“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)
IN TODAY’S EDITION
- Iran’s retaliation won’t weaken Trump’s resolve.
- McConnell calls Pelosi’s bluff on impeachment.
- CNN settles with Nick Sandmann for fake, defamatory coverage.
- Daily Features: More Analysis, Columnists, Headlines, Opinion in Brief, Short Cuts, Memes, and Cartoons.
By Mark Alexander
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.
For 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.
So, in what I would 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 15 ballistic missiles into the Iraqi desert around Al-Assad and Irbil military installations. (Arguably, as Trump himself noted today, those missiles were funded in part by Obama bucks.) Iran made sure not to injure any Americans, or any of its pro-Iranian Shia terrorist militia units in Iraq targeting Americans — the same bunch that Soleimani instructed to attack our embassy in Baghdad last week before his demise.
Regarding Soleimani, 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.”
Before the fireworks started, President Trump declared about the preemptive Soleimani hit, “We took action to stop war, not start war.”
After Iran lobbed missiles into Iraq, Trump said, “[We] will respond according to our own timing and choice,” and he noted that Iran’s attack “amounts to war.” Regarding our response, 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.”
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 Mark 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.”
Regarding the ludicrous claim by Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif that Soleimani was in Baghdad on a “diplomatic mission,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo responded to the press pool: “Does anybody in here believe that? Is there any history that would indicate that it was remotely possible that this kind gentleman, this diplomat of great order, Qasem Soleimani, had traveled to Baghdad for the idea of conducting a peace mission? … Zarif is a propagandist of the first order.”
For context, recall that the strategic reason 5,000 U.S. military personnel are in Iraq (and 3,000 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.
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?
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced on Tuesday that he has the votes of at least 51 Republicans to pass a resolution setting the rules for the Senate’s impeachment trial. Those rules do not include the preconditions House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been demanding ever since the House’s partisan vote to impeach President Donald Trump. McConnell pointedly noted that the Senate will adopt the same rules that were unanimously approved 20 years ago when Bill Clinton was impeached. He explained that any decision to call witnesses would be made only after the trial proceedings were underway, and only if deemed necessary by lawmakers, as was done during Clinton’s impeachment trial.
Pelosi and her partner in crime, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, claim that McConnell and Senate Republicans are playing unfair, which is a laughably hypocritical charge given the Democrats’ underhanded and obviously partisan conduct during House impeachment hearings. Furthermore, Pelosi rushed through the House’s sham impeachment proceedings in order to secure a vote against Trump, vacuously claiming that the issue was so pressing that it could not wait … only to stall sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate while building the false narrative that it is Senate Republicans and not House Democrats who aren’t playing fair.
McConnell has firmly stood his ground in refusing to give in to Pelosi and Schumer’s phony preconditions. They want an agreement to call four new witnesses — witnesses House Democrats could have subpoenaed if Pelosi had only slowed down her rush to impeach. This new demand is obviously part of Pelosi and company’s plan to flip the negative narrative that had grown around Democrats. Once her bluff was called, Pelosi announced that she will send the impeachment articles to the Senate once she’s seen the “details” of McConnell’s plan. It will be telling if she does indeed follow through, or if she once again cries foul.
Democrats know the Senate won’t vote to remove Trump, but that’s not their goal. Their aim is to paint the Senate impeachment trial as unfairly partisan so they can then use this false narrative to attack vulnerable Republican senators up for reelection in 2020. Democrats have always viewed this whole impeachment charade, at least in part, as a bid to gain control of the Senate.
Nearly a year ago, one of the more egregious episodes of fake news was quickly spread. CNN, NBC, and The Washington Post led the charge against several white teenage boys wearing MAGA hats at the DC Mall, accusing the youths of racist intimidation of a “Native American elder.” The truth was exactly the opposite.
Nick Sandmann, the Covington Catholic High School student at the center of the controversy, filed a defamation lawsuit against those three news outlets last spring. A federal judge dismissed and then partially reopened the suit against The Washington Post. That’s no doubt why CNN just settled with Sandmann for an undisclosed amount. He sought $275 million; the settlement is certainly for far less, but Sandmann surely received a healthy sum. NBC, you’re next.
Beyond CNN’s fake coverage of the incident, its reporters tweeted about Sandmann being “deplorable” and worthy of being “punched in the face.” Isn’t that incitement to violence? Never mind the hypocrisy of Leftmedia reverence for leftist teenagers.
What’s truly amusing about CNN’s settlement, however, is that just this week the network took The Babylon Bee to task for “fake news,” despite everything on the Christian satire site being clearly humor. But we don’t recall the Bee ever having to settle a defamation suit for fake news. No, that’s just CNN.
ON OUR WEBSITE TODAY
- Methodist Church Split a Victory for the Rainbow Mafia — The plan to split the nation’s second-largest Protestant denomination is a rejection of Scripture.
- AOC Wants Dem Party Purged of Non-Leftists — Get on board with socialism or get out. That’s Ocasio-Cortez’s tolerant message.
- Grassroots Perspective: Soleimani Sympathizers — It is awfully convenient to speak against America while benefiting from this republic.
- Video: Hot Air on the Hill — Politicians use congressional hearings to score cheap points and bully productive people.
- Video: Gervais Pounds Hollywood Into Dust — Andrew Klavan explains Hollywood’s hilarious reaction to Ricky Gervais’s monologue.
BEST OF RIGHT OPINION
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.
TOP NEWS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
IRAN RETALIATES: Tehran strikes back at U.S. with missile attack at bases in Iraq; thus far, no reports of casualties (Associated Press)
GAME, SET, MATCH: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he has the votes to set Senate trial rules without Democrat cooperation (National Review)
LEGITIMATE CASE: CNN settles lawsuit with Nick Sandmann; NBC Universal and the Washington Post trial dates still pending (FOX19)
“THE DEFENDANT MONETIZED HIS POWER AND INFLUENCE”: Justice Department reverses itself on Michael Flynn, asking for up to six months in prison (Washington Examiner)
SCARCE PROSECUTION, TOO: Epidemic of government employees watching porn on taxpayer time (Judicial Watch)
TAXPAYER-FUNDED DEATH: Planned Parenthood reports record-high abortions and government funding (Fox News)
SOCIAL-JUSTICE WARRIORS: “Saved by the Bell” reboot will feature trans teen in lead role (The Daily Wire)
WATER REMEDY: A bold fix for the West’s water woes (Issues & Insights)
MECHANICAL, OR SINISTER? Ukrainian jetliner crashes near Tehran airport, killing all 176 aboard (NPR)
MAN-MADE CLIMATE CHANGE: Twenty-four Australians arrested for deliberately setting wildfires (ABC News)
POLICY: The Trump administration is right to block Iran’s foreign minister from addressing the UN (The Federalist)
POLICY: Harvard study shows the dangers of early school enrollment (Foundation for Economic Education)
HUMOR: Pelosi misplaces articles of impeachment: “We are inviting anonymous whistleblowers to come forward and tell us Trump took the articles off my kitchen counter” (NPC Daily)
For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.
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OPINION IN BRIEF
Star Parker: “Some of the foolishness we are hearing from the left cynically suggests that this operation was a diversionary tactic by President Trump to take attention from the impeachment proceedings. Let’s recall what he said three years ago in his inaugural address: ‘We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones — and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth.’ President Trump is focused and consistent with his agenda — rebuilding a strong, creative and safe America. Despite Iran being among the most oil-rich nations in the world, the average per capita income of its citizens is a paltry $5,400. Rather than investing to develop the potential of their own country, they squander their wealth to terrorize the world. No one suffers more than Iran’s own citizens. We should celebrate this blow to the regime in Iran and this timely, courageous act of President Trump.”
Upright: “All over social media many are suggesting that the president is getting us into World War III. If you believe that then you have no idea what World Wars I and II were like. This is a dispute with the Islamic Republic of Iran, which wants to destroy Israel and the United States. That’s not World War III. But if you want to talk about world wars, let’s not forget that World War II began because a lot of world leaders were unwilling to confront aggression by Nazi Germany. Their desire to appease led to the most horrible war in the history of mankind.” —Gary Bauer
For the record: “The United States is not seeking a war with Iran, but we are prepared to finish one.” —Defense Secretary Mark Esper
For the record II: “The only ones that are mourning the loss of Soleimani are our Democrat leadership and our Democrat presidential candidates.” —Nikki Haley
Grand delusions: “At the end of the day, Medicare for All will create more jobs in health care than we will lose, because when you open the doors to healthcare for all Americans, we’re going to need more practitioners, more people providing healthcare, not just filling out forms and having a massive bureaucracy.” —Sen. Bernie Sanders
Braying jenny: “We must ensure the safety of our servicemembers, including ending needless provocations from the Administration and demanding that Iran cease its violence.” —House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Non compos mentis: “By the administration’s logic, where you can take out any bad actor, then the next thing we know they’re going to go assassinate Vladimir Putin of Russia or Xi Jinping of China. These are leaders who actually pose a much greater threat to the United States.” —Rep. Seth Moulton
A trip down memory lane: “Let me tell you something, Iranian influence in Iraq is minimal. It’s been greatly exaggerated.” —Joe Biden, August 23, 2010
And last… “It probably does not embarrass Iran that no Americans died, because this was about symbolism, not strength. But it has to embarrass them that, in the symbolism, 4 of their ballistic missiles failed in flight.” —Erick Erickson
For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.
For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.
Join us in prayer for our Patriots in uniform and their families — Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen — standing in harm’s way, and for our nation’s First Responders. We also ask prayer for your Patriot team, that our mission would seed and encourage the Spirit of Liberty in the hearts and minds of our countrymen.
Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis