Right Opinion

Briefings Today

Gary Bauer · Jan. 8, 2020

Congressional leaders are demanding to know more about the intelligence behind the president’s order to take out Iran’s terror chief, Gen. Qassem Soleimani. They will get that opportunity this afternoon in a briefing from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, and CIA Director Gina Haspel.

Of course, such intelligence should remain secret, but Capitol Hill leaks like a sieve. I expect leaks will occur, especially if there is anything that can remotely be twisted as being detrimental to the president. 

But I am still reeling from those asking why the president didn’t brief congressional leaders like Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff PRIOR to the strike on Soleimani. 

Well, Pelosi and Schiff believe the president is a traitor who stole the election with the help of Russia. Perhaps that is why he might be hesitant to brief them in advance.

Meanwhile, there continues to be a lot of talk in Congress about tying the president’s hands, whether it’s a War Powers resolution ordering the president to cease hostilities against Iran or repealing the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) that passed in the wake of 9/11, giving the president broad authority to respond to terrorist threats in the region.

Progressives have shown little interest in any of that until now. In fact, Barack Obama carried out nearly 3,000 strikes without congressional authorization, at least in the way many liberals are now defining the term. Tehran must be pleased with the progressive left’s efforts to resist Donald Trump.

The Manipulation of Language

We see all the time how the left manipulates language in order to influence the conclusions people reach during public-policy debates. For example, any debate about abortion in the “mainstream” media is almost always presented as a dispute between “pro-choice” and “anti-choice” activists — not “pro-life” activists.

Unfortunately, we’re seeing the same manipulation being used now in the coverage of Soleimani. For example, numerous progressives, including Sen. Bernie Sanders and Obama National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes, have said recently that the president “assassinated” Soleimani. 

Sanders even went so far as to compare Soleimani’s death to Vladimir Putin’s assassinations of political dissidents. So now Soleimani’s a dissident?!

The left knows that the word “assassination” has a generally negative connotation, as well as a specific meaning under international law. But Soleimani was no innocent. 

He was a designated terrorist and a top official of a hostile power who is responsible for hundreds of American deaths. As Rabbi Shmuley Boteach noted, Soleimani was “an architect of Bashar Assad’s genocidal war against the Syrian people … one of the most guilty men on earth.”

Multiple leftist commentators have questioned the legality of the strike against Soleimani, suggesting that it could be a “war crime.” And they are accusing the president of threatening additional “war crimes.” Nothing President Trump has said or done is a war crime. 

There are war crimes being committed all over the earth, usually by communists or Islamic jihadists. None of that is ever called “war crimes” by the left. It only uses that term to describe actions by conservative presidents to resist our enemies. 

Hamas and Hezbollah, Iran’s terrorist proxies once directed by Soleimani, position rockets in civilian neighborhoods and near schools and mosques so that if Israel responds to rocket attacks, Israel can be accused of war crimes. But hiding weapons in civilian areas is a war crime, and it isn’t a war crime to fire back. 

The third example is not a word but the misuse of a phrase. 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.

Like Winston Churchill, Donald Trump is standing up to evil. His left-wing critics, like the appeasers of World War II, want to lie prostrate at the feet of men like Qassem Soleimani, hoping that nothing terrible will happens to us. 

Gervais’ Good Advice

I know there has been some news about this, but if you missed it, I want to commend this to you. Comedian Ricky Gervais, host of Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards ceremony, offered this bit of advice to the “woke” Hollywood celebrities as he kicked off the show:

If you do win an award tonight, don’t use it as a political platform to make a political speech. You’re in no position to lecture the public about anything. You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg. So, if you win, come up, accept your little award, thank your agent and your god and f—k off. OK?

A number of left-wing organizations are now attacking Gervais. Are they refuting any of his assertions, like Hollywood’s obsession with political correctness? Did they counter his point that many celebrities ignored the Epstein and Weinstein scandals or turned a blind eye to major media firms running sweatshops in China? 

Of course not. Instead, they are accusing him of mimicking “right-wing talking points." Gervais responded by asking how could "teasing huge corporations, and the richest, most privileged people in the world be considered right wing?”

I believe this episode is worth noting because Gervais, J. K. Rowling, and Alan Dershowitz are hardly conservative converts. But they are taking on Hollywood, the transgender ideology, and other leftist nonsense. 

They are liberals who are willing to speak up against the authoritarian impulse that is poisoning the minds of so many progressives. I hope 2020 is the year that restores some sanity and genuine tolerance to our political discourse.

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