President Donald Trump dramatically escalated tensions with Iran after ordering a drone strike that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani. The attack happened at the Baghdad airport as Suleimani left to meet Iraqi opposition militia leaders.
Trump’s warmongering on Twitter and in the media has repeatedly puts American interests at risk, but the nation’s military won’t be in top fighting shape. While this would be the first new major conflict after the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, Trump has spent his time in office waging war on transgender soldiers and recruits.
While the Democratic presidential candidates have all said they would reverse the Trump administration’s arbitrary ban on transgender service members, religious conservatives have become the president’s biggest defenders. They see his nonstop attempts to dismantle LGBTQ civil rights as a boon for their brand of Christianity.
Evangelical Christians are also generally hawkish supporters of Israel and the president has cozied up to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is currently fighting an indictment on bribery charges. Religious zealots believe that war in the area will lead to Armageddon and have cheered Trump’s inflammatory meddling in the region.
Trump claimed to have consulted “with my Generals and military experts” during the Twitter thread he used to launch his ban, back in July. Reports have suggested Trump did not consult then-Defense Secretary James Mattis, who was on vacation at the time of the Tweetstorm, nor other senior officials.
The Pentagon was apparently aware of Trump’s intent to attack in Iran since similar plans were rejected by former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Both presidents feared it would escalate tensions in the region and could lead to yet another war in the Middle East that would mire American troops for years to come.
Trump’s capricious foreign policy and military decisions may lead the nation into war, despite Democrats clamoring for investigations and questioning whether or not the President sidestepped Congress to order the strike. The damage is already done – and despite any attempts to put on the brakes, Iran is already promising retribution for what they have deemed “international terrorism.”
The administration’s attempts to block transgender people from serving was thwarted by multiple judges, but the Supreme Court allowed it to go into effect in 2019. The damage was already done. The military has been weakened.
While gay, lesbian, and bisexual soldiers would be among those sent to fight in Trump’s folly, the military would be lacking the institutional knowledge and simple firepower from trans soldiers booted from service on the commander-in-chief’s whim.
Trump’s blatant attempt to distract American’s from his impeachment could start World War 3. If so, the country will need all the help it can get.