Trump’s Threat To Attack Iranian Cultural Sites Would Probably Be A War Crime

President Trump's threat to attack Iranian cultural sites would most likely constitute a war crime if he actually carried it out.

Over the weekend and in the wake of the assassination of Major General Qassim Suleimani, President Trump announced that any retaliation from Iran would bring massive retaliation from the United States, including attacks on non-military targets that many experts believe could be considered war crimes if they were actually carried out:

President Donald Trump on Saturday warned Iran that if it retaliates for the killing of one of its top leaders, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, it will face U.S. attacks on 52 targets, a number he said was symbolic.

The president tweeted that the number of targets matched the number of hostages held by Iran in 1979, when 52 American diplomats and citizens were held for 444 days.

“Let this serve as a WARNING that if Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets, we have………targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD,” he said. “The USA wants no more threats!”

Trump’s tweet was vaguely worded, but the United Nations Security Council appears to suggest the targeting of cultural heritage sites is prohibited.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded earlier, accusing Trump of threatening a “war crime” and breaching the norms of international law.

“That is, a big(ly) “no no”,” he said.

Trump added in further tweets that “They attacked us, & we hit back. If they attack again, which I would strongly advise them not to do, we will hit them harder than they have ever been hit before!”

Here is the President’s tweet from Saturday, followed by the response from Iran’s Foreign Minister:

Last night on Air Force One on the way back to Washington from Florida, Trump doubled down on the threat:

President Donald Trump reiterated his threat to target Iranian cultural sites on Sunday evening in a conversation with reporters aboard Air Force One.

“They’re allowed to kill our people, they’re allowed to torture and maim our people, they’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people, and we’re not allowed to touch their cultural sites? It doesn’t work that way,” Trump said, according to a pool report.

Trump was speaking on his return flight to Washington from Florida where he was staying at Mar-a-Lago for the holidays.

Asked about the prospects for retaliation from Iran for the US strike that killed Iran’s top military commander, Trump said “If it happens it happens.”

“If they do anything there will be major retaliation,” Trump said.

Trump’s comments Sunday night come after two senior US officials described widespread opposition within the administration to targeting cultural sites in Iran should the United States launch retaliatory strikes against Tehran, despite Trump saying a day before that such sites are among dozens the US has identified as potential targets.

“Nothing rallies people like the deliberate destruction of beloved cultural sites. Whether ISIS’s destruction of religious monuments or the burning of the Leuven Library in WWI, history shows targeting locations giving civilization meaning is not only immoral but self-defeating,” one of the officials told CNN.

“The Persian people hold a deeply influential and beautiful history of poetry, logic, art and science. Iran’s leaders do not live up to that history. But America would be better served by leaders who embrace Persian culture, not threaten to destroy it,” they added.

As many experts pointed out in the wake of the first announcement, though, the kind of threatened attack that the President has in mind could be considered a war crime:

After an al-Qaeda affiliated group destroyed ancient religious monuments in Timbuktu, Mali, in 2012, the International Criminal Court took on a unique criminal case: prosecuting cultural destruction.

Though it generally focuses on human rights violations, the ICC charged the leader of the jihadist group, Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi, with a war crime for destroying cultural artifacts in Timbuktu.

The case was the first criminal charge of its kind. It “breaks new ground for the protection of humanity’s shared cultural heritage and values,” UNESCO Secretary-General Irina Bokova said at the time. Al-Mahdi eventually pleaded guilty and was sentenced to nine years in prison.

That case has renewed relevance amid the standoff between the United States and Iran days after the United States killed Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani in a targeted drone strike in Baghdad, Iraq, on Friday.

(.,,)

[A]n attack on a cultural site would violate several international treaties and would likely be considered a war crime.

In 2017, for example, a United Nations Security Council resolution “condemns the unlawful destruction of cultural heritage, including the destruction of religious sites and artifacts.” That resolution came as a response to the Islamic State’s destruction of a number of major historic and cultural sites in Syria and Iraq in 2014 and 2015.

The UN was clear then that actions targeting cultural locations constituted a war crime.

“The deliberate destruction of our common cultural heritage constitutes a war crime and represents an attack on humanity as a whole,” said the spokesman for then-UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in 2015.

Nicholas Burns, former undersecretary of state for political affairs and ambassador to NATO, noted the Trump administration supported the 2017 UN resolution condemning destruction of cultural sites.

“His threat is immoral and Un-American,” Burns wrote on Twitter.

It’s also been reported that several of the President’s top advisers have voiced objections to the threat the President made:

Two senior US officials on Sunday described to CNN’s Jim Sciutto widespread opposition within the Trump administration to targeting cultural sites in Iran.”Nothing rallies people like the deliberate destruction of beloved cultural sites. Whether ISIS’s destruction of religious monuments or the burning of the Leuven Library in WWI, history shows targeting locations giving civilization meaning is not only immoral but self-defeating,” one of the officials told CNN.

Another official who formerly worked in both the Trump and Obama administrations told CNN: “As a matter of principle, we as a nation and as a military do not attack the culture sites of any adversary.”

(…)

Colin Kahl, former deputy assistant to President Barack Obama and national security adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, expressed skepticism that there are actually cultural sites on the list of possible retaliatory sites.

“For what it’s worth, I find it hard to believe the Pentagon would provide Trump targeting options that include Iranian cultural sites,” he tweeted. “Trump may not care about the laws of war, but (Department of Defense) planners and lawyers do…and targeting cultural sites is (a) war crime.”

Iran has 22 UNESCO World Heritage cultural sites, including the ancient ruins of Persepolis, the historic Masjed-e Jameh mosque in Esfahan and the lavish Golestan Palace in Tehran.

The fact that the President is making a threat like this is hardly surprising, of course. He’s often used Twitter to “talk tough” when it comes to domestic politics or foreign affairs only to back down when the rubber hits the road. The most famous example of that, of course, came throughout the course of 2017 when he was trading insults and threats with Kim Jong Un only to find himself a year later meeting with that same leader, declaring that the nuclear threat from North Korea was over, and declaring his “love” for someone who only months earlier he was calling a madman.

In that context, it could be that Trump’s tweeting and threats here is just another example of that kind of bluster. This is especially true given the fact that Trump’s military advisers at least are likely to dissuade him from the kind of broad-based attacks that he’s talking about here. Surely, if Iran launches broad-based attacks against American targets we would need to find some way to respond but that doesn’t mean that we would be justified in violating international law in the process of doing so. Indeed, taking such a course of action would most likely strengthen the hand of hardliners in the Iranian government and cause the Iranian people to unite behind the state rather than rise up in rebellion as some Trump Administration officials have claimed.

As an example of the possible impact of the kind of attacks that Trump is threatening, one need only look at today’s reports about the marches that are taking place in Iran in response to Friday’s attack. The New York Times and The Guardian have on the ground reporting on these marches, and there have also been several reports via Twitter from reporters and Iran experts:

The immediate impact of Friday’s assassination, then, has been to unite the Iranian people behind the regime. The kind of attacks that the President is threatening would likely only accelerate that process. This runs counter to the Administration’s claim that Friday’s attack would prove to be popular among Iranians on the streets. It’s had exactly the opposite effect. The Administration ought to keep that in mind in the future, but it probably won’t.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Donald Trump, Iran, Military Affairs, National Security, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    History has said time and again, it’s not a war crime if the US does it.

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  2. EddieInCA says:

    Probably?

    Seriously? Probably a war crime???

    Be better, Doug.

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  3. KM says:

    The immediate impact of Friday’s assassination, then, has been to unite the Iranian people behind the regime.

    Of course it has.

    Trump is the perfect avatar of The Great Satan and embodies damn near every negative stereotype Iranian propaganda has ever pushed about us. As far as they are concerned, the government has finally told them the truth and they can see for themselves just how unstable and dangerous we are with Trump at the helm. He’s lashing out and making irrational choices based on his personal whims, not sound military advice. His toadies are already talking about ignoring Iraq’s government and just doing whatever the hell the want like the neo-colonists they long to be. Trump’s ordered an unnecessary military strike and stirred up international tension (possibly deadly conflicts) for the extremely likely reason of delaying his own trial and removal of power.

    The average Iranian isn’t going to side with the US on this. Anyone with a modicum of brains can take one look at our leader and get a bad feeling. He breaks his promises, makes reckless decisions, abandons agreements and allies alike and cozies up to some of the worst this world has to offer if it will benefit him in the slightest. The Iranian regime ain’t great but it’s the devil they know and more importantly, know how to survive. Surviving Trump is a completely different story……

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  4. Kathy says:

    In politics, every now and then it pays to channel our inner Talleyrand: It would be worse than a crime. It would be a mistake.

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  5. Joe says:

    Trump is the perfect avatar of The Great Satan

    Same here in the US, KM.

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  6. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    My guess is that separating kids from their parents at the Southern Border, with no intention of ever re-uniting them, is a War Crime too.
    The party of Reagan is now the party of Trump. We have ceased to aspire to be the Shining City on the Hill; instead we wallow in a dark cesspool, yearning to compete with the worst that humanity has to offer.

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  7. DrDaveT says:

    For Trump’s core supporters, the fact that it would be a war crime is a feature, not a bug. (It would so own the libtards.) For Trump, that makes it not merely OK — it’s part of his mandate.

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  8. JohnMc says:

    Can’t be overemphasized: Not just Iranian or Persian cultural heritage. Everyone’s–our own–heritage.

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  9. CSK says:

    I suppose it’s quite possible that the Pentagon could con Trump into thinking they were preparing to bomb cultural sites and have no intention of so doing. How would Trump know the difference?

    Haven’t his advisers routinely kept information from him that, in his hands, would represent danger? They know–or most of them do–that he’s a malevolent, unstable buffoon.

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  10. drj says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    History has said time and again, it’s not a war crime if the US does it.

    Exactly.

    Suleimani was obviously a bad guy.

    Yet, somehow, I don’t think that this line about being “a bad guy” will be trotted out as a justification if an Iraqi hit squad would ever manage to take out George W. Bush over the – clearly – criminal shit that took place in Abu Ghraib and other places.

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  11. Kathy says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    My guess is that separating kids from their parents at the Southern Border, with no intention of ever re-uniting them, is a War Crime too.

    Not really, as there was no war involved.

    They’re plain crimes against humanity.

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  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: For them to be crimes against humanity, actual humans would have to have been harmed. This is not yet established fact in the court of US public opinion.

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  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Once again I get down voted for saying the quiet parts out loud.

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  14. Kingdaddy says:

    I’m guessing his threatened attacks would be the same as the Taliban’s destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas, times whatever. On top of the deaths.

    https://casebook.icrc.org/case-study/afghanistan-destruction-bamiyan-buddhas

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  15. Michael Reynolds says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    Not by me. When Doug says ‘probably’ he’s speaking as a person with a legal background in law. If we’re looking at this through the prism of law both he and you are correct – it’s not settled law.

    As a moral and political question it’s easier. Yes, morally it is a crime against humanity. Politically it’s idiotic.

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  16. R.Dave says:

    @EddieInCA: Probably? Seriously? Probably a war crime???
    Be better, Doug.

    Are you taking issue with Doug’s legal conclusion and asserting that it’s actually settled law – under either international law (to the extent such exists) or US domestic law? Or are you suggesting that Doug should pretend the law on this point is more definitive than it really is so he can engage in a little online moral preening?

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  17. EddieInCA says:

    @R.Dave:

    Are you taking issue with Doug’s legal conclusion and asserting that it’s actually settled law – under either international law (to the extent such exists) or US domestic law?

    Yes.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/08/opinion/cultural-destruction-as-a-war-crime.html

    The use of cultural destruction as a weapon of war gained new recognition last week when the International Criminal Court handed down a nine-year sentence to a radical Islamist for his role in destroying shrines in Timbuktu, Mali, in 2012. It was the first time the court prosecuted cultural destruction as a war crime.

    What is it you were saying about “moral preening?”

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  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Not by me

    No, you don’t down vote. Neither do I. And the only time I upvote is when I feel somebody has brought new facts to a discussion or looked at the existing facts in a way that makes me review my own preexisting prejudices.

    I was only referring to the fact that the US has engaged in practices for which other nations have been condemned and indeed the specific practitioners of said acts have gone to prison for or been executed. The most recent examples are of course the criminal excesses in the wake of 9/11, but one can find such deeds throughout our history.

    A lot of people would prefer to pretend otherwise.

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  19. R.Dave says:

    Yeah, that case was cited in Doug’s article. Note that it’s “the first time the [ICC] prosecuted cultural destruction as a war crime. So in your view, a single, very recent case constitutes settled law? And so settled, in fact, that a snotty “be better” comment is warranted when someone says that the existence of that case suggests that a similar fact pattern would “probably” be a war crime?

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  20. EddieInCA says:
  21. gVOR08 says:

    @drj: Forget Abu Ghraib. Invading a country that was not a threat to us was a war crime.

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  22. drj says:

    @R.Dave:

    So in your view, a single, very recent case constitutes settled law?

    That depends on the court, obviously.

    So in this case: yes.

    Of course, Trump could argue that the US is no longer a signatory to the underlying treaty and that the ICC has no jurisdiction over US actions.

    Nonetheless, what and what not constitutes a war crime is (for obvious reasons) not determined by individual countries.

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  23. Tyrell says:

    There is no clear strategy or goals in the US middle east.
    The US would be better to pack it up: Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria. We have been over there long enough. Just who are the bad guys and the good guys? Our soldiers should not be sitting around over there being used as some police force. President Carter had some good ideas, but even those did not work out. Eisenhower warned about getting involved in these overseas problems: avoid entangling alliances and treaties. The US can’t solve every country’s problems. It seems it would be easier to get out now than later.
    There is no doubt that this General Salamani was as bad as they come: he was feared by many citizens and leaders, about as bad and fearsome as SS commander Himmler.
    Trump needs to open some back channel communications with Iran’s leaders and cool things down a bit. Diplomacy should be the priority. There needs to be a strong US presence over there to keep things stable. That should be the main goal. We shouldn’t just bug out. Some sort of allied force should be formed with the US, Germany, France, and England working in concert to maintain order there, a sort of Middle East Treaty Organization.
    “Soleimani approved attack on Iraqi military base that killed American”: General Mark Milley (ABC News)
    “Do not try to do too much with your own hands. Better the Arabs do it tolerably than you do it perfectly. It is their war, and you are to help them, not to win it for them” (Colonel Lawrence)

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  24. charon says:

    @R.Dave:

    Our military is taught that they must refuse to execute illegal orders. I assume orders to commit war crimes are illegal.

    But what if the order is merely to “probably” commit a war crime? What then?

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  25. drj says:

    @gVOR08:

    You’re right, of course.

    However, legally speaking Abu Ghraib is even more clear-cut, I think.

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  26. mattbernius says:

    @Tyrell:

    Trump needs to open some back channel communications with Iran’s leaders and cool things down a bit.

    Agreed. Man, wouldn’t it be nice if he — as far as we can tell the candidate you’ve supporter and plan to vote for in November since current Democrats are far to heathen and leftist for you — hadn’t overseen the gutting of the state department and the disruption of all diplomatic credibility with Iran.

    Some sort of allied force should be formed with the US, Germany, France, and England working in concert to maintain order there, a sort of Middle East Treaty Organization.

    Yeah, if only we had an agreement that was brokered by all of those countries that helped curb some of Iran’s military initiatives and demonstrated that the US would respect diplomatic initiatives with Iran. Oh wait, the president you voted for and will most likely support again tore an agreement like that up and put maximum pressure on Germany, France, and England to force them out of the agreement as well.

    Aren’t you tired of all this diplomatic winning?

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  27. charon says:

    @Tyrell:

    Trump needs to open some back channel communications with Iran’s leaders and cool things down a bit.

    Iran will not talk to Trump, justifiably so. Trump is too erratic, too capricious, too likely to break his word, too likely to lie. There is thus no point to talking to him, which the Persians well understand.

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  28. gVOR08 says:

    From the quoted CNN piece

    would likely be considered a war crime.

    This is the same MSM chickenshit as not saying “lie” when Republicans lie. There might well be some who would not consider it a war crime. But it would still be a war crime.

    I’m sure Trump could get some toady to write an opinion to the contrary, John Yoo’s are never in short supply. But it would still be a war crime.

    It would be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court, except it wouldn’t be because we withdrew, the reason for withdrawal staring us in the face. But it would still be a war crime.

    Trump could be impeached for a war crime, and Moscow Mitch would dismiss or acquit. But it would still be a war crime.

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  29. charon says:

    @mattbernius:

    Agreed. Man, wouldn’t it be nice if he — as far as we can tell the candidate you’ve supporter and plan to vote for in November since current Democrats are far to heathen and leftist for you — hadn’t overseen the gutting of the state department and the disruption of all diplomatic credibility with Iran.

    Pompeo is mendacious and a fanatic. Not a lot of point for the Iranians to talk to his outfit either.

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  30. Pete S says:

    @Tyrell:

    There is no clear strategy or goals in the US middle east.

    It is not the US middle east. It is the middle east. We will all be better off when more decision makers realize this. That region does not belong to the US – if we want it to that seems to be something that should be stated explicitly.

    Or did you mean it is time to leave Western Pennsylvania and Upstate New York?

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  31. DrDaveT says:

    @Pete S:

    Or did you mean it is time to leave Western Pennsylvania and Upstate New York?

    I assumed he meant West Virginia, and was going to agree with him that the administration has no clear strategy or goals.

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  32. Moosebreath says:

    @charon:

    “Iran will not talk to Trump, justifiably so. Trump is too erratic, too capricious, too likely to break his word, too likely to lie. There is thus no point to talking to him, which the Persians well understand.”

    While every word of that is true, there is more to it than that. Imagine if Iran just killed the Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff when he was in Iraq, and the US just let it slide (regardless of what it got from Iran in back channel negotiations). Do you think the President who agreed to that would have a chance of being re-elected? Of having his party return to power for the next generation if it looked that weak in a crisis?

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  33. CSK says:

    The Pentagon Chief of Staff, Eric Chewning, announced today that he’s leaving at the end of the month. Apparently he crossed Trump with regard to Ukraine.

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  34. Tyrell says:

    @Pete S: That should be US Middle East policy.
    I probably rushed this one.

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  35. Kingdaddy says:

    Also relevant: the highly controversial bombings of the Monte Cassino abbey during WWII. Yes, when the controversy was about the military necessity of destroying precious cultural artifacts as a side-effect of war, as opposed to a deliberate policy of their destruction.

    Here are a few relevant links I found from Googling. There’s a good discussion of the battle of Monte Cassino in Rick Atkinson’s book, if I remember correctly.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2000/apr/04/johnezard
    https://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/02/arts/02iht-3kimm.7713570.html
    https://www.irishcatholic.com/monte-cassino-a-crime-against-civilisation/
    https://www.quora.com/Was-the-bombing-and-shelling-of-the-Monte-Cassino-Abbey-during-World-War-II-a-war-crime

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  36. CSK says:

    @Kingdaddy:
    My father survived the First Battle of Monte Cassino. The men to his right and left died. When it ended, he carried a wounded comrade over a minefield.

    They both made it.

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  37. JKB says:

    Interesting to the funeral shows that the terrorist Soleimani was a state-actor terrorist. The man responsible for 17% of US casualties in Iraq from 2005-2019. The man, in Iraq, to oversee widespread attacks on US forces and facilities in the ME. But this highest ranking Iranian general couldn’t be touched for killing deplorable American soldiers, because it might anger a country that has been officially at war with the US since 1979. So sayeth the bipartisan foreign policy establishment of the US government. Loserthink

    Wait for it on the cultural sites. We’ll see the reporting on the co-located Iranian military or command/control facility, hiding behind the cultural site over the next couple weeks. Likely the IRGC who should be the primary recipient of any US response to an Iranian attack. Trump tossed that in to give the co-location “newsworthiness”.

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  38. mattbernius says:

    It’s striking how quickly folks like @JKB suddenly decided that they loved and trusted the US Intelligence apparatus (after 3 years of complaining about the deep state) the moment that said apparatus was used to attack a foe.

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  39. R.Dave says:

    @EddieInCA: Nice reply. I disagree with your view that 2016 isn’t recent and that it’s now settled law, and I strongly disagree that the snark at Doug’s “probably” was warranted, but I appreciate the substantive reply / links.

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  40. R.Dave says:

    @charon: I’m not a military lawyer, but I think the standard is whether a reasonable person would know the order was obviously unlawful. I would argue that the illegality of an order to target a cultural site is not sufficiently obvious and well-established as to permit a soldier to disobey the order. I do think it’s obviously immoral and strategically unwise, and I would respect any soldier that refused to carry it out for moral reasons, but I just don’t think the legal precedent on it is sufficiently clear for it to be obviously unlawful. Honestly, I’m a lot less personally horrified by it than I am by the immense amount of civilian death and suffering that’s just regarded as the perfectly legal and ordinary “collateral damage” of war. Is an order to “drop a bomb on that empty mosque” really more obviously wrong and unlawful than an order to “drop a bomb on that alleged terrorist standing in the middle of a group of civilians”?

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  41. Fortunato says:

    @EddieInCA:

    Seriously? Probably a war crime???

    Be better, Doug.

    Or, in the words of a famous American – a mail-order immigrant who would rise to the level of White House occupant, almost surely the only Leading Lady in history one will ever be able view naked, oiled up and holding her cooch:
    “Be Best”

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  42. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Tyrell: “But the American people should know we’ll make the right decision.”
    –Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

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  43. CSK says:

    @Fortunato:

    I’m curious–did Melania ever model actual clothing? I recall that in the summer of 2015 or 2016 the NYPost gleefully reproduced a spread–you should pardon the expression–of her and another model engaging in some soft-core lesbian S&M and B&D activity. You’d think the evangelicals would find this and all the other nude photos plastered all over the Internet a trifle discouraging.

    In all seriousness, I do feel sorry for Barron. He can’t be shielded from this forever.

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  44. Michael Reynolds says:

    @JKB:
    If Soleimani is responsible for the deaths caused by IED’s shipped to Iraq, I assume you’d agree that we are responsible for deaths caused by weapons we’ve shipped. Say to the KSA for bombing Yemeni hospitals. And it would follow that any Yemeni retaliation against us is justified.

    Right?

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  45. Michael Reynolds says:

    @mattbernius:
    It’s almost like they have no intellectual integrity and simply label as fact whatever they’ve chosen to believe. I’m not at all sure @JKB knows the difference between reality and the mad ranting voice in his head.

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  46. Gustopher says:

    @JKB:

    But this highest ranking Iranian general couldn’t be touched for killing deplorable American soldiers, because it might anger a country that has been officially at war with the US since 1979.

    The Iraqi government voted along ethnic lines on a (non-binding) resolution to expel the US, and it passed. We are deepening the ethnic schisms in our ostensible ally, reducing our influence, strengthening Iran’s influence and increasing the danger to our troops (which I just saw a news alert are being repositioned in case they are withdrawn).

    The decision made previously was that killing this guy wasn’t worth the backlash. So far, it’s looking like that decision was probably correct.

    We didn’t just anger the Iranians, we angered the Iraqi Shi’ite majority.

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  47. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kingdaddy:
    Great trilogy from Rick Atkinson. It’s what inspired me to write my own YA version.

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  48. Gustopher says:

    @CSK:

    In all seriousness, I do feel sorry for Barron. He can’t be shielded from this forever.

    If he has an Oedipus Complex, however, his life will be fuller and richer than nearly anyone else’s.

    Barron is a teenager. He probably has a phone or a computer. His mother’s modeling is probably one of the least harmful things he has been exposed to about his parents.

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  49. CSK says:

    @Gustopher:
    I’m assuming his classmates will draw his attention to the photos, if they haven’t already done so. I don’t know how a kid deals with the knowledge that all over the world men are jerking off to nude photos of his mother. But you may well be right that this is not one of the more painful realities with which he has to deal. The poor kid looks exactly like his father. He’ll probably grow up to be just like him.

    Sad.

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  50. mattbernius says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Just to be clear, I’m not honestly coming out one way or the other about the current intellegence reporting (such that we understand it). Nor is this an argument that the world was better off with Soleimani in it.

    Still its striking how quickly people have changed their views on the intelligence infrastructure so long as it’s telling them what they want to hear.

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  51. Matt says:

    @JKB: I would say the USA has been at war with Iran since 1953 when we as a country overthrew their democratically elected government and installed a brutal dictator so that we along with the UK would keep control of the Iranian’s oil fields. We then continued to strike directly and indirectly at the Iranians. The second worst being when we sent Iraq chemical weapons to use on Iran in their war. You know back when Saddam was the Republican’s man and they tossed weapons and keys of cities at him.

    It’s funny how you people always forget to mention we struck first…

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  52. wr says:

    @CSK: “In all seriousness, I do feel sorry for Barron. He can’t be shielded from this forever.”

    Once he realizes that Ivanka is actually his birth mother he’ll feel much better.

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  53. CSK says:

    @wr:
    Well, Trump certainly has been open about his desire to bed his eldest daughter, agreeing with Howard Stern that she’s a “piece of ass” and telling Wendy Williams (in Ivanka’s presence) that he wished they had sex in common.

    Astonishing how this doesn’t perturb the Godly crowd.

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  54. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK:

    Astonishing how this doesn’t perturb the Godly crowd.

    Not really, when you sit down and consider exactly who is in the “Godly” crowd.

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  55. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    I was being sardonic.

    ReplyReply
  56. CSK says:

    Mark Esper has contradicted Trump about striking cultural sites. Trump will, no doubt, accuse Esper of treason.

    ReplyReply
  57. David M says:

    @JKB:

    The man responsible for 17% of US casualties in Iraq from 2005-2019.

    Wait, we’re now obligated to support increased military action in the middle east because of casualties during the illegal invasion of Iraq. EFFFF that noise

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  58. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Tyrell: The first assertion is demonstrably false. You can read the US goals and strategic vision for every region in multiple documents. They are open source. They arent entertaining enough to be on CNN, MSNBC, or FOX. Many hard working civil servants put these documents together to try to frame the demand signal from the President and Congress for or strategic goals. Anyone with curiously can google and read these documents.

    What is not clear—is how tactical choices made by the Administration align with or support the US Govt stated strategic goals. Many choices are not aligned at all or even counter productive. Its one thing to say there is no playbook…but there is. In this case, the coach doesn’t read it and calls trick plays he saw on nightly highlight shows.

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  59. inhumans99 says:

    @mattbernius:

    I know right, what is amazing is that Tucker Carlson of all people called them out on how two minutes ago they were saying the “deep state” is constantly working to bring down President Trump, and yet when these same “deep state” actors provide info that gets President Trump all excited about bombing Iran they lapp it up. I would have to wear a neck brace for whiplash if I changed my tune that fast.

    I loathe Tucker Carlson (he has changed so much from his CNN Crossfire days) but wow….he actually called foul on this action taken by President Trump so I have to give him props for expressing a healthy skepticism as to why we need to engage in a conflict with Iran at the present time.

    Talk about President Trump trying to Wag The Dog….it just further cements in my mind that whether or not he is “exonerated” by the Senate that he will still be considered a President who was impeached to be something that causes him great anxiety.

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  60. Monala says:

    @Tyrell: Do you realize that this:

    The US would be better to pack it up: Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria. We have been over there long enough.

    contradicts this?

    There needs to be a strong US presence over there to keep things stable. That should be the main goal. We shouldn’t just bug out.

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  61. gVOR08 says:

    @Matt:

    The second worst being when we sent Iraq chemical weapons to use on Iran in their war.

    Cheney vehemently denied that we provided poison gas. IIRC it’s a classic technically true, but a lie. We didn’t provide anything from US government stocks, we (Cheney) just lined them up with a US private contractor who could meet their needs and allowed them to ship a WMD.

    ReplyReply

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