War or Peace: Iran and the Middle East

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Patrick Smart, Section Editor

After the recent controversial drone attack that killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, the Iranians, in response, used missiles to attack an American base in Iraq, but purposely targeted vacant areas of the base, to simply send a message of their power to the world, instead of taking American lives.  This measured and calculated response allowed Iran to “save face” while avoiding serve repercussions from the United States.

Donald Trump addressed the nation the following morning stating that the United States will continue to avoid an escalation of hostilities and maintain an uneasy peace among the two countries, employing further tariffs, and calling for other NATO members to drop their nuclear deals with Iran. All is well for now, yet many are still criticizing the initial US drone attack, with many backing this decision, and many in fierce opposition to the attack. While many reports have come out backing either side, it is important for individuals to be aware of both sides of the argument, unbiased and uncensored, before making a decision. 

The opposition to the action, lead by Nancy Pelosi, has given President Trump backlash for the dangerous potential effects of the attack. Their argument is essentially summed up in Pelosi’s statement that, “Tonight’s airstrike risks provoking further dangerous escalation of violence. America — and the world — cannot afford to have tensions escalate to the point of no return.” Therefore, the opposition to the attack felt the opportunity did not outweigh the potential consequences of the operation: a plunge to war with Iran, and even more American lives lost in Middle Eastern entanglements. Additionally, Pelosi argued that the operation lacked an “authorization for use of military force.” Pelosi not only had an issue with the decision for the attack, but that the Trump administration made this decision without the consent of Congress. Her supporters argue that Trump has employed unchecked power to conduct military affairs in the Middle East, which may lead to serious conflict, at the cost of a multitude of American lives. 

Supporters of President Trump’s decision have since responded to these claims with a few essential arguments. First, they argue that the attack was an appropriate response to the Iranian attack on the US embassy. Additionally, Trump stated that Soleimani was targeting “four US embassies” for future attack and therefore wished to kill him before he could execute these attacks. This attack was, too them, just another example of the US strategy of deterrence, which means not giving in to appeasement, but showing enough strength to prevent Iranian hostility. Also, the president’s supporters see this operation as a service to the world, seeing Qasem, as President Trump suggests, the “top terrorist” in the world, “personally responsible for some of the absolute worst atrocities” such as civil war, roadside bombs to target US troops, and mass bloodshed in other areas. Supporters of this operation essentially saw the attack as just another example of necessary US influence to eliminate evil people of the world, and enemies of the United States. Lastly, they mention the bombings and missel strikes in Middle Eastern countries under the Obama administration, most specifically in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. They believe that if President Obama conducted multiple strikes, actually 26,171 in 2016 alone, then President Trump had the right to conduct this mission. 

The media and people around the world have escalated this action to the forefront of everyday civilian life, with “World War Three” even trending in search engines. Before issuing opinions, choosing sides, and overreacting, people must know the basic points of both arguments, which in turn will make our society more educated on these matters as a whole, and more productive in solving them.