Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
“Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, austere religious scholar at helm of Islamic State, dies at 48,” is how the Washington Post infamously summed up the killing of the head of ISIS.
If Baghdadi was “austere”, the word-of-the-day for Qasem Soleimani was “revered”.
“Airstrike at Baghdad airport kills Iran’s most revered military leader,” the Washington Post headlined the execution of Baghdadi’s Shiite opposite number.
CNN and CBS joined Al Jazeera in describing Soleimani as “revered”.
Soleimani was not especially revered in Iran whose cities throb with protests against the theocracy of terror. The ordinary Iranian has the same view of Soleimani as the ordinary Russian did of Beria.
It’s not in Tehran, but in the Iowa caucuses where the terror mastermind is truly revered.
Senator Elizabeth Warren had tweeted a criticism of President Trump’s decision while acknowledging, “Soleimani was a murderer, responsible for the deaths of thousands, including hundreds of Americans.”
Soon, Warren had come under attack for calling the mass murderer a “murderer”.
And so she changed her tune, and criticized President Trump for having carried out a “targeted attack on a government official, a high-ranking official for the government of Iran.”
There are plenty of Iranians with the courage to speak out against Soleimani, despite the threat of death or imprisonment, but very few Democrats have the courage to even call him a “murderer”.
More Iranians than Democrats cheered the death of Soleimani and celebrated President Trump.
Why did Soleimani believe that he could coordinate an attack on the American embassy in Baghdad, and fly in to meet with the terror leader behind the attack, without having to worry about the United States?
An annex of the Iran Deal had assured the Islamic terror state that sanctions would eventually be lifted on the terror boss.
“Gen. Qassem Soleimani taken off sanctions list,” the terror state’s Fars News Agency had crowed.
Israel had reportedly wanted to take out Soleimani, but was warned not to act by the Obama administration.
In 2020, Soleimani was still behaving as if nothing had changed. He assumed that the same protection extended by the former tenant of the White House still immunized him. That was his mistake.
In 2018, Israel reportedly got the green light to take out Soleimani. It is likely that Soleimani became a lot more careful when visiting Syria. But there was no way that the Israelis would get to him in Baghdad. And he assumed that the United States might authorize taking him out, but wouldn’t do it themselves.
He was wrong.
After his role in the murder of countless Americans, he had only one thing keeping a drone away. And that was the Democrats and their media who had protected the “revered” terrorist from justice.
Even after death, the Democrats have gone on fighting for Soleimani.
“The Administration has conducted tonight’s strikes in Iraq targeting high-level Iranian military officials and killing Iranian Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani without an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Iran. Further, this action was taken without the consultation of the Congress,” House Speaker Pelosi complained.
There was no mention in her press release of the American lives taken by Soleimani.
The Democrats are hiding behind procedures, demanding notifications and votes on another AUMF. As if Congress needs to vote before the military gets authorization to take out the two masterminds of an attack on our embassy. The authorization it didn’t get when our consulate in Benghazi was under fire.
The same Democrats who are suddenly rereading the War Powers Act had no objection when Obama illegally decided to launch a regime change invasion of Libya under false pretenses while repeatedly lying about it being a war, lying about UN authorization, and lying about intervening to stop a genocide.
The House voted three times, calling for the withdrawal of US forces from Libya, an end to the funding of the illegal war, and against supporting the invasion.
Pelosi is proposing a War Powers Resolution to undermine the United States in the face of Iranian terror. But when Obama invaded Libya, she insisted that he could invade as many foreign countries as he wanted without any congressional authorization because invading a country counts as a limited engagement.
“The limited nature of this engagement allows the president to go forward,” Pelosi had claimed, describing a war to topple a country’s leader. “I’m satisfied that the president has the authority he needs to go ahead.”
If Obama had the authority to remove Gaddafi and bomb half of Libya without congressional authorization or any attack on America, surely Trump had the authority to drone Soleimani in Baghdad after his goons came after our embassy in that same city.
But, according to Pelosi, invading a country and overthrowing a country is a “limited” engagement while taking out a terror leader is a “provocative and disproportionate military air strike”. When Gaddafi was sodomized to death with a bayonet after his convoy was hit by a drone, Pelosi called it the “next phase of Libya’s march toward democracy”. Now she’s outraged even though no one even stuck a bayonet into any of Soleimani’s orifices during this latest phase of Iran’s march toward democracy.
When the Democrats aren’t pretending to care about the War Powers Act, they’re pushing false claims of a massive war.
“Did America just assassinate, without any congressional authorization, the second most powerful person in Iran, knowingly setting off a potential massive regional war?” Senator Chris Murphy demanded.
Soleimani wasn’t the second most powerful person in Iran. Congressional authorization isn’t required to take out terrorists in Iraq. And authorization had already been provided by Congress after 9/11. Soleimani wasn’t assassinated. No more than Osama bin Laden or Baghdadi were.
Everything in Murphy’s tweet is wrong and false except the Democrat’s title and name.
More relevantly, what “massive regional war?”
The last time the United States openly fought Iran in 1988, after the attack on the USS Samuel B. Roberts, the sacred terrorists of the Islamic revolution were beaten up and down like a rented mule.
A regional war between Iran and America has been underway ever since their attack on our embassy. The only way that there will be a massive regional war is if the United States decides to fight one.
Iran has chosen to fight a low and dirty war because it stands no chance in an actual fight.
President Trump decided to call Iran’s bluff and show that its aspirations to be a regional superpower consist of the same tired trick of providing weapons to terrorists in other countries as its Sunni rivals.
The Supreme Leader of Iran hadn’t dispatched Soleimani to stir up trouble in Iraq because he believed that armies of thugs who specialize in beating up protesters and shooting families were any match for the United States in an open fight. No amount of hashish could make Khamenei believe the sort of nonsense being put out by the honorable gentleman representing Connecticut’s loan sharks.
Iran has only two pathways for pursuing a conflict with America: terrorism and nuclear weapons.
The “massive regional war” has consisted of Iranian script kiddie hackers defacing American sites. There will no doubt be some other retaliation. It will also consist of the very same things that Soleimani was doing all along, using proxy insurgents to covertly attack American positions and interests.
Iran’s regional allies, Qatar and Turkey, are not about to go to war with America. Like Iran, they pay poorer and dumber people in other countries to do that. The poorer and dumber people, Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthis of Yemen, are a local threat, not a regional one.
The Democrats don’t oppose the killing of Soleimani because they’re afraid of a massive regional war. They grumbled about Baghdadi’s death even though we were already in a massive war with ISIS.
Those are excuses.
The Democrats don’t oppose Soleimani’s death because they love the War Powers Act, care about the separation of powers, or are worried about a massive regional war, but because they hate America.
When Gaddafi opposed America, the Democrats would have died to defend him. When he signed a deal with President Bush, they were happy to claim his head. If Soleimani had put on a MAGA hat, Pelosi would have been demanding that Trump drone him right now. America deserves better than their lies.
Their revered leader is dead. But somewhere there’s another Islamic terrorist who hates America.
The 2020 Democrat field is looking pretty thin. If Soleimani’s successor decides that the Quds Force job has gotten too risky, he can always jump in to the Iowa caucuses and see if he can beat Bernie and Liz.