Shifting The Paradigm On Iran

Ernesto Antunez/Staff Writer

Although there are areas of serious contention in regard to the killing (assassination?) of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, some people believe that a state of (at the very least official) peace exists between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

This is a highly erroneous assumption given that a state of war exists (and has existed since 1979) between both countries. 

The legal, political and moral difficulties involved with executing a high-ranking member of a foreign power like Soleimani evaporates once this is understood. On the other hand, if we believe the mistaken assumption that the U.S. isn’t currently at war with Iran, it leads to constant logical contortions, not to mention selective memory loss, as some seem to have forgotten the violent takeover of the U.S. embassy by Iranian regime-backed “students.”

Overthrowing an American allied leader—The Shah—soured relations perhaps unjustly between the incipient Iranian revolutionary regime and the United States. But when the Iranian revolutionary regime acquiesced and even supported the violent takeover of the American embassy and all the actions that involved (e.g., the kidnapping and brutalizing of American diplomats), it changed the situation entirely as such things have been a textbook justification for war since time immemorial.

There also exists an inability to realize the difference between a state actor and a non-state actor. For example, if a group of terrorists was to kill multiple American soldiers, the correct response would not be to drone these terrorists, but to allow authorities to deal with such individuals, as these would be a group of lone terrorists operating criminally without the consent of the government.

On the other hand, Soleimani was not some lone terrorist but part of an entire governmental apparatus that was, like him, dedicated to waging war upon America (and by extension the American people). 

We must, therefore, realize that the United States was not specifically at war with Soleimani, it was at war with the Iranian regime itself of which Soleimani represented one of its most active components.

Given this de facto state of war with Iran (spare me the technicalities, we weren’t technically at war with China during the Korean War either), the United States was well within its rights to kill Qassem Soleimani. 

War with Iran, therefore, is not some dangerous possibility; it is, in fact, the current state of play.

Featured image by Blondinrikard Fröberg on Flickr


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