to Soleimani’s involvement in a diplomatic mission which was underway between Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia, and would have cut out the U.S. as middleman.

Skepticism aside, when we accept U.S. state aggression based on iffy, prior-restraint arguments, then aggress we must ad absurdum. Consider: Between 1975 and 2015, Saudi Arabian Sunnis murdered 2369 Americans in the homeland, to Iran’s zero. When it comes to the lives of American civilians, at least in recent decades, the Saudis (Trump’s new BFFs), not the Iranians, have blood on their hands.

Based on the erroneous prior-restraint reasoning, and our putative, divine American rights as judge, jury and executioner—we could confine all Saudi-Arabian Sunnis to camps, for the purpose of “reeducation.” It’s what China is doing to its Muslim minority.

Preposterous!

So as to survive the onslaught of the Sunni fundamentalist majority, the endangered Alawite minority in Syria has formed an alliance with Shia Iran, also a marginalized minority within the Ummah. The Shia-Alawite alliance has been good for Christians in Syria.

But Saudi Arabia doesn’t give a dried camel’s hump about Christians or American casualties. They have managed to skillfully enlist the West in a proxy Sunni-Shia religious war, also Riyadh’s ultimate aim.

Despite a campaign of “America First,” and much like the Bushes and Clintons before him, the president has decided to side with Sunni Islam while demonizing the Shia.

**

Ilana Mercer has been writing a weekly, paleolibertarian column since 1999. She’s the author of Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011) & The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed (June, 2016). She’s on Twitter, Facebook & Gab. Latest on YouTube: “How Democracy Made Us Dumb.

 

2 comments

  • Disappointing – typical cowardly, submissive British response, masochistically kow-towing to one’s stiff upper crust “betters” rather than dare exercise one’s own, presumably limited, peonic judgment.

    Re: “(1.) The debate is only ever over whether the U.S. government should or shouldn’t act on its divine rights as transnational judge, jury and executioner, never over what’s right and what’s wrong. (2.) Stateside, the only inquiry permissible is a cost-benefit calculus. Will the assassination of Soleimani, a military official of a sovereign state, and an avid and effective slayer of Islamic State terrorists—pay strategic dividends for America in the long run? (3.) This is crass pragmatism bereft of principle. It’s currently on display everywhere, even surfacing on BBC News, where a female analyst, an American, was deploying the childish “bad man” meme to outline America’s Disneyfied foreign policy. (4.) This angels-and-demons production always starts with the prototypical evil dictator who was alleged to be messing with his noble people, until the avenging, angelic empire sent a drone to the rescue.”

    Unfortunately, Ilana, your premise is wrong this time.

    The Golden Rule of Law principle most simply defines legal morality as: “Do Not Attack First.” When one chooses to attack first, [much less proclaims one’s divine right to always “pre-emptively, defensively” attack (thereby innocent) other people first] one’s own choice defines one’s self as the predatory criminal aggressor, and they as one’s innocent victims – there’s no two ways about it. And one always maintains a perfectly natural right to defend one’s self and, if one has the realistic means and inclination to d o so, innocent other people, too. The reason one realistically isn’t tied to a “we must either respond at once, or never!” principle is another principle: that we should not be limited to an immediate “clear and present proximate danger” scenario or “proportional” retaliation, as that would enslave us to the criminals’ whims, schedules, and timetables.

    Besides, even the courts are usually only able to punish people long after they have ceased to be clear and present dangers.

    There – that takes care of your points (1-3.) Point 4 is also covered: again, by sequencing: criminals DO indeed, by definition, always attack first, upon which their intended victims must choose if and when and whether to respond (and aren’t then limited to responding immediately or even in kind).

    One other, hidden premise of yours is: as Soleimani was an official of a foreign state, shouldn’t we be limited to await an official declaration of war, by our betters, first? Well NO – because that would imply that only groups have a collective right and responsibility to respond to violent attacks by any other groups or large criminal gangs called ‘States’ – even, as in this case, when that other criminal ‘State’ gang has already chosen to attack first, and without itself first openly declaring war.

    CAPISCE?

  • I don’t care one way or the other. I just wish people of a certain ethnicity, like the author of this piece, would stop dragging us into their disputes. She may care, I really don’t.

    I’m sure this Iranian general was a terrible person, but what has it got to do with Britain? Maybe he has been behind the killing of British soldiers, and that’s terrible and I sympathise with anybody affected, but should Britain really have been in Iraq in the first place? And can we blame the Iraqis and Iranians for wanting to eject us? It’s not necessarily unpatriotic to be honest and objective about British foreign policy and the various questionable exploits of our armed forces. Quite the opposite – I feel deep sympathy for British servicemen who return maimed or dead and I wish we would show them more consideration. Surely part of doing so is acknowledging that we have done wrong and that we shouldn’t be sticking our noses in the affairs of other countries?

    I also wish we could end our military alliance with the United States and leave NATO, which arose out of the Second World War – a war we should not have fought, or we should alternatively have sided with the Axis. I’m always amused when brainwashed people go on about the supposed evils of Hitler and the Nazis while turning a blind eye to the glaring fact that we allied with Stalin and the Soviets, who were far crueller.

    The so-called ‘special relationship’ we have with the United States is largely one-sided, has caused nothing but trouble for us, and has never assisted us. They didn’t even side with us during the Falklands War and they betrayed us over Suez (though I actually think they were right about Suez, to be fair). Certainly the Labour government of Harold Wilson was absolutely correct to keep us out of the Vietnam War.

    I have also over the years taken a strong dislike to Americans in general. There are individual exceptions, but on the whole the stereotypes about them do have some basis in reality: they tend to be irritating, rude (or the opposite, too nice), arrogant, stupid and ignorant. Can’t we just cut ties with them?

    We used to be a country that stood on its own and we were respected for it and many sought to emulate our culture, ways and laws. We need to stand again as Britain.

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