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OHS students weigh in on Iran conflict

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Iran highlighted on a map
Graphic: Owen Meldon, 42Fifty

America’s most recent conflict with Iran has created a world divided. Conversations of this issue have quickly spread through Oswego High School’s halls. 

To recap what has happened so far: On Jan. 3, 2020, the United States ordered a drone strike targeted close to the Baghdad International Airport with the intent to terminate a major target. As a result, Qasem Soleimani, the major general of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Iran, was pronounced dead at the scene. For a crash course on America’s conflict with Iran and the Middle East in general, watch OHS military topics, history, and civics teacher Mr. Aaron Henrick’s video here.

Producer: Owen Meldon, 42Fifty

OHS students, especially those who are going into the military and those who are of voting age, are worried about the implications this conflict holds. 

“If no one instigates a conflict with us that threatens our civilians, there is no reason to start an ego- and pride-based war,” OHS senior Zane Licina said. Licina identities himself as a Deomcratic Socialist. “Here is a general who works the same as any general in the United States, or China, or Russia. We label [Solemani] a terrorist because of cultural reasons in their country, which we aren’t really privy to talk about.”

Licina is an opponent of America’s military efforts in Iran, identifying himself as a Democratic Socialist. He described the assassination of Solemani as an unnecessary action that will only lead to a conflict based on ego and pride.

Licina also holds strong views on how America, over the course of several years, has been acting within countries such as Iraq and Iran in terms of their civilian populations.

“We’ve been slaughtering hundreds of thousands of Iraqui, and destroying their way of life for going on 20 years now,” Licina said. “Iran is aware of this, [and] that’s where the base of our nuclear tensions in 2015 came from.”

With tensions being at an all-time high and with much fear of a war breaking out between America and Iran, Licina remains skeptical. This is especially the case when President Trump claimed that America will back out of its military advances in Iran and Iraq, along with imposing sanctions on Iran on Jan. 8 2019.

“I don’t see a war coming, especially now that the conflict has seemingly been resolved. All this does is make Trump look really bad, even in the eyes of right-wing voters,” Licina said. “I just think it’s going to lead foreign powers to trust us even less than they did before we exhorted Iranian nuclear sanctions five years ago.”

While Licina won’t support these conflicts at all costs, there is going to be logically just as many people who support these military efforts. Aden Baker, a senior at OHS who is going into the military, is one of these people, revealing the division of opinions here at OHS, identifying himself as a Constitutional Republican.

When it comes to the recent events surrounding this conflict, Baker believes the assassination of Solemani was the right thing to do on America’s part.

“With the killing of Solemani, I’m very happy about that, I think it was done perfectly,” Baker said. “There is hard evidence that Quasem Solemani… the rebellious group that he led… has been diagnosed as a terrorist organization by the United States.”

Baker, with his strong stance for Solemani’s killing, feels as though that Barack Obama’s administration dealt with this situation the wrong way during his presidency.

“Iraq had intelligence that would lead them to assassinate Solemani earlier,” Baker said. “The Obama Administration actually gave warning to Iran that this was going to take place.”

Baker, along with his positive stance on this assassination, he also is a major supporter of Trump’s sanctions and the claims that America would be pulling out of Iran.

“I think it’s perfect, you know, we have had tensions with Iran since 1979 and not much has been done about it. In fact, I think it’s been very helpful for Iran,” Baker said. 

With the heated discussions about imminent war and military draft between Iran and America breaking out, just like Licina, Baker also remains skeptical. However, he does feel as though tensions will remain present between the two countries.

“I have zero fears,” Baker said. “I’m sure there are going to be tensions further [on], but we’re not going to go to war. The draft hasn’t been used since Vietnam and there was very harsh public drawback from that.”

With two sides of the story, with two completely opposite sides of the political spectrum, and with so much political discourse going on throughout a short period of two weeks, it can be hard to keep track of what is going on. With tensions not seeming to die down anytime soon, only time will tell what the future holds for OHS students, and these two countries.

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