We don’t know a lot. Yet. What we do know is that a US drone strike hit Baghdad airport killing Qasem Soleimani (and one of his deputies), a top general and very powerful man in Iran. Additionally, the U.S. will be sending thousands more troops to the Middle East in case of retaliation. The State Department claims that the drone strike happened to prevent an “imminent attack” in the region that would put American lives at risk.
CNN is quoting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R, Kentucky) as saying:
"Soleimani made it his life's work to take the Iranian revolutionary call for death to America and death to Israel and turned them into action. But this terrorist mastermind was not just a threat to the United States and Israel. For more than a decade, he masterminded Iran's malevolent and destabilizing work throughout the entire Middle East,"
And the Democrats seem to agree with Schumer saying that no one will shed a tear over Soleimani’s death. Although top Democrats, especially those on the Intel Commities were not briefed beforehand about the strike which is potentially problematic.
Okay. So those seem to be the general facts as everyone is reporting. Since both sides agree this guy was a terrorist mastermind I will take it on faith that his death will save innocent lives. But … now what? Well, the cynical side of me agrees with many folks who have pointed out that President Trump predicted this very event - for Obama. In 2011 and 2012 Trump tweeted that Obama would start a war with Iran in order to win an election. Here they are:
In order to get elected, @BarackObama will start a war with Iran.
Now that Obama’s poll numbers are in tailspin – watch for him to launch a strike in Libya or Iran. He is desperate.
Don't let Obama play the Iran card in order to start a war in order to get elected--be careful Republicans!
Trump on Nov. 16, 2011:
“Our president will start a war with Iran because he has absolutely no ability to negotiate. He's weak and ineffective. So the only way he figures that he's going to get reelected — and as sure as you're sitting there — is to start a war with Iran.”
So, is this just a Wag the Dog tactic? Is Trump doing what he “predicted” Obama would do? Even though … Obama never did that thing, but whatever. Let’s just ignore that for now.
War Presidents are popular. It’s true; however, I suspect the truth is … all of the above. This Soleimani guy was clearly a terrorist scumbag and I don’t care that he’s dead. The drone strike also helps Donald Trump in the popularity polls because war sells. So, I think we have a little of column A and a little of column B.
To be honest, I don’t think this will lead to a full scale war. The U.S. launches drone strikes a lot. Probably more than you realize. Remember that Obama was and still is criticized for the large amount of drone strikes he sent out. Well, it was widely reported that in 2009-2010, President Obama launched 186 drone strikes on Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. In 2017 and 2018, President Trump launched 238 drone strikes in those regions. Again, Obama was openly criticized for launching too many drone strikes. And Trump has launched much more. So, this is nothing new, especially to the people living in said regions.
I’m not going to weigh in too heavily with the “but drone strikes create terrorists” argument, even though it's true. But I will say that if Iran was going to start a war with the U.S. because of drone strikes - they probably would have already done it. On the other hand, this was a very popular person in Iran who is publicaly claiming that they will retaliate the U.S.
Let's hope cooler heads prevail. An all out war with Iran would be ... ugly.
The big story at the beginning of the week was the chilling deaths of nine American citizens in Mexico—apparently at the hand of either one or two drug cartels.
And we’re worried about ISIS?
And the Democrats want open borders?
Now, let’s put this in context. This was a group of people who are part of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints. They are at war with the state of Utah over polygamy and I’m not personally a fan of their interpretation of LDS orthodoxy because I covered the arrest of Warren Jeffs and the aftermath when I was with a national TV network.
That said, they were residents of Mexico, American citizens, not taking welfare from either Arizona or Utah and didn’t deserve to be caught in a drug cartel ambush.
And, frankly, the silver or lead philosophy which is prevalent in our neighbor (that is, take our silver or our lead) to the south is killing many Americans because that is where heroin and fentanyl comes from and flows to those “sanctuary” cities and states where the so-called leadership does everything possible to protect these thugs from deportation.
This just happens to be such an egregious case that it screams for extraordinary action.
Drone strikes. Let’s wipe them out the same way we wiped out ISIS.
Those folks at Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nevada (40 miles North of Las Vegas) can take out a terrorist halfway across the world with a Hellfire missile launched from a Predator drone.
I can hear our so-called “State” department screaming now, but why should we let some scumbag like El Chapo (or his son) wreak horrifying violence on United States citizens when we’re perfectly willing to use our military resources to wipe out a scumbag like Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Syria. The fact is that no matter how nicely we discuss the concept of sovereignty the Mexican government has been bought and paid for by the drug cartels just as surely as ISIS became a state unto its own in the Middle East.
If we’re going to place the lives of young American soldiers, sailors and airmen in harm’s way, at least they should be protecting the lives of Americans.
And if the cartels wish to fight back…they’ll discover exactly what we spend over $700-Billion a year on.
Now, theoretically Mexico is a sovereign nation.
So we need to give them fair warning.
President Trump can tweet that warning and then act on it the next time we see a problem.
What’s going to happen?
The Mexican Army will come across the border? They’ll cut off our access to Cabo? Cancun?
To steal a line from W.C. Fields, “On the whole, I’d rather be in Philadelphia”.
The truth is that Mexico has long been a nation which is at a level of corruption that even Bugsy Siegal's Las Vegas never approached. Even Chicago has never been quite as corrupt as Mexico. Even Joe Biden’s son apparently hasn’t taken any money from them.
The only thing stopping the President might well be the Obama holdovers in the State Department. Just like those clowns who testified against the President in secret, performing for Adam Schiff.
To hear them tell it, the President shouldn’t be allowed to set our foreign policy.
I’d like to see the President at this exact time, go to Congress and ask for a declaration of war not against Mexico but the drug cartels. Let’s see who votes against that.
Fred Weinberg is a guest columnist and the CEO of USA Radio Network. His views and opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of GCN. Fred's weekly column can be read all over the internet. You can subscribe at www.pennypressnv.com. This is an edited version of his column, reprinted with permission.