RNA - On Saturday, Trump said on Twitter that his military would hit “very important” targets related to Iran if the Iranians want to take a retaliatory action against the US for the assassination of a senior military commander.
Major General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), were assassinated in US airstrikes in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on Friday.
Trump's threat came after Iranian authorities said they would show a harsh response to the US strikes.
Many were quick to say that deliberately attacking cultural sites is a war crime.
Attacking civilian locations, like cultural sites, is a War Crime.
— David Rothschild (@DavMicRot) January 4, 2020
Ryan Goodman, a former special counsel at the US Department of Defense said that targeting "the clearly-recognized historic monuments, works of art or places of worship" is a war crime.
"Making the clearly-recognized historic monuments, works of art or places of worship which constitute the cultural or spiritual heritage of peoples ... the object of attack"
Geneva Convention Protocol I
(also: U.S. Department of Defense, Law of War Manual, 5.18) pic.twitter.com/yqKLA6JHbY
— Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) January 4, 2020
Colin Kahl, former deputy assistant to President Barack Obama and national security adviser to vice president Joe Biden said that "the Pentagon would not provide Trump targeting options that include Iranian cultural sites."
For what it's worth, I find it hard to believe the Pentagon would provide Trump targeting options that include Iranian cultural sites. Trump may not care about the laws of war, but DoD planners and lawyers do...and targeting cultural sites is war crime. https://t.co/HXvJM0kdl0
— Colin Kahl (@ColinKahl) January 4, 2020
John G Hertzler, an actor and an author, reacted by saying that the American people "are not" behind Trump in response to a Twitterer, who said he backed the president.
No. No we are not.
— John G Hertzler (@JGHertzler) January 4, 2020
Eugene Gu who is politically active on social media, said "the President of the United States should never threaten on Twitter or anywhere else to target another country’s non-military cultural sites."
The President of the United States should never threaten on Twitter or anywhere else to target another country’s non-millitary cultural sites. That is an act of evil terrorism with no strategic value whatsoever other than destroying people’s heritage and history.
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) January 4, 2020
Meanwhile, groups of protesters took to the streets in Washington and other US cities on Saturday to condemn Trump's order to conduct the air strike in Iraq and to send about 3,000 more troops to the Middle East.
"No justice, no peace. US out of the Middle East," hundreds of demonstrators chanted outside the White House before marching to the Trump International Hotel a few blocks away.
Similar protests were held in New York, Chicago and other cities. Organizers at Code Pink, a women-led anti-war group, said protests were scheduled on Saturday in numerous U.S. cities
Protesters in Washington held signs that read "No war or sanctions on Iran!" and "US troops out of Iraq!"