As history has shown, wartime presidents see vast improvements in their approval ratings, and with less than two years until the next presidential election, this president is still struggling to gain in popularity. While his demonization of immigrants continues to fire up his base, it’s failed to bring on many new pro-Trump converts. So naturally, the president must be searching for other popularity boosting actions.
When George W. Bush charged into Iraq under false pretenses, he experienced stratospheric popularity. He succeeded because he played on the country’s raw feelings after 9/11, adding to that the imagery of the next terror attack being a mushroom cloud. The Iraq War resulted in thousands of American and Iraqi deaths, trillions in war debt, and ensuing chaos in the Middle East. Yet, while this war was founded on fear and falsehoods, it skyrocketed the president’s approval ratings – at least in the short term. Could this be repeated successfully with Iran?
Currently, the Trump administration is claiming that Iran plans to attack U.S. soldiers. While the administration has not been able to produce any real evidence of this, they are moving forward with plans to increase our military presence in the region. Therein lies the opportunity: If the U.S. sends an aircraft carrier task force to the waters near Iran – which could be deemed an act of aggression by the Iranian government – there will be opportunities to claim that Iran attacked American forces. This is similar to the start of the Gulf of Tonkin incident, which led to America’s official entrance to the tragic and unnecessary war in Vietnam. It is also similar to the accidental explosion of the battleship Maine that was blamed on Spain and was the pretext to start the Spanish-American War. Once this administration can claim an attack by Iran on American forces, the president would be committing troops to combat before Congress can even exercise its constitutional responsibility to vote on a declaration of war.
History often repeats itself, but we have seen this scenario enough to put a to stop it before it starts. We mustn’t let this President lead us down a path of deception to more senseless bloodshed. We must oppose unjustified military actions with every bit of our conviction and strength.