On January 3rd, eleven days before this broadcast, a US drone strike killed Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani and four others near the international airport of Bagdad, Iraq. The next day, at least two rallies were held in Kansas City to protest this extra-judicial execution, one at noon and another at 3 PM. This episode of Radio Active Magazine interviewed Margot Patterson with Code Pink KC and Citizens for Justice in the Middle East and Mary Hladky with Military Families Speak Out (MFSO) and PeaceWorks Kansas City. They discussed some of the history behind this conflict and activities in Kansas City relating to this and other issues.
Radio Active host Spencer Graves also did some research on this. On Saturday, January 4th, he visited a group of roughly 90 people just south of the J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain. Roughly 60 were holding protest signs, drumming and chanting next to 47th street. The rest were congregating around four tables. he asked each group to tell us who they were, who they represented, why there were there, and how others might contact them.
- Adin Alem discussed the Sunrise Movement in Kansas City. They are primarily concerned about climate change, but they know that war has a huge impact on climate. In addition, fossil fuel executives are excited about reports of a discovery of substantial new reserves in southern Iran, driving the share prices of fossil fuel companies, she said. Sunrise Kansas City is planning an Open Meeting on Sunday, January 19, 2020 at 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM at St. Marks Lutheran Church, 3800 Troost Ave, Kansas City, Missouri. The public is welcome to attend.
- A spokesperson for Our Revolution Kansas City was collecting signatures for Medicaid expansion in Missouri. He explained that Our Revolution in 2016 was the Bernie Campaign, but now they are about educating people on progressive causes.
- Vega Wiesley with the Kansas City Chapter of Democratic Socialists of America said they were protesting the escalation of hostilities with Iran and US troops in Iraq.
- Clyde runs “Redacted Distro” available on Instagram and Twitter.
If you are concerned about this or any other political issue, you can share your concerns with your elected representatives in Washington by going on the internet to senate.gov and selecting your state and to house.gov and entering your zip code. Doing so will nearly always give you the web sites of your two senators and representative in the US House. Most of them have an option to “contact” or “email” their office.
For me, the hard part is deciding what I want to say. Many of our representatives ask you to contact them using a form on their web site. That, of course, means that you may not get a file copy of what you sent unless you create one separately in word processing software. I do that, then copy and paste my message into their form.
First, however, it’s often helpful to research what each representative may have said about the issues that concern you. Google Advance Search can easily handle this otherwise difficult task. To get that, I first searched for “Google Advanced”. That gave me “google.com/advanced_search”.
I started searching for “Soleimani” within “blunt.senate.gov”. The first match was a press release with Roy Blunt, a Republican and US Senator from Missouri, saying, “Soleimani led Iran’s worldwide terrorist efforts. Hopefully his death sends a message to those in control of Iran that there is a price to be paid for being the number one state sponsor of terrorism.”
A similar search within “hawley.senate.gov”, “roberts.senate.gov” and “moran.senate.gov” produced nothing. Searching for Iran in those web sites was more fruitful. On May 18, 2019, Hawley, another Republican and US Senator from Missouri joined with 12 other Republican members of the US Senate in saying that, “The Iran nuclear deal was one of the single worst foreign policy disasters in recent memory. … I support the Administration’s maximum pressure campaign to hold Iran accountable for its sponsorship of terrorism, human rights abuses and leading role in the proliferation of chemical weapons.”
On Oct 16, 2017, Jerry Moran, a Republican US Senator from Kansas said that, “Iran is still a place that exports terror around the globe, and I wish [the Obama agreement with Iran] would have been much more encompassing than just dealing with one issue.” A similar search produced nothing regarding the positions of Pat Roberts, a Republican US Senator from Kansas.
That was so much fun, I extended the search to cleaver.house.gov and davids.house.gov. January 3rd, Emanuel Cleaver, a Democrat representing much of the Missouri portion of the Greater Kansas City area, said, “I fear this decision is a grave miscalculation by the President. Such a monumental escalation in tensions with Iran, without consulting congressional leadership and our allies abroad, puts our servicemembers in danger and has the potential for disastrous ramifications … . This moment is a test of whether or not we learned our lesson in Iraq, and I pray that we seek all opportunities to de-escalate this volatile situation.” On the same day, Sharice Davids, a Democrat who represents much of the Kansas portion of Greater Kansas City, said, “Qassem Soleimani committed atrocious crimes against American troops and innocent people. But his killing will only serve to further destabilize an already dangerous region and put more American and civilian lives at risk.”
This sounds pretty partisan: Republicans insisting this extra-judicial execution was justified, Democrats concerned about backlash.
I sent emails to my Representative in the US House and two US Senators asking what evidence they have that increasing hostilities with Iran would likely produce better results than the US-led invasions of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003 and the other US interventions in the region? These other interventions included providing chemical and biological warfare technology, weapons of mass destruction, to Iraq during the 1980s to encourage them to make war on Iran. The US did that apparently because US leaders did NOT like the Iranian democracy that had been restored by a nonviolent movement there in 1979, twenty-six years after the US organize a coup in 1953 that overthrew their existing democratically elected government.
Is there any evidence death and destruction by the US in Afghanistan and Iraq have made the bottom 99 percent of the US and international populations safer and better off? Wouldn’t honest support for democracy and rule of law have likely made everyone safer and more prosperous?
Regarding the concerns about Iranian support for international terrorism, the report of the 9/11 Commission of the US government said, “We have found no evidence that Iran or Hezbollah was aware of the planning for what later became the 9/11 attack.” By contrast, the Saudi government WAS actively involved in the preparations for 9/11, and “Saudi Arabia arguably remains the most prolific sponsor of international Islamist terrorism”. Iran seems to have actively supported some international terrorism, but the US seems to have supported more. And Saudi Arabia is NOT on President Trump’s Muslim travel ban list.
Regarding concerns about Iran’s nuclear-weapons program, the primary threat from THAT comes what the US might do if a nuclear weapon, perhaps delivered to US shores in a sailboat, explodes.
Leading climatologists have said that a “minor” nuclear war in which India and Pakistan each used a third of their nuclear arsenals would likely produce a nuclear autumn during which a quarter of humanity would starve to death.
That’s 2 percent of the US nuclear arsenal. If only 1, 2 or 3 nuclear weapons were used, it would likely have a negligible impact on climate. In other words, the primary threat is not from Iran or North Korea having a few nuclear weapons but rather the huge nuclear arsenals of the US and other major nuclear-weapon states.
So far, the evidence is consistent with the observation that when people are killed and property is destroyed, the apparent perpetrator often makes enemies. When our people our killed, that proves to us how evil our opposition is. When we kill them, that’s unfortunate but necessary.
- It will be very difficult to achieve peace without reducing this asymmetry in human judgement.
If you have evidence of Iranian support for terrorism beyond that cited above, I want to know. You can add that to the Wikipedia article on “Iran and state-sponsored terrorism” and the Wikiversity article on “Winning the War on Terror”. If you have evidence that I’m wrong about the threat from the US nuclear arsenal, add that to the Wikiversity article on, “Time to nuclear Armageddon”.
Almost anyone can change almost anything on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia Foundation projects like Wikiversity. They ask you to write from a neutral point of view citing credible sources. If you do not do that, you can expect someone else to delete what you wrote or modify it to make it more neutral and credible.
Conservatives claim that the media are biased against them. However, the evidence I find supports the opposite: Media organizations everywhere cannot afford to offend their major funders, especially major multinationals including but not limited to major oil companies that have long had better relations with the Saudi royal family than with the governments of Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and other countries where US troops are currently engaged. That’s even true, sadly, of PBS, sometimes facetiously called the “Petroleum Broadcast System”. If you want honest information about any substantive issue, you need to look beyond the mainstream media.
But don’t believe me. Check your facts. How do you know what you think you know? I’ve been wrong before, which is why I encourage you to use Wikipedia or Wikiversity to challenge the claims I just made about Iran and the US nuclear arsenal. See also the “Corruption Trilogy” on the bottom third of the last page of the October 2019 Newsletter of PeaceWorks Kansas City. The foregoing is a research report by Spencer Graves. It does not reflect an official position of KKFI or anyone else associated with the station.