So we might be at war with Iran soon …

We killed an Iraqi commander with a drone strike. If it goes to war, the outcome will be ugly. And the treatment of Iranian-Americans too.

A lot of the responses, even from the liberal side, have included declarations that while the decision, and bragging about it so Iran knows we’re responsible, may be a mistake, Commander Soleimani was a bad dude who killed Americans and we shouldn’t feel bad for him.

Well, fair enough, though given that our drone strikes kill grandmothers, day laborers and good Samaritans, I don’t know that’s really a moral argument: if Iran or any Middle East group started executing drone operators, we’d be screaming about how monstrous it was to take them out.

More generally, we didn’t kill the dude because he’s bad. We take out people because they’re either threats or they’ve pissed us off (e.g, Chilean President Salvador Allende: Nixon didn’t want a socialist in office, so he overthrew Allende). If “bad dude” was the issue, we’d do something about the Saudis (repressive sexists who murder journalists) or Duterte in the Philippines. We don’t, because it’s not in our interests. We don’t take out North Korea’s Kim because the retaliation would not be in our interests.

Was killing Soleimani and then announcing it in our interests? Probably not. It’s good for Trump because he gets to strut and brag a lot, but as noted in that Vox link above, it makes it a lot harder to avoid a messy war (and we and Iran have a long history of misunderstanding each other). While the Trump administration is talking about stopping an imminent threat, I don’t believe that without iron clad evidence — we’ve entered into far too many wars based on similar bullshit claims.

In other news:

fA cop claims a server wrote “F–ing pig” on his receipt. Turns out the cop lied.

An NYPD officer staying in Nashville broke into the neighboring house, terrorized the residents and called them racial slurs. He got two weeks in jail.

The Trump tax cuts were very generous to big business. Under pressure from lobbyists, the Treasury department was even more generous about interpreting the law.

Incels are horrified that even hookers have probably slept with men before the incels patronize them.

White supremacist Augustus Sol Invictus was running for president. Now he’s been arrested for domestic violence.

A dispute over gay marriage will literally split the United Methodist Church in two.

Crackpot political paranoid Liz Croker argues that Tom Hanks appeared in The Man With One Red Shoe, red shoes are a symbol of pedophilia, ergo Hanks is a pedophile.

“We’ve been governed by idiots in eras and ages past, and occasionally we’ve gotten a break because men and women of good will decided to buck the tide, and we’ve still got a few of those despite the massive pressure our society applies to make them and all of us more idiot-friendly.” — Roy Edroso on not giving up hope.

“The rich often get what they want, even when most of the public want the opposite.” — Paul Krugman about the excessive influence of the wealthy in politics.

Alex Pareene looks at why the Obama years didn’t produce permanent liberal gains.

“Seeing this “Christmas spirit” at work is encouraging because it demonstrates that we’re capable of it. It proves that generosity and sympathy and magnanimity and charity are possible as a way of being together in this world. It shows that we can, in fact, choose to be overwhelmingly kind and gracious to one another.

But it also demonstrates that we’re not able — or perhaps not willing — to sustain such grace and generosity. We can heed the better angels of our nature, but only once a year and only for a very brief period. We tend to spend the rest of the year refusing to be generous or merciful because, come on, it’s not Christmas.” — Fred Clark on the paradox of the Christmas spirit.

Greece prosecuted a budget official for presenting accurate figures.

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