What if, say, Russia developed weaponry equal to that which we used to assassinate Major General Qassem Soleimani a few days ago?
The idea that Russia might develop such weaponry is well inside the circle of probability. In fact, it has ample historical precedence. For instance, does anyone remember the American “secret” of the atomic bomb? How long did it take for that knowledge to proliferate around the globe?
So, just for the sake of discussion, let’s play like Russia develops the same ability to sit at home, push a button and assassinate any American they chose.
Or, maybe China develops this ability. That’s not much of a reach, actually, considering the way our billionaire class has raised up China as a vast industrial power.
The only thing that would stop either Russia or China (or any other nation who has the ability to launch these things) from assassinating Americans of their choosing would be the fear of our massive nuclear arsenal and its concomitant ability to reduce the whole planet to dust.
Of course, launching our missiles would provoke them to launch their missiles, and a full-on nuclear exchange would kill us all.
The initial blasts would wipe out civilization. That would mean no communication, hot and cold running water, grocery stores, hospitals, schools, gasoline at the pump or electricity coming into the house through wires. It would reduce pampered people who think that changing a tire is heavy duty labor to Stone Age living in a one-second pass.
As terrible as that would be, and as deadly, it would not wipe out humanity entirely. Our civilization would be gone. But our species, while plunged back to its most primitive survival mode, would go on. Pockets of survivors would struggle out of the rubble and begin again.
However, the blasts from these bombs, as terrible as they would be, would also just be the beginning of the death. Aside from the potent long-term killing and mutilating power of the radiation, the big and final killer, the end of humankind, would be a little thing called the nuclear winter.
All those bombs would toss more dirt in the air than this planet has seen since the explosion that killed the dinosaurs. It would blot out the sun for years.
All the big animals would die, including us. No one, anywhere, would be left alive.
All this makes nuclear exchanges a fool’s errand indeed. Limited exchanges are also a fantasy. Nobody with these weapons is going to allow themselves to be nuked without nuking back.
Which brings us back to the unsavory and very real world in which we have opened the Pandora’s box of using our terrible “conventional” weaponry on one another in tit for tat, my male genitals are bigger than your male genitals exchanges.
That’s the kind of diplomacy our current president understands. He’s strong on bullying and bombast, short on rationality and worrying about anybody but himself.
Mr Impeached President is facing a Senate trial to determine whether he should be removed from office. In fact, he’s itching for this trial. He wants to turn it into a spectacle that would make his late-great tv show look like a tea-sipping intellectual discussion.
His specialties are name-calling, gutter sniping, race-baiting, woman-hating blather layered over with preposterous lies, one after the other and said without a sliver of shame. That’s him. It’s how he rolls.
He has found himself up against a skilled legislator in Nancy Pelosi, and he’s had his head handed to him by this lady every time he’s come against her. For a woman-hating misogynist like Trump, that is the ultimate humiliation.
When his senate majority leader went public with plans to bend the senate over and let the president use it as his boy toy in this upcoming “trial,” the American public, or at least a good part of it, was revulsed.
He needed a diversion. A big one. Something to shift attention away from the mountain of evidence that he has indeed betrayed this country and committed high crimes and misdemeanors and should be removed from office. He needed to give a forget pill to the American public.
Ever since he took office, he has used his own clown-like behavior and utter lack of civility to confuse, baffle and ultimately discombobulate the public. The American people have a difficult time concentrating on the main things because they are so obscured by our president’s trashiness and crudity.
But simple trashiness and crudity wouldn’t be enough to shift attention away from this impeachment mess. He needed a really big something.
Enter high-tech political assassination, stage left. He fired down on an Iraqi bad guy and set off the run-up to what could become a major war. Ta da. Public attention shifted.
Meanwhile, even if this situation doesn’t turn into an Archduke Ferdinand moment, it has set a precedent that no one with half a brain would want.
Technological advantages are the most fleeting things. Within decades, or sometimes, years, military “secrets” have a way of spreading around the globe and into the hands of all sorts of people. Before you can say Trumpy Bear, we’ll be able to find plans for the weaponry used against this Iraqi both online and at the public library. Not long after that, high school kids will be building their own versions from old oil pipe and scrapped MacBook Airs.
What, then, will keep us safe from political assassins in other countries? What will keep anybody safe?
International law, and international punishment are the only things to keep these weapons from being used to shred us to pieces. That means a prohibition on their use for assassinations like the one our president committed a few days ago.
Lawlessness is a dangerous precedent for any government to set. Our president is counting on getting away with his lawlessness because he wields the get-out-of-jail-free card of American military power.
He ignores the fact that American military power belongs to the American people, not him. The people of this country have impoverished themselves paying for it. Every kid who attends a substandard school, every person who is denied medical care for lack of insurance, every tire we blow on a pothole in a road, is part of our payment for this military.
It is our military, paid for with our money, and utilized in war with our blood. It is there to keep us safe, not provide a lying old man with a chance to prove that his male genitals are bigger than the male genitals of other world leaders.
The defense of President Trump’s actions in this matter has come from his hard core defenders, the people who will defend him, even if it costs us our democracy. Their defense, such as it is, rests largely on the fact that the man who was assassinated was a bad guy. I read one comment from someone who I know has an otherwise good mind saying that this guy “deserved to be killed.”
That’s so stupid I wouldn’t normally bother to answer it. But I think it’s time to say that the king is not wearing clothes, and that these comments are not based on reason or reality.
Is that the new standard for assassination and acts of war? If we spot someone who we decide “deserves to be killed” we just push the button and Whamo! Bamo! they go up in a cloud of dust? Are we going to go around the world, killing everybody who “deserves to be killed?”
Who gets to decide who “deserves to be killed?” I mean, we are talking about killing people without the need to present evidence or give them a trial of any sort. We don’t even give them warning. We just shoot.
So, we’ve got one guy, one lone wannabe dictator guy, who gives every appearance of being flat-out crazy, going around pushing buttons, assassinating people.
How long do you think the world will put up with that?
How long before other countries develop the same weaponry?
How long before this precedent we have set is tested by someone else?
The kill-at-will-because-my-whore-preachers-say-god-made-me-president method of governance has a few holes in it as a way for this nation to proceed.
Think about it.