Trump studying Bolton plan to send 120,000 troops to Mideast
U.S. troops arriving in the Middle East (Iraq) in 2008. The Trump administration has been readying secret plans to deploy 120,000 troops to the region as part of its plans to wage war against Iran. | Khalid Mohammed/AP

Peace organizations and government leaders around the world are warning that the Trump administration is steamrolling toward the same disaster the U.S. rushed into in Iraq 16 years ago and in Vietnam generations before that. The heightened fear of imminent war was raised even more last night following a New York Times report that Trump is studying a plan by his war hawk national security adviser, John Bolton, to send 120,000 troops to the Middle East in anticipation of a fight against Iran.

The limited reaction thus far by members of Congress—including total silence from Republican lawmakers—is raising concern that the war hawks could get away with igniting yet another war in the Middle East even as they push for sending U.S. troops into Venezuela to overthrow the democratically elected government there.

“It’s time for our leaders to stop sleepwalking and the public to speak out as an unrestrained Iraq war architect (Bolton) repeats the playbook from that generational catastrophe with Iran,” said Jamal Abdi, in a statement for the Iranian American Council.

“If you are worried about a new war in the Mideast, you are in good company,” said Joe Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund this morning. “In fact, you are probably not worried enough.”

The bombshell report on the secret plan to send troops to Iran exploded on the heels of totally unproven claims by the administration that Iran plans unspecified attacks on U.S. interests in the Middle East. The troops would be needed, according to Trump administration war hawks, if Iran should make any moves to develop nuclear weapons.

It was the Trump administration, of course, which canceled the nuclear weapons deal with Iran that had been crafted by the Obama administration and a host of other nations, including Iran itself. Trump canceled the deal despite protests from countries around the world that Iran was sticking to the terms of the agreement.

As if on cue in its copying of the earlier playbooks for war in Iraq and Vietnam, the administration claimed Iranian-backed forces have attacked oil pipelines in Saudi Arabia and have interfered with oil tankers in the region. The administration has so far offered no proof of any of these claims. The unproven allegations of attacks by Iran bring to mind the false claims by the Johnson administration in the Vietnam era that there had been attacks against U.S. troops by that country in the Gulf of Tonkin. Those claims, eventually disproven, were nevertheless used as an excuse to deploy hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops to Vietnam.

The plan for the sending of 120,000 troops follows several major escalations of the war danger by Trump recently. Since he canceled the nuclear arms deal with Iran, the president has continually escalated his bellicose rhetoric against that country. Recently, he sent a major aircraft carrier strike force as well as B-52 bombers and missile launchers to the Middle East. Simultaneously, he has canceled the nuclear arms reduction deal crafted by former President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev. These moves targeting Iran are all taking place concurrently with threats to send U.S. troops to Venezuela.

These moves are topped off for now by last night’s report on the planned deployment of troops.

One of the false claims made by the administration is that the escalation is in response to possible Iranian threats to the world’s oil supply. The claims insult the intelligence of observers who note that in his attempt to destroy the Iranian economy, it is Trump who is blocking Iran from shipping its oil to countries that depend upon it.

According to the New York Times, the plan to send in the troops is the work of Bolton.

Bolton has long advocated the bombing of Iran and has expressed his desire to overthrow that country’s government and then celebrate the victory in the building in which U.S. hostages were held during the Carter administration. The Times report said the plan to deploy troops was presented to Trump by Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan. Shanahan has been a long-time executive with the Boeing Company and was nominated by Trump last week to serve as the permanent Secretary of Defense.

Shanahan’s Boeing Company, of course, has huge government contracts, including contracts for the bombers and planes that Trump is sending into the Middle East. Boeing made many of the weapons used in all of the aforementioned wars, including Iraq and Vietnam.

Fears are mounting that Trump could very well ignite a broad war in the region involving far more countries than just the U.S. and Iran.

John Bolton | Michael Conroy/AP

Those fears are based on a number of factors, including the large number of troops in the Bolton plan and the continuing dissemination of false unproven claims by Trump that Iran is behind likely attacks to come against U.S. forces in Syria and Iraq.

“The size of the force involved has shocked some who have been briefed on [the plan],” the Times reported, citing more than a half-dozen anonymous national security officials. “The 120,000 troops would approach the size of the American force that invaded Iraq in 2003.”

According to the Times, U.S. officials claim to believe—again without offering any proof—that Iran was involved in attacks on UAE and Saudi oil tankers in the Persian Gulf over the weekend. Observers note that the alleged attacks conveniently happened after Trump administration figures predicted that such could happen and were the reason for sending in weapons and troops.

They also note that Saudi Arabia’s genocidal war in Yemen is fully supported by Trump, despite both the House and the Senate having voted to end that war. Trump is in it up to his ears with both Saudi Arabia and the UAE because he and his family have received huge loans from both countries.

Trump used the unproven reports about the tankers as an excuse to speak out once more against Iran and to raise his level of threats against that country.

“It’s going to be a bad problem for Iran if something happens,” the president said to reporters yesterday.


John Wojcik
John Wojcik

John Wojcik is Editor-in-Chief of People's World. He joined the staff as Labor Editor in May 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There, he served as a shop steward, as a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee, and as an activist in the union's campaign to win public support for Wal-Mart workers. In the 1970s and '80s he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper's predecessor, and was active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.