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Mark Alexander / Jan. 8, 2020

Democrats Invite Iranian Retaliation — And Get It!

Assuring Iran that retaliation will help it weaken Trump's resolve is an open invitation to escalation.

“There is a rank due to the United States, among nations, which will be withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation of weakness. If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace … it must be known that we are at all times ready for war.” —George Washington (1793)

Before getting into the details of Iran’s retaliatory attack before sunrise (Baghdad time), allow me to assert what most analysts won’t dare: The Democrat leadership criticism of President Donald Trump’s decision to take out the two most significant Middle Eastern terror principals as they were planning imminent attacks on American targets is tantamount to a plea for Iran to attack the U.S. and our allies — so Demos can use that carnage as political fodder to further erode Trump’s 2020 election prospects. In effect, assuring Iran that retaliation will help it weaken Trump’s resolve is an open invitation to escalation.

Impeachment boss Nancy Pelosi insists, “We must ensure the safety of our servicemembers, including ending needless provocations from the Administration.” But the reality is, every time Pelosi and Chuck Schumer open their mouths, they effectively invite and empower violence against our military personnel, and against innocent men, women, and children who are most often the targets of Islamist extremists. And their politically motivated impeachment charade has emboldened our adversaries, most notably Iran and dictator Kim Jong-un’s North Korea.

As for the provocation nonsense, Iran has been provoking the U.S. since the Islamist revolution in 1979, and it has now become the world’s wealthiest and most powerful state sponsor of terrorism. Fact is, Trump has exhibited a remarkable level of restraint despite recent Iranian attacks on our allies and the shoot-down of an American drone over international waters last June.

Soleimani crossed Trump’s red line with Iran when his proxies killed an American defense contractor, Nawres Hamid, and wounded U.S. troops on 27 December. To be clear regarding Soleimani’s value as a terrorist target, retired Gen. David Petraeus, former U.S. forces commander in Iraq and Afghanistan and former CIA director, affirmed: “It is impossible to overstate the importance of this particular action. It is more significant than the killing of Osama bin Laden or even the death of [Islamic State leader Abu Bakr] al-Baghdadi.”

By way of contrast, recall that in 2016 before leaving office, Barack Obama sent Iran a 747 freight liner with $400 million in palleted cash as part of his $1.7 billion nuclear appeasement (read: “empowerment”) deal, despite the fact that a few months earlier Iran had illegally taken American Navy personnel hostage.

If that is what Democrats mean by “restraint,” those days are over. Can you imagine Trump’s response to Iran’s humiliation of captured American military personnel? Of course, Iran would not dare venture into those waters with Trump as commander-in-chief — for much the same reason it released our American hostages in Tehran almost 40 years ago, just minutes after Ronald Reagan was sworn into office.

That brings us to what I would loosely describe as a expensive fireworks finale on the third and final day of state-induced mourning for Iran’s Quds Force (akin to the Nazi SS) strongman, Qasem Soleimani, the ayatollah launched 16 ballistic missiles into Iraqi targeting Al-Assad and Irbil military installations. (Arguably, as Trump himself noted today, those missiles were funded in part by Obama bucks.) Four missiles malfunctioned before reaching intended targets, but these were not Iran’s most sophisticate weapon systems. They utilized their best weapons when targeting Saudi oil facilities last September.

Iran made sure not to injure any Americans, or any of its pro-Iranian Shia terrorist militia units in Iraq who are targeting Americans — the same bunch that Soleimani instructed to attack our embassy in Baghdad last week before his demise. Before the launch they gave advance notice to the Iraq government – which was by extension, giving advance notice to the U.S. However, our CENTCOM sources confirmed that we had intelligence information hours before the attack and had already taken appropriate actions to protect American military personnel.

As soon as the launches were complete, Iran notified the U.S. through Swiss emissaries that it was “done” – hoping to thwart retaliation. In other words this was blusterous rattling of sabers, and there were no casualties in the Soleimani show – unless you count the 56 Iranians who died in a stamped at his funeral.

Before the fireworks started yesterday, President Trump said of the preemptive Soleimani hit, “We took action to stop war, not start war.”

After Iran lobbed missiles into Iraq, Trump declared, “[We] will respond according to our own timing and choice,” and he noted that Iran’s attack “amounts to war.”

Regarding a military response,Trump addressed the nation, flanked by Mike Pence, SecState Mike Pompeo, SedDef Mark Esper, and his key military leaders. He reaffirmed, “As long as I am president of the United States, Iran will never be allowed to have nuclear weapons. Iran has been the leading sponsor of terrorism and its pursuit of nuclear weapons threatens the civilized world. We will never let that happen.” To Iran’s tyrannical regime he said, “Your campaign of terror, murder and mayhem will not be tolerated any longer.” And to the people of Iran, he said, “We want you to have a great future of prosperity at home and harmony with the nations of the world. The United States is ready to embrace peace with all who seek it.”

For the record, Trump did not create the Iranian threat; he exposed it. And he is now tasked with disposing of it.

Ahead of the attack, Defense Secretary Esper was asked if Soleimani’s planned attacks were imminent, and he affirmed, “I think it is more fair to say days…” He also reiterated, “The United States is not seeking a war with Iran, but we are prepared to finish one,” and that included retaliation “against legitimate targets.”

Chief among those targets would be missile sites, three Iranian oil refineries, and, most notably, Iran’s nuclear-weapon-production sites — which, if struck, Iran will claim were “baby milk factories.”

For context, because this tends to get lost in the news cycle churn, recall that the strategic reason 5,000 U.S. military personnel are in Iraq and (3,000 are incoming) is largely to sustain the eradication of the Islamic State after Obama and Hillary Clinton empowered that terrorist resurgence between 2012 and 2016. The additional 45,000 military personnel in the region are there to protect vital U.S. national-security interests and those of our allies.

Notably, the president took an off-ramp to immediate retaliation, which I am sure disappointed his Demo detractors.

Finally, circling back around to the Democrats’ open invitation for Iranian retaliation, Sen. Chuck Schumer insisted just before the missile attack: “This president … doesn’t have a strategy and I am worried that he will, either by impulse action or lack of strategy, bungle us into war.”

Only a bungling idiot would think that our military does not have a strategy that long preceded the strike on Soleimani. On the other hand, what do you call a political leader who clearly knows we have well-defined strategies to defend American national-security interests in the Middle East but baits enemy attacks in order to use those attacks as political fodder?

Footnote: Four hours after the attack, a Ukrainian International Airlines Boeing 737 jet departing Tehran, crashed, killing all 176 passengers aboard. Military analyst confirm the plane was downed by an Iranian anti-aircraft missiles – likely a Russian-made Tor-M1 SA15 SAM. Of course, Iran is denying its forces shot down the civilian airliner.

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