Cultural Sites Are No Crime

 

It should not be surprising that even commenters on Fox News would miss the obvious. President Trump tweeted about having 52 targets to match the 52 American hostages seized and held by the Khomeinist regime at its founding. He included the word “cultural” to describe at least one of the targets. Why is no one seeing the obvious here?

The US military does not develop target lists of international cultural treasures to smash. Who does not get this? President Trump is no LBJ, picking tactical targets. Surely everyone understands this. So, you can go with the obstinate position of someone like Ben Shapiro, certain that President Trump has no coherent foreign policy thoughts, and keep writing off every success as fortuitous and no thanks to The Great Big Ugly Man. On the other hand, you might just think for yourself for a moment.

President Trump took a briefing from Secretary of Defense Esper, General Milley, and Secretary of State Pompeo. We know this because they told us directly, in a short joint statement to the cameras. This was when the US military struck several Hezbollah targets in Iraq. Then Hezbollah attacked our embassy, under IRGC Quds Force orders, hearkening back to the 1979 attack in Iran. Then the leader of the IRGC Quds Force was allowed to fly into Iraq by the Iraqi Hezbollah officer who runs the Baghdad International Airport! That is the claim made by Oliver North on the Jim Bohannon Show on January 3.

So the American military killed him as a terrorist organization leader and as a foreign military officer coordinating attacks on our people.* See al Baghdadi and Admiral Yamamoto. This strike was certainly part of the options and capabilities our real national security experts briefed to President Trump, and it is reasonable to conclude that the “52” plan was also presented as part of the “and then what?”

So, given the particular set of lovelies in the Middle East, what do we all already know about sensitive or cultural sites? If I say “hospital, school, Hamas,” what comes to mind? If I say “Iraq, mosque, weapons” what comes to mind? We all kind of know that there are forces in the region that use the cover of innocent, non-military sites to store weapons, to plan, and even to launch attacks. In part, this tactic is defensive, a shield made of our own ethics, and in part it is offensive, seeking to draw an armed response that their co-belligerents in our society can use to damage European and American domestic public opinion.

A light goes on. President Trump is getting a threefer here: trolling domestic opposition, showing reasonable people he cares more for American lives than foreign buildings, and letting the ayatollahs know he knows they have bad stuff stashed in or under “cultural” sites. The president has to be loving the Democrats’ outraged response, and just wishing the next Democratic presidential primary debate was this week so they couldn’t get their heads on straight in front of the American people.

[UPDATE: 7 January 2020] Consider how Secretary of State Pompeo exposes Andrea Mitchel, who had just come back

Secretary Michael R. Pompeo Remarks to the Press [Excerpt]

PRESS BRIEFING ROOM

WASHINGTON, DC

JANUARY 7, 2020

…In Afghanistan, there was an aspect of that conflict that deserves more attention, and that is the Islamic Republic of Iran’s involvement there. Iran has refused to join the regional and international consensus for peace and is, in fact, today actively working to undermine the peace process by continuing its long global efforts to support militant groups there. Most people know about Iran’s proxy networks in the Arab world, but the regime also has a relationship with the Taliban and related groups, such as the Haqqanis, the Tora Bora, and the Mullah Dadullah group. The Taliban’s entanglement in Iran’s dirty work will only harm the Afghanistan peace process.

…QUESTION: So just to be clear, the Soleimani strike was part of the administration’s maximum pressure campaign, and going forward, the Iranians should understand, as they develop their calculus, that similar actions such as the Soleimani strike could well continue to be a feature of this maximum pressure campaign?

SECRETARY POMPEO: I think the President’s been unambiguous in his – both the remarks he made down in Florida as well as the tweets that he’s put out – about the seriousness with which we take this, the risk attendant that we are deeply aware of, and the preparations we’ve made to prevent those risks, as well as our determination that in the event the Iranians make another bad choice, that the President will respond in a way that he did last week, which was decisive, serious, and messaged Iran about the constraints that we are going to place on that regime so that it doesn’t continue to put American lives at risk.

At the end, our Iran policy is about protecting and defending the homeland and securing American lives. I know that the efforts that we have taken not only last week with the strike against Soleimani, but the strategy that we’ve employed, has saved American lives. I’m highly confident in that.

…SECRETARY POMPEO: Andrea, yes, ma’am. How are you?

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, thank you very much. A question about the issue of cultural sites, because the President said on Air Force One coming back, after you had been on the Sunday talk shows, that “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.”

Defense Secretary Esper has made it clear that he would not follow an order to hit a cultural site, would – would be a war crime. I’m wondering whether you would also push back in your advice or in your role. And secondly —

SECRETARY POMPEO: You’re not really wondering, Andrea. You’re not really wondering.

QUESTION: Well, the President is saying this repeatedly —

SECRETARY POMPEO: I was unambiguous on Sunday. It is completely consistent with what the President has said.

QUESTION: No, but the President has —

SECRETARY POMPEO: We will take – every action we take will be consistent with the international rule of law. And you – the American people can rest assured that that’s the case.

QUESTION: But are cultural sites ruled out, sir?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Let me tell you who’s done damage to the Persian culture. It’s not the United States of America; it’s the ayatollah. If you want to look at who has denied religious freedom, if you want to know who has denied – the Persian culture is rich and steeped in history and intellect and they’ve denied the capacity for that culture to continue. If you go back and look at the holidays around Cyrus and Nowruz, they’ve not permitted people to celebrate. They’ve not allowed people that they’ve killed – that Qasem Soleimani killed – they’ve not allowed them to go mourn their family members. The real risk to Persian culture does not come from the United States of America.

QUESTION: Can I ask a —

QUESTION: Sir, could I follow up? And so —

SECRETARY POMPEO: That – there is no mistake about that.

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you, all. Everybody have a good day.

Secretary Esper bungled the “cultural” question, to the extent that he grants the hostile questioner’s Orange Man Bad premise instead of rejecting it, like Secretary Pompeo, and then answering:

Press Gaggle With Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark A. Milley
JAN. 6, 2020

…SEC. ESPER: By the way, let me – let me elaborate on his answer because I know there’s another question floating around out there. We didn’t put any option on the table that we didn’t believe in and that we – we knew that – that we couldn’t execute.

And with each option we present the pros and cons, the cost and benefits. That’s what we do all the time. That’s my duty, my obligation. That’s his duty and obligation as well.

Q: And you talk about de-escalate with Iran. Well, you just killed one of their two-star generals. They clearly want to take revenge on that. How do you expect them to de-escalate when you kill one of their senior officers?

SEC. ESPER: How – how do you expect us not to respond after they’ve been killing our people for 20 years? Sulimani alone has the blood of hundreds of Americans. He’s wounded thousands of Americans and coalition partners.

So somehow them turning this around, he is a terrorist, a leader of terrorist organization who’s been killing and attacking Americans for 20 some years. And the blood is on his hands. He was planning attacks on American forces.

He was there on the ground with the leader of Kata’ib Hezbollah, met him on the ground at the airplane, welcomed him so they can further coordinate attacks. This whole narrative that’s being turned around is – is – is just – is silly.

GEN. MILLEY: So you’ve got a very long history here of a guy. We know his history. Importantly we knew his future. I’m not going to go into the details of that, and I know that a lot of people are out there – I’ve seen words like, oh, the intel was razor thin. Very, very few people saw that intelligence. He and I saw that intelligence. And I will be happy, when the appropriate time comes in front of the proper committees and anybody else, through history and every – I’ll stand by the intelligence I saw, that – that was compelling, it was imminent, and it was very, very clear in scale, scope.

Did it exactly say who, what, when, where? No. But he was planning, coordinating, and synchronizing significant combat operations against U.S. military forces in the region and it was imminent.

…Q: For both of you if possible. The president has twice now, not hypothetical, said he is willing to strike cultural sites. Truly cultural sights not with weapons that makes them military targets. [This qualifying sentence is a lie, which Esper should have challenged.] So straight-up could you both say whether you are willing to target cultural sites?

SEC. ESPER: We will follow the laws of armed conflict.

Q: And that means no because targeting a cultural sight is a war crime?

SEC. ESPER: That’s – that’s the laws of armed conflict. [If the other guy hasn’t turned the cultural site into a shield for legitimate targets.]

Secretary Esper seemed a bit flustered at this point in the press gaggle. He had just had to deal with a subordinate command on the ground leaking or improperly circulating an unsigned memo advising the Iraqi government of full American military withdrawal. This was immediately in the usual suspects’ hands, as they quizzed the Secretary of Defense who had never seen or approved even a draft withdrawal statement. After that green-on-green bureaucratic friendly-fire incident, he was just a bit off message. He should have said something like:

“We have briefed the President on a number of contingency targets, and every one of them is a legitimate target, consistent with the laws of armed conflict as recognized in US law and treaties. The president has never asked me for any illegitimate targets. So, what I am telling you now is consistent with what President Trump has actually said, not what you say he said.”

However, what he did say reinforces that the Department of Defense is not ginning up illegitimate target sets. President Trump didn’t latch on to “culture” out of the blue; he got it from a briefing. Both Pompeo and Esper insist they comply with applicable laws. So, we are back to targets being briefed that included warnings about cultural sites. They should recommend a short phase that the president can use to clarify without giving away target identifications. Perhaps a tweet like this:

NO MORE HIDING BEHIND CULTURAL TREASURES. We know what is in, under, next door.


*It is worth noting that a strategic moment was largely unremarked, although the Washington Post and RT got the story [emphasis and comment added]:

The funeral procession for Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani began Saturday in Baghdad, where he was killed a day earlier by a U.S. drone strike. The next stops for Soleimani’s body were the Iraqi cities of Najaf and Karbala, sites that are holy for Shiite Muslims. Soleimani’s burial was scheduled for Tuesday in Kerman, his hometown in southeastern Iran, state media in Iran reported….

“In Najaf’s dusty warrens, Iran has bankrolled schools and charities, built elaborate mosques and nurtured links with religious scholars in a bid to undermine the local clergy, who have long been fiercely independent,” they wrote. “Clerics tied to Iran are promoting its particular brand of state-sponsored Shiite theology in the city’s seminaries and have been maneuvering to install one of their own as Iraq’s ‘marja,’ or supreme religious authority, Iraqi political operatives say.

That position is currently held by 89-year-old Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, Iraq’s most influential Shiite cleric who has opposed some of Iran’s core teachings around religious oversight of state affairs. [The full truth is that Sistani has the most senior voice, period, and has denounced the Khomenist regime for corrupting the faith. So, the Washington Post is lying by omission here.]

In November, during the height of protests against Iraq’s political establishment — including its links to Iran — protesters set fire to the Iranian Consulate in Najaf. [In other words, Iraqi Shiite faithful are rejecting the well-financed bully boys from Iran.]

So, this immediate response shows the level of penetration of Iraqi society by Iranians, who these same Iraqi Shiites fought to the death in the Iran-Iraq War. The Iranian regime exploited the most sacred sites in the Shia faith to advance their political objectives in the wake of the killing of their top general. It is the fecklessness of Bush the Second and Obama that allowed this bad turn of events after we ousted Saddam Hussein, a secular dictator who aligned himself with Sunni extremists after Desert Storm.

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  1. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Tex929rr (View Comment):
    Whether this was 3 dimensional chess or a stopped clock, DJT has absolutely hit a grand slam.

    I’ve told people Trump doesn’t play multi-dimensional chess.  He makes things plain to understand, like “Hit us and we will hit you back harder, and we will always have the last hit.  You decide when the cycle of violence stops.”

    • #31
  2. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge
    DonG (skeptic)
    @DonG

    Clifford A. Brown: Why is no one seeing the obvious here?

    Help me out.  I didn’t see anything obvious in the Trump tweet or the OP.  Is the “obvious” thing that Trump is trolling?

    • #32
  3. Raxxalan Member
    Raxxalan
    @Raxxalan

    I am relatively sure that presidential place in Iran is a ‘Cultural Site’  as likely is where ever the Ayatollah’s meet.   I also think I remember that they turned the home of the Kohemi into some sort of theme park glorifying the regime.   Cultural site doesn’t need to be a UNESCO world heritage site.  He could just be threatening the leadership directly, since that appears to be the only thing they understand.     

    • #33
  4. D.A. Venters Member
    D.A. Venters
    @DAVenters

    Tex929rr (View Comment):

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    I’m not convinced there was this much thought that went into the cultural site threats, nor do I think it will help the situation at all.

    Why take this moment to deliberately antagonize your domestic opposition, foreign allies whose support will be needed, and galvanize the Iranian people?

    If he has some case to make that these cultural sites are somehow legitimate military targets, then he should make the case – actually try to convince someone he is right about that. Otherwise, this just looks like off-the-cuff bluster, threatening cruelty and terror rather than legitimate military operations, which only serves the Iranian cause.

    The Iranians have a huge amount of status – pride, bluster, whatever, wrapped up in their Persian identity. Like nearby Arab states, they are painfully aware of how strong and vibrant their ancient (in some cases recent) cultures were, and how the largely secular west has surpassed them in virtually every way. While I think the POTUS tends to shoot from the hip, threatening cultural sites hits them in a unique way.

    Whether this was 3 dimensional chess or a stopped clock, DJT has absolutely hit a grand slam.

    I hope you’re right but it remains to be seen.

    Many talk about this threat as if it’s something we can really follow through with, and as if we could do it without serious negative repercussions.  That strikes me as naive.  The president didn’t threaten to do this if it comes to all out war; he made the threat to do this if Iran further strikes any American targets at all.  I think that is an empty bluff.  

    If Iran strikes an American military target, and we responded by striking civilian cultural sites, I cannot imagine a bigger blunder.  It would cost us all allied support, damage for generations our moral authority in any foreign policy issue, convince the rest of the world that whatever anti-US propaganda they have heard is accurate, not to mention make it much more likely that a strike would be made on our own soft civilian targets.  There would be absolutely no benefit to that.  So, what sense does it make to threaten it?  It’s a gift to the Iranians.

    Why can’t the president, if he must make a threat, simply threaten to eliminate Iran’s ability to make war, proxy wars, export terrorism, etc.?  Is that not enough?  Better yet, why can’t he simply allow the actions he has taken so far speak for themselves and otherwise shut up? 

     

    • #34
  5. cirby Inactive
    cirby
    @cirby

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Important to their culture can mean a lot of things. I’m betting at least one of their oil refineries is called something like the Glory of Allah Oil Refinery.

    I’d lean more towards the “we buried our major nuke research and production center under a cultural site, and we thought nobody would ever bomb it because of that.”

     

    • #35
  6. Bill Nelson Inactive
    Bill Nelson
    @BillNelson

    Clifford A. Brown: …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….

    The President’s ignorance is simply stunning. Of this was actually true (and it is not) why would you ever say anything. And yes, targeting “cultural sites” is a war crime. The bombing of Dresden during WWII is still debated to this day.

    The military has multiple lists or prioritized targets, and the list depends on what you want to do (damage war production capability, damage their nuclear capability, prepare for a ground assault, etc..). And there is no fixed number. A friend of mine was an F-16 fighter pilot, and when he was stationed in Europe pre-1990, he had an assigned target in the USSR. It was a 3rd or 4th level target, a grass emergency airfield, but it was his (and he was quite proud of that).

    Trump’s threat will not be a deterrent for the Iran mullahs, possibly the opposite. So, Mr. President, just shut up.

    The question is this: what is the strategic plan in place to actually prevent Iranian retaliation?

    • #36
  7. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Bill Nelson (View Comment):
    The President’s ignorance is simply stunning.

    Accept that this is a frame that will keep you from considering any other alternative.

    • #37
  8. Bill Nelson Inactive
    Bill Nelson
    @BillNelson

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Bill Nelson (View Comment):
    The President’s ignorance is simply stunning.

    Accept that this is a frame that will keep you from considering any other alternative.

    I pray daily for any evidence that I am wrong.

    Trump said (in a tweet):

    “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,” he said. “It doesn’t work that way.”

    Well, yes it does work that way. He is telling the Iranian people that he is not going to attack their military, he is not going after the Mullahs, he is coming after the people and what they care for.

    • #38
  9. Tex929rr Coolidge
    Tex929rr
    @Tex929rr

    Bill Nelson (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown: …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….

    The President’s ignorance is simply stunning. Of this was actually true (and it is not) why would you ever say anything. And yes, targeting “cultural sites” is a war crime. The bombing of Dresden during WWII is still debated to this day.

    Early in WWII, long  before the US entered the conflict, the British were reluctant to bomb munitions factories – I can’t find the quote but an RAF General expressed the thought that these were private industries, yet a few years later the RAF and USAAF were firebombing cities. There is no way to predict how far a campaign will go in retribution.  An early warning to the mullahs could prevent a lot of pain in the future.  The calculus isn’t an exact science  but I applaud the POTUS for putting them on notice, most clearly expressed in the death of the mullah’s favorite butcher

    • #39
  10. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Bill Nelson (View Comment):
    And yes, targeting “cultural sites” is a war crime.

    If it is, it shouldn’t be.  War crimes should be about people, not places.

    Frankly, the definition of a war crime is whatever the victors want it to be . . .

    • #40
  11. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Bill Nelson (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Bill Nelson (View Comment):
    The President’s ignorance is simply stunning.

    Accept that this is a frame that will keep you from considering any other alternative.

    I pray daily for any evidence that I am wrong.

    Trump said (in a tweet):

    “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,” he said. “It doesn’t work that way.”

    Well, yes it does work that way. He is telling the Iranian people that he is not going to attack their military, he is not going after the Mullahs, he is coming after the people and what they care for.

    No, he is telling them that he is not going to not damage civilians and cultural sites. He is pointing out that they have a lot to lose.

    It is extremely important to fight wars in an ethical manner, but fighting ethically against an enemy that doesn’t fight ethically…well, that stuff looks good in cowboy movies. When it is imposed on a non-imaginary fighting force and you accrue actual dead Americans as a direct result of “we’re the better man” RoEs – that kind of moral high ground starts to look like affectation, especially when viewed from six feet under.

    • #41
  12. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Tex929rr (View Comment):

    Bill Nelson (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown: …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….

    The President’s ignorance is simply stunning. Of this was actually true (and it is not) why would you ever say anything. And yes, targeting “cultural sites” is a war crime. The bombing of Dresden during WWII is still debated to this day.

    Early in WWII, long before the US entered the conflict, the British were reluctant to bomb munitions factories – I can’t find the quote but an RAF General expressed the thought that these were private industries, yet a few years later the RAF and USAAF were firebombing cities. There is no way to predict how far a campaign will go in retribution. An early warning to the mullahs could prevent a lot of pain in the future. The calculus isn’t an exact science but I applaud the POTUS for putting them on notice, most clearly expressed in the death of the mullah’s favorite butcher

    “It’s gonna be hard to find someone to fill the General’s shoes.” 

    “Yeah, they’re still kind of smoking.” 

    • #42
  13. Tex929rr Coolidge
    Tex929rr
    @Tex929rr

    TBA (View Comment):

    “It’s gonna be hard to find someone to fill the General’s shoes.”

    “Yeah, they’re still kind of smoking.”

    I posted the pic of the General’s remains being transported in a Chevy pickup on my Facebook stream and a high school classmate said “in a Dixie cup, in the glove compartment”.

     

    • #43
  14. Bill Nelson Inactive
    Bill Nelson
    @BillNelson

    Tex929rr (View Comment):

    Bill Nelson (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown: …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….

    The President’s ignorance is simply stunning. Of this was actually true (and it is not) why would you ever say anything. And yes, targeting “cultural sites” is a war crime. The bombing of Dresden during WWII is still debated to this day.

    Early in WWII, long before the US entered the conflict, the British were reluctant to bomb munitions factories – I can’t find the quote but an RAF General expressed the thought that these were private industries, yet a few years later the RAF and USAAF were firebombing cities. There is no way to predict how far a campaign will go in retribution. An early warning to the mullahs could prevent a lot of pain in the future. The calculus isn’t an exact science but I applaud the POTUS for putting them on notice, most clearly expressed in the death of the mullah’s favorite butcher

    Early in WWII the British did not have a ability to bomb inside Germany. They simply lacked the airplanes. And later on when such bombing did occur, losses were horrific due to the lack of fighter support. But there was some civility during the early phases. In Africa, the Germans would actually pause their attacks to allow the English to have their tea. Bombing of the cities (the British bombed at night and were not very accurate, so a lot of civilians died) began when a German unit got lost and bombed London by accident. the of course, Coventry.

    Bomber command under Field Marshall Harris planned and executed the Dresden raid, and it was widely questioned by the Allied leadership at the time. Also note that Eisenhower favored tactical bombing to help the  troops on the ground. The massive strategic bombing campaign never had its effect of breaking German morale.

    The mullahs are not going to be deterred by threats, and even retaliations. They have little concern for the feelings of their people and are quite willing to sacrifice as many as needed.

    The killing was a good thing. Doesn’t matter what his citizenship was, he needed to be killed (note that Obama approved a similar strike on an American citizen-legally questionable but supported by Republicans).

    The problem is Trump’s rhetoric, his tweets. All of know that every one who works for him wakes up every morning dreading the latest tweet stream. It makes their job harder. And it makes your job harder. And this threat against cultural centers really will be a problem for our allies.

    This isn’t football where teams love bulletin board fodder. This is real world, with real consequences. His rhetoric constantly hurts him, and often harms the country. And he just doesn’t seem to care.

     

    • #44
  15. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Bill Nelson (View Comment):
    His rhetoric constantly hurts him, and often harms the country. And he just doesn’t seem to care.

    A lot of us disagree with that and think the people objecting to his rhetoric have their heads where the sun don’t shine, not understanding the situation and not understanding the people he is dealing with. Instead, they try to sabotage him at every turn because “his rhetoric.” Some of them are more than willing to collude with our enemies because “his rhetoric.”

    • #45
  16. Bill Nelson Inactive
    Bill Nelson
    @BillNelson

    TBA (View Comment):
    It is extremely important to fight wars in an ethical manner, but fighting ethically against an enemy that doesn’t fight ethically…well, that stuff looks good in cowboy movies.

    Once you abandon all principles, what are you left with? You are left with being as bad as the other guy.

    Look. WWII in the pacific was savage. The Japanese brutalized American bodies, and some of our guys returned the favor. But at no time did we resort to treating POWs in the same way. And the German POWs that were sent to the US actually had it quite good. They often were allowed to work in various areas (farming mostly) and many stayed or returned and married American girls.

    So we target, very specifically, a bad guy. I don’t think we want to start lobbing mortar shells into neighborhoods where the Iranian militias operate. Nor do we want to bomb these cultural sites. Ever.

    Here are some of these places.

     

    • #46
  17. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Bill Nelson (View Comment):
    All of know that every one who works for him wakes up every morning dreading the latest tweet stream. It makes their job harder. And it makes your job harder. And this threat against cultural centers really will be a problem for our allies.

    The real question is why would this be so? It is because of the resistance to the direction Trump and his supporters seek for the country. If you don’t resist that, working for Trump is exciting and energizing. If you do resist, then you see your job as the veritable hod collector following the elephant. If that’s how you feel, get another job (preferably not with the MSM –plenty of those already) and get on with your life. 

    The “threat” to cultural centers is only a problem for the allies if they want it to be. You reject the interpretation that Trump includes them in a list of potential targets because of their history of using such sites a shields. But if our allies accept that interpretation there is no problem.

    • #47
  18. Bill Nelson Inactive
    Bill Nelson
    @BillNelson

    Arahant (View Comment):
    Instead, they try to sabotage him at every turn because “his rhetoric.” Some of them are more than willing to collude with our enemies because “his rhetoric.”

    Criticism of Trump is not sabotage. Quite the opposite. Reasoned criticism is intended to help a person change for the better. Do you recall during the election when Trump said (April 2016):

    “I will be so presidential,” he said, “you will be so bored. You’ll say, ‘Can’t he have a little more energy?'”

    Never happened. As President, every word matters. People hear the words and take them seriously.

    And if you are proposing that any critic of Pres. Trump’s is actually colluding with the enemy, then you are indeed in conspiracy land.And if you are counting democrats as the enemy, that may even be worse.

    And frankly, part of your negative reaction to criticism is most likely due to simply being tired of trying to cover for the man.

    • #48
  19. Bill Nelson Inactive
    Bill Nelson
    @BillNelson

    Rodin (View Comment):
    The “threat” to cultural centers is only a problem for the allies if they want it to be.

    The threat is a problem for any nation who is a signatory to the Geneva Conventions, which clearly prohibit such attacks. When you violate the protocols, you will lose a lot of friends.

     

    • #49
  20. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Bill Nelson (View Comment):
    Criticism of Trump is not sabotage.

    I didn’t say it was. But Kerry meeting with the Iranians and telling them to hold out for the next administration is. Trying to impeach Trump since the day he was elected certainly is a form of sabotage. The members of the Deep State within the government trying to prevent him from fulfilling his campaign promises and trying to get him removed from office certainly is.

    As for the constant criticisms from people like you, it’s just so much wind. (Unless you are in the Federal Government and one of the previous points apply.)

    • #50
  21. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Bill Nelson (View Comment):
    And frankly, part of your negative reaction to criticism is most likely due to simply being tired of trying to cover for the man.

    I don’t have to cover. I am pretty happy with what he has done. I was unhappy with Bush, because he let his critics have a free pass without response. I would rather have a Trump response than no response.

    • #51
  22. Bill Nelson Inactive
    Bill Nelson
    @BillNelson

    Arahant (View Comment):
    I was unhappy with Bush, because he let his critics have a free pass without response.

    Somewhat dignified, was it not? This is not a school ground where taunts must be answered, and we teach our children not to behave this way.

     

    • #52
  23. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Bill Nelson (View Comment):
    and we teach our children not to behave this way.

    Maybe your children . . .

    My kids learned to fight back, something I wish all Republicans would do . . .

    • #53
  24. Bill Nelson Inactive
    Bill Nelson
    @BillNelson

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Bill Nelson (View Comment):
    Criticism of Trump is not sabotage.

    I didn’t say it was. But Kerry meeting with the Iranians and telling them to hold out for the next administration is. Trying to impeach Trump since the day he was elected certainly is a form of sabotage. The members of the Deep State within the government trying to prevent him from fulfilling his campaign promises and trying to get him removed from office certainly is.

    As for the constant criticisms from people like you, it’s just so much wind. (Unless you are in the Federal Government and one of the previous points apply.)

    The Kerry meetings were a clear violation of the Logan Act, but no one has ever been prosecuted under this act and it’s constitutionality is suspect because of vagueness in it’s content.

    Impeachment is a political process, not sabotage.

    And if you view criticism as “wind” then perhaps you are not engaged in the discussion.

    The source of my criticism is my deeply held conservative beliefs (slightly to the right of Attila the Hun). And much of the criticism from republicans is much the same as the criticism given to Pres. Obama.

    • #54
  25. D.A. Venters Member
    D.A. Venters
    @DAVenters

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Bill Nelson (View Comment):
    All of know that every one who works for him wakes up every morning dreading the latest tweet stream. It makes their job harder. And it makes your job harder. And this threat against cultural centers really will be a problem for our allies.

    The real question is why would this be so? It is because of the resistance to the direction Trump and his supporters seek for the country. If you don’t resist that, working for Trump is exciting and energizing. If you do resist, then you see your job as the veritable hod collector following the elephant. If that’s how you feel, get another job (preferably not with the MSM –plenty of those already) and get on with your life.

    The “threat” to cultural centers is only a problem for the allies if they want it to be. You reject the interpretation that Trump includes them in a list of potential targets because of their history of using such sites a shields. But if our allies accept that interpretation there is no problem.

    The president has not given anyone any reason to accept that interpretation.  Some vague reference to a history of using sites as shields won’t cut it with allies.  If there is evidence that they are using these sites as shields, he needs to present that evidence.  At the very least, he should give some indication that it exists, rather than relying on supporters to simply suppose that must be what he’s really talking about.  Perhaps I missed it, but I haven’t seen any such thing out there.

    As it stands, he is simply threatening the Iranian population with a cruel act that has no military significance beyond terrorizing them.  I don’t doubt there are leaders in Iran who deserve as much terror as we can give them, and more, but the average Iranian, who will understandably feel threatened by this, does not.  We should be driving a wedge between the average Iranian and their hard line government, not pressing them together.

    I’m not opposed to taking a hard line with Iran, not necessarily opposed to the Soleimani strike, but this bluster, which he really can’t follow  through with, just makes everything more difficult.  If the situation with Iran escalates, he will need friends – domestic and foreign.  He should be making it easier for them to support him, not harder.

    • #55
  26. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Bill Nelson (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):
    The “threat” to cultural centers is only a problem for the allies if they want it to be.

    The threat is a problem for any nation who is a signatory to the Geneva Conventions, which clearly prohibit such attacks. When you violate the protocols, you will lose a lot of friends.

     

    You are choosing to ignore the sentences that follow. If you did not read them, then I invite you to do so. I you did but decided to exclude them from the quote above, then I think your eliding them for purposes of rebuttal is unfair. 

    • #56
  27. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Rodin (View Comment):
    The “threat” to cultural centers is only a problem for the allies if they want it to be.

    True of anything.  Though the US already has few allies in agreement on Iran.

    • #57
  28. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Bill Nelson (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):
    I was unhappy with Bush, because he let his critics have a free pass without response.

    Somewhat dignified, was it not? This is not a school ground where taunts must be answered, and we teach our children not to behave this way.

    And led to Obama.

    • #58
  29. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Bill Nelson (View Comment):
    And if you view criticism as “wind” then perhaps you are not engaged in the discussion.

    Bill, I am an artist. When artists do critiques, the point is to assist the artist being critiqued in growing and developing as an artist. That is good criticism. That is constructive criticism.

    Kibitzing on a Website where the target of criticism will never see nor hear about these critiques, is useless criticism. Also, the fact that Trump could tune into a thousand different sources and get the same criticism as you are supplying means that your criticism of him and his acts is superfluous.

    Now, you may have plenty of reasons for posting here. You might be letting off steam, since there is nothing else you can do about Trump and because Trump is gonna Trump. You might have other reasons. You aren’t convincing anyone. (Especially since you ignored the main point of the discussion to make your points, which have little to do with the discussion. It’s illegal to target a cultural site. Oh good. Is it also illegal to dig a bunker under a cultural site and put an illegal nuclear weapons development operation under it, too? Just hypothetically? Did you know that declaring war is illegal?) But whatever your reasons are, don’t try to convince me that your criticisms of Trump are in any way useful, let alone original or creative. Now, I don’t care if you want to generate the Internet version of hot air. I’m certainly doing it here.

    As for being engaged in the discussion, I am, but I don’t think the discussion is any more important than a bunch of characters engaging on the Internet while wasting time and pixels.

    • #59
  30. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Bill Nelson (View Comment):
    The source of my criticism is my deeply held conservative beliefs (slightly to the right of Attila the Hun).

    I knew Attila the Hun, Bill. I rode the plains with Attila the Hun. I burned towns with Attila the Hun, Bill, and trust me, you’re no Attila the Hun. 😉

    • #60
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