The world’s largest organization of terror isn’t Iran

Alex Boyer, Opinions Editor

The United States’ assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani occurred suddenly on Jan. 3, after many months of authorization by U.S. President Donald Trump. The event happened while many students were still on holiday break, sparking a flurry of flustered internet users to speculate on whether the event would cause a third World War mere days into the new decade. Soleimani, arguably the second-most-powerful figure in Iran, was killed by a drone strike in Baghdad International Airport in response to a bloodied protest outside of the U.S. embassy in Iraq. Oddly enough, the assassination also coincided with the graduation of hundreds of thousands of hawkish foreign policy “experts” on social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter calling the assassination justified and demanding larger commitments to the Middle East in response.

Let’s not pretend that these folks, internet lurkers and political pundits alike, even knew who Soleimani was before the beginning of January — neither did I. However, what I will tell you is this: considering the United States’ bloody history in foreign intervention and imperialism, we are in no position to be throwing stones from our interventionist glass-house when it comes to Iran. If you believe for even a moment that Iran’s interventions into Iraq and Syria offer an adequate reason for military escalation or assassination of military leaders, you should pick up your Molotov cocktails and AK-47, because the biggest violator of international sovereignty is in your backyard; that violator is the U.S. government.

As National Correspondent for The Week Ryan Cooper brilliantly points out in his recent article on Soleimani’s killing, the United States’ leadership is guilty of the exact same crimes that our government projected on Iran and Soleimani. As Cooper notes in his article, “If Soleimani deserves condemnation for arming Iraqi insurgents, then George W. Bush and Dick Cheney deserve 10 times as much for starting the war in the first place. It was a pointless, illegal war of aggression sold on lies that obliterated Iraqi society and killed perhaps half a million people, almost all of them innocent civilians.” American intervention has, since the Second World War, been more bloody and unjustified than any other set of interventions in the modern era.

It has been reported that Iranian legislator Ahmad Hamzeh recently offered a three-million-dollar reward for “anyone who kills” Trump in retaliation for Soleimani’s killing. If calling for the assassination of the U.S. President is deemed as proof of the “terrorist underpinnings” of Iran’s government, then the U.S. government should have been deemed the world’s largest terrorist organization some 70 odd years ago. Lest we forget, the United States has been involved in international coups, clandestine wars, and all varieties of human rights violations since World War II, including the entirety of Operation Condor in Latin America in the 20th century and the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan after 9/11 that have each cost countless innocent lives.

It should sound ridiculous and absurd that foreign government like Iran should be able to call for the assassination of world leaders, and accordingly, it is inconsistent that anyone could say the United States has adequate reason to commit international assassination of high-ranking military commanders in Iran, the Middle East, or anywhere on this Earth in the name of its own interests. Using that reason simply perpetuates imperialism and the colonizing ideology that involved the United States in the Middle East in the first place. Finally, let me assuage any fear that remains (if you have any now that the idea of war with Iran has fluttered out of the news cycle). I can tell you with almost absolute certainty that no one will be getting drafted anytime soon. The bad news, if we take history into account, is that more people will die anyway as a result of continued U.S. intervention in the Middle East. Where is the outrage when the war is perpetual?

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