Late Thursday evening, Jan 2nd, the Pentagon confirmed that a drone strike in Iraq killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani at the Baghdad International Airport. Soleimani was the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as well as the elite Quds Force.
On Friday morning, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the case that Soleimani was planning an imminent attack against the United States.
“He’s (Soleimani) got hundreds of American lives and blood on his hands. What was sitting before us was his travels throughout the region, his efforts to make a significant strike against Americans. There would have been many Muslims killed as well, Iraqis and people in other countries. It was a strike that was aimed at disrupting that plot, disrupting further aggression and we hope, setting the conditions for de-escalation as well.”
President Trump said on Friday morning that Soleimani “got caught”:
General Qassem Soleimani has killed or badly wounded thousands of Americans over an extended period of time, and was plotting to kill many more…but got caught! He was directly and indirectly responsible for the death of millions of people, including the recent large number….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2020
On April 8, 2019, President Trump formally designated both the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Quds Force as Foreign Terrorist Organizations. The State Department recognizes Iran as a State Sponsor of Terrorism and “that the IRGC actively participates in, finances, and promotes terrorism as a tool of statecraft. The IRGC is the Iranian government’s primary means of directing and implementing its global terrorist campaign.”
Iran has warned they will “take revenge for this heinous crime.”
Predictably, Democrats Criticize and Condemn Trump’s Action
On Friday morning, Democrats lined up to blast Trump:
“President Trump just tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox.”
“Trump’s dangerous escalation brings us closer to another disastrous war in the Middle East that could cost countless lives and trillions more dollars.”
-Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT)
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said the priority must be to avoid another war:
Soleimani was a murderer, responsible for the deaths of thousands, including hundreds of Americans. But this reckless move escalates the situation with Iran and increases the likelihood of more deaths and new Middle East conflict. Our priority must be to avoid another costly war.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) January 3, 2020
“This has been a deteriorating situation: A president that does not have a clear-eyed larger strategy to not only bring stabilization to the area but make Americans more safe.”
-Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Former Republican Congressman Justin Amash, an anti-Trump independent, tweeted that Trump doesn’t have the authority to conduct the strike:
There’s a reason our Constitution grants Congress the power to declare war: Every American may be intimately affected by a violent conflict. Soleimani was evil. But our system demands consent for war from the people, acting through their representatives and senators in Congress.
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) January 3, 2020
But Where Were Democrats Under Obama?
Democrats appear to be more concerned with playing politics and making political points. Many of the same Democrats who are criticizing Trump’s actions to protect Americans are the same ones who empowered Iran for eight years or supported its empowerment.
Under Obama and Vice President Biden’s leadership, the Obama administration conducted 10 times more drone airstrikes on terror targets than President George W. Bush across the Middle East and Northern Africa in the war on terror. The Obama Administration stated that drone strikes were “exceptionally surgical and precise” and protected “innocent men, women, and children in danger.”
Where were the Democrats then demanding he receive wartime permission from Congress?
The Iranian Nuclear Deal
According to a Washington Post investigation by Marc Thiessen, the Obama administration didn’t just give Iran billions of dollars; they did it secretly, quietly, and without Congressional oversight or approval.
- Obama failed to disclose to Congress side deals in regards to nuclear inspections with Iran.
- Obama’s administration secretly sent a plane with $400 million in foreign cash. Coincidentally, the Iranians released four American hostages on the same day.
- Two more secret flights carried an additional $1.3 billion in cash to Iran.
- After guaranteeing to Congress that Iran wouldn’t gain access to US banks in exchange for the money, the administration attempted to utilize those same banks to help Iran convert Iranian assets to the tune of $5.7 billion.
As Thiessen stated, remove “Obama” and “Iran” and replace them with “Trump” and “Russia” and one can only imagine the firestorm that would ensue.
Obama and Democrats Empowered Iran; Trump Holds It Accountable
The Trump administration has taken a very different approach to Iran than the Obama administration. He’s withdrawn the US from the Iran Nuclear Deal and disavowed Iranian acts of aggression towards cargo ships in the Strait of Hormuz.
Obama’s gentler and more friendly approach did not curb Iran’s appetite to build nuclear weapons, destabilize Iraq, threaten Israel, or create a proxy war with Saudi Arabia in Yemen. Instead, the Obama administration helped fund the Iranian activities.
As Pompeo said on Thursday morning,
“We didn’t send pallets of cash to the Iranians. We didn’t pay for hostages. We didn’t create a deal which would have given them a clear pathway to a nuclear weapon. We have taken a very different approach. We believe it’s the one that will ultimately lead to success and stability in the Middle East.”
What have Democrats done other than empower Iran and politicize Trump’s actions?
By Don Purdum, Freelance Contributor
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