“If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known, that we are at all times ready for War.” —George Washington (1793)
IN TODAY’S EDITION
- Don’t mourn Soleimani’s death, but do be wary of reprisals.
- CNN attacks The Babylon Bee for being funny.
- Daily Features: More Analysis, Columnists, Headlines, Opinion in Brief, Short Cuts, Memes, and Cartoons.
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.
“Making fun of Democrats and leftists is beyond the pale” was essentially the message from CNN’s “disinformation” reporter Donie O'Sullivan. The reason for his ire was the wildly popular conservative Christian satire site The Babylon Bee’s parody entitled “Democrats Call For Flags To Be Flown At Half-Mast To Grieve Death Of Soleimani.” O'Sullivan claimed without evidence, “A lot of people sharing this ‘satirical’ story on Facebook don’t know it is satire.” Moreover, he lamented, “This is the same number of engagements the top NY Times and CNN stories on Facebook had over the past week.”
But O'Sullivan’s self-serving objection is just the latest in a long line of Leftmedia pundits bemoaning the Bee’s successful and creative satirical engagement of news and politics, a field of entertainment it loudly celebrated when the butt of the jokes were conservatives and Republicans.
As the Washington Examiner’s Becket Adams observes, “The media-led campaign to warn the public of the dangers posed by the conservative parody site is rich, considering it comes at the tail end of the decades-long fad of satirical political shows hosted by ‘news anchors’ such as Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Indeed, after 15-plus years of living in the shadow of beloved and acclaimed then-Comedy Central hosts, it is laugh-out-loud funny that members of the press are getting bent out of shape now over a single conservative satirical website.”
The irony of the Leftmedia being so concerned over the possible spread of “misinformation” from a clearly established satire site is its own history of disseminating fake news. As David Harsany points out, “What’s most annoying about all this situational and insincere freakout about the veracity of social-media news feeds is that the people who claim to be most concerned about it have done far more damage to the public’s trust than has any satirical site — not only by spreading half-truths and stoking political hysteria, but by undermining their reputation and leaving millions of Americans without any reliable mainstream news organizations to count on.”
O'Sullivan’s real complaint is that the Bee is beating leftists at their own game. As Adam Ford, the Bee’s founder, cogently notes, “There are websites dedicated to chronicling reactions from people who think Onion [another satire site] stories are real. Foreign leaders have famously been fooled by Onion articles. And this guy’s bio says he ‘covers disinformation’ for CNN. Surely he has taken the Onion to task as well, yes?” Predictably, the answer to Ford’s question is “no.” In fact, O'Sullivan appears to be a big fan of The Onion, as he has approvingly linked to several of its parody news stories on social media. The truth is that O'Sullivan simply doesn’t like the fact that the Bee is free to so effectively expose and lampoon the Left.
ON OUR WEBSITE TODAY
- Featured Analysis: Roasting Hollywood Hypocrites — Ricky Gervais had some choice and very well-deserved words for the glitterati.
- America Kills a Terrorist, Leftists Lament — Kaepernick laments Soleimani’s killing as an expression of American racism.
- Reagan & Trump — This isn’t the first time a president has confronted Iran militarily. But Democrats’ actions couldn’t be more different.
- American Spirit: Uber Passenger Pays Off Driver’s College Debt — Thanks to the generosity of a passenger, one ride changed an Uber driver’s life.
- Video: What ‘State-Sponsored Terrorism’ Means — Allen West wonders what part we don’t understand about the term “state-sponsored terrorism.”
- Video: Margaret Thatcher Saved Great Britain — Sometimes it really is a single individual who can change the course of history.
BEST OF RIGHT OPINION
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.
TOP NEWS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
LACK OF PROSECUTION: GOP senators move to dismiss articles of impeachment amid battle with Pelosi (Fox News)
DRAFT-LETTER FRENZY: Pentagon scrambles: “There’s been no decision to leave Iraq” (Axios)
ISLAMIST SYMPATHIZERS: Leftmedia impressed and sobered by tears at Qasem Soleimani’s funeral (Washington Examiner)
STAMPEDE: A stampede at the funeral of slain Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani has left at least 50 people dead and over 200 injured. (National Review)
3% INCREASE OVER PREVIOUS HIGH: FBI gun background checks, linked closely to weapons sales, recorded the second-highest month ever in December, propelling 2019’s count to the most since the National Instant Criminal Background Check System began in 1998 (Washington Examiner)
PRIVILEGES: Chelsea Clinton made $9 million since 2011 from corporate board position (New York Post)
ENFORCEMENT: U.S. implements plan to send Mexican asylum seekers to Guatemala (Reuters)
FOR THE RECORD: Iran has terrorists embedded inside the U.S. and across our border (The Federalist)
“ENDLESS ARRAY” OF TARGETS: The terrifying possibilities for an Iranian cyberattack (Washington Examiner)
“USED HIS POWER AND INFLUENCE TO … COMMIT VIOLENT CRIMES”: Harvey Weinstein charged with rape, sexual battery in Los Angeles over 2013 allegations (USA Today)
“NO EVIDENCE THAT THE SHOOTING WAS … CONNECTED TO THE THEFT”: Lawsuit from Kate Steinle’s parents over stolen gun tossed by San Francisco judge (Fox News)
POLICY: How Trump can sort out the Middle East (National Review)
POLICY: California’s privacy law shows that congressional action is needed (American Enterprise Institute)
HUMOR: Iran declines to sign Colin Kaepernick after reviewing workout video (The Babylon Bee)
For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.
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OPINION IN BRIEF
Cal Thomas: “Sanctions are helping but sanctions are not enough. An invasion will not work and would be bloody. Iran must not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons it would likely use to threaten Israel and possibly U.S. forces in the region. President Trump is demonstrating a toughness that was mostly absent in the Obama and Clinton administrations when it came to Iran. Obama, who released $400 million plus $1.3 billion in interest payments in cash the day after U.S. hostages were released by the regime, may have had the legal right to do so under a previous agreement with Tehran, but it looked to many like ransom money and to the Muslim world like weakness. Tyrants and bullies count on the weakness and indecisiveness of their adversaries. The Soviet Union lost its battle for worldwide domination (though China is seeking to fill that void) because the goal of Reagan was to assign it to history’s ash heap. President Trump should make sure Iran’s mullahs are added to the pile.”
Observations: “Chelsea Clinton has made $9 million working on a corporate board with no real world experience. I’m noticing a trend here: Joe Biden’s son — multimillionaire. Hillary Clinton’s daughter — multimillionaire. John Kerry’s son — multimillionaire. What do they all have in common?” —Charlie Kirk
Chris Wallace: “Some analysts suggest that the impeachment of President Trump has emboldened enemies like Iran and North Korea. Do you think … that some of our enemies think that this president is more vulnerable because of the impeachment effort?”
Mike Pompeo: “You should ask Mr. Soleimani.”
Friendly fire: “It’s just a lot of baggage that Joe [Biden] takes into a campaign, which isn’t going to create energy and excitement. He brings into this campaign a record which is so weak that it just cannot create the kind of excitement and energy that is going to be needed to defeat Donald Trump.” —Sen. Bernie Sanders
Letting the cat out of the bag: “I don’t give a [Medicare for All] number and I’ll tell you why — it’s such a huge number and it’s so complicated that if I gave a number, you and 50 other people would go through it and say, ‘Oh…’” —Bernie Sanders
Non compos mentis: “It may be true that someone in the [West Freeway Church of Christ] congregation had his own gun and killed the person who murdered two other people, but it’s the job of law enforcement to have guns and to decide when to shoot. You just do not want the average citizen carrying a gun in a crowded place.” —Michael Bloomberg
Crisis averted: “I have just sent the Ayatollah of Iran a personal appeal asking him not to respond to our assassination of his top General with violence of any kind, but rather let me & millions of Americans fix this peacefully.” —Michael Moore
Demo-gogues: “In the process of this whole episode going on right now, we have alienated our allies. It’s the first time I’m aware of that all of our NATO allies are making the moral equivalence between us and Iran. No one’s saying, ‘We’re with the United States of America.’” —Joe Biden
Dezinformatsiya: “Soleimani is — it’s difficult to convey how revered he is in Iran. Imagine the French Foreign Legion, at the height of the French empire. This guy is regarded in Iran as a completely heroic figure, personally very brave.” —CNN’s Fareed Zakaria
The BIG Lie: “Look, it was a targeted attack on a government official, a high-ranking official for the government of Iran. We are not safer today than we were before Donald Trump acted.” —Sen. Elizabeth Warren
And last… “The Ayatollah hasn’t even had to hire a PR machine in the West. He’s got Obama Admin officials going on TV for him.” —Erick Erickson
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