Most Americans are rejoicing at the killing of Qassim Soleimani, an Iranian terrorist with immense amounts of American blood on his hands. The political left and its media allies are anything but joyful–they want to know the justification for killing a man responsible for the killing and maiming of many American soldiers. Where were these outcries when President Obama was using drone strikes to kill American citizens without honoring their constitutional rights?
On May 30, 2012, The New Yorker posted an article that included the following:
The Obama Administration has sought and killed American citizens, notably Anwar al-Awlaki. As the Times noted, “The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel prepared a lengthy memo justifying that extraordinary step, asserting that while the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of due process applied, it could be satisfied by internal deliberations in the executive branch.” In other words, it’s due process if the President thinks about it. One wonders how low the standard for “internal deliberations” are—if it might be enough if Obama mulled it over while walking his dog. And if an American whom the President decides is a threat can be assassinated in Yemen, where Awlaki was hit, why not in London, or Toronto, or Los Angeles? (Awlaki’s teen-age son, an American citizen who had not been accused of anything, died in a separate strike.)
The New Yorker was one of the few publications questioning what was going on.
The conservative media has a much more realistic view of the killing of Soleimani.
Frank Gaffney, Jr., posted the following at the Center for Security Policy today:
President Trump’s liquidation of Qasem Soleimani, an Iranian terrorist with immense amounts of American blood on his hands, has not only exacted a measure of revenge for Iran’s murderous jihadism. He has struck a direct blow at the regime in Tehran that brutally oppresses its own people and increasingly threatens ours.
Soleimani’s assassination must now be followed up with an intensified campaign aimed at empowering Iranians to bring about, at last, the removal from power of the rest of the thugs who have, for forty years, called for “Death to America.”
As we take necessary steps to deter the mullahs’ retaliation in-theater, we must also act immediately to roll up Soleimani’s foreign legion, the terrorist group known as Hezbollah. It has units inside the United States who inevitably will be ordered, later if not sooner, to attack targets in this country.
The Washington Examiner reported yesterday:
The U.S. killing of Qassim Soleimani In Baghdad on Thursday ends an enduring threat. At least in the short term, however, it will unleash Iranian retaliation. The leader of the external action arm of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Soleimani long led that regime’s efforts to destroy its enemies and expand its revolution.
From an explosive campaign that killed hundreds of U.S. soldiers in Iraq, to supporting Bashar Assad’s regime with legions of Shiite fighters and IRGC operatives, to conducting a campaign of bombings and assassinations and intimidation across the world, Soleimani was a master of his very dark arts. He was a serious and continuing threat to U.S. lives and interests. Indeed, Soleimani masterminded a failed 2011 plot to blow up the then-Saudi ambassador and dozens of diners in a Washington, D.C., restaurant.
Still, Soleimani’s killing, apparently alongside Abu Mahdi al Muhandis, the Kataib Hezbollah leader responsible for recent rocket attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq, is striking. Trump might call it justice for this week’s attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, or the recent killing of a U.S. contractor in Iraq, or an act to disrupt Soleimani’s plotting against America. Regardless, it illustrates a major strategic escalation in President Trump’s Iran policy. Soleimani’s standing in Iran and the IRGC in particular makes President George W. Bush’s 2008 killing of top Lebanese Hezbollah leader Imad Mughniyeh seem irrelevant in comparison. This is a very big deal.
Trump’s shift here is hard to overestimate. Until now, Trump had been keen to keep avenues of diplomatic intercourse open toward Iran. Trump had avoided direct military retaliation against Iran even after it downed a U.S. drone last summer. But this killing slams the door on diplomacy in a most public way. Soleimani was a hero of the revolution and will now be regarded as an heir to Husayn ibn Ali, the martyr of Shiite martyrs. Revenge will now rise to the very top of Iran’s agenda. A global terrorist campaign of uncertain duration is likely. In the context of Iranian domestic political instability and deep economic pressures on the regime, Iran might also use this killing as an excuse to destabilize oil flows through the Strait of Hormuz. Each of those developments would require immediate American deterrent response.
We have killed an important terrorist. There will be a response. However, the response will no longer be under the leadership and direction of that terrorist. I am not sure how much we have impacted the worldwide terrorist network that Soleimani led, but we have impacted it. The killing of Soleimani is important for the future of Iran and the future of terrorism worldwide. Hopefully it is a step toward freedom in Iran.