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Tuesday night, Nov. 8, 2016 was a bad night. I was leaving the office a little after 6 p.m. and already knew things weren’t right in the universe. Oh god, no, NO! Not Agent Orange, the crazy man who would be insulting anyone and everyone on Twitter for the next four years. A deep breath.

Okay, four years. What’s the worst that can happen? Kiss off environmental regulations. So we’ll have worse air and water quality. Check. Massive tax cuts for corporations and billionaires with skyrocketing deficits. Check. So far, President Trump has told over 10,000 lies since being in office. Check. After Justice Antonin Scalia died in February 2016, Moscow Mitch had the Senate wait nine months to confirm the next Supreme Court Justice. Check. Because Justice Anthony Kennedy retired early (from a lifetime appointment), President Trump got his second Supreme Court justice. Check. Hang in there, RBG!

We all knew we were gonna be in for a bumpy ride. We could survive four years of dysfunction — as long as our Twitter-In-Chief didn’t start a war. That ended last week when President Trump ordered the assassination of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani. What would you think if a foreign power used a drone with a Hellfire missile to assassinate an American citizen here in the USA? Fox News would call it an “act of war” and demand immediately retaliation. Iran is no different. It was reported that over 1 million Iranians attended Soleimani’s funeral, where over 56 people were trampled to death. If 56 Iranians died during a peaceful funeral, how many do you think are willing to die to kill Americans?

I’m a student of military history and one of the reasons many local fringe-political groups dislike me is I don’t drink the Kool-Aid. I look at both sides of an issue. Sun Tzu, the Chinese military strategist wrote in his classic book “The Art of War” in the 5th Century BC, “To defeat your enemy, you must understand your enemy.” It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what happens next. Escalation. Wars are easy to get into and hell to get out of. Ask LBJ or George W. Bush.

We’re now the Ugly Americans, again. We don’t learn from history. I once asked a Marine Iraq combat veteran, “What would you do if a foreign country invaded the U.S. and killed your parents, wife and children?” He looked at me and deadpanned, “I’d blend in with civilian population and kill ‘em — one at a time — wherever I could.” I responded, “Sounds like Iraq (or Vietnam), huh?”

Carl von Clausewitz defined war as a “mere continuation of policy by other means.” In Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq the U.S. won every major military battle, yet lost the wars. Why? We didn’t have a coherent mission and goals that could be explained to the mothers of the serviceman and women. The Iran fiasco has already started that way. The Pentagon already released a memo stating the U.S. was pulling out of Iraq, only to later say this was a rough draft and not formalized. Trump ran his campaign on the platform of getting the hell out of the Middle East. Now he is sending more of your sons and daughters there. Trump threatened to target Iran cultural sites, which would be like a foreign power blowing up the World Trade Center, Lincoln Memorial or the Golden Gate Bridge. If that happened, what would you think? A Boeing jet just crashed, correction was shot down in Iran. Would you want to be the Boeing executive who gets to travel to Iran to review the crash site? Not a chance in hell!

The enemy of my enemy is now my friend. Iran and Iraq may be mortal enemies, however they share the hatred of one country — America. Here’s what’s gonna happen. Middle East countries will start sniping — a shot here, a roadside IED bomb there, blowing up U.S. corporate assets everywhere. Then some Middle East country will attack a U.S. embassy. Only this time it’s not “Argo” with 50-60 Iranian protesters taking U.S. embassy personnel as hostages in 1979. No, it’ll be more like “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” on steroids. They’ll strike with 300-400 hundred well trained militants, all armed with AK-47s and RPGs to inflict maximum body count and they don’t care if they have to die for Allah.

Then what happens next?

Matthew Owen resides in Eureka, and believes the First Amendment allows for free speech, even when married to a Humboldt County supervisor.

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