North Texas Daily

The air strike on Iran recalls the beginnings of Bush’s “War on Terror”

The air strike on Iran recalls the beginnings of Bush’s “War on Terror”

The air strike on Iran recalls the beginnings of Bush’s “War on Terror”
January 16
15:13 2020

Three days into the new year, Iranian general Qasem Soleimani was assassinated by an American air strike on an international airport. President Trump, who neglected to consult with Congress before ordering the air strike, claims that Soleimani posed a substantial threat to the American people. However, U.S. citizens should not forget their government’s history with propaganda, exploitation and racism when it comes to Middle Eastern relations.

The dehumanization of Middle Eastern civilians and Middle Eastern Americans was normalized by George H. W. Bush’s generalization of that demographic to promote his “War on Terror.” The former president deployed troops to Afghanistan and Iraq without acquiring any substantial proof that either country had contributed to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The Washington Post dismissed his assertion that these countries had obtained “weapons of mass destruction” as either a false statement meant to generate public hysteria or the product of an appalling failure by the Intelligence Committee. This government propagated portrayal of whole Middle Eastern nations as terrorist enclaves desensitized our own country to racial and xenophobic hate crimes perpetuated against Middle Eastern people.

Many Iraqi and Afghani civilians were subjected to unwarranted acts of violence by American soldiers during the so-called “War on Terror.” The Global Policy Forum chronicles countless instances of killings and assaults perpetrated by U.S. forces against the citizens of Iraq, including the shooting of twenty-four unarmed civilians in Haditha, at least two massacres in Baghdad, and the rape of a 14-year-old girl whose family was subsequently murdered by her abusers. Children were among the victims of each incident mentioned above. Not only were Iraqi citizens being brutalized overseas, Pew Research Center reported a significant surge in Islamophobic hate crimes perpetrated against U.S. residents following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Already Trump’s provocation of Iran has resulted in the likely accidental shooting of a Ukrainian airline by Iranian forces. The U.S. and Iran aren’t even officially at war and 176 innocent people are dead.

Trump’s motivations for antagonizing Iran recall both Bush’s incentives for invading Middle Eastern countries and Trump’s own speculations regarding the 2012 re-election strategy of President Barack Obama. Those opposed to Bush’s warmongering have theorized that both he and former Vice President Dick Cheney sought to benefit financially from the war by seizing control of Iraqi and Afghani oil supply. Iran recently unearthed 53 billion barrels worth of oil, according to CNN. In 2011 and 2012, Trump continuously reasserted his belief that Obama would go to war with Iran in order to ensure re-election. Now he himself has ordered an airstrike on Iran as the 2020 presidential election draws closer. Neither president bothered to obtain any substantial proof that the countries they antagonized posed any major threat to U.S. citizens.

If any individual country dared to consistently treat U.S. citizens with the same contempt our country has shown for Middle Eastern civilians, they would rightfully be designated a terrorist nation. The lives of innocent people don’t become irrelevant because of location or race, and to write them off as collateral damage is inherently racist.

Featured Illustration: Miranda Thomas

About Author

Rachel Card

Rachel Card

Rachel Card is a junior majoring in public relations and minoring in sociology. She was born in Austin, Texas, and is currently quarantining there with her family and three dogs.

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