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Jan. 8, 2020

Killing General Soleimani: A Political Execution. (EP.194)

Killing General Soleimani: A Political Execution. (EP.194)


All Democratic leaders are against the Solemani execution, and all Republican leaders are for it. It seems like we are choosing sides prior to watching a football game. And both sides cite “evidence”, which, when examined alone, sounds convincing. Where is the truth that should be known by all, and where is the strategic thinking that must cross party lines? Come to think of it, where are the grown ups?

That is the subject of today’s 10-minute episode. 


How is it that everything has become political? The Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, should be the most impartial. Can anyone make the case that the Supreme Court is not supremely political? Examples like questions of how to use competition to improve anything from healthcare to education drown in the deepening political quagmire. Participants line up behind what their chosen political party is claiming to be true. Neither party concentrates on using facts and non agenda-based reasoning to achieve the deeply needed results. Worse, there are only two viable parties. Two bitterly divided views of the world.

When I was in school, the gym teacher would often have the boys split themselves into two teams, “shirts” and “skins.” One group would take off their shirts, making teammate identification easy in this ad hoc team selection, and we’d have at it. There might be some bumping, loud words, and a genuine desire to go all in to win, but at the end of the game, it was all over. Everyone was wearing shirts again, with laughter and playful shoving restoring cohesion and friendship.  

The teacher assigned us our opposing sides; we went at it with all the strength and skill that we could muster. When it was over, we were friends and schoolmates again. In our political thinking, in our political biases and mantras, many of us are influenced over a period of time to take up an unwavering faith in what we are being told by our chosen politicians, media, co-workers and neighbors. And in a very real sense we choose the politics of our fellow workers and neighbors. If we choose to work in, say, San Francisco, we will immerse ourselves in a very different political (and moral?) environment, than Cheyenne, Wyoming. 

When it comes to the late General Solemani, here are the very different views of what is going on.

Those who disagree with the execution:

  • Solemani was Iran’s most popular General. 
  • He was a true national hero. 
  • The General used clever asymmetrical war tactics to successfully engage far larger and stronger imperialist America.
  • Millions in Iran and Iraq mourn his passing.
  • The Iranian government seeks, and will exact, righteous revenge.
  • Trump is flirting with–if not downright seeking–yet another endless Mideast war.
  • Trump is endangering Americans and America to distract us from his impeachment.

Now let’s hear from the other side:

  • Iran is the world’s leading exporter of terrorism.
  • Solemani was the main figure in exporting that terrorism to many countries around the world. 
  • Solemani used civilians as shields in many of his terrorist attacks.
  • Trump has stayed his hand despite many and severe provocations, e.g., the recent Iranian downing of a US drone.
  • Trump has long been against foreign wars, having been against the war in Iraq from the beginning.
  • Iran crossed even Trump’s tolerant line with recent the death of an American. 
  • If there were a Mount Rushmore for butchers in the Middle East, Soleimani, despite stiff competition, would be on it.

Today’s key point: We Americans are using any excuse, in this case Solemani’s execution, to politically execute each other. And the continuing and escalating attacks from one side against the other, American vs. American, in the attempt to embarrass and silence the other, is far more dangerous to America than the killing of a foreign general. Whether that general be an evil international terrorist, or a national hero. Or both.

This is the political execution referred to in the title of today’s episode.

In the act of making other Americans the enemy, we must deny at least some of their humanity. Hurled epithets like “Libtard” and “Deplorable” are ready examples of this. And in denying others their humanity, we must deny our own. We must create emptiness, voids in our own humanity, before we can give voice to the thought that others are less than human, that other Americans are deserving of our derision. Conversely, to see others as fully human and worthy of our treating them with respect, we must be fully embrace our own humanity. 

So, Will, how do we handle our deeply held differences? Let’s take another look at the shirts vs. skins example. Choose the side you align with, and go hard. Dig in with all you have to win. And win or lose, everyone puts their shirts back on and regroups–remembering that under it all–we are all on the same team. Americans.

If you love politics, then dig in with all that you have to help your candidate win. If you love your neighborhood, city, state or nation, help the current government to succeed. In the same way, if you love flying, pick your favorite airline to go on vacation. If you love living, pray that the airline you happen to be flying gets everyone where they are going safely and on time. 

“A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved—I do not expect the house to fall—but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other.” Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States.

We are no longer divided by the evil of slavery. Perhaps worse, we are making things up in order to recreate that level of division so that we can take a passionate, albeit poorly researched, self-righteous stance on one side of the issue of the day or the other. 

We need to grow up and show the level of maturity the teenage shirts and skins players have modeled for us.


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Will Luden, coming to you from 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.