In the weeks after President Donald Trump ordered the airstrike that killed Qassim Soleimani of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps without congressional approval, many people have been hyper-vigilant about the prospect of a major global conflict.
However, some community figures in opposition to the U.S. military intervention, like Kymone Freeman of We Act Radio in Southeast, counted Trump’s attack on Iran as the latest chapter of a protracted war that started with the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, and similar campaigns in Afghanistan and Libya under President Barack Obama.
For him, the greatest strategy that Black people could employ involves unplugging from the system and becoming more dependent on each other in anticipation of the United States’ ultimate decline as a world power.
“Whatever [the United States of] America says, we should call out,” Freeman told The Informer.
Hours after Soleimani’s Jan. 3 death, Freeman took to social media criticizing not only President Trump but previous executives in recent history who deployed troops abroad. Oftentimes, to the chagrin of Black military sympathizers, he discouraged his peers from believing U.S. propaganda and involving their relatives in military combat.
“People are still sending their children to the military. This is Rome, and Rome collapsed internally from its own weight,” Freeman added. “The colosseum and gladiators happened toward the end of that civilization to keep the peasants’ minds off the war. America is an empire with over 140 military bases. Empires expand or contract, and it’s no longer expanding so we shouldn’t be fearful of it.”
Protests have erupted in some U.S. cities and Iran in response to the actions of their respective governments. Iranians recently took to the streets after military forces shot down a Ukranian airliner and killed more than 170 people. Under international pressure, Iranian officials took responsibility for the snafu, blaming the U.S. for precipitating the conflict. The tragedy followed an assault on a U.S. base in Iraq in retaliation to Soleimani’s killing.
In the wake of Soleimani’s death, the U.S. deployed 3,000 additional troops to the Middle East and 750 more following a situation at its embassy in Baghdad earlier in the month. Some of those reinforcements came from the Marine unit of a crisis response task force. Trump administration officials defended its initial actions by citing intelligence that placed Soleimani in several countries throughout the Middle East with the goal of impeding U.S. military operations.
There’s speculation among the Democratic establishment and anti-war progressives that President Trump initiated the airstrike to pivot attention away from impeachment proceedings scheduled to start once the House votes to send the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate next week. Posts circulating on social media likened the move to President Bill Clinton’s attack on Iraq in 1998 amid his impeachment.
On Tuesday, nearly a dozen Senate Republicans joined their Democratic colleagues in backing a resolution limiting President Trump’s ability to take military action against Iran without congressional approval. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), who introduced the resolution, said the additional support pushed it past the 50-vote threshold needed for approval.
On Jan. 9, the House overwhelmingly passed a similar resolution with credit mainly given to Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.). However, a bevy of congressional representatives acknowledges Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) as a key engineer of the modern anti-war movement within the Democratic Party, primarily because of her vehement opposition to the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq.
In a public statement issued just days before the passage of the resolution, Lee maintained the same outlook.
“Make no mistake, Trump chose reckless military action over diplomacy – and this is the result,” she said. “All parties should immediately halt the violence, and Trump should work with our allies to find a path to de-escalate. It’s past time to change course, embrace diplomacy, and focus on ending the wars we entered two decades ago instead of provoking another disastrous, unnecessary war the world cannot afford.”