Trump’s brilliant targeted strike against one of the world’s most evil men, while it offended the Left, may help bring down the Mullahs’ rule in Iran.
So, let’s have a brief rundown, shall we?
On December 27, a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base in Kirkuk, Northern Iraq, killed an American contractor and wounded several others, both American troops and Iraqis. For those who, like me, are a little unclear on the specific geography in that region, Kirkuk is about 200 km from the Iranian border.
By the weekend, the U.S. was so certain that Kataeb Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed militia group operating in Iraq, was behind the airstrike that it mounted a counter strike. The military did precision strikes against five Kataeb Hezbollah sites, killing around 25 militia members.
In response, on December 31, Kataeb Hezbollah attacked the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. The pro-Iran mainstream media tried to report the event as a “protest” by “mourners,” but the reality was that it was a targeted strike on the embassy, along the lines of the Benghazi consulate attack in 2012 that left 4 Americans dead. Incidentally, one of the Benghazi attack’s planners was Qassem Suleimani, the head of Iran’s dreaded Quds Force. Does that name sound familiar? If it doesn’t now, it will by the end of this post.
Just to be sure that everyone knew exactly what kind of an attack it was, the militia members raging against the embassy building left a calling card: They painted around the window the fact that they were loyal to (here’s that name again) Qassem Suleiman:
"Soleimani is our leader" written under window by Iran-backed militiamen at U.S. Embassy Baghdad, about head of IRGC’s Quds Force, responsible for special operations in Iraq and Syria pic.twitter.com/PTc0MPl5KP
— Lucas Tomlinson (@LucasFoxNews) January 2, 2020
Unlike Obama’s response to Benghazi, which was to let events unfold without making any effort to step in, Trump responded forcefully to the attack on the embassy. Within a short time, the militia members were dispatched, the embassy was secure, and all Americans were safe.
Initially, Leftists were very excited about the whole Baghdad attack, calling it “Trump’s Benghazi.” As young people say, that was a self-own, because in their rush to condemn Trump, Leftists finally admitted that Obama’s response to Benghazi was execrable. Trump’s success in safely and overwhelmingly quashing the attack should have had the Leftists eating crow. That, however, implies a conscience, so. . . .
What Trump was very cognizant of, and this is something I think too many Westerners forget, is that an attack on an embassy is not just an attack on a building and the people inside. An embassy is an official part of the country it represents. If you are on American embassy soil, no matter where the embassy is located, you are in America. Both the Kateab Hezbollah militia fighters and Trump fully understood that Iran, through a proxy, had just attacked America, much as it did in 1979.
Trump promised forceful retribution. When he made that promise, most remembered that, when word emerged that Bashar al-Assad might use gas against civilians, Obama also promised retribution:
However, when al-Assad finally used chemical weapons against civilians, Obama suddenly discovered his inner Roseanne Rosannadanna and said “Never mind.” It was more important to him to close a deal with Iran, giving the Iranians everything, including cash, in exchange for nothing, than it was to make good on his word.
Iran, assumed that Trump, like Obama, would be a paper tiger and issued ferocious warnings against any reprisal for the embassy raid. Trump, however, is no paper tiger. Not only did Trump follow through on his retribution promise, he did it in a big way.
What happened yesterday was not a pin point strike against an aspirin factory. Instead, Trump beheaded the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Quds Force. It’s hard to think of an analogy for this. Maybe it’s like killing the head of all American special forces. It’s important to understand, though, that Suleimani wasn’t just a bureaucrat. He was the active mastermind behind terrorist strikes all over the Middle East (see the point about Benghazi, above).
Again, Trump had something to say on the matter:
….of PROTESTERS killed in Iran itself. While Iran will never be able to properly admit it, Soleimani was both hated and feared within the country. They are not nearly as saddened as the leaders will let the outside world believe. He should have been taken out many years ago!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2020
Suleimani wasn’t just killing Americans. He was killing everyone. No wonder, then, that when word got out that Suleimani was dead, Iraqis started rejoicing in the streets:
Iraqis — Iraqis — dancing in the street for freedom; thankful that General Soleimani is no more. pic.twitter.com/huFcae3ap4
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) January 3, 2020
So with Suleimani’s death, a lot of people are happy: Iranians tortured and killed by Suleimani’s secret Quds force. American troops killed by Suleimani’s military strikes. Iraqis subject to Suleimani’s military strikes. Israelis in the shadow of Suleimani’s preeminent role in Iran’s existential threats to Israel.
There was one group, however, that wasn’t happy and that would be the American Democrat party, whether in the political sphere, in the media, or in Hollywood. Here’s just a short look at their responses. Some acknowledge that Suleimani was a bad man, but think it’s better to pay off evil people than to fight them. (Neville Chamberlain could commiserate with that crowd.) Others believe that America is the evil one and that the strike against Suleimani removed a respected and revered leader who was a freedom fighter for his land.
I’ll lead with Ilhan Omar’s tweet, because it gives you a twofer: a Democrat politician (Chris Murphy of Connecticut) terribly afraid that we really made Iran angry, over which Omar has layered her special anti-Trump sentiment by implying that the strike had no purpose other than to distract from Trump’s impeachment woes:
So what if Trump wants war, knows this leads to war and needs the distraction?
Real question is, will those with congressional authority step in and stop him? I know I will. https://t.co/Fj9TMossEW
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) January 3, 2020
The WaPo, once impressed by that austere religious scholar, and mass murderer, al Baghdadi, seemed to mourn the loss of a revered Iranian leader:
Breaking news: Airstrike at Baghdad airport kills Iran’s most revered military leader, Qasem Soleimani, Iraqi state television reports https://t.co/NbZW4DaWvD
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) January 3, 2020
Various Dem political figures followed Chris Murphy’s lead — bad man, but we shouldn’t kill bad men, even when they attack America, because that’s scary:
We’re on the brink of yet another war in the Middle East—one that would be devastating in terms of lives lost and resources wasted. We’re not here by accident. We’re here because a reckless president, his allies, and his administration have spent years pushing us here.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) January 3, 2020
I was right about Vietnam.
I was right about Iraq.
I will do everything in my power to prevent a war with Iran.
I apologize to no one. pic.twitter.com/Lna3oBZMKB
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) January 3, 2020
The general feeling in this crowd is that America is a big bully, so she should just take it on the chin when terrorists kill her citizens and attack her soil.
And then there are the open America haters, mostly in Hollywood, who don’t need to bother with careful political rhetoric. The worst was undoubtedly Rose McGowan, a child raised in a cult who then went to Hollywood where she was sexually exploited. She’s beautiful, famous, and unhinged:
Dear #Iran, The USA has disrespected your country, your flag, your people. 52% of us humbly apologize. We want peace with your nation. We are being held hostage by a terrorist regime. We do not know how to escape. Please do not kill us. #Soleimani pic.twitter.com/YE54CqGCdr
— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) January 3, 2020
— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) January 3, 2020
The reliably American hating Michael Moore also had a say. He turned the American flag into an ugly simulacrum of the Iranian flag; implied as did Ilhan Omar that this was Trump’s “wag the dog” moment; and put out a poster showing America as a regional aggressor. This last one misunderstands two things: First, that Iran has been at war with the US continuously since Iran’s last attack on America soil, namely the US Embassy in Tehran in 1979. Second, that America is a regional defender that protects surrounding Sunni nations rightly afraid of Iran’s imperialism and terrorism:
— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) January 3, 2020
— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) January 3, 2020
— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) January 3, 2020
One of the things that got the Hollywood crowd most excited was a November 29, 2011, tweet from Donald Trump saying he suspected that Obama was planning to start a war with Iran in order to secure his reelection. One example will suffice:
There’s a tweet for everything. Holy shit. https://t.co/q1AstkSzvf
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) January 3, 2020
The problem with looking to that tweet that the situation in November 2011 was quite different from that which Trump faced this past week.
The Arab spring had turned violent. In March, 2011, Obama had, however, unilaterally launched a military invasion of Libya, despite the fact that by this time Qaddafi had stopped aggressive actions against the U.S. Just as he did nothing to protect ordinary Iranians, Obama seemed happy to hand the war over to violent Islamists who tortured Qadaffi to death on October 20, 2011.
Qudaffi was horrible and probably didn’t deserve better than he got, but Obama had still betrayed someone who wasn’t an enemy at the time. Eleven days after Qadaffi died, Obama announced that the war with Libya was over, pulled out, and created a giant vacuum that extremists filled — Iranian-funded extremists who attacked the Benghazi consulate less than a year later.
By mid-November, Iran was escalating its nuclear activities and directly threatening Israel. Obama, before he decided to buy off Iran. was talking tough. So tough that even the Guardian was worried, implying in early November, in its Corbyn-esque anti-Semitic way, that Israel was driving Obama to war:
War with Iran is the last thing Barack Obama needs with the American economy in dire trouble and a tough White House election campaign looming next year, according to officials in Washington as well as political analysts.
But while the Obama administration is desperate to avoid another conflict – it would be America’s fourth in a decade – the drumbeat from Israel has been growing louder.
The Israeli cabinet was reported on Wednesday to be debating whether to launch air strikes on Iranian nuclear sites in the coming weeks. The prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, and the defence minister, Ehud Barak, are lobbying in favour of action, but other senior ministers are urging caution.
In response, Iran has warned, as it has in the past, that any attack by Israel would result in retaliation against the US. The Iranian news agency ISNA quoted Hassan Firouzabadi, Iran’s military chief, as saying: “The Zionist regime’s military attack against Iran will inflict heavy damages to the US as well as the Zionist regime.”
The rhetoric from Tel Aviv and Tehran is making some within the Obama administration nervous.
On November 21, eight days before Trump’s tweet, Obama had signed an executive order imposing sanctions on Iran. This new tough Obama, incidentally, was the same man who stood silently by in 2009 as Iranians took to the street to protest the Mullahs’ brutal leadership (a brutality that Soleimani cruelly helped).
All of which to say is that anyone watching Obama in November 2011 was rightfully worried. Obama was never a courageous man; he was a weak man who used the weapons of war available to him in counter-intuitive and cruel ways (think of all those drone strikes killing civilians in non-combatant countries). Trump’s guess about Obama’s motives was wrong, but it was a reasonable guess at the time.
This time around, Iran attacked, the US counterattacked, Iran attacked again, and Trump said “enough is enough” — and then killed the head of the entire Iranian terror apparatus. It was a beautifully done both tactically and strategically, and was a long-delayed, and long-deserved show of overwhelming force against a festering enemy that pushed too far.
I’m pleased. Very pleased.
Suleiman was a known terrorist who was outside of his country when he was killed and whose forces had just attacked American soil.
The timing of Trump’s strike is good too. Trump has weakened Iran, both by reimposing those sanctions Obama lifted and by turning America into a net oil exporter, thereby cutting severely into Iran’s only real economic asset. As a result, the Iranian regime is very weak. Indeed, when it comes to that asset, Lindsay Graham, of all people, offered his own little reminder about just how weak Iran is:
If Iranian aggression continues and I worked at an Iranian oil refinery, I would think about a new career.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) January 3, 2020
Iran is hurting economically and its citizens are chaffing terribly under its oppressive rule. There have been strikes all over the country, showing that people no longer fear the government. It’s true that the Mullahs struck back hard at the protesters, killing at least a thousand of its own citizens and imprisoning thousands more. By killing Soleimani, though, Trump reminded the Iranian people that their leaders may be brutal, but they’re also mortal. That’s how you support a revolution.
One more thing: This wasn’t all Trump, of course. Endless kudos to the members of the American military and intelligence communities who protected our embassy and killed our enemy.