On Tuesday the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on whether Trump can just up and nuke people or not. The hand-picked witnesses, all former military, all said there was some chance that if Trump ordered a nuking, somebody might refuse to carry out the order. On what grounds? No witness or Senator ever mentioned the illegality of war under the UN Charter or the Kellogg-Briand Pact. But one witness brought up “necessity” and “proportionality” as grounds for deeming a particular apocalypse-creating act illegal and another legal. But these “just war” concepts are not empirical. There’s no standard for determining whether an action is “necessary” or “proportional.” It comes down to the mood the commander of Strategic Command is in that day, or the partisan identity of some official, or the courage and integrity of rank-and-filers ordered to begin the earth’s destruction. If, like me, you’re not convinced that’s good enough, here are some other possible approaches:
An American political commentator denounced the US government as the world’s biggest terrorist organization, saying such an empire would never honor treaties or deals because upholding an agreement means the US is not really an empire.
When in 1978 the 31-year old Afghan Communist politician-activist, Mohammad Najibullah, arrived in Tehran, “exiled” to neighboring Iran as Afghanistan’s Ambassador, I had just left Iran where I had worked throughout the year of 1977. Najibullah’s political party, the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) had come to power in Kabul in April, 1978 in what is known as the Saur Revolution, the name of the month in the Afghan calendar when the Communist Revolution took place. Far from united, the PDPA was divided into two factions: the more revolutionary faction (Khalq-People’s) that first took power in Kabul in that crucial year of 1978 (crucial in both Afghanistan and Iran), preferred to have the charismatic Najibullah of the Parcham faction (Banner) of the PDPA far from the halls of power.
Germany and France have backed the stance of Russia and China for negotiations to avert the Korea crisis. South Korea and Japan also seem to be amenable to recent calls by Russian President Vladimir Putin for exclusively diplomatic efforts. Any other option in the alarming standoff with North Korea over its nuclear weapons program portends disaster.
The United States has killed, maimed, displaced, and otherwise harmed an astonishing number of people in its 241-year record of murder and mayhem – including more than 20 million killed in 37 nations since 1945.
Updated: July 31, 2017
Both houses of Congress have now passed big new sanctions bills by veto-proof majorities, in fact with near unanimity. The vote this week in the House of Misrepresentatives was 419–3 on a bill to sanction Russia, Iran, and North Korea as punishment for primarily imaginary crimes, despite the sum total of the global legal bodies having asked the United States to judge these crimes, skip over a trial, and move right ahead with punishment being exactly equal to the number of principled opponents of war employed on Capitol Hill.
‘It has been a splendid little war, begun with the highest motives, carried on with magnificent intelligence and spirit, favored by that Fortune which loves the brave.’ US Secretary of State John Hay, defining the Spanish-American War of 1898, in a letter to Theodore Roosevelt, July 27 of that year, the war ushering in America’s Imperial era and unequivocally heralding its hegemonic ambitions.
The U.S. Senate has increased sanctions on the people of Iran and Russia, if the House and President go along. The Senate vote was 98-2, with Senators Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders voting no, the latter despite his support for the Russian half of the bill.
Lily Pads is a name given to a new and more flexible type of US military base abroad, among the some 1000 US foreign military bases, covering the Earth, but for the most part surrounding Russia and China. Many are near Iran. I gave this title to Lily Pad Roll, the second volume of the Europe Trilogy (The Trojan Spy, Lily Pad Roll, Time of Exile), political novels published by Punto Press, New York. This novel was published in 2012 and is available on Amazon both in print format and Kindle book. The story develops around a young American soldier and communications genius, Elmer Redway, a forerunner of Manning, stationed at an American military base in Bulgaria who finds such astounding secrets of US military crimes that he divulges them to WikiLeaks and elsewhere. When he is discovered he deserts and begins an underground existence in Europe. He is aided by Karl Heinz, a wealthy German journalist (the book’s second major character). The two are together in Berlin when the invasion of Iran gets underway. Though my invasion of Iran is invented, it is quite plausible and could happen this way. Were I to give a title to this chapter, I would most likely call it, Persian Paradigm.