The US needs to start thinking before acting in Iran

On Jan. 3, 2020, President Donald Trump made one of the rashest foreign policy decisions since George W. Bush, and it should have been avoided if Trump consulted Congress like he is supposed to. The military strike that killed Iranian military general Qasem Soleimani, the right hand man to Iran’s leader Ali Khamenei, set off a heightened escalation between the United States and Iran, putting a strain on the already weak relationship between the US and the Middle East. Watching another death in a place with recent history of constant conflict and intervention by foreign powers, where people who have no personal stake in the matter are able to gamble their lives away.

Soleimani was Iran’s highest ranking military official in charge of the entire Iranian military. He was an instrumental figure in the Iran-Iraq war. As the head of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds force, Soleimani’s group was labeled a foreign terrorist organization by the US government. US and Iranian officials have both noted Soleimani’s popularity within the military, marking him as a charismatic and tactical leader. This popularity only exasperates the tensions between the US and Iran.

On top of Trump’s action against Iran, further concern was raised by how the Democratic and Republican lawmakers reacted in the following intelligence briefings. Republican senator Rand Paul from Kentucky said that the hearing was an “insult to the constitution” because the power to declare war rests solely in the hands of congress. A rebuff of the White House from one of the president’s self declared, die-hard supporter can only mean that this conflict is not being handled well. Moreover, the categorization of the briefings by senators across the aisle as unorganized and secretive exemplifies the White House’s dangerous and uncautious handling of this entire situation. 

Trump’s decision to escalate tensions comes from no consultation from congress, and the White House has made it clear through their actions and words that they will not be asking for consent from congress any time soon. This is a major concern, as one of Congress’s major duties are to regulate a president’s foreign policy decisions. When millions of lives are potentially at stake, such drastic tasks should not be made by one person and their hand selected team, rather it should be a collaborative effort with representatives from all sides of congress and the White House from all different backgrounds all representing different people. 

The magnitude of the conflict is another reason as to why such a rash decision should not be made, especially by one person. For many residing in the US, this conflict seems like another newsflash on a 24/7 news cycle. However, for the innocent people in Iran, Iraq, the Middle East and those who have a connection to the middle east, this despair is a bleak reality of their lives. We have become desensitized to all the death in our world, and sometimes we forget that every number shown under the word “deaths” is an individual with their own story and ambitions who lost their lives in a conflict they likely played no part in.

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