Seconds after President Donald Trump threatened U.S. retaliation on Saturday if Iran retaliates for the deadly U.S. airstrike on its top commander, Twitter followers accused him of planned war crimes.
Following the killing early Friday of Iran Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed harsh revenge. The U.S. is now steeling for possible attacks on American troops and embassies in the Mideast, as well as potential cybercrime assaults or even terror attacks in the U.S.
So Trump threatened Saturday in a tweet to target 52 Iranian sites, including cultural centers important to the nation.
One problem: It’s an international war crime to deliberately target a country’s cultural centers, and it’s a war crime to target the civilians who would likely be expected to gather at a cultural center.
“Someone better let the president know he’s threatening war crimes,” tweeted Tom Nichols, a specialist on international affairs and professor at the U.S. Naval War College.
Lawmakers, including Democratic presidential contender Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), also accused Trump of plotting war crimes. AOC flat out called the president a “monster.”
In a message directly to Trump, Warren told him: “The American people do not want a war with Iran. This is a democracy. You do not get to start a war with Iran.”
Colin Kahl, who was once deputy assistant to then-President Barack Obama, said if Trump doesn’t care about war crimes, members of the Department of Defense do, and they know that targeting cultural sites is a war crime.
Former special counsel in the Department of Defense Ryan Goodman spelled out the law.
Some wondered how far Twitter would go down the “war crimes” tunnel with Trump, and were puzzled that a war crime threat apparently doesn’t violate Twitter terms of service (TOS), including its policy against threatening “violence against an individual or group of people.”
Here’s a selection of a few of the rest: