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January 7, 2020

After Soleimani, Threats to U.S. Interests Continue

The good (justice), the bad (danger), and the ugly (leftists siding with a terrorist).

At the orders of President Donald Trump last week, an MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle took out a car in an Iraqi war zone carrying Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The IRGC is essentially made up of the stooges the Iranian regime uses to support terrorism, although it has military forces as well. It should be noted that both the Quds Force and the IRGC have been declared foreign terrorist organizations, and both are arguably at war with the United States.

Soleimani was, in other words, the person in charge when the IRGC sent explosively formed projectiles to insurgents in Iraq for use in improvised explosive devices. Those IEDs left hundreds of American troops dead and thousands more maimed. That alone made Soleimani a legitimate target and warranted giving him a one-way trip to his divine judgement, and he can join Isoroku Yamamoto, Osama bin Laden, and a host of other evil enemies of America in a very warm neighborhood for a very long time.

There were other valid reasons, of course. Restoring deterrence was mentioned by former CIA Director and U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus. Put it this way: Bad guys around the world know that the United States has the will to respond to go with the ability to respond. This will be beneficial to the cause of peace — at least under the Trump administration.

The bad news, of course, is that Iran will strike back however it can. Under Barack Obama, Iran expanded its influence across the Middle East, from Afghanistan to Lebanon to Yemen. The Houthi that people are so upset about the Saudis bombing? Iranian backed — including anti-ship missiles like the ones used to attack USS Mason (DDG 87) in 2016.

What could retaliation entail? It could be anything from attacks on tankers to rockets fired at bases and embassies to cyberattacks. The United States has deployed more troops to the region. That contradicts Trump’s pledge to end “endless wars,” but in the short term, the additional troops are needed. Standing up to a bully sometimes means you get into fights. The best option is to win the fight in such a way that the bully in question — as well as others — decides to back down.

In addition, the Iraqi parliament narrowly passed a nonbinding resolution demanding that the United States-led anti-ISIS coalition leave Iraq. (It should be noted that the Kurds and Sunnis boycotted the vote, and it may make sense now to fully back the Kurds and an independent Kurdistan in light of the Iraqi parliament’s decision.) A letter from the Pentagon was leaked Monday (by “mistake”) indicating impending withdrawal of U.S. forces. That may have been a warning to Iraq: If the elected Iraqi government wants to side with Iran after American troops shed blood to fight Saddam Hussein, al-Qaida, various other insurgents, and ISIS, then that is its choice, but that choice must have consequences. “I don’t know what that letter is,” said Defense Secretary Mark Esper. “We’re trying to find out where that’s coming from, what that is. But there has been no decision made to leave Iraq, period.”

Then, we get to the ugly side of things. The fact is that when it came time to choose between America and one of the world’s thugs, the Left chose to attack America and to side with the thug. Some of the more infamous responses don’t need to be repeated. Nor do statements from Democrats running for their party’s nomination for president.

So, while Patriots should rejoice for the demise of a terrorist thug, they should be concerned about the safety of our troops. In addition, Americans also need to grapple with the hard questions about the War on Terror and decide just how serious they are about winning it.

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