On Wednesday morning, President Trump took to the podium at the White House to finally address the Iranian missile attacks on America’s al-Asad airbase in western Iraq. The president’s speech was bland and predictable, consisting mostly of forced bravado, empty posturing, and a seemingly inevitable partisan attack on his predecessor.
After single-handedly creating this crisis by tearing up President Barack Obama’s historic nuclear peace deal with Iran and then assassinating their highest military general, President Trump had the gall to try to blame President Obama for Iran’s missile strike by arguing that the munitions were paid for with funds “made available by the last administration:”
“Iran’s hostility substantially increased after the foolish Iran nuclear deal was signed in 2013, and they were given $150 billion not to mention $1.8 billion in cash… Then Iran went on a terror spree funded by the money from the deal and created hell in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Iraq. The missiles fired last night at us and our allies were paid for with the funds made available by the last administration.”
The “$150 billion” is one of the right-wing’s favorite lies about President Obama and the nuclear peace deal and has been a constant theme in the president’s rhetoric. The $150 billion in question does not exist and is entirely a figment of the president’s imagination.
The $1.8 billion payment did occur but was the reimbursement of funds that had been paid by the Shah of Iran to the United States in the 1970s — some $400 million — for fighter jets that were never delivered after the Iranian Revolution deposed the US-installed dictator. As a show of goodwill towards Iran, President Obama arranged for that money to be repaid, along with the $1.3 billion in interest it had accrued over the past 40 years.
There is no evidence this money was spent on missiles, and even if it was, what they spent it on is none of our business. To chastise them for spending money on military hardware when the United States spends more than the next seven countries combined on its military budget is outrageous hypocrisy; to criticize them for wanting to defend themselves after we unilaterally tore up a peace treaty and murdered a beloved government official is irrational and unfair.
For Trump to try to pass off the blame for this self-inflicted crisis is an appalling show of cowardice that wrongfully demeans the one man who heroically did everything he could to try to strike peace. President Obama put everything on the line in his efforts to try and make sure this kind of crisis would never happen, bravely taking on the hordes of jackal pundits and defense lobbyists and neocon extremists in Congress and coming out victorious — and now that it’s all been undone by Trump, for him to put the blame on him is truly the lowest of the low.
Trump just tried to blame the Obama administration for Iran's strike against U.S. military assets in Iraq pic.twitter.com/xaVvrtWsxc
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) January 8, 2020
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.